AROUND TOWN/MUSIC: Movie music with a twist

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News
This article was first published today in the above papers.

No genre dominates summer music programs quite like movie music. Nearly every presenting organization uses film scores as the basis for at least one of its summer programs; in the case of Hollywood Bowl, music from motion pictures shows up several times this season.

So it’s no surprise that Saturday night’s concert by Muse-ique at Caltech’s Beckman Mall would use this venerable format, but trust conductor Rachael Worby to come up with something beyond the ordinary for her concept, which she describes as “one of Muse-ique’s most ambitious curatorial adventures to date.”

Many of the composers will be familiar but the selections will not. For example, John Williams will be represented not by music from Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark or E.T. but with the Love Theme from Heidi — no, not the famous version with Shirley Temple that was released in 1937, when Williams was age 5, but a film made for TV in 1968, a year after Williams received his first Oscar nomination for scoring Valley of the Dolls.

Williams and many others trace their inspiration to Austrian composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who immigrated to the United States in the 1930s in part to score motion pictures. Saturday’s Muse-ique program will feature cellist Matt Haimovitz as soloist in Korngold’s Concerto in C, which was used in the 1946 movie Deception. Haimovitz will solo Saturday in the world premiere of Sleepwalking, a work with images by Peter Golub, composer and director of the Sundance Film Festival.

Other soloists for the evening will include Wendie Mallick (Hot in Cleveland), who will narrate what’s termed as a “humorous new presentation” of Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, which was included in last year’s movie Moonrise Kingdom. This also gives Worby a chance to salute the upcoming centennial of Britten’s birthday, which takes place Nov. 22, 2013.

Information: www.muse-ique.com

Speaking of centennials, 2013 marks the 100th year of the debut of the score that Igor Stravinsky wrote for the ballet The Rite of Spring, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic offers yet another performance of this iconic piece on Tuesday night at Hollywood Bowl. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos will lead the LAPO; the program also includes Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, with Augustin Hadelich as soloist.

The venerable Spanish conductor returns Thursday for a program that includes Pines of Rome and Fountains of Rome by Respighi and Liszt’s Les Preludes and Totentanz, with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist a work that translates as Dance With Death.

Information: www.hollywoodbowl.com
_______________________

(c) Copyright 2013, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

AROUND TOWN/MUSIC: Crunch Time

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News
This article was first published today in the above papers.

Every classical music indoor season brings two or three dates when crunches pop up as seemingly every organization decides to schedule an event on that particular day. Summertime has largely escaped these conflicts but this year — specifically Sat., June 29 — will force folks in the San Gabriel Valley to make a choice among three different orchestras.

The California Philharmonic will open its second season at Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia on Jan. 29 as Music Director Victor Vener leads his band in a program entitled “Beatles, Beethoven and the Beach Boys.”

On the same date — indeed, at the same time (7:30 p.m.) — a quarter-mile away at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, the Pasadena Pops will be playing its second concert of the season with Broadway star Bernadette Peters as the centerpiece. Larry Blank returns to conduct the orchestra.

Finally, on the same day and time at Caltech’s Beckman Mall in Pasadena, Rachael Worby and her ensemble, Muse-ique, will begin its three-concert summer season with a program that features vocalist Patti Austin.

Pasadena Pops management, which announced its season several weeks ago, said that June 29 was the date chosen by Peters. A spokesperson for Muse-ique said, “Clearly each organization draws different audiences,” which sounds somewhat dubious to me but, hey, what does a lowly music critic know? The Cal Phil noted that each of its five concerts during the summer repeat Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. indoors at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Last year the Pops and Cal Phil scheduled their concerts on non-competing weekends but that has changed this year. The two organizations will have programs on July 13. The Pops plays the second of three programs being led by its new principal conductor, Michael Feinstein, this summer, while Cal Phil counters with one of Vener’s favorite programming concepts, “Andrew Lloyd Webber meets Puccini.” On Aug. 10, the Cal Phil’s “Rodgers and Hammerstein and Gershwin” evening will go up against the Pops’ own Beatles-oriented program.

Meanwhile, on July 27, Muse-ique comes up with a program of movie music featuring cellist Matt Haimovitz as soloist, which the Cal Phil offers “Dance Fever.”

