Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s virtuosic musicians serve as musical tour guides for In Focus, the Orchestra’s newest chamber music series curated by Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, which concludes its inaugural season with special guest Robert Thies, piano, and Principal Oboe Claire Brazeau, joining Batjer and LACO musicians on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 7:30 pm, at Rothenberg Hall, The Huntington in San Marino, and Thursday, May 10, 2018, 7:30 pm, at Moss Theatre in Santa Monica. The repertoire includes works by Mozart, Brahms and spouses Clara and Robert Schumann, featuring Mozart’s virtuosic Oboe Quartet, noted for its stratospheric range; Clara Schumann’s Romances for Violin and Piano, one of her final works; Robert Schumann’s Romances for Oboe and Piano, his only composition for oboe; and Brahms’s Piano Quartet No. 3, considered an homage to his lifelong friend and romantic interest Clara Schumann. Thies, Brazeau and Batjer are joined by LACO artists Principal Violin II Josefina Vergara, Violin Katia Popov, Associate Principal Viola Victoria Miskolczy and Associate Principal Cello Armen Ksajikian. NPR’s Renée Montagne moderates a short discussion at the conclusion of the program. In Focus provides insights into the quintessence of some of the great chamber music repertoire through the lens of LACO’s artists in an intimate setting. During LACO’s 50th anniversary 2017-18 season, In Focus highlights the remarkable chamber works of Mozart and Brahms.
Thies, a pianist of “unerring, warm-toned refinement, revealing judicious glimmers of power” (Los Angeles Times), is renowned for his consummate musicianship and poetic temperament. He first captured worldwide attention in 1995 when he won the Gold Medal at the Second International Prokofiev Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia. With this victory, Thies became the only American pianist to win a Russian piano competition since Van Cliburn’s triumph in Moscow in 1958. He enjoys a diverse career as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and recording artist. He has already performed 40 different concertos with orchestras all over the world, including Russia’s Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, New Zealand’s Auckland Philharmonia, and the Mexico City Philharmonic.
Brazeau, LACO’s Allan Vogel Chair, endowed by the Henry Family, joined the Orchestra in 2014 as second chair oboe, a position she held until 2016. An emerging concert soloist, she has performed concertos with Redlands Symphony Orchestra the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, among others. Brazeau, a member of LA-based modern music collective WildUp and Le Train Bleu, was a finalist in the 2017 International Gillet-Fox Oboe Competition and an advocate of new music. She also performs on Baroque and Classical period oboes and has played with such period ensembles as Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra and Grand Harmonie. She previously served as a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome, Italy and is a member of the woodwind faculty of the Bob Cole Conservatory at Cal State Long Beach.
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 is Music Director Designate.
Tickets, starting at $49, are available online at laco.org, or by calling LACO at 213 622 7001. Single tickets can also be purchased at the venue box office on the night of the concert, if tickets remain. Discounted tickets are available by phone for groups of 12 or more. College students with valid student ID may purchase tickets for $8, subject to availability.