The National Children's Chorus is proud to collaborate with the following distinguished Artists and Music Companies.
Christoph Bull is a concert organist, pianist, singer, composer, and recording artist.
Born and raised in Mannheim, Germany, he now resides in Los Angeles.
He likes organ music, rock music, and rocking organ music ever since practicing the organ in the choir loft and with a rock band in the basement of the same church as a teenager.
He started improvising on the piano at age 5 and has been giving public concerts since the age of 12.
He’s studied at top conservatories in Germany and the U.S. and won international awards in Performance and Composition.
Equally versed in classical and popular music, he has performed around the world, including Europe, the U.S., Russia and India, at venues such as Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A.; Lincoln Center in NYC; the Catholic Cathedrals of Moscow, Salzburg, Saint-Denis and Los Angeles; the Classical Underground in Carson, California and also at rock clubs like the Viper Room, the Roxy, and the Whisky in L.A.
Among others, he’s worked with the L.A. Master Chorale, Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music, Steven Spielberg, Harry Connick Jr., George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Lili Haydn and Nishat Khan.
His genre-crossing concert and CD series organica presents the pipe organ to a new audience by combining classical with contemporary music, adding computer visuals, live painting, other instruments, voice and dance taking the instrument to the cutting edge.
Christoph also likes politics, theology, and sports. He won the German national youth championship in baseball with his team BC Tornados Mannheim and ran the L.A. Marathon four times.
Most recently he inaugurated the Pacific Symphony’s new organ series and finished the premiere recording of the pipe organ at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
Conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen was born in Helsinki in 1958 and studied at the Sibelius Academy. In 1979, he made his conducting debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He was Chief Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra for ten years (1985-1995) and Director of the Helsinki Festival in 1995 and 1996. Salonen was Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1992 until 2009 and was named the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate in April 2009.
Since September of 2008, Salonen has been Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra. In his first season, he devised and led City of Dreams, a 9-month exploration of the music and culture of Vienna between 1900 and 1935. The project traveled to 18 cities across Europe, culminating with semi-staged performances of Berg’s Wozzeck(with Simon Keenlyside in the title role) in London and Paris. Philharmonia / Signum released a series of recordings from the project. Esa-Pekka Salonen opens the Philharmonia’s 2010 / 11 season with a semi-staged production of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, with artistic collaborator Peter Sellars and video art by Bill Viola. The project is a co-production by the Philharmonia Orchestra, Lucerne Festival and Konzerthaus Dortmund, in association with Southbank Centre, London and Symphony Hall, Birmingham. In January 2011, the Philharmonia will launch Salonen’s in-depth exploration of the music and influences of Bartók – Infernal Dance: Inside the World of Béla Bartók – supported by the Meyer Foundation.
Esa-Pekka Salonen’s appointment with the Philharmonia cements a relationship that dates back over 25 years. Salonen made his London conducting debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in September 1983 (when he was 25 years old), stepping in at the last minute for an indisposed Michael Tilson Thomas to conduct a now-legendary performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. The chemistry was immediate, and Salonen formed a strong bond with the players. He was offered the position of Principal Guest Conductor, which he held from 1985-1994, and has returned to conduct the Orchestra on a regular basis ever since. Some of the Philharmonia’s most ambitious and important projects during this time, from Clocks and Clouds (Ligeti, 1996) to Related Rocks (Magnus Lindberg, 2001/02), have taken place under his artistic leadership. Salonen’s appointment with the Philharmonia Orchestra directly followed his relationship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was Music Director for 17 years. Salonen’s highlights with the L.A. Philharmonic include residencies at the Salzburg Festival, the Köln Philharmonie, and the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, as well as numerous European tours and guest performances in Japan. In April 2009, on the occasion of his 17-year tenure, the Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrated him with a series of concerts, including the premiere of his own Violin Concerto.
Esa-Pekka Salonen’s guest conducting engagements in the 2010/11 season include appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the NDR Sinfonieorchester, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In February 2011, Salonen will be artist-in-residence at the Festival des Présences in Paris and will conduct the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France with two world premieres of his own compositions. In March 2011, Salonen and the New York Philharmonic will present a 3-week festival titled Hungarian Echoes in New York, featuring composers from three different eras, each inspired by his connections to Hungary.
Salonen is the recipient of many major awards, including the Siena Prize, given by the Accademia Chigiana in 1993; he is the first conductor ever to receive the prize. In 1995 he was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Opera Award and received the Society’s Conductor Award in 1997. In 1998, he was awarded the rank of Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. In May 2003, he received an honorary doctorate from the Sibelius Academy in Finland and the Helsinki Medal in 2005. In 2006, Musical America named Salonen as its “Musician of the Year.” In June 2009 Salonen received an honorary doctorate from the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and was elected as an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in April 2010.
Esa-Pekka Salonen is renowned for his interpretations of contemporary music and has premiered countless new works. He has led critically acclaimed festivals of music by Berlioz, Ligeti, Schönberg, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and Lindberg. In April 2006, he returned to Paris Opéra Bastille to conduct the premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s new opera, Adriana Mater, having previously conducted the Finnish premiere of her first operaL’amour de loin in 2004. In August 2007, he conducted Saariaho’s La Passion de Simone in a production by Peter Sellars at the Helsinki Festival (first Finnish performance) before taking the production to the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm.
Salonen is artistic director of the Baltic Sea Festival, which he co-initiated in 2003. An annual fall event in Stockholm and across the Baltic Sea region, it invites celebrated orchestras, conductors and soloists to promote unity and ecological awareness among the countries around the Baltic Sea.
Esa-Pekka Salonen has a considerable discography. In September 2009, a new partnership with the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Signum label has been launched with the release of a live recording of Schoenberg’sGurrelieder; other recent and forthcoming recordings with the Philharmonia on Signum include Berlioz’Symphonie fantastique and Mahler’s 6th and 9th Symphonies. On Deutsche Grammophon, Salonen’s most recent releases include a disc of Salonen works performed with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and a DVD of Kaija Saariaho’s opera, L’amour de loin (with the Finnish National Opera) as well as two CDs with Hélène Grimaud with works by Pärt and Schumann. In November 2008, Deutsche Grammophone released a new CD, with Salonen’s piano concerto and his works Helix and Dichotomie, which has been nominated for a Grammy in November 2009. The first recording of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Salonen for Deutsche Grammophon (Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring – the first CD recording ever at Walt Disney Concert Hall) was released in October 2006 and nominated for a Grammy in December 2007. Having recorded for Sony Classical for many years, Salonen has an extensive discography with repertoire ranging from Mahler and Revueltas to Lindberg and his own works. Most of his works are also available at DG Concerts on iTunes.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
Brian Asawa‘s career was launched when he became the first countertenor to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He was the first countertenor Adler Fellow for San Francisco Opera, became the first countertenor to win the Placido Domingo “Operalia” International Opera Competition. He was also awarded Seattle Opera’s Artist of the Year Award for his portrayal of Arsamene in Handel’s Xerxes.
