LOS ANGELES – ColoradoBoulevard.net:
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, led by Music Director Jaime Martín, caps season by announcing new principal flute and first violin section appointments.
By News Desk
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), proclaimed “one of the world’s great chamber orchestras”(Classical KUSC), has appointed Benjamin Smolen to Principal Flute and Misha Vayman to the First Violin section. Both musicians are based in Los Angeles and will begin their new posts with the Orchestra in the fall.
“Our musicians are among the finest in the world, and I am very happy to welcome Benjamin Smolen and Misha Vayman to the Orchestra,” said Director Jaime Martín. “I look forward to sharing their artistry with our audiences.”
Benjamin Smolen joined the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in 2011, where he holds the Valerie and Hans Imhof Principal Flute Chair. He has also performed as guest Principal Flute with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Pasadena Symphony. Smolen has given solo performances with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Gardner Webb Symphony Orchestra, Princeton University Orchestra, Charlotte Civic and Youth Orchestras, and twice on National Public Radio’s From the Top with pianist Christopher O’Riley. In addition to his work on stage, Benjamin is active in the Hollywood scoring industry and has recorded with film composers, including John Williams, Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri, and Randy Newman.
He can be heard on Neil Young’s latest album, Storytone. Smolen has given recitals around the world, and was a featured guest at the Japan Flute Festival and the National Flute Association’s annual convention. Smolen completed his undergraduate studies in the Music and Slavic departments at Princeton University, during which time he also completed a Performance Diploma at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He earned a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance at the New England Conservatory and pursued additional studies at the University of Michigan. Smolen performs on a handmade, custom-crafted Haynes 14-karat gold flute.
Misha Vayman, who was appointed to fifth chair in LACO’s first violin section, performs in a wide range of contexts, such as opening for experimental pop artist Dorian Electra and soloing with noted orchestras across the United States, Mexico, China, and Russia. He has released albums with the Benefic Piano Trio, the Delirium Musicum Chamber Orchestra, and his genre-defying band, Astral Mixtape, on labels such as Warner Classics and MSR. Vayman has also appeared on albums by Plini, String Theory, Jamie Drake, Ryan Dilmore, and Porter Robinson, among others. He has served on the faculty at summer workshops and gives masterclasses at leading universities across the country. Vayman has twice won the Grand Prize in the international ENKOR Competition, once in the Solo division, and once in the Chamber Music division with the Benefic Piano Trio. He is a graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music. Previously, Vayman attended the Colburn Conservatory, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, beloved by audiences and praised by critics, is a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and, with eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, a champion of contemporary composers. The Orchestra has made 32 recordings, including, most recently, a 2019 BIS Records release of works for violin and chamber orchestra that features Concertmaster Margaret Batjer. LACO, with offices located in downtown Los Angeles, has toured Europe, South America, and Japan, and performed across North America.
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