The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra has received a hefty stocking stuffer this season in the form of a monetary gift from Terri and Jerry Kohl. The couple's $1-million challenge gift is the largest in the organization's history, according to orchestra leaders.
The Kohls are the founders of Brighton Collectibles, the Southern California retailer of women's accessories. LACO said the challenge grant -- given with a request for a matching gift -- has already been met by two anonymous donations totaling an additional $1 million. The orchestra said the $2 million will establish Cornerstone Campaign, a major gifts and endowment initiative.
LACO was founded in 1968 and is led by music director Jeffrey Kahane. The chamber ensemble performs in venues around Southern California, including the Alex Theatre in Glendale, Zipper Concert Hall in downtown L.A. and Royce Hall at UCLA.
The Kohls have donated to various local music groups, including the recently formed Muse/ique, founded by former Pasadena Pops conductor Rachael Worby.
In a statement, Jerry Kohl said that LACO has had to make "considerable sacrifices" in recent years in order to maintain its fiscal standing.
"We chose to make this gift because we don't want the orchestra to ever compromise its artistic programming, even in difficult economic times. We want to make sure they don’t have to cut back any more," said Kohl.
Rachel Fine, the orchestra's executive director, said in an interview that the sacrifices Kohl referred to include suspending the orchestra's family series and reducing the number of musicians at certain performances. "We've had to be creative in determining how many musicians we use," Fine said.
But she said the cuts were "not severe" and that the orchestra continues to maintain its level of artistic excellence.
LACO's next concert is scheduled for Jan. 17 at Zipper Hall, with a program featuring Baroque music by Bach.