A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

In Classical Focus, Theodore Bell chooses a few highlights from Jim Eninger’s Clickable Chamber Music Newsletter. Here are his top picks from the latest edition:

Australian flutist Antares Boyle and pianist Rory Cowal celebrate Japanese Heritage in Contemporary Music on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, 369 E. First St., in downtown LA with a recital featuring Japanese composers Joji Yuasa, Toshio Hosokawa, Michio Kitazume, Kazuo Fukushima, and Misato Mochizuki.  The program also includes the world premiere of a newly commissioned work by the composer Ryan Tanaka. Free admission.

The Epicenter Music Performance Organization (TEMPO) will perform its debut concert on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at Cypress Hall at California State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge.  The ensemble consists of Daniel Kessner, flute/conductor; Julia Heinen, clarinet; Nancy Roth, violin/viola; Matt Cooker, cello; John Roscigno, percussion/conductor; and Dmitry Rachmanov playing piano.  TEMPO is a group of CSUN music faculty and alumni open to all repertoire but emphasizing contemporary works.  Well-known Los Angeles flutist, conductor, and prolific composer Kessner will perform “Harmonic Space for flute, clarinet, viola, cello, and percussion,” his work that recently won the Music 08/eighth blackbird Composition Competition. Dr. Kessner is also a professor at CSUN and enjoys an impressive discography and international performance schedule of his works.  In addition to Bela Bartok’s “Contrasts for clarinet, violin, and piano,” there will be a performance of Daniel Hosken’s “Three Pieces for flute, clarinet, and piano.”  Dr. Hosken, another CSUN professor, also has an international reputation with his recent work focusing on interactive electronic performance. John Mackey’s “Damn for amplified clarinet, percussion, and dancer,”  Romanian composer Liviu Marinescu’s  “Über Alles,” for clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion, and Chen Yi’s “Happy Rain on a Spring Night” for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano round out the program.  Tickets are $10 / $7 faculty, staff, senior citizens / $5 students. For information, call (818) 677-3184.

Flutist Lisa Schroeder and guitarist Michael Nigro perform as the Noteworthy Duo on Sunday, Sept. 20, at 4 p.m. at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, 6201 E. Willow St., Long Beach. Admission is free. Noteworthy’s interest in South American music can be heard throughout their extensive flute and guitar repertoire. Expect them to include commentary and anecdotes about the composers and works they perform. The California-based duo tours extensively across the United States garnering great reviews, and has performed live on television and radio programs. Their debut CD, titled “Between Guitar and Flute” was released in February 2009.

Matt McBane is founder of the Carlsbad Music Festival, which kicks off with a satellite concert in LA on Sept. 23.

Matt McBane is founder of the Carlsbad Music Festival, which kicks off with a satellite concert in LA on Sept. 23.

The Carlsbad Music Festival, founded by composer and violinist Matt McBane, will have concerts in Carlsbad Friday through Sunday, Sept. 25-27. And while it’s definitely worth the drive to hear world premieres and new music performed by the Calder Quartet, California E.A.R. Unit, and composer/improviser/guitarist Fred Frith, there will also be a satellite concert on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m. in LA – at the Colburn School’s Zipper Hall.

McBane, violinist and composer for Build, his Brooklyn-based indie-classical band, studied composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music with Donald Crockett. He pointed out that this year’s sixth annual Festival features six world premieres, five Composers-in-Residence, the Festival debut of the California E.A.R. Unit, and the return of the Festival’s Founding Ensemble-in-Residence, the Calder Quartet.

The program for the LA concert includes:

  • Keeril Makan’s “After Forgetting” (preview performance) performed by the E.A.R. Unit
  • Fabian Svensson’s “Singing and Dancing” commissioned by CMF and performed by the Calder Quartet
  • Linda Catlin Smith’s “Wanderer” performed by the E.A.R. Unit
  • Matt McBane’s “2×4” for string octet commissioned by CMF and performed by the E.A.R. Unit, Calder Quartet, and McBane

Following is a description of the Sept. 23 concert written by McBane for the Festival goers: “The LA Satellite Concert features a program entirely consisting of world premieres and works commissioned by the Festival. The two premieres, Keeril Makan’s ‘After Forgetting’ and Linda Catlin Smith’s ‘Wanderer,’ were commissioned by the E.A.R. Unit. Makan’s music is deeply intellectual yet visceral, muscular and emotionally raw; Smith’s music is often slow and soft with a keen attention to the colors of sound set in a world of ambiguity. The two past CMF commissions are Fabian Svensson’s 2008 ‘Singing and Dancing’ (programmed in what has become a CMF tradition of programming last year’s Composers Competition winner at the LA Satellite concert) and my 2004 ‘2×4.’ ‘Singing and Dancing’ is a minimalist work that embodies Svensson’s music’s seemingly disparate qualities of austere beauty and wry humor. ‘2×4’ was the first piece written for the first Carlsbad Music Festival back in 2004 and it is a great joy to bring many of the Festival musicians together to reprise it this year. Not only is this a collaborative affair between the two ensembles and myself, but it is a family affair with husband and wife violists Jonathan and Josephine Liu Moerschel, and violinist and cellist brothers Ben and Peter Jacobson.”

Tickets for all concerts are $25 for priority seating, $15 for general admission, $8 for students (at door), and can be purchased at www.carlsbadmusicfestival.org. Also visit the website for details about the Sept. 25-27 concerts at the Dove Library in Carlsbad.