Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s SESSION, curated by composer and LACO artist educator Derrick Spiva Jr., explores classical music’s cutting-edge sounds and challenges concert experience expectations

Produced By LACO in Collaboration with Four Larks, SESSION Features World Premiere by Spiva, Hindustani Vocalist Saili Oak, Works By Conor Brown, Salina Fisher, Reena Esmail and Juan Pablo Contreras, Drinks and “Hang” with the Artists

Thursday, October 4, 2018, 8 pm, Hauser & Wirth
in Downtown LA’s Arts District

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), in collaboration with Four Larks, presents SESSION, an innovative performance experience curated by composer and LACO Artist Educator Derrick Spiva Jr. and designed to explore classical music’s cutting-edge sounds and challenge traditional concert-going expectations, on Thursday, October 4, 2018, 8 pm (doors open at 7:30 pm), at Hauser & Wirth in Downtown LA’s Arts District. The evening of music, linked by sonic metaphors, composed by an array of national and international composers, and performed by LACO musicians and others, also offers a “hang” with the artists and a drink ticket for ticketholders, plus food available for purchase. The program features a world premiere by Spiva, a rising African-American composer long associated with LACO. Titled The Body Overcome, it is a peaceful meditation for string quartet, wind quartet, percussion, voice and oud (a pear shaped Middle Eastern lute with West African, Indian and Eastern European influences. Also performed are Conor Brown’s Hirvi (“The Elk”), a jubilant work for double quintet and voice influenced by Norwegian and Eastern European music traditions; Reena Esmail’s String Quartet (Ragamala), which blends Indian and Western classical music styles; selections from Salina Fisher’s abstract Tōrino, a string quartet inspired by Maori pūtōrino (traditional flute of New Zealand); and movements from Juan Pablo Contreras’ celebratory Angel Mestizo for harp, double quintet and percussion. Acclaimed Hindustani vocalist Saili Oak demonstrates her tremendous versatility, performing in Hindustani classical style on Spiva’s and Esmail’s works and in Finnish on Brown’s.

“These composers and their music serve as bridges between musical traditions, emphasizing the connections between things that may initially appear to be dissimilar,” says Spiva, who served as LACO Composer In Residence in the 2015-16 season and is noted for conducting, composing and teaching styles that reflect the multicultural atmosphere of Los Angeles, where he lives and works.

“LACO’s Artist Educator Derrick Spiva Jr. is working closely with us to help expand upon LACO’s commitment to support music creators, provide meaningful music education opportunities and increase community access to music,” explains LACO Executive Director Scott Harrison. “SESSION, LACO’s newest performance experience, is designed to appeal to those who may be unfamiliar with classical music as well as those curious about the ways in which the genre is shifting and progressing.”

SESSION continues in Winter 2019 with conductor/composer Matthias Pintscher and in spring 2019 with conductor/composer and wild Up director Christopher Rountree, whose work stands at the intersection of classical music, new music, performance art and pop. Programs fit the unique properties of unconventional spaces and test ideas about the relationship between performers and audience. (Dates and details to be announced.)

Spiva, who holds a BA from UCLA and an MFA from CalArts, was awarded a composer residency with LACO through New Music USA’s “Music Alive” program for the Orchestra’s 2015-16 season, during which LACO gave the world premiere of his joyous work Prisms, Cycles, Leaps, the first part of his trilogy for chamber orchestra, influenced by traditional West African music and Hindustani rhythmic cycles. In May 2018, LACO premiered the second part, From Here A Path. This season, Sphinx Virtuosi gives the New York premiere of Spiva’s A Vision Unfolding at Carnegie Hall. Spiva is noted for conducting, composing and teaching styles that reflect the multicultural fabric of Los Angeles, where he lives and works. He weaves music across multiple cultures into his musical vocabulary by using integrative composition techniques that seek common ground between different musical traditions, creating works that break down the boundaries between musical genres. He received the prestigious New Music USA award in both 2010 and 2011 and has served as a teaching artist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, instructor for the Community Arts Partnership program at CalArts and Artistic Director and conductor for the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra. Spiva is also Artistic Director of the new music ensemble Bridge to Everywhere. He studied classical music as a student of Ian Krouse, Paul Chihara, David Rosenboom and Alex Shapiro while also studying West African music and dance with Kobla Ladzepko, Persian music theory with Pirayeh Pourafar and Houman Pourmehdi, Balkan music theory with Tzvetanka Varimezova, and tala in Hindustani classical music with Swapan Chaudhuri and Aashish Khan.

