FIVE-SPOT: April 14-18, 2007

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Southern California News Group

Each week about this time I list five (more or less) classical-music programs in Southern California (more or less) during the next seven days (more or less) that might be worth attending.

APRIL 13, 14 and 15: L.A. PHIL’S “REYKJAVIK FESTIVAL”
8:00 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall
The rock group Sigur Rós performs three different programs as part of this festival of music from Iceland. Former LAPO Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen (now the Phil’s Conductor Laureate) leads the orchestra.

BONUS: Disney Hall is easily reachable (at least if you’re not mobility challenged) via the Red and Purple Lines. Exit at the 1st and Hill St. side of the Civic Center/Grand Park station and walk up two steep blocks to reach the hall.

Information: www.laphil.org

APRIL 14: MOZART REQUIEM & SOLEMN VESPERS
7:30 p.m. at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, Pasadena
In the 20th edition of PPC’s annual Good Friday Devotional Concert, Dr. Timothy Howard leads the church’s Kirk Choir; Pasadena Singers; soloists Judith Siirila Paskowitz, soprano, Bonnie Snell Schindler, alto, Jonathan Mack, tenor, and Michal Dawson Connor, bass; and the Friends of Music Orchestra in two of Mozart’s best-loved choral works.

BONUS: Free admission (freewill offering).

Information: www.ppcmusic.org

APRIL 14: STAINER’S “THE CRUCIFIXION”
7:30 p.m. at Church of Our Saviour, San Gabriel
Phillip Smith leads the church’s choir; soloists Stephen Salts, bass, Phil Gold, tenor, and Bryan Dyer, narrator; along with guest organist Joseph Peeples in a work that is rarely performed these days but lies dusty in most church choirs’ libraries.

BONUS: Free admission (freewill offering).

Information: www.churchofoursaviour.org

APRIL 14: FESTIVAL M.A.R.S.
This 10-day festival throughout downtown Los Angeles includes music, art, fashion and dance. Musical groups include the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble (making its only local appearance of the year), composer/performer collective Ensemble Pamplemousse, and the newly-formed M.A.R.S. Collective. More details HERE.

Information: www.festivalmars.com

APRIL 18: BACH’S B-MINOR MASS
8:00 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
Hans-Christoph Rademann leads the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, soloists and Gächinger Kantorei in this landmark of western classical music.

BONUS: Disney Hall is easily reachable (at least if you’re not mobility challenged) via the Red and Purple Lines. Exit at the 1st and Hill St. side of the Civic Center/Grand Park station and walk up two steep blocks to reach the hall.

Information: www.laphil.org
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(c) Copyright 2017, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

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FIVE-SPOT: April 6-9, 2017

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Southern California News Group

Each week about this time I list five (more or less) classical-music programs in Southern California (more or less) during the next seven days (more or less) that might be worth attending.

APRIL 6-8: PACIFIC SYMPHONY
8 p.m. at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Costa Mesa
Music Director Carl St.Clair leads the Pacific Symphony in the orchestra’s annual American Composers Festival, which this year features Peter Boyer’s Ellis Island: The Dream of America, along with John Adams’ The Darma at Big Sur and Frank Tichelli’s Blue Shades. Alan Chapman offers a preview one hour before each performance.

BONUS: The April 7 and 8 performances are being taped for a future broadcast on PBS’ “Great Performances” series. The Boyer piece will be played as a stand-alone program on April 9.

For an excellent preview by OC Register staff writer Paul Hodgins, click HERE.

Information: www.pacificsymphony.org

APRIL 6, 8 AND 9: LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC
8 p.m. on April 6. 2 p.m. on April 8 and 9
at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
Former L.A. Phil Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen (now the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate) leads the Phil in an all-Sibelius program: Symphony Nos. 6 and 7; Finlandia; and Six Humoresques, Op. 89, with Principal Concertmaster Martin Chalifour as soloist.

BONUS: Disney Hall is easily reachable (at least if you’re not mobility challenged) via the Red and Purple Lines. Exit at the 1st and Hill St. side of the Civic Center/Grand Park station and walk up two steep blocks to reach the hall.

Information: www.laphil.org

APRIL 7-8: NEW WEST SYMPHONY
April 7 at 8 p.m. at Oxnard Performing Arts Center, Oxnard
April 8 at 8 p.m. at Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center, Thousand Oaks
Kynan Johns, the latest in a line of guest conductors vying to become the orchestra’s next music director, leads Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique; and Poulenc’s Gloria, with soprano So Young Park and the Cal Lutheran University Choral Ensembles.

Information: www.newwestsymphony.org

APRIL 9: “FEEL THE SPIRIT” — LCPC CHANCEL CHOIR AND ORCHESTRA
2 p.m. at La Cañada Presbyterian Church, La Cañada
Music Director Jack Lantz leads his choir and orchestra (each of which numbers 60 performers) in a concert of famous American hymns, songs and spirituals. Disclaimer: my wife and I sing in the choir, so feel free to take this recommendation with a grain of salt or a pound of salt, as the late, great Molly Ivins used to say.

Seven of the spirituals were arranged by English composer John Rutter, who is far better known for his Christmas carol settings, but these arrangements are a winner!

BONUS: Free Admission (freewill offering with a suggested donation of $20; everyone who donates any amount and fills out a form will receive a CD of the concert later).

Information: www.lacanadapc.org

APRIL 9: CALDER QUARTET
4 p.m. at The Broad Stage, Santa Monica
The Broad’s Artists-in-Residence play Beethoven’s String Quartets Nos. 2, Op. 18, No. 2 and 8, Op. 59, No. 2, and the world premiere of Andrew McIntosh’s wrestle, stain, whistle and pound.

BONUS: The McIntosh piece is one of several that are being commissioned for this series, inspired by the Op. 59 quartets.