One of the potential problems when the Pops and Cal Phil perform on the same night is traffic. Although those attending Cal Phil concerts enter on the northeast side of the park, which is quite a ways from the Arboretum, traffic for both concerts coming from the west exits the 210 Freeway at Baldwin Ave.

Hollywood Bowl has concerts on each of the above weekends but the crossover issue seems less likely based on the Bowl’s programming as none of the Bowl’s programs involves orchestras.

_______________________

(c) Copyright 2013, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

OVERNIGHT REVIEW: Worby and Muse-ique open season with piano fest

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

______________________

 

Muse-ique; Rachael
Worby, host/conductor

Monday, March 19, 2012 Pasadena Civic Auditorium

Next event: April 9 at Autry National Center (Griffith Park)

Information: www.muse-ique.com

59226-Muse-ique 2.jpg

Three pianos (and six pianists were at the center

of Muse-ique’s program last night at the

Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

____________________

 

Rachael Worby’s new organization, Muse-ique, began its first
full season last night. This summer they will play three outdoor concerts
(including two at the Olive Garden at Caltech) but the four “Uncorked” events
are the heart of what Worby hoped to accomplish when she founded this new
program last year.

 

Each of these events (don’t call them concerts) will be in a
different, unusual location; last night, everyone — performers and the audience
– was on stage at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. With tables and chairs grouped
around three grand pianos, the venue felt like a nightclub or perhaps a large
living room of a century ago. Worby even encouraged people to turn ON their
cell phones to Tweet or provide Facebook updates and take pictures (she even
announced a video contest) — this is definitely not your standard concert or
recital.

 

Each of the “Uncorked” programs lasts about 90 minutes; last
night began with 30 minutes of cocktails and schmoozing and the musical portion
of the program lasted 75 minutes. Worby (who for 10 years was music director of
the Pasadena Pops Orchestra) acted as host, raconteur (something she does
exceedingly well) and musical guide through snippets of the history about the
piano (thus the title, “Ebony Meets Ivory”).

 

She was joined by six local pianists who performed
individually, in two-piano settings, and using four-hand and even six-hand
arrangements. For the grand finale, all six played on the three pianos in Stars and Stripes Forever.

 

The evening began with writer-actress-pop culture analyst
Sandra Tsing Loh reading Ogden Nash’s sardonic poem Piano Tuner: Untune me that Tune, which morphed (naturally) into
Worby and a youngster playing Chopsticks (if you don’t know why that would be
“natural,” you can read the poem HERE). From there, Worby began with Bach and took the
audience through a quick history lesson, touching on piano music through the
centuries.

 

None of the selections in Worby’s eclectic format are
lengthy but there were pleasures aplenty. Joanne Pearce Martin, principal
keyboardist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and her husband, Gavin, began with
a pristine, graceful two-piano arrangement of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, and Joanne returned for a spritely
rendition of Mendelssohn’s Spinning Song.

 

Markus Pawlik played the first movement of Beethoven’s
“Moonlight” Sonata with gentle sonority, and Caltech professor Julia Greer
reprised her performance from last summer, playing Bach while trying to explain
what exactly it is that she does in the laboratory. It’s hard to decide which
is more difficult, although Greer demonstrated anew that she is quite an
accomplished pianist. Pawlik and Greer then joined for a four-hand arrangement
of music by Ravel.

 

Bryan Pezzone and Kirk Wilson offered different styles of
improvisation. Pezzone created his version of We Shall Overcome through the lens of Beethoven with an occasional
foray into jazz, while Wilson played jazz riffs while Loh read Carl Sandburg’s Jazz Fantasia.

 

The highlight of the evening came when the Martins offered a
gripping rendition of Lutoslawski’s Paganini
Variations.
Both Worby and Gavin Martin provided the backstory.

 

To
earn a living during World War II, Lutoslawski played piano-duos in cabarets
with fellow composer Andrzej Panufnik. One of their arrangements was of
Paganini’s famous 24th Caprice (far better known for its inclusion
in Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of
Paganini).
When Lutoslawski fled Warsaw just before the 1944 uprising, this
was his only piece that survived the destruction.
Unlike
Rachmaninoff’s dreamy arrangement, Lutoslawski’s version is more jagged and
angular; the Martins played it superbly. Pasadena Symphony concertmaster Aimee
Kreston introduced the tune on her violin, which helped people understand from
the variations came.

