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:

The LA Philharmonic’s West Coast Left Course Festival starts this Saturday and continues throughout the next several weeks at various venues.  The opening concert features the Kronos Quartet at Walt Disney Hall.  John Adams put together a tremendous series that will likely echo for years.

Reserve next Sunday for a Baroque encounter, because there are three outstanding concerts sharing the afternoon – two of them hosted in historic homes.  All of them should be outstanding, and the venues are intimate and comfortable.

Perhaps start your weekend with something a little out of the context of the other picks this week: Kurt Weill’s “The Threepenny Opera.”  It is a classic, and I guarantee that you will leave humming these memorable standards.

The Threepenny Opera

UCI Opera presents “The Threepenny Opera” by Kurt Weill this weekend.  The venue may be out of town, but it is not too far, especially if the magnificent  “Mack the Knife” is to be heard at the destination!  Always one of my favorites.  This production is directed by Kieth Fowler, with music director Dennis Castellano, and choreographer Stephan DiSchiavi.

Friday, Nov. 20, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2 and 8 p.m.
Winifred Smith Hall at UC Irvine

Tickets: $28 / $25 senior and groups / $12 UCI students and children

West Coast Left Coast Festival

eureka_415x150The LA Philharmonic’s West Coast Left Coast Festival starts this Saturday and continues throughout the next several weeks at various venues.  In addition to the outstanding performers and organizations in the Festival events at Disney Hall, other area organizations will be joining in on the theme in their regularly scheduled performances. The entire series will be superb, and it includes the Calder Quartet and Piano Spheres, among many other outstanding artists in the new music medium, as well as popular names like Brian Wilson.

The LA Phil says on its website: “This three-week series of concerts and special events – curated by Creative Chair John Adams – focuses on California as a land of possibility, a place where creative renegades have enjoyed a wide open and welcoming environment. Join the exploration and immerse yourself in music from many sources, as well as in symposia and other special events, all focusing on the West Coast ethos.”

Here is how the LA Phil describes the “Eureka!” opening night artists: “Fearless iconoclasts Kronos Quartet, performing a piece from award-winning film composer Thomas Newman. Visionary master of minimalism, Terry Riley. Brainy electronica assemblagists Matmos. Incubus’ psycho-musicologist, Mike Einziger.”

How cool is this? Culture Spot’s web administrator Michael Miller will be among the guitarists performing Einziger’s new piece for 12 guitars (Moog electric guitars with slides) and strings on Saturday night.

Saturday, Nov. 21, 9:30 p.m.
Walt Disney Concert Hall

For a 25% discount when ordering tickets, use the code EUREKA after clicking:

Classical Encounters

Are you looking for an intimate and relaxing environment with superb chamber music and great conversation?  Find it at the Classical Encounters Foundation as they present an interesting program with something for everyone, including a world premiere by Richard Todd, “Moods in Blue” for bassoon and piano by Gernot Wolfgang, and Beethoven’s Quintet in E-flat Major for piano and winds.  Guest flutist Boglarka Kiss and pianist Robert Thies will perform Pierre Sancan’s “Sonata for flute and piano.”  I especially look forward to hearing Allan Vogel wrestle the oboe as required by Poulenc in his “Sonata for oboe and piano” – a very difficult and soulful piece of music – finished just before his death and dedicated to Prokofiev. After the program, expect an informal buffet where you can meet and socialize with the performers and fellow music lovers.

Sunday, Nov. 22, 2 p.m.

The Hamburg Room, Home of Ronna Binn-Hersh, 19365 Lemmer Drive, Tarzana

Tickets: $35 premium – keyboard view / $30 general / $20 students
Call (818) 343-3095 or visit https://www.classicalencounters.org/.

Musica ad Rhenum

The Da Camera Society Chamber Music in Historic Sites presents Musica ad Rhenum Sunday afternoon at Le Petit Trianon (1916) in Pasadena.  Jed Wentz (flute), Igor Rukadze (violin), Job Ter Haar (cello), Cassandra Luckhardt (viola da gamba), and Michael Borgstede (harpsichord) will perform selections by Couperin and Telemann (including two of the “Paris” quartets).

Sunday, Nov. 22, 2 and 4 p.m.
Le Petit Trianon, Pasadena

Tickets: $89, $79.

The Angeles Consort

Sunday brings the Angeles Consort, featuring Janet Strauss (violin), Suzanna Giordano Gignac (violin and viola), Leif Woodward (cello), and Jason Yoshida (guitar and lute), to the San Fernando Valley.  The Angeles Consort brings premier early music artists of the area together to produce vibrant and informed performances of late 16th- to 18th-century music.  This Sunday’s program takes us on a sonic European holiday hosted by the finest of the Baroque masters.  Your “Baroque Passport” includes visits with Purcell and Handel in England, Falconieri and Vivaldi in Italy, Pachelbel in Germany, Couperin in France, de Fesch in Holland, and ends with Spanish Baroque guitar.  This program sounds fascinating.  I have heard the individual artists in various ensembles, and they are all superb.  I highly recommend this event. The event begins with a wine reception and introduction at 5 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 22, 5 p.m.
Church of the Epiphany, 5450 Churchwood Drive, Oak Park, (818) 991-4797

Tickets available at the door: Suggested donation $35 family / $15 adult / $5 students, children, and seniors. For information, call (818) 991-4797, ext. 26.