NEWS AND LINKS: Colburn Orchestra to perform five concerts at Ambassador Auditorium

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily


After several seasons of “wandering in the wilderness,” The
Colburn Orchestra has settled on Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium as its home
for the five concerts of its 2011-2012 season. Moreover, in addition to hearing
one of the nation’s top conservatory orchestras, the price is right: free.


Although perhaps not as well known as its east coast
counterparts, The Colburn School is the west coast equivalent of institutions
such as The Juilliard School in New York City, Curtis Institute of Music in
Philadelphia and Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. The Colburn Orchestra is
the school’s flagship ensemble and many of its alumni have gone on to major
orchestras in the U.S. and beyond, as well as to solo and teaching careers. Its
concertmaster last season, Nigel Armstrong, won fourth prize in this summer’s
Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow (LINK).


Why Ambassador? In addition to being one of the nation’s
premiere concert halls, Ambassador is a logical choice because the school’s
main performing space, Zipper Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, is not big
enough — either in stage size or seating capacity — to handle major orchestra


The 2011-2012 Colburn Orchestra season will open on Sept. 24
when Music Director Yehuda Gilad leads a program of Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, the
Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an
and Dvorak’s Violin Concerto with Francesca dePasquale, winner
of the 24th Irving M. Klein String Competition in 2010, as soloist.


Other concerts:

Oct. 22: Gilad
will conduct Brahms Symphony No. 3 and Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with
Colburn Conservatory cellist Estelle Choi as soloist.

Dec. 3: Gerard
Schwarz, who recently completed a 25-year tenure as music director of the
Seattle Symphony, returns to Ambassador to conduct The Colburn Orchestra in
Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and Toru Takemitsu’s From Me Flows What You Call Time, which will feature the percussion
ensemble “Smoke and Mirrors.” When Schwarz was music director of the Los
Angeles Chamber Orchestra from 1978 to 1986, the orchestra’s home was
Ambassador Auditorium.

Feb. 4: One of
the nation’s top mezzo-sopranos, Sasha Cooke, joins Gilad and the orchestra in Am I In Your Light? from John Adams’
opera Dr. Atomic and Mahler’s Ruckert Lieder. The program concludes
with Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7.

March 3:
Bramwell Tovey, music director of the Vancouver Symphony for the past nine
years and principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at
Hollywood Bowl for the past three years, leads The Colburn Orchestra in Richard
Strauss’ tone poem Ein Heldenleben and
Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, with Conservatory pianist Sichen Ma as soloist.


More information HERE



(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

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