 

To conclude the evening, Martin & Martin joined with the
other four pianists for a splashy rendition of Stars and Stripes Forever, which — if nothing else — proved that
Sousa’s piece is indestructible.

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

AROUND TOWN/MUSIC: Major concerts on calendar during next fortnight

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

This article was first
published today in the above papers.

 

Four major concerts occur in our region during the next
fortnight — and that doesn’t count the final two events of the Piatigorsky
International Cello Festival at Walt Disney Concert Hall: a 2 p.m. concert by
the Los Angeles Philharmonic, featuring cellist Alisa Weilerstein (LINK), and a
7:30 p.m. recital by 110 (!) cellists that will wind up the nine-day-long
festivities (LINK).

 

Also on today’s agenda is the final “LA Phil Live” movie
theater telecast: the season-opening all-Gershwin concert with Gustavo Dudamel
conducting and legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock as soloist in Rhapsody in Blue. (LINK)

 

And then comes:

 

MUSE-IQUE ON MARCH
19 AT PASADENA CIVIC AUDITORIUM

Rachael Worby begins this group’s second season with a
typically cheeky program entitled “Ebony Meets Ivory.” Six pianists, including
the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Joanne Pearce Martin, will perform on three
Steinway pianos in a program that ranges from Baroque to jazz, rap to classical
(Moonlight Sonata), and the spoken
word. The program takes place on stage — literally — as both performers and the
audience will be on the stage and a loading bay of the Pasadena Civic
Auditorium. This is the first of seven performances on Muse-ique’s 2012 season.
Information: muse-ique.com

 

LOS ANGELES CHAMBER
ORCHESTRA ON MARCH 24 (Alex Theatre, Glendale) AND MARCH 25 (Royce Hall, UCLA)

Music Director Jeffrey Kahane leads his ensemble and
pianist-composer Timothy Andres in the world premiere of Old Keys, the latest installment in LACO’s “Sound Investment”
commissioning program. Also on the concert is the West Coast premiere of
Andres’ “reconstruction” of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26, K. 531 (Coronation). Mozart wrote only a few
measures for the left hand of this work although the first published edition
was complete, possibly from Mozart’s publisher. In this new version, Andres has
replaced those left-hand sketches with his own creation; how this “mash-up”
works will be part of the concert’s intrigue. Information: www.laco.org

 

PASADENA SYMPHONY
ON MARCH 31 AT AMBASSADOR AUDITORIUM

Nicholas McGegan, known worldwide as one of the premiere
interpreters of Baroque music, takes on a larger task as he leads concerts at 2
p.m. and 8 p.m. in Ambassador Auditorium that conclude with Beethoven’s
Symphony No. 3 (Eroica). Prior to
intermission, Armenian pianist Nareh Arghamanyan will be the soloist in
Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, K. 466. Information:
www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org

 

LOS ANGELES MASTER
CHORALE AND MUSICA ANGELICA ON MARCH 31 AND APRIL 1 AT WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL

LAMC Music Director Grant Gershon conducts 40 singers of his
Chorale, soloists and one of the nation’s premiere period-instrument ensembles
in the first performances of Bach’s St.
John Passion
to be played at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Information: www.lamc.org

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

Five-Spot: What caught my eye on March 15, 2012

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

______________________

 

Each Thursday, I list five events (six this week — it’s a
very busy weekend) that pique my interest, including (ideally) at least one
with free admission (or, at a minimum, inexpensive tickets). Here’s today’s grouping:

______________________

 

Today and Saturday
at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Los Angeles Philharmonic:
Piatigorsky International Cello Festival concludes

This nine-day celebration of the cello (named in honor the
legendary cellist and teacher Gregor Piatigorsky) concludes this weekend as
Neemi Jrvi conducts the Phil in programs with three different cellists.
Tonight it’s Ralph Kirshbaum, who will solo in the Dvorak Cello Concerto
(LINK). Saturday night Misha Maisky plays Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1
and a transcription of Lenski’s Aria from
Eugene Onegin (LINK). On Sunday,
Alisa Weilerstein takes center stage in Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and Respighi’s Adagio con variazioni (LINK).
Each program begins with Dvorak’s Carnival
Overture
and concludes with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Piatigorsky Festival Information: www.piatigorskyfestival.com

 