He has appeared in opera houses world wide singing signature roles such as Tolomeo in Handel’s Giulio Cesare for Seattle Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Bordeaux Opera, Opera Australia, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Paris Opera at Palais Garnier, Madrid’s Teatro Real, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, New Israeli Opera, and Hamburg Staatsoper. Other roles include: Prince Orlofsky in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus for San Francisco Opera and San Diego Opera; Arsamene in Handel’s Serse for Los Angeles, Cologne, and Santa Fe Operas, and Grand Théâtre de Genève; Farnace in Mozart’s Mitridate for Theatre de la Monnaie, Brussels; Belize in Peter Eotvos’s Angels in America; Mascha in Eotvos’s Tri Sestri and Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea for Hamburg, the last also for Glimmerglass Opera; Nero in Poppea for Opera Australia; Endimione in Cavalli’s La Calisto in Brussels; Fyodor in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov for Netherlands Opera and Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona; Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for Nederlandse Opera; David in Handel’s Saul for Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich; Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for San Francisco and Houston Grand Operas and Teatro di San Carlo in Napoli; and Baba the Turk in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress for Swedish Television One and San Francisco Opera.
His discography includes solo cds ranging from Elizabethan lute songs to song cycles by Ned Rorem. Operatic recordings include Farnace in Mozart’s Mitridate for Decca, Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for London, and Arsamenes in Handel’s Xerxes for Conifer. He also appears in Handel’s Messiah for Deutsche Grammaphon.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
Soprano Elissa Johnston has appeared in a wide range of repertory. Her orchestral engagements have included appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Atlanta Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony, and the San Francisco Contemporary Players. She has performed numerous times with the L.A. Philharmonic New Music Group, both in Los Angeles and at the Ojai Festival, with conductors Tan Dun, David Zinman, Daniel Harding, and Steven Stucky. She made her Lincoln Center debut in 1999 singing Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes with the New York City Ballet and returned to Lincoln Center in May of 2001, premiering Morgen!, a set of 10 orchestral songs by Richard Strauss choreographed by Peter Martins. Johnston also appeared in the New York Philharmonic’s Copland Festival and Lincoln Center’s Stravinsky Festival.
Her recital appearances include programs at the Aldeburgh Festival in England and at the Aspen Festival’s Winter Music Series with composer Ricky Ian Gordon. Also in Aspen, she sang the role of Pat Nixon in the world premiere of John Adams’ concert suite from Nixon in China entitled The Nixon Tapes, with the composer conducting. Upcoming engagements include Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Lobgesang with the Fort Worth Symphony and Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the new Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Johnston’s recent operatic engagements include Pamina in The Magic Flute at the Snape Proms in England, the role of Female Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at the Aldeburgh October Britten Festival, and Marzelline in concert performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Aspen Festival and with the Wheeling Symphony. With Los Angeles Opera, she has appeared in Il trovatore, The Marriage of Figaro, and The Return of Ulysses. Elissa Johnston also performed the role of Brigitta in concert performances of Tchaikovsky’sIolanta with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Valery Gergiev.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
Conductor Grant Gershon, entering his 10th season as music director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, is equally at home with symphonic and choral music, opera and musical theater. In 2001 he was appointed Music Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, which the Los Angeles Times has proclaimed “the most exciting chorus in the country under Gershon’s leadership.” Opera News calls him “a first-rate conductor.” Composer John Adams declares, “Grant Gershon is one of those rarities we call ‘the complete musician.’ My respect for his musicality—for his conducting, his extraordinary musical intuition and his formidable ear—knows no bounds.” In addition to his post with the Chorale, Mr. Gershon was named Associate Conductor/Chorus Master of the LA Opera beginning in the 2007|08 Season.
An ardent champion of new music, Mr. Gershon, who has led more than 75 performances with the Chorale at Disney Hall, has given numerous world premiere performances, including such major works as You Are (Variations) by Steve Reich; Requiem by Christopher Rouse; City of Dis by Louis Andriessen; Sang by Eve Beglarian; A Map of Los Angeles by David O; Spiral XII by Chinary Ung; Dream Variations by Andrea Clearfield;Music’s Music by Steven Sametz; Voici le soir by Morten Lauridsen; Messages and Brief Eternity by Bobby McFerrin and Roger Treece; Broken Charms by Donald Crockett; and Rezos (Prayers) by Tania León. He has also premiered works by John Adams, Ricky Ian Gordon, Billy Childs and Don Davis; and given American premieres of works by Esa-Pekka Salonen, James MacMillan, Sofia Gubaidulina and Mark Anthony Turnage, among others.
In 2008, Mr. Gershon made his highly acclaimed L.A. Opera debut leading eight performances of Verdi’s La Traviata, about which the Los Angeles Times declared, “Grant Gershon, best known as the music director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, proved an exacting, sensitive, deeply involving Verdi conductor. Indeed, I could have been tricked into thinking that one of the world’s top orchestras was in the pit, so well did the L.A. Opera orchestra play.” This coming September, Gershon will lead the world premiere performances at L.A. Opera of Daniel Catán’s highly anticipated Il Postino, featuring Plácido Domingo, and he will make his Santa Fe Opera debut in 2011, conducting Peter Sellars’ new production of Vivaldi’s Griselda.
He has worked closely with many leading conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Gustavo Dudamel, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Simon Rattle and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Mr. Gershon has also appeared as guest conductor with Los Angeles Philharmnic, Houston Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Swedish Royal Opera, Juilliard Opera Theatre, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Finnish chamber orchestra Avanti!, among others. He has also led performances at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals, including the Ravinia, Edinburgh, Vienna, Aspen and Helsinki festivals as well as the Roma-Europa Festival and the Festival Otonno in Madrid. Many of these appearances have been as music director for projects by famed director Peter Sellars, with whom Mr. Gershon has enjoyed a long and fruitful artistic relationship.
Additionally, in 2006, he appeared on the Great Performers series at Lincoln Center leading the LA Master Chorale in vocal works of Steve Reich, and on the Making Music Series at Zankel Hall. In 2007, he conducted the Minnesota Opera’s world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s acclaimed opera The Grapes of Wrath and led subsequent performances of the work with the Utah Symphony. In 2007, he also conducted the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus presentation of a new opera, The Keepers of the Night, by Peter Ash and Donald Sturrock, and made his debut at the Berkshire Choral Festival. As an educator, he previously served as Music Director of the Idyllwild Arts Festival Chorus.
Mr. Gershon’s discography includes two Grammy Award-nominated recordings: SweeneyTodd (New York Philharmonic Special Editions) and Ligeti’s Grand Macabre (Sony Classical); as well as three with the Chorale:Glass-Salonen (RCM), You Are (Variations) (Nonesuch), honored with the WQXR Gramophone America Award in 2006 and selected by The New York Times, Washington Post and Newsday, among others, as one the top ten classical recordings of the year, and Daniel Variations (Nonesuch), described by UK’s Guardian as “a searching, serious piece… one of Reich’s major statements.” He also conducted the cast recording of the opera The Grapes of Wrath (PS Classics).
Prior to joining the Chorale, Mr. Gershon served as Assistant Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1994 to 1997, during which time he led performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Hollywood Bowl. Mr. Gershon also served as Assistant Conductor/Principal Pianist with LA Opera from 1988 to 1994, where he participated in over 40 productions and garnered a reputation as one of thecountry’s exceptional vocal coaches.
