Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra announces new season and extends leader Kahane’s contract

This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.

Jeffrey Kahane’s 15th season as music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra will include the expected –- Bach and Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky, Britten and Haydn, Ravel and Respighi –- plus a session with an instrument more associated with Fender and Paul, the electric guitar.

Along with announcing Kahane’s 15th anniversary season Thursday, the orchestra reported that it has extended his contract for two more seasons, through 2013-14.

The kickoff to the orchestra’s 2011-12 season is a program dubbed “Electric” (Sept. 24-25) in honor of “Ritornello,” a composition for orchestra and electric guitar by LACO’s composer-in-residence, Derek Bermel, with Wiek Hijmans of Holland fretting the ax (a Gretsch, judging from his online photos). Kahane (pictured) will follow that piece as soloist on the ensuing Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4.


Another unusual pairing during the season will be father and son: Jeffrey Kahane conducting, and his singer-pianist-composer offspring, Gabriel Kahane, as soloist. They’'ll unite for an as-yet untitled new work in which the younger Kahane examines his Jewish grandmother’s evolution toward an American identity following her escape from Germany before World War II. It will be their first collaboration in a mainstage program and the first time the father has conducted a piece by his son; the evening is dubbed “Kahane2” (April 21-22).

Another new work, by Timothy Andres, will have its world premiere on a program called ‘Refracted’ (March 24-25). The composer-pianist will also offer a mashup version of Mozart’s “Coronation” Concerto, writing his own substitutions for Mozart’s incomplete left-hand sketches. For those who like their Mozart straight, the evening will conclude with Symphony No. 40, presumably unaltered.

There’s also a “Mozart (Mostly)” program, conducted by Andrew Shulman and featuring violinist Nigel Armstrong (Jan. 21-22); Bach’s six Brandeburg Concertos, led by violinist Margaret Batjer (Nov. 5-6); “Illumination,” a program of Dvorak, Britten and Beethoven featuring soprano Karina Gauvin (Oct. 15-16); and “Reflection,” offering pieces by Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Respighi and Thomas Ades, with cellist Ralph Kirshbaum (Dec. 10-11).

The first night of each program is at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, and the second at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Also on tap is a one-nighter, “Discover Bach’s Magnificat,” at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena (Feb. 25). Kahane will discuss as well as perform the piece, with the USC Thornton Chamber Singers providing the choral parts. The annual Westside Connections series at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica will explore the relationship between music and cuisine, with chefs involved as well as musicians.

Along with announcing Kahane’s 15th anniversary season, the orchestra reported that it has extended his contract through 2013-14. The job paid $194,000 in 2008-09, the most recent year for which the orchestra’s public tax return was available. The document shows that LACO reduced expenses from $4.1 million to $3.4 million in that deep recessionary year, increased donations by more than $500,000, and managed to turn the previous year’s $145,000 deficit into a $381,000 surplus.


Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra to explore the musical mind

Derek Bermel with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Jeffrey Kahane withdraws from Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s opening concerts

For the record, 1:55 p.m. May 13: An earlier version of this post said that ‘Refracted’ was the title of a world premiere piece by Timothy Andres and the program in which it would be performed. ‘Refracted’ is the name of the program, but Andres’ piece is as-yet untitled.

-- Mike Boehm