Saturday, May 19, 2018, 8 pm, Glendale’s Alex Theatre Sunday, May 20, 2018, 7 pm, Royce Hall
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s (LACO) 50th Anniversary season concludes with guest conductor Sameer Patel leading the world premiere of Derrick Spiva Jr.’s From Here A Path, the second part of a trilogy for chamber orchestra, and Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major, featuring noted cellist and classical music innovator Joshua Roman, on Saturday, May 19, 8 pm, at Glendale’s Alex Theatre, and Sunday, May 20, 2018, 7 pm, at Royce Hall. In addition, Concertmaster Margaret Batjer leads from the first chair both Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso in D Minor, the first work ever performed when LACO launched 50 years ago, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 in E-Flat Major, which wraps the Orchestra’s exploration this season of the composer’s final three symphonies. Spiva, describing his work, says, “From Here A Path draws inspiration from Husago, a West African piece from Ghana’s Ewe people that includes drumming, dancing and singing, kaval flute playing from Eastern Europe and elements of Hindustani classical music. The title references the momentum and resistance one gathers to reach a point.”
Cello virtuoso Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the program’s previously announced soloist, deferred his United States orchestral debut in order to perform at the Royal Wedding of His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales and Ms Meghan Markle on May 19 at the request of Ms Markle. He will make his LACO debut at a future date to be announced.
“This diverse final program of LACO’s 50th Anniversary Season reflects the artistic essence of the Orchestra,” says LACO Executive Director Scott Harrison, “beginning with a wonderfully sentimental statement as LACO’s artists reprise the very first notes the Orchestra ever played when it first took the stage five decades ago. Next is a showcase of one of the world’s leading soloists, Joshua Roman, then an embrace of classical music’s future with a world premiere by Derrick Spiva Jr., a brilliant young composer with a distinctive pan-cultural compositional style encompassing the global community of the 21st century, who LACO is proud to champion. To close this milestone anniversary season, LACO highlights its own virtuosic artists with Mozart’s Symphony No. 39, one of the pinnacles of the chamber music repertoire.”
Spiva, a rising African-American composer with 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, influenced by Ghanaian polyrhythms and traditional West African drumming. He is noted for conducting, composing and teaching styles that reflect the multicultural atmosphere of Los Angeles, where he lives and works. Spiva weaves world music across many 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 conductor for the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra. 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 Chaudhuriand Aashish Khan.
Patel, currently in his third season as the Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony, is considered one of America’s most exciting young conductors. The recipient of 2016 and 2017 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, he is also the Associate Conductor of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, whose distinguished musicians come from many of North America’s finest orchestras.
Roman, “a cellist of extraordinary technical and musical gifts” (San Francisco Chronicle), is recognized as an accomplished composer, curator and programmer, particularly in his work as artistic director of Seattle Town Hall’s TownMusic series, with a vision to expand the classical music audience. For his ongoing creative initiatives on behalf of classical music, Roman was named a 2011 TED Fellow, joining a select group of next generation innovators of unusual accomplishments who show potential to positively affect the world. Before embarking on a solo career, Roman spent two seasons as principal cello of the Seattle Symphony, a position he won in 2006 at the age of 22. This performance marks his third appearance with LACO. In April 2016, he performed the Los Angeles premiere of Mason Bates’s Cello Concerto and was also featured on a program of Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello on LACO’s Baroque Conversations series.
Batjer has served as concertmaster of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 1998 and is the creator and curator of the Orchestra’s popular chamber music series In Focus, which provides insights into the quintessence of some of the great chamber music repertoire through the lens of LACO’s artists in an intimate setting. She made her first solo appearance at the age of 15 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO). She has since returned to CSO and soloed with a succession of major orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and the St. Louis, Seattle and Dallas symphony orchestras. Batjer has also performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Prague Chamber Orchestra and Berlin Symphony Orchestra and appears regularly at the Marlboro Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Salzburg Festival and Italy’s Naples and Cremona festivals.
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), ranked among the world’s top musical ensembles, marks its 50th anniversary in the 2017-18 season. Beloved by audiences and praised by critics, the Orchestra is known as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks as well as a champion of contemporary composers. 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). LACO, which performs throughout greater Los Angeles, has garnered eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. 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.
Concert Preludes, pre-concert talks held one hour before curtain and free for ticket holders, provide insights into the program’s music and artists.
Tickets start at $27 and may be purchased online at laco.org or by calling LACO at 213 622 7001 x 1. Discounted tickets are also available by phone for seniors 65 years of age and older and groups of 12 or more. College students with valid student ID may purchase discounted tickets ($8), based on availability.