He formerly served as Assistant Conductor at the Salzburg Festival, the Berlin Staatsoper and the Festival Aix-En-Provence, working with conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Daniel Barenboim and Claudio Abbado respectively. He has also prepared choruses for Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Simon Rattle and Zubin Mehta. Mr. Gershon is in demand as a pianist for such leading singers as Peter Schreier, Rod Gilfry and Audra McDonald, and accompanied Kiri Te Kanawa and Jose Carreras in separate appearances on “The Tonight Show.” In addition, he has conducted choral recording sessions for the motion picture sound tracks of I Am Legend, Charlie Wilson’s War, Lady in the Water, Click and License to Wed, and recorded vocal solos for The X Files: I Want To Believe. On screen, Mr. Gershon appeared as a pianist in two episodes of the hit television series “Cheers.”
He received his bachelor of music degree cum laude in piano performance from USC, and was named USC Thornton School of Music Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in May 2002. He currently serves on the USC Thornton Board of Advisors and the Board of Directors of Chorus America.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
James Darrah is a director, production designer and visual artist committed to new collaborative projects and stories that merge the mediums of opera, theater, and film with innovative design.
He is the recent recipient of the national 2009 Princess Grace Award with work that includes direction and design for the operas of Mozart, Purcell, Handel, Menotti, Brecht/Weill and Verdi, the musical theater of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Jason Robert Brown and live theater that ranges from classical Greek works and Shakespeare to the post-modern plays of Caryl Churchill. He trained with the Croatian National Theater and the Split Summer Festival Opera, is an MFA candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles (2010) where he mentors with Peter Kazaras, and most recently started studies and work with Stephen Wadsworth at The Juilliard School.
Upcoming projects include a new production of Poulenc’s La voix humaine in Los Angeles, co-production design for Cavalli’s Giasone with Opera UCLA, Peter Brook’s Bizet adaptation La tragédie de Carmen andRavel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges in Hawaii, and the U.S. West Coast premiere of Jonathan Dove’s acclaimed opera Flight at the UCLA Freud Playhouse.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
John Rutter was born in London in 1945 and received his first musical education as a chorister at Highgate School. He went on to study music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he wrote his first published compositions and conducted his first recording while still a student.
His compositional career has embraced both large and small-scale choral works, orchestral and instrumental pieces, a piano concerto, two children’s operas, music for television, and specialist writing for such groups as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the King’s Singers.
His larger choral works, Gloria (1974), Requiem (1985), Magnificat (1990), Psalmfest (1993) and Mass of the Children (2003) have been performed many times in Britain, North America, and a growing number of other countries.
He co-edited four volumes in the Carols for Choirs series with Sir David Willcocks, and, more recently, has edited the first two volumes in the new Oxford Choral Classics series, Opera Choruses (1995) and European Sacred Music (1996).
From 1975 to 1979 he was Director of Music at Clare College, whose choir he directed in a number of broadcasts and recordings.
After giving up the Clare post to allow more time for composition, he formed the Cambridge Singers as a professional chamber choir primarily dedicated to recording, and he now divides his time between composition and conducting.
He has guest-conducted or lectured at many concert halls, universities, churches, music festivals, and conferences in Europe, Africa, North and Central America and Australasia.
In 1980 he was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians.
In 1996 the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music.
He was honoured in the 2007 Queen’s New Year Honours List, being awarded a CBE for services to music. John Rutter’s music is published by Oxford University Press, Hinshaw Music Inc. and Collegium Music Publications.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
It seems no one knew what to expect when Josh Groban teamed with super-producer Rick Rubin for the singer’s fifth album, Illuminations – least of all Groban and Rubin. Fittingly, the results both defy and exceed any possible expectations as each of the collaborators stepped out of his zone and together they created an entirely new zone, one where folk meets classical, where art meets intimacy, where immediacy meets timelessness and where, most importantly, Groban was free to express himself more fully, more truly than ever before.
“These are my stories,” says Groban, who co-wrote 11 of the 13 songs on the collection, complemented by personalized if surprising selections written by Nick Cave and the poignant mother-son collaboration by Kate McGarrigle and Rufus Wainwright. “Every one of these songs, someone’s going to know it’s about them. I’m going to get a text message about every one! This is a very personal record.”
Groban had certainly never made a record like this before. But then neither had Rubin, whose nonpareil career runs from the early days of rap with Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys through the hard-edged rock of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica to Johnny Cash’s latter-day life-embracing American Recordings series. What the combination brought out was a new range of expression and emotional connection from Groban, music that taps into generations of Americana and reaches across the oceans and lyrics drawn straight from the heart. In the course of the album, we see aspects of Groban unknown in the acclaimed stretch since he first stepped into the spotlight as a teenager, beyond even the personality and wit he flashed in his much-shared Emmy Awards medley and his noted guest role in last season’s Glee finale. The words he offers in “Hidden Away” could almost address the mission of the album itself:
Sing it out
So I can finally breathe in
I can take it all the same
Reaching out for someone I believe in
All I really need today
Illuminations was three years in the making, but the writing and recording came in bursts of creativity, maximizing the spontaneity and personal touch. Groban teamed with singer-songwriter Dan Wilson (former leader of the band Semisonic and co-writer of several pieces on the Dixie Chicks’ Not Ready to Make Nice including the 2007 Grammy song of the year title track) on most of the songs. Most of the recordings were done live in a casual setting with Groban playing piano and singing alongside acoustic guitarists Matt Sweeney and Smokey Hormel and, on some songs, iconic organist Spooner Oldham. From those sessions, orchestrations were crafted by David Campbell for nine songs and James Newton-Howard for two, while Brazilian great Carlinhos Brown created the dynamic setting for “Voce Existe Em Mim (You Exist In Me)” in his Bahia home, including the power of an all-girl drum corps – the only drums on the album.
The partnership of Rubin and Groban developed organically and out of deep mutual respect. After an exploratory meeting, both were eager to take on a full album project.
“From Day 1 it wasn’t about anything to prove, but two people finding a place to work together – two scared people,” Groban quips. “We wanted to find our line … and walk past it. This from Rick’s view was to be a fine art record. That grandness was something we wanted to embrace. We started out thinking we’d do a little folkie record. We wanted the looseness of that, the rawness of an intimate folk record and the power and warmth of a classical record.”
Rubin right from the start challenged Groban to tap deeper into his full range of talents than he had before, as a singer, musician and, crucially, a writer.
“Rick picked a few songs he liked for me and said, ‘Beat these.’” Groban recalls. “He said he’d be fine making a covers record with me, but if I wanted to do something special I should write songs that speak for me. So I went into a hole and wrote feverishly. I didn’t try to better the classics he gave me, but wrote songs that were more me.”
The song “Hidden Away” is a prime example of how this took shape. With the core band’s tracks recorded all in one take – Groban’s vocals included – it mixes intimate warmth and grandeur. The opening piano chords and the unfolding melody evoke a timeless Americana, a thread from Stephen Foster through Aaron Copland through Paul Simon and Randy Newman, as Groban makes a heartfelt plea not to hide true love or one’s true self.
That and the other Groban-Wilson teamings came very naturally, bringing the best out of each’s talents. Generally they’d sit one day to come up with the melody and musical ideas, with a few lyrical ideas sketched out. Then after sleeping on it a night, they’d reconvene to finish the words and fill out the music. “My strength is melody,” Groban says. “And his is helping find lyrics that don’t sound trite on the melody.”
