Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in fall 2008, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1968 as an artistic outlet for the film and record studios' most gifted musicians. The Orchestra's artistic founder, cellist James Arkatov, envisioned an ensemble that would allow these conservatory-trained players to balance studio work and teaching with pure artistic collaboration at the highest level. With the financial backing of philanthropist Richard Colburn and managerial expertise from attorney Joseph Troy, who also became the Orchestra's first president, LACO presented its first performances in the fall of 1969. Since then, the 40-member Orchestra has earned a reputation as one of the foremost ensembles of its kind in the world and has been hailed as "America's finest chamber orchestra" by respected music critic Jim Svejda of KUSC. Renowned pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane has led the group since 1997, continuing the standard of excellence set by the Orchestra's first four music directors, Sir Neville Marriner, Gerard Schwarz, Iona Brown and Christof Perick.
Mark Swed, chief music critic of the Los Angeles Times, has recently commented, "LACO has never sounded better than it does these days..." Acclaimed for its virtuosic music making, dynamic programming and signature personal style, the Orchestra performs repertoire ranging from Baroque masterpieces to newly commissioned works and is recognized for championing young artists on the brink of major careers, as well as working with some of today's leading artists.
In spring 2008, by special invitation, the Orchestra undertook a successful two-week European tour with concerts in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Hanover, Hamburg, Ferrara, Treviso and San Sebastián. Additional special concerts the Orchestra has participated in include Carnegie Hall's Chamber Music series, under the direction of Jeffrey Kahane, and tour dates in South America, Europe and Japan.
The Orchestra has been honored three times in the last four years with an Award for Adventurous Programming, bestowed by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and the League of American Orchestras. The 2008-09 season features a world premiere by American composer Christopher Theofanidis, the eighth commission of LACO's unique patron commissioning club, Sound Investment; two additional world premieres of works composed by members of the Orchestra; two US premieres and the West Coast premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's Azul with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra maintains its local presence with an annual home season of 15 concerts at two historic theaters, the Alex Theatre in Glendale and UCLA's Royce Hall; its acclaimed Baroque Conversations concert series at Zipper Concert Hall; and a series of three Family Concerts at the Alex Theatre. Highlights of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's 2008-09 season include:
- a gala concert with Sir Neville Marriner at Pasadena's Ambassador Auditorium on September 27, 2008 to kick off the 40th anniversary season celebration
- the inaugural concerts of a new chamber music series, Westside Connections, at the Broad Stage of the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center
- the screening of Charlie Chaplin's Gold Rush with live orchestral accompaniment at LACO's 20th annual Silent Film Gala at Royce Hall.
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra believes that classical music is a joy to be shared by everyone. Through its Meet the Music program, LACO reaches thousands of elementary school students, most of whom have never experienced a classical concert before, and through Neighborhood Concerts, the Orchestra provides opportunities for new and underserved audiences to develop a love for orchestral music and performance.
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