A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

In Classical Focus, Theodore Bell selects highlights from Jim Eninger’s Clickable Chamber Music Newsletter. Here are his top picks:

Check out Czech composer Leos Janácek in two concerts this week. Camerata Pacifica will perform his Sonata for violin and piano, and the Ying Quartet will play his String Quartet No.2, “Intimate Letters.”  Both ensembles are top-notch, and Janacek will stir the soul with his Moravian and Slavic themes.

Thank goodness for the sumptuous music of Debussy and Ravel to help unpack last year’s business once and for all, and revel in 2010.  What a great sound to warm our Southern California winter.  It sounds like France is the place to hear this year.

Andre Watts is in town too – Tuesday at Disney Hall – put it on your calendar.

Heads up…  Although the concert is next month, get lucky with tickets to the next event from Chamber Music at the Clark and the fabulous Ebéne Quartet from France.  Tickets are by lottery and the deadline is approaching – so get your requests in now; details below.

Ying Quartet

Ying Quartet

The Ying Quartet plays a concert on Jan. 8.

The Ying Quartet is a family affair.  Three Chicago brothers and a sister – Timothy and Janet (violin), Phillip (viola), and David (cello) – formed this award-winning quartet while students at the Eastman School of Music in 1988.  Currently they are the quartet-in-residence at the Eastman School, and during the summer they reside at the Aspen Music Festival. The program includes: Schumann’s Quartet in A Major, Op. 41 No. 3; Janácek’s  String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters”; and Beethoven’s Quartet in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3.

Friday, Jan. 8, 8 p.m.

Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos

Tickets: $45, $33, $21. Visit www.cerritoscenter.com.

Classical Encounters

The Classical Encounters Foundation presents pianist Mark Robson this Sunday in the home of Ronna Binn-Hersh – a great intimate setting for Schumann’s “Beethoven-Etüden” (1831-1835), Liszt’s “Mosonyi Mihály” (1885) (Hungarian Historical Portraits), Busoni’s “Sonatina in Diem Nativitatis Christi” (1917), Debussy’s “Douze Études” (1915) (d’après Monsieur Czerny).  The Debussy alone is reason enough to attend!  The Los Angeles Times described Mark Robson as a pianist with “one of the great techniques.”

Pianist Ronna Binn-Hersh is the founder of the Classical Encounters Foundation, and the concert is in her home with proceeds going to the artists.  Afterward, light dinner-fare is served while the audience and artists socialize.

Sunday, Jan. 10, 4 p.m.

The Hamburg Room at the home of Ronna Binn-Hersh, 19365 Lemmer Drive, Tarzana

Tickets: $40 premium – keyboard view, $30 general, $20 students. Call (818) 343-3095 or visit www.classicalencounters.org.

Los Angeles Philharmonic Chamber Music Concert

Beloved pianist Andre Watts appears with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Tuesday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall.  The program includes Bottesini’s “Gran Duo Concertante,” Schickele’s “String Sextet,” and Mozart’s Quintet in E-flat Major for piano and winds, K452.  This concert by Watts has a wonderful diversity of style and instrumentation, and will be an extraordinary event.

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 8 p.m.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., LA

Tickets: $51, $34, $26. Call (323) 850-2000 or visit www.laphil.com.

Camerata Pacifica

Camerata Pacifica will be in town Tuesday and Thursday with a really nice program.  I am particularly interested in hearing flutist Adrian Spence performing Ian Wilson’s 1997 “Spilliaert’s Beach.”  Other works on the program include James Macmillan’s “Kiss on Wood,” Janácek’s Sonata for violin and piano, and Ravel’s Trio for piano, violin and cello.

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 8 p.m.

Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road,  San Marino

Thursday, Jan. 14, 8 p.m.

Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School, 200 S. Grand Ave., LA

Tickets: Huntington Library: $42; Zipper Concert Hall: $42. Visit www.cameratapacifica.org.

Chamber Music at the Clark

This concert is next month, and although  tickets are limited, they are available through a lottery. I love the music of Debussy, Ravel and Gabriel Faure, and to hear it performed by the fabulous Ebéne Quartet is a concert not to missed!  What a way to weather this brutal Southern California winter – enveloped in exquisite music performed by these fabulous artists.

The outstanding program includes Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10, Fauré’s String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 121, and Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major.  A wine, hors d’oeuvre, and dessert reception follows, where you can mingle and chat with the performers.

A mail-in request for reservations is essential, and acceptance is by lottery. Requests for one or two tickets must be postmarked by Monday, Jan. 11. Include a check payable to UC Regents and a stamped, self-addressed envelope, which will be returned with either tickets or your check.  For a printable reservation-by-lottery form, visit https://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/c1718cs/content/regs/ebene09-r.htm.

Sunday, Feb. 14, 2 p.m.  (reservation request deadline Jan. 11)

UCLA Clark Memorial Library, 2520 Cimarron St., West Adams district of LA

Tickets: $25. Call (310) 206-8552 or visit https://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/c1718cs/calendar.htm.