For “Love Only Knows,” Rubin heard Groban’s piano and voice rendition and then instructed the guitarists to adapt the piano part for the introduction. The result is almost folk-Bach beauty, joined soon by the piano and voice, with swelling strings (recorded at the famed Capitol Records studio) following to bring a lush sweep to the song. Again, the core band was recorded live, vocals and all – this time despite Groban being a bit under the weather. “Rick said, ‘We can always redo it,’ but he had the microphone set so I could sing and play,” Groban says. “And we used it!” Again, it brings a very personal, human touch to the words, powerful lines of yearning to live and love fully and honestly.
“Voce Existe Em Mim (You Exist In Me)” brought Groban into new territory, not just for the contributions of Brazilian lyricist Lester Mendez (with whom he’d worked when duetting on Nelly Furtado’s Spanish-language album) and superstar arranger Brown, but for the language. “I’d never sung in Portuguese,” he says, noting that he loved the sensuous tones of the tongue. Brown’s drum troupe gives the song a vivid exuberance and blends with Campbell’s glissando strings for a joyous, intercontinental celebration.
For “L’Ora Del Addio (Farewell Time),” Groban ventures into more familiar linguistic territory, showing off the Italian chops familiar to fans. The song’s a musical collaboration with veteran Walter Afanasieff (his partner for “Per Te” on the Closer album) with lyrics by Italian songwriter Marco Marinangeli. It brings back the romantic, operative approach Groban’s been known for, but with some new aspects. “Rick’s assignment was to come up with that classical vibe,” he says. “I’d take my right hand and play melodies, and Walter’s ability to come up with these Rachmaninoff type chords to them was uncanny. There was a side to Rick that wanted us to take on these big, soaring melodies.”
Bringing it back home, but no less exotic, is “Bells of New York City,” a love ballad to the Big Apple – where Californian Groban has set up his new home. The song started with a simple piano improvisation that Wilson loved and helped nurture into a full musical cityscape with dramatic strings and percussion (including, yes, bells) and a tone that hints at the Irish and other cultures that have made New York everything it is. The choice of Nick Cave’s “Straight to You” may seem a strange one to some, and Groban – a long-time Cave fan – was a bit skeptical at first as to whether it was a good fit. But again he credits Rubin’s vision in shaping the arrangement of the yearning lyrics and moving melody in what proved to be a perfect match of singer and song.
“Au Jardin Des Sans Pourquoi” came from Groban’s friendship with Rufus Wainwright. When the idea of Wainwright contributing a song came up, he asked Groban if it would be okay if it was something he’d written with his mother, Kate McGarrigle, one of the most cherished folk-pop singer-songwriters of modern music. After sending Groban the song, Wainwright revealed that it was the first time he had ever co-written with his mother – and it proved to be the only time, as McGarrigle passed away last year from cancer. For Groban, an already poignant song (the title means “The Garden Without Why’s”) became a moving tribute to his friend and his beloved, talented mother.
Giving the album another facet are two musical interludes, including “The Wandering Kind,” which Groban wrote when he was all of 12 years old. “I don’t know where this came from when I was 12,” he says, of the piece, a waltz that runs through some crazy modulations. “But I always liked it. I played it for Rick and said, ‘I can’t make a song of this. It’s all over the place. Can we do an instrumental?’”
With cello, stand-up bass, mandolin, acoustic guitar, accordion and Groban’s piano breezily underscores the pan-cultural American sweep of the album, as well as the deeply personal accomplishment this represents – a little aside marking a true achievement for a growing artist.
“I was given the very lofty task of having more responsibility on this album than I’ve ever had,” he says. “The bar was set high from the beginning. That’s why it took so long. But I can say that more of me went into this record than anything I’ve done.”
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
Possessing a voice of uncommon allure, musical sophistication far beyond her years, and intuitive and innate dramatic artistry, the Grammy® Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor quickly has emerged as one of the most compelling performers of her generation. During the 2010-11 season the California native’s impressive calendar includes performances of Berio’s Folk Songs with Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra at the Berlin Festival, excerpts from Roussel’s Padmâvatî with Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra, Bach’s Missa Brevis in F Major with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Kurt Masur and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with Stéphane Denève and the Seattle Symphony as well as with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and with Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony, and Britten’s Spring Symphony with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The artist returns to the New York Philharmonic for staged performances of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen under the baton of Alan Gilbert and she joins Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on an international tour offering performances of Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony. Ms. O’Connor makes her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the company’s new production by Neil Armfield conducted by Rory Macdonald.
Highlights of the past season include Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Weill’s Die sieben Todsünden with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as on an international tour with Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Kelley O’Connor joined Edo de Waart for Mahler’s Third Symphony with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and made both a Proms Festival debut with Jirí Belohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Mahler’s Eighth Symphony and an Edinburgh International Festival debut with James Conlon and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in John Adams’s El Niño.
Ms. O’Connor has performed Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Adams’s El Niño with David Robertson and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn’s Elias with Ingo Metzmacher and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges with Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic, Haydn’s Mass in the Time of War with Bernard Labadie and the San Francisco Symphony, and Stravinsky’s Les Noces with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The artist enjoys a particularly warm musical collaboration with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra with whom she has sung Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (commercially available on Deutsche Grammophon), Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony, staged performances of Falstaff (in Cleveland and at the Lucerne Festival), and Stravinsky’s Requiem Canticles.
Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs has highlighted the artist’s prominence as one of the world’s leading concert artists in two significant European debuts: performances with David Zinman and the Berliner Philharmoniker as well as with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Additionally, the work served her Carnegie Hall debut in a performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink.
Kelley O’Connor has received unanimous international critical acclaim for her numerous performances as Federico García Lorca in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar. Ms. O’Connor created the role for the world premiere at Tanglewood under the baton of Robert Spano and subsequently has joined Miguel Harth-Bedoya for performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall. She reprised her portrayal of Federico García Lorca in the world premiere of the revised edition of Ainadamar at the Santa Fe Opera in a new staging by Peter Sellars during the 2005 season, which also was presented at Lincoln Center. For her debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, in Ainadamar, she joined Robert Spano for performances and a Deutsche Grammophon recording: she rejoined Spano and Atlanta in summer 2006 for further performances of Ainadamar, including her debuts at the Ojai and Ravinia festivals. In past seasons, she has bowed as Lorca in performances of Ainadamar at Opera Boston, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, the Barbican Centre, and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Ms. O’Connor made her Cincinnati Opera debut in Ainadamar in a realization of the work by director Jose Maria Condemi. Additional operatic engagements include her Canadian Opera Company debut in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the role of Meg Page in Falstaff at the Santa Fe Opera.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
David Harrington, violin
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Jeffrey Zeigler, cello
For more than 30 years, the Kronos Quartet—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola) and Jeffrey Zeigler (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 45 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world’s most eclectic composers and performers, and commissioning more than 650 works and arrangements for string quartet. Kronos’ work has also garnered numerous awards, including a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and “Musicians of the Year” (2003) from Musical America.
Kronos’ adventurous approach dates back to the ensemble’s origins. In 1973, David Harrington was inspired to form Kronos after hearing George Crumb’s Black Angels, a highly unorthodox, Vietnam War-inspired work featuring bowed water glasses, spoken word passages, and electronic effects. Kronos then began building a compellingly diverse repertoire for string quartet, performing and recording works by 20th-century masters (Bartók, Shostakovich, Webern), contemporary composers (Aleksandra Vrebalov, John Adams, Alfred Schnittke), jazz legends (Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk), and artists from even farther afield (rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, Azeri vocalist Alim Qasimov, avant-garde saxophonist John Zorn).