The Broad Stage can be reached via Metro’s Expo Line. Exit at the 17th St./SMCC station and it’s about a 10-minute walk from there.

Information: www.thebroadstage.com
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(c) Copyright 2017, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

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PREVIEW: Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” highlights Pacific Symphony’s American Composers Festival

Paul Hodgins of the Orange County Register has a fine interview with composer Peter Boyer, whose work Ellis Island: The Dream of America will be the centerpiece of the Pacific Symphony’s American Composers Festival April 6-8 at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. The concert is being taped for a future edition of PBS’ “Great Performnances” series, a first for the orchestra. Read his preview story HERE.

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FIVE-SPOT: March 31-April 2, 2017

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Southern California News Group

Each week about this time I list five (more or less) classical-music programs in Southern California (more or less) during the next seven days (more or less) that might be worth attending.

MARCH 31: ACADEMY OF ST. MARTIN-IN-THE-FIELDS
7:30 p.m. at The Broad Stage; Santa Monica
One of many versions of this top-flight performing ensemble plays Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9, K. 271, and Piano Concerto No. 2 (“The Haunted Ebb”) by Scottish composer Alasdair Nicolson, with pianist Inon Barnatan as soloist. The Nicolson concerto was premiered by the Academy earlier this month in New York City. The program also includes Copland’s Quiet City and Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 in A Major, K201 (186a).

BONUS: The Broad Stage can be reached by Metro’s Expo Line. Exit at the 17th St./SMCC station and it’s about a 10-minute walk from there.
Information: www.broadstage.com

MARCH 31, APRIL 1 AND 2: MIRGA CONDUCTS THE PHIL
March 31 and April 1 at 8 p.m. April 2 at 2 p.m.
at Walt Disney Concert Hall; Los Angeles
Los Angeles Philharmonic Associate Conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla will be lead a program that includes Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24, K. 491, with Stephen Kovacevich as soloist; Haydn’s Symphony No. 31, “Hornsignal;” and the U.S. premiere of Georg Frederich Haas’s Concerto grosso No. 1 for 4 alphorns and orchestra, with the hornroh modern alphorn quartet as soloists. Because March 31 is a “Casual Friday” concert, the Haas work will be omitted.

Alphorns are long, curved wooden horns that were used in the Alps and Carpathian mountains as communication devices between isolated villages. Most people know them through the commercials for Ricola cough drops.

BONUS: Disney Hall is easily reachable (at least if you’re not mobility challenged) via the Red and Purple Lines. Exit at the 1st and Hill St. side of the Civic Center/Grand Park station and walk up two steep blocks to reach the hall.

Information: www.laphil.org

APRIL 1: LA OPERA GALA
8 p.m. at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; Los Angeles
Plácido Domingo, Sondra Radvanovsky, Diana Damrau and Nicolas Testé join together for a this concert that features favorite arias, duets and ensembles. The program celebrates the 10 anniversary of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. In addition to singing, Domingo will also conduct the LA Opera Orchestra in a performance that showcases the training program’s current members and alumni.

BONUS: The Pavilion is easily reachable (at least if you’re not mobility challenged) via the Red and Purple Lines. Exit at the Temple St. side of the Civic Center/Grand Park station and walk up two steep blocks to reach the hall.

Information: www.laopera.org

APRIL 2: MORTEN LAURIDSEN’S LUX AETERNA
4 p.m. at Church of the Good Shepherd; San Gabriel
Dr. Peter Green conducts his 50-voice choir in one of the seminal works of the late 20th century.

BONUS: Free Admission (freewill offering)

Information: www.cgsum.org

APRIL 2: FELIX HELL, ORGANIST
7:30 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall; Los Angeles
German organist Felix Hell (who now lives in the U.S.) presents his transcriptions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

BONUS: Disney Hall is easily reachable (at least if you’re not mobility challenged) via the Red and Purple Lines. Exit at the 1st and Hill St. side of the Civic Center/Grand Park station and walk up two steep blocks to reach the hall.

Information: www.laphil.org

BONUS: It’s not a live concert but PBS SoCal has back-to-back telecasts on Friday March 31 of Gustavo Dudamel leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic as part of PBS’s “Great Performances” series. At 9 p.m. is last summer’s “Tangos Under the Stars” concert at Hollywood followed at 10:30 p.m. by a Disney Hall gala performance of Dudamel conducting the music of John Williams. Information: www.pbssocal.org
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(c) Copyright 2017, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

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NEWS: Gail Samuel appointed LAPO acting President/CEO

Moving forward swiftly from the announcement earlier this month that Deborah Borda is leaving the Los Angeles Philharmonic as its President and Chief Executive Officer, the LAPO board has appointed Gail Samuel (pictured right) as acting President/CEO, effective immediately.

Borda, who will remain as an advisor to the board until June 1, will become the New York Philharmonic’s President and CEO on Sept. 15 (LINK and LINK).

Samuel has been the orchestra’s executive director since March 2015, She previously served as Acting President and CEO while Borda was on sabbatical at Harvard University in the Fall of 2015.

Samuel has worked at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association for 25 years, beginning as Orchestra Manager and rising through the organization, holding a variety of critical positions during that time. She was promoted from Vice President and General Manager, Philharmonic and Production to Chief Operating Officer in 2012. Previously, Samuel has held positions with the Minnesota Orchestra, Yale University, Tanglewood Music Festival and the Young Musicians Foundation.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Samuel studied violin and earned undergraduate degrees in music and psychology as well as an MBA from the University of Southern California. Samuel has served on the Board of Councilors for the USC Thornton School of Music since 2009.

As the board previously announced, a search committee headed by Board Chair Jay Rasulo has been formed to search for Borda’s successor. One would presume that Samuel will be high on the list of candidates.

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