By Robert D. Thomas
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
A shorter version of
this article was first published today in the above papers.
Four of the Southland’s orchestras kick off their seasons
The Rio Hondo
Symphony opens its 80th season of free-admission concerts today
at 3 p.m. at the Vic Lopez Auditorium at Whittier High School. Music Director
Kimo Furumoto leads an Americana program with music by Copland, Leonard
Bernstein, Duke Ellington and noted local jazz master Bill Cunliffe.
Cunliffe, who won a Grammy Award in 2010 for “Best
Instrumental Arrangement” of Oscar Peterson‘s West Side Story Medley, will play an
orchestration of that arrangement, which was originally for big band. Cunliffe
will also play his own composition, To
Ruth, and joins the orchestra in a medley from George Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm. A link to Cunliffe’s Web
site is HERE. Actor and director Alan Hunt will be the narrator in Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait. Information: www.riohondosymphony.org
Mei-Ann Chen returns to the Pasadena Symphony podium after a rousing debut last season to lead
the PSO on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Ambassador Auditorium. The program
is Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9, Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with
17-year-old George Li as soloist.
The Chinese-American pianist has won medals in a number of
competitions and in 2011 became the youngest winner of the prestigious Gilmore
Young Artist Award (previous winners include Yuja Wang and Jonathan Bliss). A
link to Li’s Web site is HERE.
Born in Taiwan and a U.S. resident since 1989, the
39-year-old Chen is beginning her third season as music director of the Memphis
Symphony and second as head of the Chicago Sinfionetta. She burst onto the
musical scene in 2005 when she won the prestigious Malko Competition for
conductors in Sweden. A link to the story I wrote prior her PSO debut last year
The Los Angeles
Chamber Orchestra opens its 44th season on Saturday at 8 p.m. at
the Alex Theatre in Glendale and at 7 p.m. in UCLA’s Royce Hall with a
quintessential LACO program.
Music Director Jeffrey Kahane will conduct two West-Coast
premieres: James Matheson’s True South along
with The Great Swiftness by Andrew
Norman, who begins a three-year tenure as LACO’s composer-in-residence.
Norman’s piece is his musical depiction of an Alexander Calder stabile in Grand
Rapids, Mich., where the composer was born. A link to Norman’s Web site is
HERE. Kevin Berger has a profile in the Los
Angeles Times HERE.
The program begins with Kahane as conductor and soloist in
Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, and concludes with Beethoven’s Violin
Concerto, with 28-year-old German violinist Augustin Hadelich making his LACO
debut as soloist. Information: www.laco.org
The second Los
Angeles Philharmonic subscription concerts of the season begin a three-year
cycle where Norwegian pianist Leif Oves Andsnes will play all five of
Beethoven’s piano concertos. Thursday evening and Friday morning, Andsnes will
play the first concerto (really, the second since it was composed after the
second but was the first one published). Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon
will bring the third concerto. Gustavo Dudamel conducts. All four concerts conclude
with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (Eroica).
The Long Beach
Symphony opens its 77th season Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the
Terrace Theatre when Enrique Arturo Diemecke (beginning his 12 season as LBSO
music director) leads Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Prokofiev’s Piano
Concerto No. 3, with Haochen Zhang returning as soloist. The 22-year-old
Chinese pianist won the gold medal in the 2009 Van Cliburn Piano Competition. Information: www.lbso.org
(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.