Integral to Kronos’ work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world’s foremost composers. One of the quartet’s most frequent composer-collaborators is “Father of Minimalism” Terry Riley, whose work with Kronos includes the early Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector; Cadenza on the Night Plain and Salome Dances for Peace; 2002′s Sun Rings, a multimedia, NASA-commissioned ode to the earth and its people, featuring celestial sounds and images from space; and The Cusp of Magic, commissioned in honor of Riley’s 70th birthday celebrations in 2005 and recorded and released in 2008. Kronos commissioned and recorded the three string quartets of Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Górecki, with whom the group has been working for more than 20 years. The quartet has also collaborated extensively with composers such as Philip Glass, recording his complete string quartets and scores to films like Mishima and Dracula (a restored edition of the Bela Lugosi classic); Azerbaijan’s Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, whose works are featured on the full-length 2005 release Mugam Sayagi: Music of Franghiz Ali-Zadeh; Steve Reich, whose Kronos-recorded Different Trainsearned a Grammy; Argentina’s Osvaldo Golijov, whose work with Kronos includes both compositions and extensive arrangements for albums like Kronos Caravan and Nuevo; and many more.
In addition to composers, Kronos counts numerous artists from around the world among its collaborators, including the Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man; legendary Bollywood “playback singer” Asha Bhosle, featured on Kronos’ Grammy-nominated CD, You’ve Stolen My Heart: Songs from R.D. Burman’s Bollywood; Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq; Mexican rockers Café Tacuba; genre defying sound artist and instrument builder Walter Kitundu; the Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks; renowned American soprano Dawn Upshaw; and the unbridled British cabaret trio, the Tiger Lillies. Kronos has performed live with the likes of icons Allen Ginsberg, Zakir Hussain, Modern Jazz Quartet, Tom Waits, David Barsamian, Howard Zinn, Betty Carter, and David Bowie, and has appeared on recordings by such diverse talents as Nine Inch Nails, Amon Tobin, Dan Zanes, DJ Spooky, Dave Matthews, Nelly Furtado, Rokia Traoré, Joan Armatrading and Don Walser. Kronos’ music has also featured prominently in other media, including film (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, 21 Grams, Heat,True Stories) and dance, with noted choreographers such as Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, and Eiko & Koma setting pieces to Kronos’ music.
The Quartet spends five months of each year on tour, appearing in concert halls, clubs, and festivals around the world including BAM Next Wave Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Barbican in London, WOMAD, UCLA’s Royce Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Shanghai Concert Hall and the Sydney Opera House. Kronos is equally prolific and wide-ranging on disc. The ensemble’s expansive discography on Nonesuch Records includes collections like Pieces of Africa (1992), a showcase of African-born composers, which simultaneously toppedBillboard‘s Classical and World Music lists; 2000′s Kronos Caravan, whose musical “travels” span North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East; 1998′s ten-disc anthology, Kronos Quartet: 25 Years; Nuevo (2002), a Grammy and Latin Grammy–nominated celebration of Mexican culture; and the 2003 Grammy-winner, Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite.
Kronos’ recording and performances reveal only a fraction of the group’s commitment to new music. As a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, the Kronos Performing Arts Association has commissioned hundreds of new works and arrangements for string quartet. Music publishers Boosey & Hawkes and Kronos have released sheet music for three signature works, all commissioned for Kronos, in the first volume of theKronos Collection, a performing edition edited by Kronos. The quartet is committed to mentoring emerging professional performers, and in 2007 Kronos led its first Professional Training Workshop with four string quartets as part of the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. One of Kronos’ most exciting initiatives is the Kronos: Under 30 Project, a unique commissioning and composer-in-residence program for composers under 30 years old, launched in conjunction with Kronos’ own 30th birthday in 2003. By cultivating creative relationships with such emerging talents and a wealth of other artists from around the world, Kronos reaps the benefit of 30 years’ wisdom while maintaining a fresh approach to music-making inspired by a new generation of composers and performers.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
Lisa Vroman starred for several years on Broadway as Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera. As Christine, she garnered Theatre Critic’s awards for the role in a record breaking run in San Francisco, and did a return engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Ms. Vroman starred as Rosabella in The Most Happy Fella, making her New York City Opera debut with Paul Sorvino in the title role. Recently she played the role of Charlotte in A Little Night Music with Michigan Opera Theatre, starring Leslie Uggams and Ron Raines. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Pops, starred as Lili Vanessi in Kiss Me Kate with Glimmerglass Opera as well as with the MUNY Theater of St. Louis and played Marian Paroo in The Music Manwith Shirley Jones (Mrs. Paroo) and Patrick Cassidy (Harold Hill) at The Bushnell Theatre in Hartford CT. Ms. Vroman sang the role of Birdie in Regina with Utah Opera, conducted by Keith Lockhart; made her New Jersey Opera debut as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, (directed by Ira Siff), replacing Metropolitan Opera soprano Ruth Ann Swenson, and premiered and recorded two Comic Operas by composers John Musto (Bastianello) and William Bolcum (Lucrezia - lyrics by Mark Campbell) with the New York Festival of Song.
Her Broadway debut was in Aspects of Love, and she was the first to play both Fantine and Cosette in Les Miserables. For PBS she was featured with Colm Wilkinson and Michael Ball in Cameron Mackintosh’s Hey, Mr. Producer! at the Lyceum Theatre in London, a Royal Gala attended by Queen Elizabeth II. Ms. Vroman played Lucy Brown in Threepenny Opera at ACT (American Conservatory Theatre) in San Francisco with Bebe Neuwirth, Nancy Dussault, and Anika Noni Rose. She sang the role of Johanna in the San Francisco Symphony’s Emmy Award winning Sweeney Todd in Concert, with Patti Lupone and George Hearn. Both are available on DVD. Lisa starred as Laurey in Oklahoma, filmed live in concert for the BBC Proms Festival at Royal Albert Hall in London, and starred as Mary Turner in Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing/Let’em Eat Cake in concert with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, directed by Pat Birch.
Other roles include Laurie in The Tender Land at the Cabrillo Music Festival, Marin Alsop, conductor; Maria inThe Sound Of Music with Tulsa Opera; Josephine in HMS Pinafore; Yum-Yum in The Mikado; and Anna 1 inThe Seven Deadly Sins with Utah Symphony/Opera, Florida Symphony, Portland Symphony, and Parnassus Symphony. She has sung Maria in West Side Story, Guenevere in Camelot, Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel, Christine in Phantom (Yeston), Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Amalia Balash in She Loves Me, among others.
Lisa is a George London Competition Grant recipient and a 1999 Minerva award recipient from Potsdam State University. She received an Undergraduate degree in Music Education form the Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam, and a MFA at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
With a repertoire that ranges from Stravinsky to Weill to Broadway, Ms. Vroman is a frequent guest soloist with Theatre, Opera companies and Orchestras including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, National, Florida, Santa Barbara, Hong Kong, Cleveland, Nashville, Pacific, Utah, Dallas, the Boston Pops (Keith Lockhart), and Peter Nero and the Philly Pops. Miss Vroman made her debut at The Hollywood Bowl in Disney’s 75th celebration, singing and dancing with legend Dick Van Dyke in a medley from Mary Poppins, (John Mauceri, conductor). She guest starred with SONY artist Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis in his NYC debut concert at City Center; and has performed many times the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), including a tribute to Broadway director Harold Prince. Miss Vroman has sung in concert with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, composer Stephen Schwartz, Organist David Higgs, and the Empire Brass Quintet. Her solo CD Broadway Classic features Metropolitan Opera Mezzo-Soprano Stephanie Blythe and 47 of San Francisco’s finest orchestral players. Lisa had the honor of singing at the Profiles in Courage Award dinner in Boston at the JFK Library, as a guest of the Kennedy family. She has also sung on separate occasions for Queen Elizabeth, former President Bill Clinton, and former Vice President Al Gore.
