HomeCharities & FundraisersLA Chamber Orchestra’s “In Focus” Comes to The Huntington Feb. 15

LA Chamber Orchestra’s “In Focus” Comes to The Huntington Feb. 15

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Concertmaster Margaret Batjer. Michael Burke Photo

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s (LACO) virtuosic musicians will serve as musical tour guides for In Focus, the Orchestra’s compelling chamber music series curated by Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, which provides insights into the quintessence of some of the great chamber music repertoire through the lens of LACO artists in an intimate setting.

 In Focus opens with the LACO-commissioned world premiere of Juan Pablo Contreras’ piano quintet Musas Mexicanas (Mexican Muses) with a performance on Friday, February 15 in The Huntington’s Rothenberg Hall at 7:30 p.m.

The program also features Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, inspired by the sunny Italian city, and Dohnányi’s Serenade for String Trio, notable for its Hungarian folk music influences.

 With Musas Mexicanas, a collection of musical portraits, Contreras pays homage to several women who have made an indelible impact on Mexico, including artist and icon Frida Kahlo, 17th century poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and La Malinche, the Aztec woman who translated for Hernán Cortés during the Spanish Conquest. Batjer is joined by pianist Hye-Jin Kim and LACO artists Violins Susan Rishik and Maia Jasper White, Associate Principal Viola Victoria Miskolczy, Viola Robert Brophy, Principal Cello Andrew Shulman and Cello Trevor Handy. Contreras, born in Guadalajara, Mexico and currently based in Los Angeles, is recognized as “one of the most prominent young composers of Latin America” His music has been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, the Salta and Cordoba symphonies in Argentina and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela. The recipient of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award and Mexican Endowment for the Arts and Culture Young Artist Fellowship, Contreras has served as composer-in-residence at the Turtle Bay Music School and the Concerts on the Slope chamber music series in New York.

“In Focus” returns to The Huntington in March, when LACO violinists, stand-mates and real-life husband and wife Carrie Kennedy and Joel Pargman are showcased on Prokofiev’s “Sonata for Two Violins” on Friday, March 29. Additional works on the program include Barber’s String Quartet in B major, for which the composer arranged the middle movement for string orchestra as the highly recognizable Adagio for Strings; Peter Knell’s tender and delicate string quartet Intimate Voices, premiered in 2016; and Bartók’s Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, a three-movement work infusing Hungarian and Romanian dance melodies commissioned by famed American jazz clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman. Other featured LACO artists are Assistant Concertmaster Tereza Stanislav and Violin Sarah Thornblade, Associate Principal Viola Victoria Miskolczy, Cello Giovanna Clayton and Principal Clarinet Joshua Ranz. Pargman and Kennedy, who joined LACO in 2011 and 2012 respectively, also perform with Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra and the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and are active in the television, motion pictures and recording industry.

The final In Focus program this season at The Huntington features Batjer leading impressionistic gems by Ravel, Debussy and Kodály on Friday, April 12. In addition to Batjer, LACO artists performing are Assistant Concertmaster Tereza Stanislav, Violins Josefina Vergara and Tamara Hatwan, Viola Robert Brophy, Principal Cello Andrew Shulman and Assistant Principal Cello Armen Ksajikian.

Tickets, starting at $49, are available online at laco.org, or by calling LACO at (213) 622-7001. Single tickets can also be purchased at the the Rothenberg Hall box office on the night of the concert, if tickets remain. Discounted tickets are available by phone for groups of 12 or more. College students with valid student ID may purchase tickets for $8, subject to availability.

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