• Musicians with masks on a stage with orange colored curtain

      LACO SummerFest (L-R) Margaret Batjer, Andrew von Oeyen, and Andrew Shulman (Photo – Ben Cadwallader)

      Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) will resume live performances – with social distancing and no audience with the launching of “LACO SummerFest,” the Orchestra’s first-ever summer chamber music series.

      By News Desk

      LACO SummerFest includes five concerts, each spotlighting several LACO artists and special musical guests performing together live at Zipper Hall, in downtown Los Angeles, a broad range of chamber music that will be recorded specifically for the series, with new programs streaming at 5:00 pm (PDT) every other Saturday from July 11 through September 5, 2020. Each broadcast will initially be available at laco.org/live and subsequently on demand at laco.org/laco-at-home, as well as laco.org/summerfest.

      Digital Live Concerts

      “LACO’s SummerFest is a small but very meaningful step toward the Orchestra continuing to produce innovative and relevant musical content,” says LACO’s Executive Director Ben Cadwallader. “It will keep our audiences engaged and connected while also putting our musicians back to work – while keeping them safe – which is vitally important. We are learning a lot about what it takes to pull off an in-person digital concert and will apply this new competency to the programs we have tentatively planned for fall. We have worked very closely with our colleagues in LACO’s Orchestra Committee and Local 47 to establish stringent safety standards for these live engagements, in full compliance with local and state regulations, that will protect the performers and recording technicians.”

      Recorded at Zipper Hall

      He also notes that SummerFest features fully integrated, programs designed specifically for the series, rather than piecing together material from archived pre-pandemic performances or recordings by individual musicians at home during the pandemic.

      LACO Summerfest: Opening Concert, July 11

      The festival’s opening concert, which streams on Saturday, July 11, 2020, at 5:00 pm (PDT), features Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, Principal Cello Andrew Shulman and special guest pianist Andrew von Oeyen. The program includes Florence Beatrice Price’s The Deserted Garden, for violin and piano. Although Price was a musical pioneer who became the first black female American composer to have a symphony performed by a major U.S. orchestra, her career was stunted due to the systemic racism in classical music which she and so many other artists of color have encountered and continue to encounter. Also, on the program is Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor, considered one of the composer’s greatest and most popular chamber works.

      Subsequent SummerFest concerts will stream on July 25, August 8 and 22 and September 5, 5 pm (PDT). The concert on July 11 is made possible by a generous gift from Terri and Jerry Kohl. The July 25 concert is made possible by a generous gift from LACO Board Chair Leslie Lassiter.

      Artists featured on July 11 program

      A woman in a black blouse and a violin

      LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer (Photo – LACO)

      MARGARET BATJER, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orches­tra since 1998, made her first solo appearance at age 15 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has since soloed with leading orchestras from around the world including the Philadelphia, St. Louis and Dallas symphonies; the Prague, Halle and Berlin sympho­ny orchestras; and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. An esteemed chamber musician, she appears regularly at the Marlboro Music Festival, as well as many other festivals in the US and Europe. Batjer has recorded extensively for Philips, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon and BMG. She serves on the faculties of the USC Thorn­ton School of Music and the Colburn Music Academy.

      ANDREW SHULMAN was appointed Principal Cello of LACO in 2008 and is also a professor of violoncello at the University of Southern California. Shulman was the first British winner of the Piatigorsky Artist Award and was bestowed with an Honorary RCM by The Queen Mother in 1986. He has appeared as a soloist with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and previously served as first chair with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and principal cello of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has given recitals in the Royal Palace in Stockholm; London’s Wigmore Hall, Buckingham Palace and Royal Festival Hall; and, locally, at the Hollywood Bowl.

      ANDREW VON OEYEN, who made his debut at age 16 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is a pianist hailed worldwide for his elegant and insightful interpretations, balanced artistry and brilliant technique. He has extended his interpretive voice to a broad spectrum of repertoire as both a soloist and recitalist. He has collaborated with such ensembles as the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony and Slovenian Philharmonic, among many others. Oeyen, of German and Dutch origin, was born in the U.S. He began his piano studies at age 5 and won the prestigious Gilmore Young Artist Award in 1999 and also took First Prize in the Leni Fe Bland Foundation National Piano Competition in 2001. 

      LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA is led by Music Director Jaime Martín. Martín builds upon LACO’s rich legacy as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and, with eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, a champion of contemporary composers. Headquartered in the heart of the country’s cultural capital, LACO is “more important with each passing year,” (Los Angeles Times), “America’s finest chamber orchestra” (Public Radio International) and “one of the world’s great chamber orchestras” (KUSC Classical FM). Martín’s appearance as LACO’s Music Director Designate in early 2019 was described by the Los Angeles Times, as “a thrilling performance, and the orchestra played like it was having the time of its life.”

      > Viewers who wish to support LACO and the artists on screen are encouraged to visit LACO.org/donate or call (213) 622-7001, EXT. 4.

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