Upcoming engagements include concerts in Miami, Ft. Meyers, San Francisco, Pasadena, Greenville, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Paris, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur as well as her first opportunity to play the role of Anna Leonowens in The King and I with the Lyric Opera of Virginia.
Lisa lives in Pasadena, CA with husband Patrick O’Neil and dog Romeo.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
The Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC) is recognized as one of the city’s cultural treasures and one of the world’s premier choruses. The Los Angeles Times proclaims, “Under Gershon, the Master Chorale seems to be able to master anything.” The respected arts blog CultureSpotLA, echoing that sentiment, further adds, “The Master Chorale is not just any ensemble – it is the nation’s, and maybe the world’s, most innovative choral group, thriving under its vibrant music director, Grant Gershon.”
The 2010½11 season, its 47th, marks its eighth as the resident chorus of thelandmark Walt Disney Concert Hall. A founding resident company of the MusicCenter, the Chorale has played a leading role in the ongoing resurgence of interest in choral music. The New York Times calls the choir “inspired,” The New York Observer declares it “a superb vocal ensemble,” and the Los Angeles Times proclaims it “matchelssly polished.” Cited as a national leader for its innovative and dynamic programming and its commitment to commissioning new works, the Chorale has been awarded the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming three times – in 1995, 2003 and 2010.
Under the inspired leadership and unique artistic sensibilities of Music Director Grant Gershon, who was appointed to the post in July 2001 and in 2010|11 celebrates his 10th Anniversary season with the choir, LAMC has expanded its audience base considerably and continues to earn superlative accolades. The Los Angeles Times describes the Chorale’s performances under Gershon’s baton as “masterly,” “ethereal” and “alluring.” Billboard says the Chorale’s “singing and direction are first-rate,” while Gramophone calls the chorus “sonically exhilarating.” LA Downtown News notes, “Choral groups don’t often get much hype, but the Los Angeles Master Chorale is an exception . . . (it) has soared under Grant Gershon’s direction.”
In recognition of Gershon’s considerable achievements and keen musical sensibilities, the Chorale’s entire 2010|11 season celebrates his decade at the helm of the renowned choir. The ten-concert season features some of the most compelling musical highlights of his tenure – a veritable “playlist” of his favorite high points that includes new interpretations of standard repertoire accented, in Gershon’s trademark tradition, by a mix of contemporary works that break down cultural and musical barriers. He conducts Rachmaninoff’s masterfulAll-Night Vigil (September 26, 2010), an all-French program, reflecting the years Gershon spent working in Paris, which includes brilliant and sensuous works by Duruflé, Josquin, Janequin and Ravel (November 7, 2011), the Mozart arrangement of Handel’s Messiah (December 12, 2010). An all-British program explores the roots of choral music from the 15th Century forward – the art form that intoxicated Gershon as a high school student growing up in Alhambra – with selections by Byrd, Britten, Vaughan Williams and Tavener (January 30, 2011), and a concert spotlighting selections from Ellington’s evocative Sacred Concerts, features Gershon co-conducting with James Newton (May 22, 2011).
Acclaimed violinist Jennifer Koh joins Gershon and the Chorale for the world premiere of Mugunghwa: Rose of Sharon by Mark Grey, named in 2005 one of the “Faces to Watch” by the Los Angeles Times. With text based on the extraordinary verses of Korean poet Im Hoon Jae, the work was commissioned by the Chorale and is the fourth piece to be premiered by through its “LA Is the World” initiative, launched in 2007. Also on the program is a stunning piece for three choirs entitled Me-Na-Rii by Hyo-won Woo, who is the composer-in-residence of the world-renowned Incheon City Chorale and is recognized as one of the most brilliant young Korean composers on the scene today. The Chorale also performs a variety of Korean folksongs, including a choral arrangement of the classic Korean song Arirang.
Seasonal offerings include two performances of the Chorale’s eminently popular Messiah Sing-Along (December 5 and 19, 2010) and Holiday Wonders, with its engaging repertory of favorite Christmas carols and family-friendly ticket prices (December 11, 2010).
Extending its reach to young people in the community, the Los Angeles Master Chorale also offers a number of quality education programs. Gershon conducts the 22nd Annual Los Angeles Master Chorale High School Choir Festival, one of the largest high school choir festivals in the nation, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (April 15, 2011). Serving as a vital force in training the next generation of singers and music lovers, the comprehensiveyearlong in-school program culminates with a performance conducted by Gershon of 1,000 high school students from more than two-dozen Southland high schools.
“Voices Within,” another of the Chorale’s highly successful outreach programs, which recently earned the coveted Chorus America Education Outreach Award, is an in-depth, semester-long, in-school residency program for fifth and sixthgrade students that helps children who have little or no musical background to “find their voices.” With the assistance of a teaching artist, lyricist, and composer who work with teams of students in the classroom, children write music and lyrics to create original songs. The Los Angeles Times states, “While other organizations focus on performing and listening, the Los Angeles Master Chorale helps kids create and collaborate.” In 2008, “Voices Within” earned the coveted Chorus America Education Outreach Award.
The Los Angeles Master Chorale, described as “a major cultural asset to Los Angeles” by the Los Angeles Times, was founded in 1964. One of the Music Center’s two original resident performing arts companies, it gave its first performance at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in January 1965, where it subsequently performed for 38 seasons until moving to the landmarkWalt Disney Concert Hall in 2003. It is the first organization in the nation to offer a complete season of great choral masterworks, and, over the years, has hosted such distinguished guest conductors as Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, Margaret Hillis Robert Page andRichard Westenberg.
Gershon succeeded Music Director Emeritus Paul Salamunovich, who guided theMaster Chorale from 1991 through the 2000½01 season and was named Music Director Emeritus in June 2001. Prior to Salamunovich’s appointment, Scottish conductor John Currie led the Chorale from 1985 to 1990, and, before that, the late Roger Wagner, the Chorale’s founder, headed the choir for two decades, from 1964 to 1984.
In addition to presenting its own concert series at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Chorale has appeared at the Ojai Festival, on the Great Performers series at New York’s Lincoln Center, and at Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin. The Chorale also performed more than 280 concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic both at Disney Hall and at the Hollywood Bowl with such stellar conductors as Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Zubin Mehta, Andre Previn, Pierre Boulez, Michael Tilson-Thomas and Roger Norrington, among many others, and is featured on several recordings with the orchestra.
