Jeffrey Kahane music director
Andrew Norman composer-in-residence
Mahan Esfahani baroque conversations artistic partner
Margaret Batjer concertmaster
Dana Newman board president
Scott Harrison executive director


The mission of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is to enrich and connect our community through intimate and transformative musical experiences which exemplify and foster artistic excellence, education and innovation.


Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra seeks to be a cultural force in Los Angeles and recognized as a premier orchestra worldwide.

LACO bio

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), proclaimed “America’s finest chamber orchestra” by Public Radio International, “one of the world’s great chamber orchestras” by KUSC Classical FM and “resplendent” by the Los Angeles Times, has established itself among the world’s top musical ensembles. Since 1997, LACO has performed under the baton of acclaimed conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, hailed by critics as “visionary” and a conductor with “effortless musicality and extraordinary communicative gifts.” Under Kahane’s leadership, the Orchestra maintains its status as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and a champion of contemporary composers. Acclaimed American composer Andrew Norman, whose works have been commissioned and performed worldwide, serves as composer-in-residence for the fifth season. In 2016-17, Mahan Esfahani joins LACO in his first of a three-year residency as the Baroque Conversations artistic partner, bringing excellence in Baroque programming to the series, as well as through community and education presentations each year. During its almost 50-year history, the Orchestra has made 31 recordings, toured Europe, South America and Japan, performed across North America, earning adulation from audiences and critics alike, and garnered eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming.

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LACO’s 2016-17 season is its final under the leadership of Kahane, who steps down June 2017, concluding a 20-year tenure at the Orchestra’s artistic helm, the longest in LACO history. During the sweeping and deeply personal season, which commemorates Kahane’s remarkable legacy, the Orchestra presents eight Orchestral Series concerts in collaboration with Glendale Arts and CAP UCLA; five Baroque Conversations concerts in collaboration with The Colburn School; and three Westside Connections chamber music concerts, designed to illustrate the relationship between music and other artistic disciplines. Among the season’s special musical events is “Lift Every Voice,” three-weeks of concerts, conversations and community engagement curated by Kahane to explore themes of tolerance, compassion, cooperation and creativity and the power of music to encourage understanding and promote peace. LACO values its partnerships with the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and Renaissance Arts Academy and proudly presents education and community programs such as Meet the Music, Community Partners, Campus to Concert Hall and the LACO/USC Thornton Strings Mentorship Program, that reach thousands of young people annually, nurturing future musicians and composers as well as inspiring a love of classical music.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, headquartered in downtown LA, was founded in 1968 as an artistic outlet for the recording industry’s most gifted musicians. The Orchestra’s artistic founder, cellist James Arkatov, envisioned an ensemble that would allow these conservatory-trained players to balance studio work and teaching with pure artistic collaboration at the highest level. With the financial backing of philanthropist Richard Colburn and managerial expertise from attorney Joseph Troy, who also became the Orchestra’s first president, LACO presented its first performances. Kahane continues the standard of excellence set by the Orchestra’s first four music directors, Sir Neville Marriner, Gerard Schwarz, Iona Brown and Christof Perick.

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LACO needs your support

Share your love of great music with a contribution to the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Support from music lovers like you makes possible all LACO programs, bringing the Orchestra’s innovative programming into the lives of thousands of students, families and Angelenos of all ages. There are many ways to give! read more →

LACO mural

Muralist Kent Twitchell’s mammoth works are well known in Los Angeles, his gargantuan figures standing sentinel over the urban structures they grace. Perhaps the most familiar of these mega-paintings, seen by more than 250,000 people each day as they stream north on the 110 Freeway, is Harbor Freeway Overture.

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Comprised of three walls of the parking structure adjacent to open-air shopping mall FIGat7th, portraits of musicians (and one significant patron) of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra loom eight stories over downtown. Since 1994, when the third panel was completed, the mural has become a cultural icon for Los Angeles, employing a visual medium to declare the city’s status as a world center for the arts and to proclaim the city’s pride in its performing artists. LACO thanks Brookfield Properties, the home of Harbor Freeway Overture for over two decades.

Although the work appears to be a fresco, painted directly onto the walls of the structures, it is actually painted on a non-woven media, a blend of polyester and cellulous. The 11,000 square foot, eight-story-high LACO monument consumed more than 500 gallons of paint and took nearly 2,000 hours to complete.

The first panel, to the far left and closest to the freeway, portrays current LACO violinist Julie Gigante. The middle panel features former orchestra members, including oboist Allan Vogel and cellist Margaret Moores in the foreground. Near the center of the group is Tachi Kiuchi, the Mitsubishi executive who arranged for funding of the mural project. The third panel, to the far right, portrays LACO’s concertmaster from 1988 to 1996, Ralph Morrison.

left panel

Julie Gigante, violin

middle panel

First row: Allan Vogel, oboe; Rene Mandel, violin; Margaret Moores, cello
Second row: Tachi Kiuchi, former board member; Lisa Sutton, violin; Roy Poper, trumpet
Third row: Rowena Hammill,cello; Richard Altenbach, violin; Roland Kato, viola
Fourth row: Laura Kuennen-Poper, viola

right panel

Ralph Morrison, violin

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performance archive

Browse the Orchestra’s past seasons to find your favorite concert! read more →