A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

The early summer schedules are free, or nearly so, and the weather is great.  Ah, summertime in LA, the fiddles are jumpin’ and the listenin’ is easy!

Wednesday, June 15, if you are near Glendale or Pasadena, then why not enjoy one of these FREE afternoon chamber music concerts with lunch and a few friends?  The Glendale Noon Concerts series features JACQUELINE SUZUKI (violin), VICTOR DeALMEIDA (viola), PAM DeALMEIDA (cello), ROSA LoGIUDICE (piano) playing a Schumann piano quartet. And not far away, another lunchtime affair, the Pasadena Presbyterian “Music at Noon” Series presents pianist CARL MATTHES with selections of Bach and Mozart.  Either one of these concerts is guaranteed to improve your digestion.

In a second performance this week on Sunday, Matthes shares his special Copland at ONE Archives in Venice.  The program promises to be insightful.

The weekend also brings two performances of Karen Benjamin’s production of MUSIC OF THE PEOPLE – Songs of 19th Century America to Manhattan Beach and Beverly Hills.  Somehow these songs and summer just seem to go together so beautifully well.

I am especially excited about the Salastina Music Society concert in Colburn’s Thayer Hall Saturday afternoon.  They offer a fantastic program as they close their inaugural season.  Read my review next week here at Culture Spot LA.

The Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra presents their season finale Sunday evening at the Montgomery Arts House for Music and Architecture in Malibu.  Read more below about this intriguing program idea.

Finally, to close the week with something new, really new, catch the extraordinary ECLIPSE QUARTET next Thursday.  The players are among our best, and the originality of the program is sure to pique your attention.

Glendale Noon Concerts

These FREE half-hour concerts are during the lunch hour on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at the Glendale Baptist Church.  Artists for this performance are JACQUELINE SUZUKI (violin), VICTOR DeALMEIDA (viola),PAM DeALMEIDA (cello), ROSA LoGIUDICE (piano).


• Schumann: Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op.47 (1842)

The church partners with Angela’s Bistro to prepare a sandwich, chips, and drinks for $6 for concert attendees.  You may order from the menu when you arrive and pick it up to take with you as you go (or stroll down to Angela’s, only a block away, to enjoy your meal in the bistro).

Wednesday, June 15, 12:10-12:40 p.m.

First Baptist Church of Glendale, 209 N. Louise Street, Glendale

Free admission – a donation basket for the artists will be present.

For information, call (818) 242-2113.

Pasadena Presbyterian “Music at Noon” Series

The Pasadena Presbyterian “Music at Noon” series brings Los Angeles native CARL MATTHES with a program of Bach and Mozart to enjoy during the lunch break.  Matthes enjoys international recognition as a soloist, but he is especially familiar to Los Angeles audiences, having performed with our best ensembles in our finest venues, and his many years as a distinguished educator have added to our city’s cultural identity.


• J.S. Bach-Hess: Jesu, Joy of Our Desiring

• Mozart: Sonata, A Major, K331

I  Theme and Variations, Andante grazioso

II  Menuetto

III  Rondo alla Turca, Allegretto

• J.S. Bach-Busoni: Organ Toccata and Fugue, D Minor

Wednesday, June 15, 12:10 p.m.

Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena

(NW corner of Colorado and Madison)

Free admission.  Lunch is available following the concert for a $6 donation, or bring your own lunch to enjoy in the church courtyard.

MUSIC OF THE PEOPLE – Songs of 19th Century America

“Music in the Mansion” (formerly Sundays at Two) was established in 1994 as a monthly showcase to revive the art of the classical recital.  Since 2001, the recitals also have been presented on previous Saturdays as the
“Previews” at Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan Beach.

Soprano KAREN BENJAMIN performs in musical theater, opera, and cabaret. And with her husband, KUSC classical radio celebrity and bass ALAN CHAPMAN, they produced cabaret evenings of Chapman’s original songs and have performed across the United States, including Carnegie Hall and the Los Angeles Music Center.  Popular baritone CEDRIC BERRY joins them with pianist VICTORIA KIRSCH.


Saturday, June 18, 2 p.m.

Trinity Lutheran Church, 1340 Eleventh Street,

(3 blocks east of Sepulveda, just south of Manhattan Beach Boulevard)

Tickets: Free, although donations are appreciated; information here.

Sunday, June 19, 2 p.m.

Beverly Hills Municipal Gallery, 444 N. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills

(Due to construction at the Greystone Mansion, the 2011 series
is relocated to the City of Beverly Hills Municipal Gallery adjacent
to City Hall.)

Tickets: $15, includes a post-concert reception of light fare. Advance reservations highly recommended as these concerts typically sell out. To reserve tickets ahead of time, call (310) 285-6850.  For information about “Music in the Mansion” in Beverly Hills, call (310) 285-6830.

Salastina Music Society

Violinists and Co-directors Kevin Kumar and Maia Jasper present the two final concerts of the Salastina Music Society season June 17 and 18.  The Salastina Music Society is a new nonprofit chamber music series based in Southern California and inaugurated only this year.  They offer a nicely formatted event with real artistic integrity.  The quality is top-tier, with principal players from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, and San Diego Symphony.  Internationally acclaimed clarinet soloist HAKAN ROSENGREN is joining the ensemble, and Resident Composer JEREMY CAVATERRA will premiere his work for string quartet and percussion.  Guest artists include CATHERINE RANSOM-KAROLY (flute), TIMOTHY LANDAUER (cello), GREG COHEN (percussion), ROBERT BROPHY (viola), and DAVID PARMUTER (double bass).


