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Press Releases

LA Chamber Orchestra continues Close Quarters Digital Series with “Beyond the Horizon”

April 5, 2021 | By Libby Huebner
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Jessie Montgomery, one of America’s most relevant and sought-after composers, provides musical curation for two back-to-back episodes of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s (LACO) lauded CLOSE QUARTERS interdisciplinary digital series that melds musical and visual arts premiering on Fridays, April 23 and May 7, 2021, 6:30 pm. The broadcasts feature the creative and collaborative interweaving of classical music with elements of social justice, language and improvisation, spotlighting the music of Montgomery as well as contemporary composers Alvin Singleton, Mazz Swift, Alyssa Weinberg, Marcos Balter and Anna Meredith. Guest conductor Christopher Rountree leads both musical programs, which are produced by Anna Meredith, with artist Will Kim providing original animations for the first episode and multi-GRAMMY-winning mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard making her directorial debut in the second episode with creative direction by LACO Creative Director of Digital Content James Darrah. Thanks to the generosity of individual donors, the new episodes are available to the public at no cost and can be streamed on demand following its premiere at https://www.laco.org/close-quarters/, LACO’s YouTube and Facebook live channels. Digital pre-broadcast discussions begin at 5:30 pm (PT) via Zoom.

 

Montgomery, whose profoundly felt works have been described as “turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life” (The Washington Post), is also an acclaimed violinist and educator. She is the recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award from the ASCAP Foundation, and her works are performed frequently around the world by leading musicians and ensembles. Montgomery’s music, infused with elements of vernacular music and social justice, places her squarely as one of the foremost interpreters of the 21st-century American sound and experience.

 

EPISODE 12: “Beyond the Horizon” 

“Beyond the Horizon,” the second LACO CLOSE QUARTERS episode musically curated by Montgomery, features three works she describes as “driven by improvisational elements, where each performer has a voice that is in spontaneous communication with the composer and the listener.” They include Alvin Singleton’s Be Natural, Mazz Swift’s The End of All That Is Holy, The Beginning of All That is Good, and Montgomery’s own Break Away, encompassing a wide range of the American concert music tradition from the lens of Black composers, including influences of jazz harmonies and rhythm, extensions of European modernism with graphic notation and the idea that the interplay between the player and the listener is dynamic and reflects agency and purpose. Montgomery is working closely with Isabel Leonard, in her directorial debut, and CLOSE QUARTERS’ production designers Yee Eun Nam and Yuki Izumihara to craft an original work of video art incorporating the composer’s eclectic program with cinematic footage of the orchestra.

 

CLOSE QUARTERS’ “digitally native” programs, created specifically for streaming and hailed as “musically and artistically compelling” (Los Angeles Times), have drawn more than one million views to date since debuting in November 2020. Between 30 and 40 minutes in length, they are safely filmed at The Colburn School’s Olive Rehearsal Hall. Additionally, Darrah has established a creative hub for developing artistic media content with L.A.-based artists and filmmakers at 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 artists, inspired by the Orchestra’s musical programming, will create new visual works in a variety of mediums that will factor into the broadcasts and endure long after the season concludes. CLOSE QUARTERS 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 nearly 250,000 views to date.

 

Subsequent CLOSE QUARTERS episodes premiere on Fridays, May 21, and June 4, 2021, at 6:30 pm (PT).

 

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. Gil Shaham’s debut performances with LACO are generously supported by Terri & Jerry Kohl. LACO: Close Quarters series sponsors include Hilda Herrera Adler, Steve & Evelyn Block, Al Evans & Anna Rosicka, Peggy & Jack Falcon, Anne & Jeffrey Grausam, Diane Henderson, William & Priscilla Kennedy, Dana & Ned Newman, Dr. Hervey & Doris Segall, and Anne-Marie & Alex Spataru.

 

Episode 11, “Sonic Shift,” is sponsored by Howard & Judith Jelinek. Episode 12, “Beyond the Horizon,” is sponsored by Ruth Eliel & Bill Cooney with additional support from Raulee Marcus. To support LACO, its stellar artists and digital programming, please visit LACO.org/donate or call (213) 622-7001, EXT. 4.

 

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), led by Music Director Jaime Martín, ranks among the world’s top musical ensembles. Beloved by audiences and praised by critics, LACO is a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and, with eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, 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). Martín, who builds upon LACO's rich legacy, made his first appearance as LACO's Music Director Designate in early 2019 in a concert described by the Los Angeles Times, as "a thrilling performance, and the orchestra played like it was having the time of its life," adding, "he will make fans very quickly." Overseas, he has been praised as "a visionary conductor, discerning and meticulous" (Platea Magazine), and London's The Telegraph said, "his infectious enjoyment of the music communicated to the orchestra and audience alike.” Performing throughout greater Los Angeles, the Orchestra presents orchestral, Baroque and chamber concerts as well as salon evenings in private spaces and unique experiences that explore classical music's cutting-edge sounds. The Orchestra has made 32 recordings, including, most recently, a 2019 BIS Records release of works for violin and chamber orchestra that features Concertmaster Margaret Batjer and the world premiere recording of Pierre Jalbert’s Violin Concerto (a LACO co-commission). LACO, with offices located in downtown Los Angeles, has toured Europe, South America and Japan, and performed across North America.

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