The Chorale, which has commissioned 25 and premiered 64 new works, of which 41 were world premieres, has recorded three CDs under Gershon’s baton, including the internationally acclaimed You Are (Variations) and Daniel Variations, both by by Steve Reich, on Nonesuch Records, and an RCM recording featuringEsa-Pekka Salonen’s first choral work, Two Songs to Poems of Ann Jäderlund, and Philip Glass’ Itaipú;. In June 2010, Gershon will conduct the choir in recording sessions at Disney Hall for his fourth CD with the choir, which will be an all-Nico Muhly album to be released by Decca Music Group later this season. Previously, the Chorale released three CDs under the baton of Music Director Emeritus Paul Salamunovich, including the Grammy-nominated Lauridsen-Lux Aeterna, Christmas, and a recording of Dominick Argento’s Te Deum and Maurice Duruflé’s Messe “Cum Jubilo.”
In addition, Gershon conducted the Chorale on the soundtracks of Charlie Wilson’s War, Lady In The Water,Click and License to Wed. Soundtracks with Music Director Emeritus Salamunovich include A.I. Artificial Intelligence, My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Sum of All Fears, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Waterworld.
Since moving to Disney Hall, the Chorale has enjoyed a substantial increase in audience size, as well as a growing base of individual and institutional donors. Its 2010½11 operating budget is $3.75 million. The Chorale’s endowment is currently valued at $4.14 million. The Los Angeles Master Chorale has more than 1,000 subscribers, serves over 40,000 audience members of all ages, and provides education outreach to approximately 6,000 children each year.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
In just a quarter-century of existence, LA Opera has become, under the leadership of Eli and Edythe Broad General Director Plácido Domingo, the United States’ fourth largest opera company and now “…stands out as a newly important force in American Opera.” (Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times). During the summer of 2010, LA Opera will present Der Ring des Nibelungen, conducted by James Conlon and staged by director/designer Achim Freyer. This will be the first time that Wagner’s complete Ring cycle will be presented in Los Angeles. The 2010/11 season features six productions and a total of 42 performances. The season opens with the world premiere of Daniel Catán’s Il Postino starring Plácido Domingo as Pablo Neruda. The season continues with Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro featuring the Company debuts of Marlis Petersen, Martina Serafin and Bo Skovhus; Wagner’s Lohengrin with Ben Heppner, Soile Isokoski and Dolora Zajick; Verdi’s Rigoletto starring George Gagnidze; the Company premiere of Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia starring Nino Machaidze, Thomas Allen and Paolo Gavanelli; and Britten’s The Turn of the Screw starring Patricia Racette, William Burden and Ann Murray. The season will also include a 25th Anniversary Gala and recitals by Rene Pape, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Jonas Kaufmann. James Conlon, the Company’s Richard Seaver Music Director, will conduct four productions; other conductors for the season are Plácido Domingo, Israel Gursky and Grant Gershon (the Company’s Associate Conductor / Chorus Master).
LA Opera created a sensation with its debut production of Verdi’s Otello starring Plácido Domingo in October 1986. Under the leadership of Founding General Director Peter Hemmings and then Plácido Domingo, LA Opera has grown to become a company of international stature. Presenting leading productions in the standard repertory as well as new and rarely-staged operas, the Company brings prominent Los Angeles artists together with other world-renowned singers, designers, directors and conductors to create opera that attracts the attention of international audiences and critics.
LA Opera has taken several significant steps in recent years to nurture its tradition of artistic excellence. Plácido Domingo served as the Company’s Artistic Consultant from 1984 until October 1998, when Mr. Domingo was named Artistic Director Designate. The 2001-2002 Season marked Mr. Domingo’s first fully planned season with the Company as Artistic Director and included eight Company Premieres. In May 2003, Mr. Domingo was named General Director of LA Opera. In September 2006, in honor of a $6 million gift from Eli and Edythe L. Broad as lead sponsors of the Company’s first Ring cycle, his title became The Eli and Edythe Broad General Director. In addition, Mr. Domingo has sung well over 100 performances with the Company and has also conducted many notable productions including La Traviata, Rigoletto, La Bohème andTosca.
Kent Nagano joined LA Opera as Principal Conductor in the 2001-2002 Season, taking the podium to lead such memorable productions as Lohengrin, directed by Maximilian Schell; Turandot, with a new ending by revered Italian composer Luiciano Berio; and Duke Bluebeard’s Castle / Gianni Schicchi, directed by William Friedkin. In May 2003, Maestro Nagano was named LA Opera’s first ever Music Director, a position held through the end of the 2005-2006 Season. In 2006, one of the world’s preeminent conductors James Conlon became Music Director. Maestro Conlon’s three-year contract commenced on July 1, 2006. He conducted four productions during his debut season and conducted five productions during the 2006/07 Season. He will also conduct the Company’s upcoming Ring cycle in 2010.
Since its inception, LA Opera has served nearly one million students, senior citizens, and other audiences through its internationally recognized Education and Community Programs. The Company also presents free dress rehearsals of select operas for such groups as low-income seniors and Los Angeles County schoolchildren. LA Opera’s participatory In-School Opera Program, which serves as a national model, brings Company artists into area schools to work with students from elementary through high school levels producing performances as well as providing an opportunity for students to learn about opera. Teachers of all grade levels are also invited to learn about opera through a special year-long seminar series.
Throughout its history, the Company has also maintained a talented roster of Resident Artists – young singers who perform regularly in mainstage productions as well as the Company’s community programs. The program prepares young artists who have the potential for major careers in opera by providing invaluable experience and training. Among the distinguished artists who have gone on to enjoy national and international success are Rodney Gilfry and Paula Rasmussen. Beginning with the 2006-2007 Season, the new Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program was inaugurated, with its own separate staff under the personal supervision of Plácido Domingo. The Program is designed so that participants can work full-time on developing their careers during the critical stage between the end of their formal academic or conservatory training and the onset of professional performing careers.
Support groups such as Hispanics for LA Opera, African-Americans for LA Opera and the Opera League of Los Angeles seek to increase involvement in, and attendance at, LA Opera performances and special events. The Company has benefited enormously through the years from individual and corporate donors both large and small. In particular, LA Opera celebrates the vision, boldness and extraordinary generosity of the “Founding Angels,” a group of benefactors led by Warner Henry, whose commitment to the Company ensures the future of opera in Los Angeles.
LA Opera traces its roots back to 1948, when a company called the Los Angeles Civic Grand Opera presented a performance of Rigoletto in a church hall in Beverly Hills. The Company, under the directorship of Francesco Pace, staged productions through the 1950s, and in 1964 it presented the first opera in the brand-new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, one of four theaters that currently comprise the Music Center.
Shortly after its third production at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, The Italian Girl in Algiers starring Marilyn Horne, the Company abandoned its own production projects and recreated itself as the Music Center Opera Association. For two decades, the Association brought opera from other cities to the Music Center. By far the lengthiest arrangement was with New York City Opera, which brought productions to the Music Center every fall from 1966 to 1982.
In 1984, the Music Center Opera Association hired Peter Hemmings as its Founding General Director and gave him the task of creating a local opera company which would once again present its own productions. It was through this important turn of events that LA Opera was born. Mr. Hemmings stepped down as LA Opera’s General Director in 2000, and the following season Plácido Domingo assumed leadership of the Company.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
The Los Angeles Philharmonic continues its reinvention of the concept of a 21st-century orchestra under the vibrant leadership of Gustavo Dudamel. Embarking on its 92nd season in 2010/11, the Philharmonic is recognized as one of the world’s outstanding orchestras and is received enthusiastically by audiences and critics alike. Both at home and abroad, the Philharmonic is leading the way in innovative programming and redefining the musical experience.
