Long before Madonna was the most famous American in self-imposed exile in the UK, another noteworthy American-turned-Brit wrote some unkind words about April (or at least that’s what the Thunder said). Whatever. Don’t believe the hype — April is a kick-ass month, and this one in particular is full of all kinds of stuff for a music-loving Southern Californian to do:
Pianos, pianos, everywhere, thanks to the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
- The art installation, Play Me, I’m Yours, featuring 30 pianos spread across Los Angeles County for the public to play and enjoy, officially launches on April 12th with simultaneous performances of Preludes from Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, on all 30 pianos. Many thanks to LACO for bringing it to Southern California. More details in a later post, but if you want a head start on deciding which pianos you want to visit, click HERE.
All sorts of other LACO stuff — you know, concerts
The last of LACO’s Westside Connections events pairing chamber music with talk about food is this Thursday, April 5th at Santa Monica’s Broad Stage. The special guest will be Susan Feniger, who recently opened her new restaurant, Street, but is best known for her longtime partnership with chef Mary Sue Milliken in launching Border Grill, City, Ciudad, and a whole host of other restaurants. Works by Saint-Saëns, Martinů, and Ravel will be performed. To add a little extra incentive, Ms. Feniger will be bringing The Border Grill truck so everyone can go home with a full stomach after the concert.
- On Thursday, April 19th, Music Director Jeffrey Kahane, Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, Principal Cello Andrew Shulman, and Principal Oboe Allan Vogel perform an all-Bach program at the Colburn School’s Zipper Hall in the fourth installment of this season’s Baroque Conversations.
- The full orchestra performs on Saturday, April 21st (Alex Theatre in Glendale) and Sunday, April 22nd (Royce Hall at UCLA) in a program featuring Three Places in New England by Charles Ives, the West Coast premiere of Crane Palimpsest by Gabriel Kahane (who also serves as soloist, plus happens to be the Music Director’s son), and Haydn’s last symphony, the wonderful 104th (“London”). The elder Kahane conducts.
A free chamber music concert in Pasadena
- The Enlightenment Chamber Music Series presents a free “Memorial Concert Honoring the Victims of the Armenian Genocide” in the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena. The Pergolesi Stabat Mater with Elissa Johnston (soprano) and Callista Hoffman (mezzo-soprano) headlines a program that also includes works by Komitas, Mozart, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky. Prominent local musicians Marina Manukian (violin), Sarkis Gyurgchyan (violin), Shawn Mann (viola), John Walz (cello) , and David Young (bass) are the featured players. A reception follows the concert
The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus opens their doors
- You’ve read my glowing review of their recent performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall. You’ve probably seen them perform with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, most recently as part of the massive Mahler 8th Symphony contingent of over 1,000 people. And you’ve been wondering how your own vocally talented young person can join the famous LACC. Wonder no longer, and instead, attend their Open House on April 28 at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church from 11am to 12noon. The open house is free, but reservations are required and can be made by calling 626.793.4231 or e-mailing email@example.com.
Bang it if you’ve got it
- On April 23rd, the always intriguing Monday Evening Concerts offers up an evening of percussion fun (if “fun” is the right word for it), headed up by Steven Schick in a performance of works by Helmut Lachenmann, Kurt Schwitters, and Aldo Clementi.
Some visiting orchestras here and there
- The Cleveland Orchestra is the latest major US orchestra to visit the West Coast in celebration of the San Francisco Symphony’s 100th Birthday. No concerts in Los Angeles, but they are making a one-night stop at Segerstrom Concert Hall on April 17th, care of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. The orchestra’s Music Director, Franz Welser-Möst, leads them in symphonies by Mendelssohn (3rd) and Shostakovich (6th), plus Orion by Kaija Saariaho.
- Myung-Whun Chung is no stranger to Los Angeles, having served as Carlo-Maria Giulini’s assistant conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His visits since then have been sporadic, but you can catch him on April 19th when he brings the Seoul Philharmonic to Walt Disney Concert Hall in a Franco-Russian program of Debussy’s La Mer, Ravel’s La Valse, and the Tchaikovsky 6th Symphony, “Pathetique.”
- In case your tastes lean more towards “historically informed performance practices,” the Concerto Köln also visits WDCH. On April 24th, they perform a bunch of Bach, plus some Vivaldi, Dall’Abaco, and Sammartini for good measure.
- The Los Angeles Philharmonic leaves town, this time for a trip behind the Orange Curtain on April 28th to distant and exotic Costa Mesa for another concert presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. The concert of Spanish and German music — Turina’s Danzas Fantásticas, Rordigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, and Brahms 2nd Symphony — is led by a Spaniard with a slightly German-sounding name, frequent LA Phil guest conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Pepe Romero is the guitar soloist.
Also at Walt Disney Concert Hall . . .
- On April 22nd, Sir Neville Marriner gets honored by The Colburn Orchestra and splits podium time with Yehuda Gilad for the Overture to William Tell by Rossini, Barber’s Violin Concerto (Mayumi Kanagawa as soloist), and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
- The LA Phil’s Green Umbrella new music series continues on April 10th. Los Angeles treasure and ever-adventurous pianist, Gloria Cheng, plays the Cage Concerto for Prepared Piano, plus we get to hear the world premiere of Oscar Bettison’s Livre des Sauvages and the U.S. Premiere of Stockhausen’s Five Star Signs. Originally, John Adams was going to conduct but has since withdrawn, with Jeffrey Milarsky taking his place.
- Grant Gershon takes the Los Angeles Master Chorale on a trip from the “Andes to the Sea,” and brings the rest of us along for the ride. A world premiere by composer Gabriela Lena Frank plus other South American works are featured on this April 29th concert.
- Plus much, much more . . . click HERE for the full April calendar at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
- “Play Me, I’m Yours” piano: Lacey Huszcza
- Jeffrey Kahane: Michael Burke
- Grant Gershon and Los Angeles Master Chorale: Lee Salem