On Feb. 7 and 9, Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music presents the West Coast premiere of “The Haroun Songbook,” music from Charles Wuorinen’s opera “Haroun and the Sea of Stories,” based on Salman Rushdie’s novel about a storyteller who loses his powers. (Incidentally, New York City Opera, which commissioned that work that opened in 2004, also asked the composer to write an opera based on “Brokeback Mountain.”) The excerpts from the magical, comic opera have been arranged by Wuorinen for piano and four singers. The Southwest Chamber concert will feature pianist Phillip Bush, mezzo sopranos Elissa Johnston and Kathleen Roland, tenor Robert MacNeil, and bass-baritone Cedric Berry. Also on the progam devoted entirely to Wuorinen’s work in celebration of his 70th birthday are: “Eleven Short Pieces for Violin and Vibraphone” (West Coast Premiere), the “Ave Maria…Virgo Serena” for violin, clarinet, violoncello, and piano, and “Iridule” for oboe solo and ensemble (West Coast Premiere). The latter was also inspired by literature, namely, Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Pale Fire.”
Sat., Feb. 7, 8 pm, (pre-concert talk with Artistic Director Jeff von der Schmidt at 7:30):
Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena 91103.
Mon., Feb. 9, 8 pm, (pre-concert talk with Artistic Director Jeff von der Schmidt at 7:30):
Colburn School for Performing Arts, 200 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles 90012.
Tickets: $38 (General), $28 (Senior), $10 (Student w/ID)
For more information, (800) 726-7147, www.swmusic.org.
East and West, Old and New
Pacific Serenades, a chamber ensemble founded in 1982, presents its 91st commissioned world premiere Feb. 7, 8, and 10: “Memories of a Shoehorn” by Istanbul native Münir Beken. The piece combining Western and Turkish sounds will feature the composer on oud (precursor of the lute), Pacific Serenades Founder and Artistic Director Mark Carlson on flute, Kathleen Lenski of the Grammy-winning Angeles String Quartet on violin, Roland Kato on viola, and David Speltz on cello. Since Pacific Serenades makes it a point to mix old favorites with world premieres, the other pieces on the program are Beethoven’s String Trio in C minor, Op. 9 No. 3, and Mozart’s Flute Quartet in D major, K. 285.
Sat., Feb. 7, 8 pm: private home in Valley Glen ($55)
Sun., Feb. 8, 4 pm: Neighborhood Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena ($32).
The Gamble House, next door to the church, offers a discounted tour at $8/person to Pacific Serenades patrons on concert dates only. One-hour tours begin promptly at 2 and at 2:40 pm. Reservations are required at least 48 hours in advance of the concert date by calling (626) 793-3334, ext. 16.
Tues., Feb. 10, 8 pm: UCLA Faculty Center, 405 N. Hilgard Ave., on the UCLA campus in Westwood ($32). Parking is available for $9 in Lot 2.
Pacific Serenades patrons can dine at the UCLA Faculty Center prior to the concert. Reservations can be made by calling (310) 825-0877.
Student tickets available at the door on Sunday and Tuesday for $5!
For more information, (213) 534-3434, www.pacser.org.