This view is shared by more than one million listeners who experience live performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic each year. The Philharmonic demonstrates a breadth and depth of programming unrivaled by other orchestras and cultural institutions, performing or presenting nearly 300 concerts throughout the year at its two iconic venues: Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, a popular summer tradition since 1922. The orchestra’s involvement with Los Angeles also extends far beyond regular symphonic performances in a concert hall, embracing the schools, churches, and neighborhood centers of a vastly diverse community.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic was founded by William Andrews Clark Jr., a multi-millionaire and amateur musician, who established the city’s first permanent symphony orchestra in 1919. The 94 musicians of the new ensemble met for their first rehearsal Monday morning, October 13 of that year, under the direction of Walter Henry Rothwell, whom Clark had brought from the St. Paul (Minnesota) Symphony Orchestra. Eleven days later, Rothwell conducted the orchestra’s premiere performance before a capacity audience of 2,400 at Trinity Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles. The audience heard Dvořák’s New World Symphony, Liszt’s Les Préludes, the Overture to Weber’s Oberon, and Chabrier’s España.
Rothwell remained the orchestra’s Music Director until his death in 1927. Since then, ten renowned conductors have served in that capacity: Georg Schnéevoigt (1927-1929); Artur Rodzinski (1929-1933);Otto Klemperer (1933-1939); Alfred Wallenstein (1943-1956); Eduard van Beinum (1956-1959); Zubin Mehta (1962-1978); Carlo Maria Giulini (1978-1984); André Previn (1985-1989); Esa-Pekka Salonen (1992-2009); and Gustavo Dudamel (2009-present).
Following its opening season in 1919/1920, the orchestra made Philharmonic Auditorium, on the northeast corner of Fifth and Olive, its home for the next 44 years. In 1964, the orchestra moved to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center, which was its winter home until its final performances there in May 2003.
In October 2003, the doors to one of the world’s most celebrated venues — the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall — were opened and the Los Angeles Philharmonic took the stage in its new home, which has become known not only as a local cultural landmark, but also as “…a sensational place to hear music… In richness of sound, it has few rivals on the international scene, and in terms of visual drama it may have no rival at all.” (The New Yorker) Praise for both the design and the acoustics of the Hall has been effusive, and the glistening curved steel exterior of the 293,000-square-foot Walt Disney Concert Hall embodies the energy, imagination, and creative spirit of the city of Los Angeles and its orchestra.
Inspired to consider new directions, Gustavo Dudamel and the Philharmonic aim to find programming that remains faithful to tradition, yet also seeks new ground, new audiences, and new ways to enhance the symphonic music experience. During its 30-week winter subscription season of 110 performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Philharmonic creates festivals, artist residencies, and other thematic programs designed to delve further into certain artists’ or composers’ work.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s commitment to the presentation of music of our time is evident in its subscription concerts, the exhilarating Green Umbrella series, and its extensive commissioning initiatives. Now in its 29th year, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, devoted exclusively to performing compositions on the cutting edge of the repertoire, attracts leading composers and performers of contemporary music. The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association expands its cultural offerings by producing concerts featuring distinguished artists in recital, jazz, world music, songbook, and visiting orchestra performances, in addition to special holiday concerts and series of organ recitals, chamber music, and baroque music.
The Philharmonic has led the way into the digital age, with groundbreaking web and mobile device applications. Through an ongoing partnership with Deutsche Grammophon, the orchestra has a substantial catalog of concerts available online, including the first classical music video released on iTunes.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
Musica Angelica is led by Music Director Martin Haselböck, the internationally renowned organist, conductor, and composer. Regarded as Southern California’s premier Baroque ensemble, Musica Angelica presents wide-ranging programs encompassing music from the early Baroque through the early Classical era.
Since its inception in 1993, Musica Angelica has produced an annual subscription season of orchestral and chamber concerts in venues throughout Los Angeles County, programming a mixture of known masterworks along with rarely heard gems, and featuring many of the best Baroque musicians from across the country and Europe. Guest conductors have included Rinaldo Alessandrini, Giovanni Antonini, Harry Bicket, Paul Goodwin, and Jory Vinikour, among others.
Musica Angelica’s first international tour, distinguished by sold-out performances and wide critical acclaim, took place in March 2007 in a joint venture with Haselböck’s acclaimed European orchestra, the Wiener Akademie of Vienna. The ensemble presented 13 performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Los Angeles, New York, Savannah (Savannah Music Festival), Mexico, Hungary, Austria, Spain, Italy and Germany.
Among critical acclaim from the media for Musica Angelica is a Los Angeles Times review which said, “Musica Angelica soars in a Baroque gem… a triumph… Haselböck’s leadership was nuanced and inspiring.” Musica Angelica was described as a “world class Baroque orchestra” by KUSC FM Classical Music Radio, as “L.A.’s premiere Baroque music ensemble” by Angeleno Magazine, and as “a serious and important early-music ensemble, the best of its kind in these parts” by esteemed music critic Alan Rich.
In 1998, Musica Angelica issued a well-received recording, Vivaldi Concertos for Lute, Oboe, Violin and Strings. In 2007, Musica Angelica raised its profile with a contract for four recordings on the Germany-based New Classical Adventure (NCA) label. The first, released in 2007, is Handel’s Acis and Galatea.
Musica Angelica, based in Santa Monica, California, collaborates with leading performing arts institutions in Southern California including Los Angeles Opera, Long Beach Opera, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Norton Simon Museum, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Musica Angelica was co-founded by Michael Eagan, widely considered one of the foremost lute players in the country, and gambist Mark Chatfield. Eagan passed away in 2004, and Chatfield passed away in 1998.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide
Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, Petronio is widely regarded as one of the leading dance-makers of his generation. New music, visual art and fashion collide in his dances producing powerfully modern landscapes for the senses. He has built a body of work with some of the most talented and provocative artists in the world including, composers Nico Muhly, Fischerspooner, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Son Lux, James Lavelle, Michael Nyman, Sheila Chandra, Diamanda Galás, Andy Teirstein, Wire, Peter Gordon, Lenny Pickett and David Linton; visual artists Cindy Sherman, Anish Kapoor, Donald Baechler, Stephen Hannock, Tal Yarden, Arnaldo Ferrara, and Justin Terzi III; fashion designers Jillian Lewis, Adam Kimmel, Benjamin Cho, Michael Angel, Tony Cohen, Rachel Roy, Tara Subkoff /Imitation of Christ, Tanya Sarne/Ghost, Leigh Bowery, Paul Compitus, Manolo, Yonson Pak and H. Petal; and Resident Lighting Designer Ken Tabachnick.
Founded in 1984, Stephen Petronio Company has performed in 26 countries throughout the world, including over 35 New York City engagements with 15 seasons at The Joyce Theater. The Company has been commissioned by Dance Umbrella Festival/London, Hebbel Theater/Berlin, Theater Scene National de Sceaux/France, Festival d’Automne a Paris, CNDC Angers/France, The Holland Festival, Festival International Montpellier-Danse, Danceworks UK Ltd, International Cannes Danse Festival, and in the US by San Francisco Performances, The Joyce Theater, UCSB Arts & Lectures, Wexner Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center, and White Bird, among others.
The Company most recently performed in October 2010 at the Barbican Centre in London, England and the Milano Oltre Festival in Milan, Italy. We look forward to engagements in 2011 in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Albuquerque.
Click to Read More
Click to Hide