Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra blog

October 31, 2011

what was bach really like?

When I think about J.S. Bach, I think first about the music. I think about my favorite pieces: the St. Matthew Passion, the Brandenburg Concertos, the “Wachet Auf” Cantata (and a ton of others). Next, I think about the well-known anecdotes I’ve heard about Bach’s life. I think of his two marriages and twenty children (only half lived to adulthood). I think about Bach’s kids who went on to great success as composers. I think about the time when Bach left his job without permission to walk 250 miles to study with noted organist Dieterich Buxtehude. He learned a lot when he was there, and was very interested in taking Buxtehude’s position, but he would have had to marry the man’s daughter. Despite how much he wanted the job, he said no, and then he had to walk the 250 miles all the way back home again. I think about the Collegium Musicum, a secular performance ensemble that Bach directed, and I wonder what their coffee house performances were like.

a heroic evening with LACO
October 17, 2011

The drive home from Royce Hall after LACO’s Illumination concert was a lovely one. My drive takes me through the Hollywood Hills along Beverly Glen, a twisting street that climbs through canyons and along ridges until it comes to a curve near the top and, all of a sudden, as you drive around that curve, the twinkling lights of the San Fernando Valley appear, spread out beneath you, stretching into the distance. It occurred to me this evening, as a rounded that curve, that I’m one lucky guy to have such a beautiful drive just a few miles from my home, and then it dawned on me how lucky I was to have experienced this evening as a whole. A pretty drive is one thing, but the performance I was driving home from… well, leave it to LACO to craft and execute an evening an marvelous as Illumination.

welcome, shawne!
October 12, 2011

I am pleased to introduce production and education manager Shawne Zarubica. She comes to LACO with an extensive background in the arts having studied Music Performance/Composition Major at University of California, Santa Barbara. We have all enjoyed working with Shawne and invite you to stop her and say hello at future events. Here is a note from Shawne, reflecting on the LACO mural:

the "before" and the "after"
October 07, 2011

Musical evolution is not a straight line. It looks that way in retrospect because we ignore all the fits and starts and all the things composers still hung on to long after they were popular. Music moved seamlessly from one period to the next with little fanfare. Press releases did not proclaim the end of one musical style and the beginning of another. But every once in a while, a single composer or a single piece made people aware of something new. Beethoven was such a figure, and the “Eroica” Symphony was such a piece. When people first heard it, some of them thought—quite correctly—that things might very well be different from now on.

the power of the voice
October 04, 2011

Lately I have listened to Adele on repeat. Of course she is a “pop” star and some would wonder why her name is even mentioned on a classical music blog. I do not expect many converts, although I would hope one listen to her sultry tone and sharp emotion would persuade any discerning listener to take interest. Rather, I want to illustrate the power of the voice and how great vocal artists inspire me.