On Thursday, August 14, Yo-Yo Ma returned to the Hollywood Bowl for another spectacular performance. Playing to a packed house, Ma the Elgar Cello Concerto, one of the most popular solo pieces for cello with orchestra.
It was the usual balmy California evening at the Bowl. The Los Angeles Philharmonic opened the concert at 8:00 p.m. with Walton’s Crown Imperial. Then Ma entered and proceeded to entertain and hold the crowd’s rapt attention throughout the nearly 30 minute long piece of four movements.
Rousing applause returned Ma to the stage again and again. Ma is truly a great showman and genial ambassador for cello and classical music.
The L.A. Phil completed the second half of the concert with Debussy’s gorgeous Sarabande and Danse (arranged by Ravel) and La Mer.
The quintessential California experience must include a summer picnic and concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Bravo!
The top notch Los Angeles area youth orchestra, Glendale Youth Orchestra, holds additional auditions on Sunday, August 24, for the upcoming 2014-2015 season.
More information and excerpts can be found on the GYO’s website. Comprised of mainly sixth through twelfth graders from Glendale, La Crescenta, La Canada, Burbank, Pasadena and Los Angeles, students come from as far away as Culver City, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, San Gabriel and San Marino to participate.
Conducted by Brad Keimach for nearly 15 years, the GYO begins its 26th season this fall. The orchestra performs three times annually at the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA.
Since it’s recent reopening and refurbishment, the Brand Library and Art Center has presented regular, free weekly programs on art, music, film and more. The grounds surrounding the Library are lovely, and often filled on the weekends with picnickers and families.
The interior art gallery is showing Joan Quinn Captured until August 1. Cruise Night is scheduled for this Saturday, July 19.
On Friday evening, July 18, Bali and Beyond music and dance will be presented, including gamelan music and shadow puppet theatre. Seating for 70 is on a first-come first-served basis.
Every Friday evening through September, the Glendale Arts Commission has a special guest booked at the Brand Library – from African drum music, to singer/songwriters, jazz and more. See their schedule here.
One musical we were thrilled to make the trek downtown to see was “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” at the Ahmnason Theatre. With a stellar cast and powerful singing, this adaptation of the George and Ira Gershwin’s original Broadway musical.
Backed by a 23-piece orchestra, the Ahmanson rang with song, laughter and gasps, as the audience followed the travails and trials of Porgy and his troublesome love Bess. Set in Charleston, South Carolina, and more particularly, the African-American community on Catfish Row, “Porgy and Bess” has long been called an original American opera.
We enjoyed the gripping story and were swept away into the depiction of life in the early twentieth century in a struggling community in the South. The musical was powered by deep performances from Alicia Hall Moran and Nathaniel Stampley, along with a talented ensemble group of actors.
The musical was even more powerful with the live orchestra providing important background music and sonic effects. From the costumes to the staging to the direction, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” was a spectacular, encompassing performance and will remain a jewel in Ahmanson Theatre history.
The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra said goodbye to Maestro and Music Director Enrique Arturo Diemecke with a rocking Rachmaninoff finale on Saturday, May 31. Pianist Di Wu performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and the evening culminated with a rousing rendition of Rachmanioff’s Symphony No. 2.
After a fantastic meal at Parker’s Lighthouse in nearby Shoreline Village…. hot tip – valet for that restaurant on a weekend… we made our way to the Long Beach Performing Arts Center for this amazing concert.
The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra was powerful and strong, and the crowd was enthralled for both Rachmaninoff presentations.
However, the intermission coffee and drink services were overwhelmed, with wait times leaving most people still waiting as the warning gongs were rung for the start of the second part.
The LB Performing Arts Center was a lovely space, albeit incredibly aged and well-worn. The acoustics were great, but the center is verging on ancient in 2014. The staff and patrons alike were amiable and friendly.
The upcoming classical season of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra sees the principals of each section performing concertos, most likely with guest conductors, as the search for a musical director continues. The POPS! season looks like a lot of fun, too…. Definitely an interesting orchestra and a fun evening out in the Los Angeles area.
The Glendale Youth Orchestra is comprised of youth from across the city and county of Los Angeles. While based in Glendale, the GYO practices weekly Sunday evenings September through May at Forest Lawn’s Hall of Liberty, just off the 134 Freeway in Burbank.
The GYO performs 3 concerts annually at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. They have performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the past.
Early auditions will be held on August 25 and June 1. Check out the website for application and excerpts.
With student concertos performed by graduating senior Se Jun Kim, 16-year-old Sherry Tang and 14-year-old Anna Gong, the daughter of Los Angeles Philharmonic Associate Concertmaster Bing Wang, the spring concert highlights just some of the major talent playing with the Glendale Youth Orchestra.
Beethoven’s complete Symphony No. 4 will cap off the culminating concert. Longtime Concertmaster Sarah Worden graduates high school in a few weeks and heads off to college in the fall.
Conducted by Brad Keimach, the GYO draws student musicians in grades six through 12 from all over Los Angeles County. Several college and post-graduate music studies majors also perform and practice with the orchestra.
As one of the house companies at Glendale’s historic Alex Theatre, the GYO performs three concerts annually, with very low-cost tickets, even though they pay a similar rental rate for the theatre as other professional companies. Donations to offset the cost of renting the theatre are always welcomed, any time of the year, and more information about supporting the GYO can be had by visiting their website.
The GYO also provided multiple scholarships annually to assist need-based applicants. Donations to their scholarship program are also welcomed. More information can always be found by emailing the orchestra manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alex Theatre was the scene of another wonderful concert by the extremely talented Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra on Saturday, March 22. Violinists Jennifer Koh and Jaime Laredo performed the beautiful Double Violin Concerto to celebrate Bach’s birthday.
The performance began with Mendelssohn’s “The Fair Melusina” Overture and premiered the West Coast performance of contemporary composer Anna Clyne’s intriguing Prince Of Clouds. The concert concluded with Schubert’s Symphony No. 3.
The Concerto in D minor for Two Violins however was the highlight of the evening, with impassioned performances by both Koh and Laredo. A warm familiarity pervaded the evening, as Laredo was Koh’s childhood violin instructor.
The Alex Theater was as lovely as ever and almost packed to capacity. Luckily the L.A. Chamber Orchestra performs often at the Alex, saving us on the northern and eastern parts of Los Angeles from having to brave the 405 Freeway to get to Royce Hall.
This is looking to be one of my favorite concerts of the year, and it’s only March. The Glendale Youth Orchestra performs Carl Davis’ score for Charlie Chaplin’s silent film “The Rink” on Sunday, March 7, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.
A preview rehearsal sounded fantastic, so it is sure to be a special and exciting performance when everyone gets all dressed up and out for the show. “The Rink” is hilarious in its own right, and will be even more so, with the concurrent performance of Davis’ enjoyable score.
Concertmaster Sarah Worden will perform two movements of a Beethoven Violin Concerto in the first part of the concert. The senior violinist will finish her final season with the GYO in May. Anna Gong, daughter of L.A. Philharmonic Associate Concertmaster Bing Wang, looks poised to step into Worden’s shoes next season.