Saturday at 4 p.m.
at Whittier College

Chorale Bel Canto
sings Bach’s Mass in B Minor

Stephen Gothold directs his chorale (which is celebrating
its 30th anniversary this season), soloists and orchestra as it
concludes the 75th annual Whittier Bach Festival with a performance
of this monument of choral literature. Information:
www.choralebelcanto.org

 

Saturday at 8 p.m.
at Zipper Hall (The Colburn School)

Vox Femina

Iris Levine conducts her women’s chorale as it continues its
15th season and celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with a concert of music
from the British Isles and Ireland. Singer-composer Moira Smiley will be the
guest artist. Information: www.voxfeminala.org

Sunday at 2 p.m. at
local movie theatres

Los Angeles
Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor; Herbie Hancock, piano

No, the Phil has not mastered the trick of bifurcation. The
final event in this season’s “LA Phil LIVE” telecasts into movie theatres isn’t
live. Instead, it a recording of the all-Gershwin concert that opened the
2011-2012 season last October. This isn’t the truncated version that played on
PBS in December; it’s the entire concert. Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Phil in
rousing performances of Gershwin’s Cuban
Overture
and An American in Paris. Jazz
legend Herbie Hancock joins the orchestra as soloist in Rhapsody in Blue and also plays improvisations on two Gershwin
songs, Embraceable You and Someone to Watch Over Me. There will
also be an interview with Hancock in his home and the usual sort of rehearsal
footage shots that makes these telecasts must viewing, even if you saw the
original concert. Information: www.laphil.com

 

Monday at 7 p.m. at
Pasadena Civic Auditorum

Muse-ique: “Ebony
Meets Ivory”

Rachael Worby begins Muse-ique’s second season with the
first of four “Uncorked Events” featuring six pianists in music that’s all over
the lot. My preview story is HERE. Information:
muse-que.com

 

And the weekend’s
“free admission” program …

 

Saturday at 7:30
p.m. at First United Methodist Church, Pasadena

Pipe Organs Inspire
Inaugural Concert

Three Pasadena churches — First United Methodist, First
Church of Christ, Scientist, and Pasadena Presbyterian — are combining on this
series of three free concerts. The churches’ organists — Ae-Kyong Kim (FUMC),
David Wolfe (FCCS) and Timothy Howard (PPC) — will perform on all three
programs with music selected specifically for the instrument. Saturday’s
inaugural program will be played on FUMC’s E.M. Skinner Organ. Information: www.pipeorganlsinspire.org

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

PREVIEW: Muse-ique launches new season Monday, March 19

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

 

59140-Worby Image.jpg

When Rachael Worby — who for 10 years was music director of
the Pasadena Pops Orchestra — unleashed her new organization, Muse-ique, last
year, she promised a radically different programming concept. Last year’s
events (she doesn’t call them concerts) offered a tantalizing taste of her
eclectic vision. The 2012 season — four “Uncorked” events and three summer
programs — fleshes out that vision.

 

The first “Uncorked” event takes place Monday onstage at the
Pasadena Civic Auditorium — literally. Both the performers and the audience
will be on the stage and a loading bay (everyone will enter from the loading
door to the right of the auditorium; the audience is limited to 300). The
evening begins at 7 p.m. with cocktails and the actual event kicks off at 7:20
p.m.

 

As is the case with each of the “Uncorked” programs, Monday
will be unscripted to a degree because they involve conversations between Worby
and her colleagues, in this case, six pianists (thus the title “Ebony Meets
Ivory”): Joanne Pearce Martin, principal keyboard player for the Los Angeles
Philharmonic; Markus Pawlik; Julia Greer; assistant professor of materials
science and mechanics at Caltech; Bryan Pezzone; Kirk Wilson; and Gavin Martin
(Joanne’s husband). They will perform music ranging from Moonlight Sonata to Coltrane, bebop Bach to a 12-hand arrangement
of Stars and Stripes Forever. Also on
the agenda is pop culture analyst/ writer/ performer Sandra Tsing Loh.

 

The only thing that’s a given about Worby’s programs is that
nothing is a given, but the concept is intriguing. Information: muse-ique.com

 

Among the innovative aspects of Muse-ique are the locales.
The April 9 event — a Western theme featuring a Worby regular,
singer-songwriter Michael Murphy and several others — will be at the Gene Autry
National Center in Griffith Park. The Oct. 8 program at the Rose Pavilion will
be a mash-up of Beatles’ music including Sgt.
Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
(the album celebrates its 45th
anniversary on June 1). The fourth program, Nov. 12, will be held amid the
paper rolls of Castle Press (the latter two locales are repeats from the 2011
locales — Rachael loves recycling something or someone that clicks with the
audience).

