By Robert D. Thomas
Southern California News Group
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra has named 21-year-old Denmark native Joachim Becerra Thomsen (pictured left) as its Principal Flute, succeeding David Shostac, who retired in May after 41 years with the orchestra.
Thomsen, who is pursuing a Professional Studies Certificate with Jim Walker at The Colburn School, is the youngest musician appointed to a LACO principal chair. He begins at LACO on Jan. 21, 2017 and fills one of three principal chairs vacant — the other recent retirees are violist Roland Kato and oboist Alan Vogel.
Thomsen’s appointment, coming in the final season of Music Director Jeffrey Kahane’s 20-year tenure with the orchestra, would seem to hint that LACO either doesn’t expect Kahane’s replacement to begin immediately upon the maestro’s departure next year or has already chosen his successor, hasn’t yet announced the selection and that person has signed off on this decision.
The media release follows:
Music Director Jeffrey Kahane has named Joachim Becerra Thomsen principal flute of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), one of the nation’s leading orchestras renowned for its wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissioning initiatives. A native of Denmark, Thomsen, 21, who begins his tenure Jan. 21, 2017, is the youngest musician ever appointed to a LACO principal chair. He comes to Los Angeles after holding the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s principal flute position in Helsinki, Finland, where he performed under the baton of such conductors as James Gaffigan, Manfred Honeck, Louis Langrée, Hannu Lintu, Santtu-Matias Rouvali and Tugan Sokhiev. Thomsen succeeds David Shostac, who retired as LACO principal flute in May after 41 years with the Orchestra.
“LACO Principal Flute Joachim Thomsen, who has a distinctive and ravishingly beautiful sound, superb musicianship and a wonderful presence, is an extraordinary and critically important new member of the Orchestra,” states Kahane. “In the crucial final chamber music round of the audition process, he also proved himself to be a first-rate chamber musician as well as a charismatic solo artist. I know that he will bring an electricity and special energy to the orchestra, which, I have no doubt, our audiences will feel immediately.”
“This opportunity to play in Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is a dream come true,” says Thomsen. “I am honored and can’t wait to start making music with its amazing musicians.”
Praised for his “golden sound” and “heartfelt musicianship,” Thomsen is the recipient of many of Denmark’s most prestigious music awards, including the Sonning Talent Prize; the Jacob Gade Honorary Award and Talent Prize; and the Rødovre Music Award. In addition to serving as principal flute of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Thomsen has also performed throughout Denmark as a soloist and chamber musician, collaborating with such highly regarded Baroque specialists as Aureliusz Golinski, Jakob Lorentzen and Bolette Roed. Additionally, Thomsen performed with the Odense Symphony Orchestra as a result of being named a semi-finalist in the Carl Nielsen International Flute Competition. He also performed regularly with such esteemed Scandinavian ensembles as the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, The Royal Danish Orchestra, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, Odense Symphony Orchestra and Malmö Symphony Orchestra, for which he won the audition for co-principal flute. Thomsen graduated with honors from the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, where he studied with Ulla Miilmann, earning Bachelor and Master degrees in Flute Performance with special studies in Early Music. He is currently pursuing a Professional Studies Certificate with Jim Walker at the Colburn School.
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), proclaimed “America’s finest chamber orchestra” by Public Radio International, “one of the world’s great chamber orchestras” by KUSC Classical FM and “resplendent” by the Los Angeles Times, has established itself among the world’s top musical ensembles. Since 1997, LACO has performed under the baton of acclaimed conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, hailed by critics as “visionary” and a conductor with “effortless musicality and extraordinary communicative gifts.” Under Kahane’s leadership, the Orchestra maintains its status as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and a champion of contemporary composers. During its almost 50-year history, the Orchestra has made 31 recordings, toured Europe, South America and Japan, performed across North America, earning adulation from audiences and critics alike, and garnered eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming.
(c) Copyright 2016, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.