On May 18th, three members of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and two special guests — including cellist Joshua Roman, the Orchestra’s 2018 Shaheen & Anil Nanji Guest Artist-in-Residence — arrived at the Noho Villas’ community center to fill the space with chamber music.
The atmosphere at Noho Villas isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a structure designed to house homeless and low-income seniors. Located in NOHO’s Arts District and built by the nonprofit People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), native plants and thoughtful water features exude a warm and welcoming vibe.
Joshua, who is also recognized as an accomplished composer, curator and programmer, particularly in his work as artistic director of Seattle Town Hall’s TownMusic series, developed this program to be performed for under-served communities in Los Angeles. The concept featured music by living composers, Derrick Spiva, Jr. and Reena Esmail, as well as material related to the cello player’s upcoming Orchestral series performance.
Joshua was joined by Vijay Gupta, Founder and Artistic Director of Street Symphony — which uses classical music as a platform for social action — and LACO violinist Connie Kupka, cellist Giovanna M. Clayton and acting principal viola Victoria Miskolczy.
“It is a great pleasure to be here and playing music with old friends and new friends as well,” noted Vijay. “If we were to sit alone in a room and play this music, I can tell you that it wouldn’t be the same, and that this music is only what we love and play because it is received as such.”
Gulbahar Ashimova, a visual artist and resident of the 49-unit development was particularly keen on the message of cultural plurality found in the music of Derrick Spiva, Jr. Derrick was also travelling with the group and personally introduced the work.
When you listen to his music it is relatable to anybody, everybody. It is really beautiful.”
“As he [Derrick] said, it was influenced by Eastern Music and Indian music, I think it is a very beautiful mix. This music is for the universal happiness. It is the music we need today,” said Gulbahar. “When you listen to his music it is relatable to anybody, everybody. It is really beautiful.”
The Orchestra was thrilled to collaborate with a virtuoso musician while partnering with visionary organizations like Street Symphony and PATH.
Street Symphony uses music to help the city’s most at-risk residents. PATH’s mission is to end homelessness for individuals, families, and communities. They do this by building affordable housing and providing supportive services throughout California. LACO’s guest artist residency program places Angelenos front and center for intimate and accessible musical experiences with world class musicians.
Over the course of the week-long residency, Joshua, Vijay and the LACO ensemble brought the free community program to several other venues including the California Institution for Women.