 

The summer series begins with a free concert June 23 on the
steps of the Pasadena Civic Center. The other two events will be outdoors at
Caltech’s outdoor Olive Garden, which proved to be a terrific venue last year.
Latin Jazz Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval will return to headline the evening on
July 14; details of the August 18 program have not been announced.

 

Information: muse-ique.com

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

Five-Spot: What caught my eye on November 3, 2011

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

______________________

 

Each Thursday morning, I list five events (actually six this
week) that peak my interest, including (ideally) at least one with free
admission (or, at a minimum, inexpensive tickets). And this doesn’t count the
Metropolitan Opera’s HD telecast of Siegfried
on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. at theaters in the area — be forewarned:
the running time is approximately six hours! (LINK).

Here’s today’s grouping:

______________________

 

Tomorrow at 11 a.m.,
Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Los Angeles
Philharmonic. James Conlon, conductor; Yuja Wang, pianist

Much of the attention will, undoubtedly, be focused on what
the young Chinese pianist will wear (she of the “little orange dress” notoriety
LINK) but the real story should be a wonderfully constructed
program — Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, Prokofiev’s
Piano Concerto No. 3 and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7 — led by LA Opera Music
Director James Conlon with Wang as soloist. Tip: if you’ve never attended a
morning L.A. Phil concert, this would be a great time to try it out, but check
for ticket availability. Info: www.laphil.com

 

Tomorrow at 8 p.m.
at Alex Theatre (Glendale) and Sunday at 7 p.m. at Royce Hall (UCLA)

Los Angeles Chamber
Orchestra plays Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti

The six Bach Brandenburg Concerti are about as far away from
Prokofiev’s 3rd (above) as you can get, but Bach’s famous sextet is
indelibly linked with LACO — this will be the 51st time that the
orchestra has played all or some of the pieces. Concertmaster Margaret Batjer
will lead the performance from her first-chair position. Info: www.laco.org

 

Sunday at 2 p.m. at
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Los Angeles Opera’s Romeo et Juliette

LAO brings back its
Ian Judge-created production of Gounod’s take on Shakespeare’s tale of
star-crossed lovers. Tenor Vittorio Grigolo and soprano Nino
Machaidze
sing the title roles; Plcido Domingo conducts. A Los Angeles Times story on the young
soprano is HERE and and of Brian’s nifty “10 Questions” posts in Out West Arts on Grigolo is HERE.
Info: www.losangelesopera.com

 

Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Lang Lang in recital

What caught my eye about this concert was the program, which
begins with Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B-flat, continues with Schubert’s Sonata in
B-flat, and Chopin’s 12 Etudes, Op. 25 — three pieces of distinctly contrasting
styles that should be fascinating in the hands and mind of the young Chinese
pianist (this is obviously a weekend for young Chinese pianists). Info: www.laphil.com

 

Monday at 7 p.m. at
Castle Press (Pasadena)

Muse-ique stops the
presses

Rachael
Worby continues her penchant in Muse-ique’s first year of presenting programs
in unusual sites — in this case, the Doric String Quartet making its Los
Angeles debut amid stacks of paper and the printing presses of this north
Pasadena establishment (the musicians will be standing on the press while the
audience will sit on other presses and rolls of paper).

 

The
featured work on the evening will be a new string quartet by Southern
California native Peter Knell that the composer and Worby will discuss and the
Doric Quartet (which took first prize in the 2008 Osaka International Chamber
Music Competition) will play. The evening will also contain movements from
quartets by Haydn, Schubert and Bartok, and — given that Worby is in charge –
there’s sure to be a surprise or two. Info: www.muse-ique.com

 

And the weekend’s “free admission” program …

 

Friday at 8 p.m. at
Pasadena Nazarene Church

Pasadena Community
Orchestra with Suzanna Guzmn as soloist

Music Director Alan Reinecke conducts a program that
features one of the nation’s finest mezzo-sopranos, Suzanna Guzmn, as soloist
in Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer. The
program also features music by Bartok, Howard Hanson, Prokofiev and Ralph Vaughan
Williams. Info: www.pcomusic.org

_______________________

 

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

 

 

AROUND TOWN/MUSIC: Chamber music rocks!

