Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), led by Music Director Jaime Martín, announces its 2020-21 Season, entitled LACO Close Quarters, featuring a robust slate of 16 original digital programs with sweeping repertoire and compelling visual elements directed by groundbreaking director/designer/artist James Darrah, who has been named 2020-21 Creative Director of Digital Content. Martín, lauded for his “infectious music making” (Los Angeles Times), embarks on his second season with LACO, conducting half of the programs. Darrah – noted for visually and emotionally “striking (work) that injects real drama” (New York Times) at the intersection of theater, music and film – is establishing a first-of-its-kind LACO digital studio at Wilhardt & Naud, a film studio and multidisciplinary arts campus located in Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles. The studio will serve as a creative hub for developing artistic media content with L.A.-based artists and filmmakers, who, inspired by the Orchestra’s musical programming, will create works in a variety of mediums that will factor into the broadcasts and endure long after the season concludes. This marks the Orchestra’s first creative partnership with Darrah. LACO’s concerts, each between 30 and 40 minutes in length, are filmed at The Colburn School’s Olive Rehearsal Hall socially distanced with no audience and produced exclusively for streaming. Available to the public at no cost, the digital broadcasts air biweekly on Fridays, from November 6, 2020, through June 4, 2021, at 6:30 pm (PT), at LACO.org/laco-at-home, and on LACO’s YouTube channel and Facebook live.
This new slate of virtual programming, developed under the Orchestra’s LACO AT HOME brand, builds upon the highly successful LACO SummerFest series, the Orchestra’s first foray into streaming that concluded in September and featured five digital chamber music concerts that have attracted more than 130,000 viewers to date.
“It is a tremendous and exciting undertaking to present LACO’s entire 2020-21 season digitally, giving us an opportunity to creatively evolve how we present music, interface with new and current audiences, and integrate with L.A.’s creative community,” states LACO Executive Director Ben Cadwallader. “LACO Close Quarters is designed to showcase LACO’s exceptional musicians with programs that look and feel digitally native. The all-digital format lends itself beautifully to James Darrah’s deft visual and artistic touch, which will add rich texture to these programs, enhancing and complementing the music. And since he will direct all 16 episodes, it enables us to develop a distinctive and cohesive identity for LACO’s streaming platform which we see continuing into future seasons.”
Martín, who is based in London and last appeared with LACO in February prior to Los Angeles shutting down due to the global pandemic, says, “I am elated to be able to return to Los Angeles and join LACO’s phenomenal artists on stage to make music together once again and connect virtually with the Orchestra’s dedicated audience. Music is integral to the fabric of our society; I have planned a season that reflects its vibrant diversity while showcasing both LACO’s versatility and virtuosity with wide ranging repertoire that includes beloved favorites and seldom heard works. While there are many notable highlights, I am particularly excited about conducting in the first half of the season a LACO-commissioned world premiere by composer and Artistic Advisor Derrick Spiva Jr., as well as playing flute in my first-ever joint appearance with LACO Conductor Laureate Jeffrey Kahane, who will be featured on fortepiano, along with Assistant Concertmaster Tereza Stanislav, on Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D-major. I also look forward to working closely with James Darrah, whose compelling artistry will greatly enrich our new virtual platform.”
States Darrah, “I’m thrilled to join LACO this season to develop an original platform for its digital content. We are creating a groundbreaking LACO art and film studio, where the Orchestra’s impressive musical programming will be ‘in dialogue’ with a diverse group of LA-based artists, who will generate visual and filmic content in a surprising mix of forms, styles and mediums entirely based on LACO’s performances this season. This exciting collaboration among the artists and LACO and Music Director Jaime Martín brings together LA’s creative community in a novel and impactful way. The art created will also provide a permanent record reflecting the season.” Wilhardt & Naud, the location of the LACO Digital Studio, is owned by Jonny Black.
LACO Close Quarters’ broadcast dates are Fridays, November 6 and 20, December 4 and 18, 2020, January 1, 15 and 29, February 12 and 26, March 12 and 26, April 9 and 23, May 7 and 21, and June 4, 2021, at 6:30 pm (PT).
REPERTOIRE HIGHLIGHTS FOR FIRST HALF OF SEASON
The programming for the first half of LACO’s 2020-21 all-digital season includes a LACO-commissioned world premiere by composer and Artistic Advisor Derrick Spiva Jr. featuring actors from LA’s own Robey Theatre Company, and the first-ever joint appearance of Martín on flute and LACO Conductor Laureate Jeffrey Kahane on fortepiano, who are featured together with Assistant Concertmaster Tereza Stanislav on Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D-major. Other notable repertoire includes Copland’s Appalachian Spring, conducted by Martín with Kahane on piano; Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, again featuring actors from the Robey Theatre Company; and Voodoo Dolls by Jessie Montgomery, whose music weaves classical music with elements of vernacular music, improvisation, language and social justice.
Additionally, LACO presents Pueblos Mágicos by LA-based, Mexican-born composer Juan Pablo Contreras, recognized for blending Western classical and Mexican folk music and considered “one of the most prominent young composers in Latin America” (Milenio); Ccantu by Peruvian composer Jimmy López; Argentinian composer J.P. Jofre’s Tangódromo for violin and bandoneon; Concierto barroco by José Enrique González Medina, who is deeply connected to his home state of Baja California in Mexico. Also featured are Brazilian-American Clarice Assad’s Obrigado for mandolin and strings, which explores the music, chants and rhythms of the Afro-Brazilian religion called Umbanda, music she was introduced to as a child, as well as works for harpsichord, theorbo and baroque guitar by a range of Baroque-era Hispanic and Latin American composers.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS/WHERE TO STREAM CONCERTS
LACO recognizes the generous support of the Colburn Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Steinway is the official piano of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. The Orchestra also receives public funding via grants from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. James Darrah at LACO is generously underwritten by Ruth Eliel and Bill Cooney. The premiere episode of LACO Close Quarters on November 6, 2020, is sponsored in part by Anne and Jeff Grausam. For episode #4 premiering on December 18, 2020, Jaime Martín and Jeffrey Kahane at LACO are generously sponsored by Ned and Dana Newman. Juan Pablo Contreras and episode #5 premiering on January 15, 2020, are generously sponsored by Anne-Marie and Alex Spataru.
Cadwallader states, “LACO is proud to offer its exceptional concerts at no cost during this challenging time brought on by COVID-19. There is, however, a real cost commensurate with the level of the programs’ artistic quality, and LACO can continue to provide free virtual content only through the generosity of donors and underwriters like these. If you find this work as essential as we do, I urge you to support it by making a tax-deductible gift to LACO. Even a small amount makes a significant difference as it can be leveraged to attract additional gifts.”
To support LACO, its stellar artists and digital programming, please visit LACO.org/donate or call (213) 622-7001, EXT. 4. The broadcasts will be available on demand at laco.org/laco-at-home, LACO’s YouTube channel and Facebook live.