Oak, a finalist on the popular Indian singing reality TV series Zee Marathi’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, is a disciple of Dr. Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, a leading vocalist of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. She has established her own musical identity, incorporating classical and semi-classical musical styles into traditional Indian technique. In addition to performing throughout India, Oak has appeared at the Summer Sounds festival at the Hollywood bowl, Vedic Heritage in New York and Beyond Borders at the University of Maine. With several albums and singles to her credit, Oak is the first Hindustani singer to perform with a symphony orchestra.

Brown, a composer and clarinetist from Altona, Colorado, finds musical inspiration in the sweeping prairies, big sky and jagged peaks of the American West. His compositions often feature complex, driving rhythms, sustained tension and ornamentation influenced by folk music from around the world. He has had works commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra and many others.

Contreras, born in Guadalajara, Mexico, is a Los Angeles-based classical music composer who incorporates Mexican popular and folk music into his works. He received a LACO commission for its In Focus series that will be premiered this spring. Recognized as “one of the most prominent young composers of Latin America” (Milenio), Contreras’ music has been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, the Salta and Cordoba symphonies in Argentina and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela. The recipient of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award and Mexican Endowment for the Arts and Culture Young Artist Fellowship, Contreras has served as composer-in-residence at the Turtle Bay Music School and the Concerts on the Slope chamber music series in New York. He holds degrees in composition from the Manhattan School of Music (MM) and CalArts (BFA), and is currently pursuing a DMA degree at the USC Thornton School of Music.

Esmail, a Los Angeles-based Indian-American composer whose musical compositions span the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, has worked with the Kronos Quartet, Salastina Music Society, American Composers Orchestra and SOLI, among many others. Currently the Composer in Residence for Street Symphony, she previously served in similar posts with the Albany Symphony, Concerts on the Slope and Pasadena Master Chorale. Esmail, who has taught at Yale College and the Manhattan School of Music, received a Fulbright scholarship to study Hindustani music in India. Her doctoral thesis, entitled Finding Common Ground: Uniting Practices in Hindustani and Western Art Musicians, explores the methods and challenges of the collaborative process between Hindustani musicians and Western composers.

Fisher is a New Zealand composer and violinist currently based in New York. Her work, which explores the musical traditions of Japan and New Zealand, with experiments in timbre and colour, has been performed internationally by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra and St Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, among others. In 2016, Fisher became the youngest ever winner of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award, New Zealand’s premier composition prize, for her work Rainphase. In 2017, she won the prestigious award again for Tōrino, commissioned in 2016 by Chamber Music New Zealand. She is currently studying for a Master of Music in Composition at Manhattan School of Music with composer/performer Susan Botti.

Four Larks, creative producers and art directors of SESSION, is noted for blurring the lines between dance, theater and opera. The organization, which operates in the back of a flower shop in downtown LA, has garnered acclaim for its award-winning “junkyard operas” that combine large-scale immersive design with innovative orchestration and dynamic physical theatre. Composer/Director Mat Sweeney and Creative Producer Sebastian Peters-Lazaro have been creating original work as Four Larks since 2008. Alongside an international collective of collaborators, Four Larks works variously as chamber-pop band, physical theatre ensemble and immersive space-makers.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) ranks among the world’s top musical ensembles. Beloved by audiences and praised by critics, the Orchestra is known as a champion of contemporary composers, with eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, as well as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks. Headquartered in the heart of the country’s cultural capital, LACO has been proclaimed “America’s finest chamber orchestra” (Public Radio International), “LA’s most unintimidating chamber music experience” (Los Angeles magazine), “resplendent” (Los Angeles Times) and “one of the world’s great chamber orchestras”(KUSC Classical FM). Performing throughout greater Los Angeles, the Orchestra presents orchestral, Baroque and chamber concerts, as well as salon evenings in private spaces and unique experiences that explore classical music’s cutting-edge sounds. Jaime Martín, praised as “a visionary conductor, discerning and meticulous” (Platea Magazine), is LACO’s Music Director Designate and takes the podium as Music Director in the 2019-20 season.

Steinway is the official piano of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Tickets are $35 (includes drink ticket) and may be purchased online at laco.org or by calling LACO at 213 622 7001 x 1. Hauser & Wirth is located at 901 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra  –
Derrick Spiva Jr, curator

Saili Oak, vocals

Thursday, October 4, 2018, 8 pm (doors open at 7:30 pm)
Hauser & Wirth

901 E. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

CONOR BROWN                       Hirvi (The Elk)

SALINA FISHER                        Tōrino

RENNA ESMAIL                        selections from String Quartet (Ragamala)

JUAN PABLO CONTRERAS      selections from Angel Mestizo

DERRICK SPIVA JR                 The Body Overcome (world premiere)

Tickets are $35 (includes drink ticket).

213 622 7001 × 1

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Program, artists and ticket prices subject to change.