•  Antonin Dvořák: Miniatures

•  Béla Bartók: Romanian Dances (world premiere arrangement)

•  Maurice Ravel: Introduction and Allegro (featuring Julie Ann Smith, harp)

The harp should be wonderful in Thayer.

•  Mark O’Connor: Appalachia Waltz Trio

O’Connor described his compositional style in terms of “crossing bridges”; it is an eclectic, although unique blend of classical, folk and jazz influences.

•  Jeremy Cavaterra: Movement for String Quartet and Percussion (world premiere)

•  Arturo Márquez: Danzon No. 2 (world premiere arrangement)

Inspired by the Cuban danzon style in Mexican ballrooms, this popular work was originally scored for orchestra.

If you have never been to Thayer Hall, then you have missed one of the finest-sounding small chamber spaces in the city.  I am looking forward to the program, especially in this venue.  The program is without intermission and slightly shorter than usual, with short introductions to each piece.  Business casual attire is suggested.

Scoops Ice Cream will be catering mini ice cream cones of exotic flavors for all ticket holders following the concert.

June 17, 8 p.m.

Balch Auditorium at Scripps College, 1030 Columbia Ave., Claremont

June 18, 3 p.m.

Thayer Hall at the Colburn School, 200 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

Advance purchase tickets:  $18 per person for regular seating

Tickets at the door:  $25 per person for regular seating, cash or credit

ONE Archives

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives presents pianist and Copland specialist CARL MATTHES Sunday, June 19.  The Program is titled “Aaron Copland – America’s Beloved Gay Composer.”  In the concert, Matthes will speak about Copland’s life and perform his piano compositions.

Sunday, June 19, 2 p.m.

ONE Archives, 909 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles

(North of USC between Hoover and Figueroa)

Suggested donation: $5.   Information available here.

Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra

The Malibu Friends of Music and SCOTT HOSFELD, music director and conductor, present their season finale Sunday evening at the Montgomery Arts House for Music and Architecture (MAHMA) in Malibu.

Resident artists MARIA NEWMAN (violin) and SCOTT HOSFELD (viola) and ELAINA ARCHER (film historian) join guest artists AIMEE KRESTON and REBECCA HANG (violins), ANDREW PICKEN (viola), BRIAN SCHULDT and PAULA HOCHHALTER (cellos), WESLEY HAWKS (clarinet), and WENDY PROBER (piano).


•  Sergei Prokofiev: Overture on Hebrew Themes for clarinet, string quartet, and piano

•  Johannes Brahms: Sextet in G Major for strings

•  …and a taste of MAHMA: Mary Pickford/Maria Newman, 1919 silent feature film “Heart O’ the Hills.”

Sunday, June 19, 7 p.m.

Montgomery Arts House for Music and Architecture (MAHMA)

6307 Busch Drive, Malibu

Make a reservation and a donation by calling (310) 589-0295.

Beyond Baroque Music

Thursday, June 23, don’t miss the ECLIPSE QUARTET with SARA PARKINS and SARAH THORNBLADE (violins), ALMA FERNANDEZ (viola), and MAGGIE PARKINS (cello), joined by CHRISTOPHER ROBERTS (Chinese qin).


•  Peter Garland: String Quartet No.2, “Crazy Cloud.”

1. Sado

2. Mori (the blind courtesan and singer who became Ikkyu’s lover)

3. “Sueño en Rio Grande” (title of a song by Las Hermanas Padilla)

4. Blues for Helena

5. “From the Mountains, Returning to the City” (title of a poem by Ikkyu)

Crazy Cloud” was begun in Japan and completed in Berlin in the summer of 1994. The title refers to the pen name of poet-priest Ikkyu (1394-1481).

•  Christopher Roberts: The Last Cicada Singing for Chinese qin.

Roberts wrote that “Last Cicada Singing began after years of deep listening to crickets, katydids and cicadas at dusk, through the night and at dawn in Taiwan. Some in choirs, some singing alone, the insects call from distant mountains, from the bush next to where I settle to listen, and from the hill across from me. As they abruptly start and stop their singing, I feel a new sense of near and far in the dark. Late one summer, motifs that conjured the inherent motion of the phrasing of the insect calls appeared at night on the qin. I worked from my rooftop in Yangmingshan, letting the piece unfold its own narrative, some voices appearing in the story as mine, some reflecting the constancy of the insects. I was held most strongly by each evening’s fading of the cicada chorusing as night grew dark. I would follow the last cicada to sing each evening into my own thoughts and stillness.”

Thursday, June 23, 8:30 p.m.

Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice

Admission: $10.  For information click here.

~Theodore Bell/Culture Spot LA

Culture Spot LA recommends Jim Eninger’s Clickable Chamber Music Newsletter, an extensive calendar of upcoming music events, large and small, happening all around Los Angeles.