Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal



Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra blog

March 31, 2011

surprise!

surprise!

I am not someone who enjoys being surprised. Surprise parties? No thank you. Spur-of-the-moment weekend plans? Not so much. I still have trouble being shown a wrapped gift and told I have to wait to open it. (You get that I’m a real wild and crazy guy, don’t you? Good.)

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contest winner mary reed on earning a spot on the LACO stage: "a rush of adrenaline came over me!"
March 25, 2011

Double bassist Mary Reed grew up in South Carolina, the daughter of musicians. She began studying classical guitar at age six, and at age nine, picked up the double bass, which has been her primary focus ever since. She earned her Bachelor of Music from Johns Hopkins University last year, and made the move to Los Angeles to continue her studies. Last September, Reed was just settling into her first semester as a graduate student at USC Thornton School of Music when an amazing opportunity arose: she was invited to participate in a mock orchestral audition for strings, and ended up winning a very real prize – the chance to join LACO for a week of concerts! Reed will play during the Beethoven’s Emperor concert in April, and recently shared with me, among other things, what the audition contest experience was like, what she’s thinking when she’s performing onstage, and what it’s like to travel with her double bass.

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four toy pianos and rhythmically gifted farm animals
March 25, 2011

Family concert 2, Ragtime Xylophonia is this Sunday, and is shaping up to be a really fun day of music and activities! LACO principal timpani Wade Culbreath has been hard at work making the program great. He wanted us to share some really interesting things about percussion being used, the history of the xylophone and George Hamilton Green, the composer of a lot of the music that will be played on Sunday.

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LACO performs a "sparkling suite no. 3"
March 22, 2011

Anyone who attended this weekend’s concerts can attest to the incredible performance by the LACO musicians. The concerts were magical.

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happy birthday, bach!
March 20, 2011

Last night, LACO honored one of the most beloved and iconic composers in all of music. Yep, Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday is this weekend, and I was there, in the audience, as LACO paid tribute to a man who would be 326 years old this year. If I may be perfectly frank, I wasn’t looking forward to this concert as much as I’ve looked forward to other LACO performances. Baroque music is just not my thing, and, actually, my least favorite LACO concert of the past few years was Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in November 2008 – you can read my blog about it here. So, the thought of another evening of all Bach pieces didn’t exactly rev my engine, but you know what? I’m glad I game. And I can sum up why in exactly two words: Sasha Cooke.

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devil's advocate
March 17, 2011

A blog entry titled Obama’s Arts Budget Cuts Address National Endowment’s Weakness by Travis Korte at the Huffington Post recently caught my attention, for obvious reasons. While it’s a somewhat messy and confusingly-argued set of thoughts, it provokes a central question that I think anyone invested in the arts should consider, even if only in a devil’s advocate sort of way: Would the nation’s arts ecology – and the nation itself – be harmed if the NEA disappeared?

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the test of time
March 16, 2011

I first sang Bach’s St. Matthew Passion about twelve years ago when I was a member of the Oratorio Society of New York. There was something about the scope of it that made it truly sublime, almost overwhelming in its majesty. It is an emotional work, to be sure, filled with drama and pathos, but it is also a miracle of musical construction, neat and brilliant. We classify the St. Matthew Passion as an oratorio (more specifically, a Passion Oratorio), which is essentially an unstaged opera with a religious plot. Oratorios became popular because operas couldn’t be staged during Lent, a solemn holy season for Christians. But opera fans could get their fix of recitatives and arias if the story was sacred, and if there were no sets, costumes, or staging.

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breakfast with bach
March 11, 2011

Like a broken record, I will mention once again that I’m not the biggest fan of Baroque music. But I really need to qualify that statement a little: I should say that I’m not a big fan of listening to Baroque music. Playing Baroque music, on the other hand, is a completely different story. Don’t think I mean just any Baroque music, though. In my mind, if you’re going to delve into that era, you really only have one choice of composer: JS Bach.

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for the night owls: LACO on performance today
March 09, 2011

If you are up late tonight, or the wee hours of the morning tomorrow, you can hear LACO on KUSC’s edition of Performance today at 3am on March 10. In this edition of Performance Today:

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a haiku in honor of international women's day
March 09, 2011

Yesterday, in honor of the March 8 holiday, International Women’s Day, LACO invited our Facebook friends and Twitter followers to submit a Haiku focusing on women composers. We got some good ones, and wanted to share them with you here:

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