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

This article was first
published yesterday in the above papers.

 

After a month when orchestral concerts dominated the local
classical-music landscape, chamber music will be in the spotlight during the
next couple of weeks. Here are a few of the potentially intriguing programs:

 

Muse-ique presents
the Doric String Quartet

Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at
Castle Press (Pasadena)

Rachael Worby continues her penchant in Muse-ique’s first
year of presenting programs in unusual sites — in this case, the Doric String
Quartet, making its Los Angeles debut amid stacks of paper and the printing
presses of this north Pasadena establishment (the musicians will be standing on
the press while the audience will sit on other presses and rolls of paper).

 

The featured work on the evening will be a new string
quartet by Southern California native Peter Knell that the composer and Worby
will discuss and the Doric Quartet (which took first prize in the 2008 Osaka
International Chamber Music Competition) will play. The evening will also
contain movements from quartets by Haydn, Schubert and Bartok, and — given that
Worby is in charge — there’s sure to be a surprise or two. Information: 626/539-7085; www.muse-ique.com

 

Musica Angelica
salutes its founders

Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. at
Neighborhood Church, Pasadena

Lutenist and guitarist John Schneidermann will join Hideki
Yamaya, guitar and lute, violinists Janet Strauss and Susan Feldman, cellist
William Skeen, tenor Daniel Plaster and Denise Bries on viola da gamba in a
program that honors Michael Eagan and Mark Chatfield, who founded Musica
Angelica in 1993. Eagan, a lute player, died in 2004, while Chatfield, a
cellist, passed away in 1998. The duo formed the ensemble that has become one
of the world’s Baroque music groups. The concert repeats Nov. 13 in Santa
Monica. Information: 310/458 4504; www.musicaangelica.org

 

Los Angeles Chamber
Orchestra performs Bach’s Brandenburgs

Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. at
the Alex Theatre; Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at Royce Hall (UCLA)

LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer leads the ensemble in its
51st performance of Bach’s famed concerti. Information: 213/622-7001; www.laco.org

 

The Chamber Music
Society of Lincoln Center

Nov. 6 at 3:30 p.m.
at Beckman Auditorium (Caltech)

The New York City ensemble plays music by Beethoven and
Brahms as part of the 108th year of the Coleman Chamber Concerts. Information: (626) 793-4191;
coleman.caltech.edu

 

Meanwhile, Los
Angeles Opera
resumes its season next Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Dorothy
Chandler Pavilion when it brings back its Ian Judge-created production of Gounod’s
Romo et Juliette. Tenor Vittorio
Grigolo and soprano Nino
Machaidze
sing the title roles; Plcido Domingo conducts. Information: 213/972-8001;
www.losangelesopera.com

_______________________

 

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

PREVIEWS AND LINK: Rachael Worby and Arturo Sandoval one of two interesting programs on Tuesday

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

 

When Rachael Worby announced her new project, Muse-ique, last summer she promised a
much different style of programming than the standard orchestra, Pops or
otherwise. Tuesday night at 7 p.m., that difference shows up in a major way as
Worby hosts Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Arturo Sandoval in a program
entitled “An Intimate Conversation.” Moreover, as Worby promised, the venue is
an attraction in itself.

 

Since Worby’s skill as a raconteur sets her apart from most
conductors working today, this pairing of the ebullient maestra and the iconic
Sandoval talking about Latin jazz seems tailor-made, at least on paper (or, in
this case, computer screen). The event is at the Pasadena Rose Palace (the Los
Angeles Rock Ballroom) and the evening includes a pre-event reception and a
behind-the-scenes look at the construction of floats being created by Phoenix
Decorating for the upcoming Tournament of Roses Parade.

 

Sandoval, who turns 62 next month,
was born in and grew up in Cuba. Nonetheless, his early influences were jazz
legends Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Clifford Brown but he studied
classical trumpet at Cuba’s National School of the Arts and has performed with
the BBC Symphony and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Philharmonic. He was
granted political asylum in the United States in 1990 and became a naturalized
U.S. citizen in 1999.

