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The LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (LACO) was founded in 1968 as an artistic outlet for the film and record studios' most gifted musicians. Since then the 40-member orchestra has acquired a reputation as one of the top ten ensembles of its kind in the world. Respected music critic Jim Svejda praised LACO as "America's finest chamber orchestra" on his radio show in August 2004.
Acclaimed for its virtuosic music-making and dynamic programming, the orchestra performs repertoire ranging from Baroque masterpieces to newly commissioned works. The New York Times describes the Orchestra's performances as "soul-stirring" and "energetic," the Los Angeles Times lauds LACO as "a shining feature in L.A.'s cultural landscape," and patrons marvel at the cohesive energy that flows between the musicians and the audience when they play. In September 2003, LACO's 29th recording, featuring the concertos of J.S. Bach with violinist Hilary Hahn, was released to worldwide acclaim on the Deutsche Grammophon label.
Led by Music Director Jeffrey Kahane, the Orchestra enjoyed standing ovations at sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall on a recent East Coast tour. Mr. Kahane is the fifth music director of the Orchestra, following distinguished conductors Sir Neville Marriner, Gerard Schwarz, Iona Brown and Christof Perick. Since joining the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in 1997, Mr. Kahane has received much recognition for his innovative programming and community involvement. He has also maintained his international reputation as a pianist "versatile in styles, superior in technique, unlimited in horizons." (Los Angeles Times)
The Orchestra maintains its local presence with an annual home season at two historic theaters, the Alex in Glendale and UCLA's Royce Hall, and additional concerts at Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in downtown Los Angeles. Acclaimed for introducing up-and-coming young talent to Los Angeles first (Violinists Hilary Hahn and Baiba Skride and pianists Lang Lang and Simon Trpceski all made their Los Angeles debuts with LACO under the baton of Jeffrey Kahane), LACO is proud to open its 36th season in October 2004 with another rising star, 30-something Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud performing Beethoven's Violin Concerto.
Other guest performers in the season include the Emerson String Quartet's David Finckel, "one of the top ten, if not top five, cellists in the world today" (Nordwest Zeitung) and two extraordinary pianists - Wu Han, who appears with husband Finckel and LACO's own Margaret Batjer in Beethoven's Triple Concerto in February 2005, and the emotive New York pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, who performs Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor in March.
Jeffrey Kahane solos and conducts from the piano (April), and also appears in December under the baton of his longtime friend and colleague, Joseph Swensen, described by London's The Guardian as "the complete musician." In October, LACO flutes David Shostac and Susan Greenberg, principal oboe Allan Vogel, principal trumpet David Washburn and principal harpsichord Patricia Mabee will be featured in three of Bach's Brandenburg concertos, No. 2, 4, and 5, led by Margaret Batjer from her position as first chair. Ms. Batjer also leads and solos in the January 2005 concert. Further highlighting the Orchestra's wealth of virtuoso talent, principal horn Richard Todd takes a solo turn in the final concert of the season in May.
During its 2004-2005 season, LACO will perform two world premieres: the first by Emmy Award-winning composer Joel McNeely in January 2005, and the second, in April, commissioned from Donald Crockett by LACO's unique patron commissioning club Sound Investment. The May concert also features new music with the West Coast premiere of a clarinet concerto Richard Livingston Aldridge has written for David Singer. The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra has co-commissioned this piece with New York's Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Mr. Singer will do the honors.
During the 2004-2005 season, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra makes its second appearance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Baroque variations series. German baritone Thomas Quasthoff, who toured with LACO in 2002, will be the guest soloist, and Jeffrey Kahane will conduct.
In addition to its subscription concerts, the LA Chamber Orchestra hosts other exciting events: a Family Concert series designed to entertain and inform concert-goers of all ages; the annual Silent Film Gala - Charlie Chaplin's The Circus in June 2005 - which features the musical talents of the Orchestra set against the backdrop of beautifully restored silent films; and Conversations, a basically Baroque chamber music series at Zipper Concert Hall which creates a relaxed opportunity for the audience and the musicians to share ideas about the music that is performed.
Education and community outreach are crucial components of the Orchestra's mission. Meet the Music, the Orchestra's music education program for elementary school students, is in its 18th year, and Neighborhood Concerts, launched in the 1994-95 season, reaches families in areas of greater Los Angeles where there are no traditional concert halls.
LACO conducts its activities with the goal of bringing joy and enrichment to all its constituents - patrons, musicians, staff and donors - in Los Angeles and around the world, and to making the experience of the great music we perform personal.