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Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Presents World Premiere by Ellen Reid

February 13, 2018 | By Laura Stegman

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, led by Scottish conductor Douglas Boyd, presents the world premiere of Petrichor, a LACO Sound Investment commission, by composer Ellen Reid, hailed for her “radiant” work (The New Yorker), on Saturday, February 24, 8 pm, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, and Sunday, February 25, 2018, 7 pm, at UCLA’s Royce Hall.  Also on the program are Britten’s exquisite Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, a song cycle set to poems on the subject of night, with leading tenor Thomas Cooley, “an indomitable musical force” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and new LACO Principal Horn Michael Thornton, and Haydn's Symphony No. 104, “London,” a continuation of LACO's multi-year exploration of the composer's 12 London Symphonies.  Composed between 1791 and 1795, these works are among the cornerstones of the chamber music repertoire. 

LACO commissioned Reid as part of its singular and highly successful “Sound Investment” commissioning program that engages LACO audiences in developing new works.  It gives members the rare opportunity to create a legacy in music and observe first-hand the development of a new work from the composer’s earliest ideas to the finished composition.  Participants invest $300 or more for a membership, which includes intimate salons throughout the season featuring in-depth discussion with the composer about the creative process and previews of the final work. 

Reid, whose work “brims with canny invention,” according to LA Weekly, describes the piece as a spatialized work featuring bass, flute and violin solos, with musicians placed on stage as well as around the concert hall.  "Petrichor, which means the smell that follows the first rain after a long period of dry weather, stems from my interest in expanding what a concert experience can look like,” says Reid.  “In Petrichor, the conductor almost serves as choreographer as he unifies the fractured ensemble, and the sounds of the ensemble envelop the audience from all sides."  Of her Sound Investment workshop experiences, she adds, "I was able to be much more daring in my writing because I workshopped the piece with LACO artists as it was being developed.”

Reid’s work is largely collaborative and takes the form of opera, chamber music, electronic pop songs, immersive interactive media and scores for film and theatre.  She creates visceral experiences where sound and story collide.  Her upcoming projects include an LA Opera world premiere, a 40-minute work for the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Prism with Beth Morrison Project, a solo cello piece for Johannes Moser, a commission from Opera America as well as projects with Theater Mitu and filmmaker Sarah Adina Smith.  Reid, who splits her time between Los Angeles and New York, received a BFA from Columbia University and an MA from California Institute for the Arts.

Boyd, acclaimed for his vibrant conducting style, was a founding member and principal oboe of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for 21 years before turning to conducting in 2002.  He served as Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and made his LACO conducting debut in 2014. 

Cooley, one of the finest lyric tenors of his generation and equally at home on the concert stage and in the opera house, has garnered acclaim for his versatility, expressiveness and virtuosity.  Particularly noted for his agility and skill in Baroque music, he recently served as Artist-in-Residence for Music of the Baroque.

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), ranked among the world’s top musical ensembles, marks its 50th anniversary in the 2017-18 season.  Beloved by audiences and praised by critics, the Orchestra is known as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks as well as a champion of contemporary composers.  Headquartered in the heart of the country's cultural capital, LACO has been proclaimed “America’s finest chamber orchestra” (Public Radio International), “LA’s most unintimidating chamber music experience” (Los Angeles Magazine), “resplendent” (Los Angeles Times), and “one of the world's great chamber orchestras"(KUSC Classical FM).  LACO, which performs throughout greater Los Angeles, has garnered eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming.

Tickets start at $27 and may be purchased online at or by calling LACO at 213 622 7001 x 1.  Discounted tickets are also available by phone for seniors 65 years of age and older and groups of 12 or more.  College students with valid student ID may purchase discounted tickets ($8), based on availability.




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