 

However, it is for Latin jazz that
Sandoval is best known. Among other things, he has won four Grammy Awards, six
Billboard Awards and an Emmy Award — the latter for his composing work on HBO
movie based on his life, For Love or
Country,
starring Andy Garcia. Information:
www.muse-ique.com

 

If the $45 ticket price is too rich for your blood or you
just want something different, check out Alex Benestelli’s Master of Music
choral recital on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. It’s free and at Pasadena Presbyterian
Church (double disclaimer: Alex is a friend and colleague and PPC is my church
home). Benestelli, who is also an organist, will conduct a choral ensemble of
colleagues from the USC Flora L. Thornton School of Music in music by J.S.
Bach, Edgar Bainton, Bobby McFerrin, Ralph Vaughan Williams and others. Timothy
Howard will accompany on the church’s splendid Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ.

_______________________

 

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

AROUND TOWN/MUSIC: Of 9/11 … and other things musical

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

A shorter version of
this column was published today in the above papers.

 

Normally this weekend is one of the two “transition zones”
in the classical-music year — in this case, from summer to fall-winter-spring.
However, this year also includes the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist
attacks and there are at least a couple of musical programs commemorating that
event that are worth noting.

 

Artistic Director Jeffrey Bernstein will lead his Pasadena
Master Chorale
next Sunday at 4 p.m. in La Crescenta Presbyterian Church with a
program highlighted by Faur’s Requiem. The afternoon will also contain three a
cappella works that accentuate the “remembrance” theme — a setting of Psalm
137, Virgil Thompson’s My Shepherd Will
Supply My Need,
and Ross Lee Finney’s Words
To Be Spoken
— along with Bernstein’s arrangement of America the Beautiful. Organist Edward Murray will accompany;
soloist will be soprano Krystle Casey and baritone Cedric Berry. Information:
626-208-0009; www.pasadenamasterchorale.org

 

The PMC will be doing double duty that day, shifting over
to the Pasadena Convention Center Plaza at 7 p.m. where it will join forces
with Muse-ique for a free hour-long concert of music ranging from Bach and
Tchaikovsky to Paul Simon and George Gershwin. Rachael Worby, Muse-ique’s
artistic director, will conduct. Information: 626/795-9311; www.muse-ique.com

 

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s concert at
Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 13 has Bramwell Tovey leading the Phil, Los Angeles
Master Chorale and soloists in Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Mozart’s Requiem. This is one of four
programs during the next fortnight that will be led by Tovey, who spent the past
three seasons as the Phil’s Principal Guest Conductor at the Bowl. Info: 323/850-2000;
www.hollywoodbowl.com

 

Los Angeles Opera opens its 2011-2012 season on Sept. 17
at 7:30 p.m. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with the first of six
performances of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene
Onegin.
The following day at 2 p.m. comes Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, also the first of six performances. LAO Music
Director James Conlon will conduct both productions. Both opening performances
will be broadcast live on KUSC (91.5-FM) and kusc.org. Information: (213)
972-8001; www.laopera.com

 

Speaking of L.A. Opera, both it and the Long Beach
Symphony
(LINK) have unveiled new Web sites. The LBSO opens its 2011-2012
season on Oct. 1 when Music Director Enrique Arturo Diemecke (beginning his
11th season at the orchestra’s helm) will lead a program of Wagner’s Prelude and Liebstod from Tristan und
Isolde,
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, and Mahler’s Ruckert Lieder, with mezzo-soprano Barbara Dever as soloist. Info: www.lbso.org

 

The Rio Hondo Symphony will open its 78th season of free
concerts on Sept. 25 when Music Director Kimo Furumoto leads Beethoven’s Symphony
No. 3 (Eroica), Rossini’s William Tell overture and Liszt’s Piano
Concerto No. 1, with Alison Edwards as soloist. The other concerts are Oct. 30,
Feb. 5 and May 6. All concerts are at 3 p.m. in Whittier High School’s Vic
Lopez Auditorium. Information: 562/698-8626; www.riohondosymphony.org

 

E. Jason Armstrong has been named Artistic Director and
Conductor of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Armstrong most recently
completed his doctoral class work at the University of Southern California
Thornton School of Music, where he served as the conductor for the USC Thornton
Apollo Men’s Chorus and as assistant conductor for the USC Thornton Concert
Choir. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Armstrong spent 15 years as
director of choral activities at Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida.

_______________________

 

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