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SMALLER DEFICIT, HIGHER HOPES FOR LACO IN 1986-87

Wesley Brustad, executive director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since December, says his first four months on the job “have seemed like four years--very frustrating much of the time. But also satisfying.”

When Brustad took over the post, the arts administrator who formerly held posts in Orange County (Pacific Symphony) and Spokane (Spokane Symphony) inherited the remainder of the orchestra’s fiscal crisis of last summer. That included the cancellation of events, the shortening of the past season, artists’ contracts to renegotiate, a staff to reorganize and a new season to arrange.

From his desk in Pasadena, Brustad reports that the transition period is over. And one of the satisfactions, he says, is in watching the organization’s deficit diminish in size.

“Over this past year, our board has raised in excess of $800,000, a portion of which has gone toward reducing our deficit--estimated at $180,000 last summer, but actually closer to $200,000,” he says.

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At this point, Brustad continues, “we are only $40,000 away from eradicating the deficit--and we have every expectation of doing that by June 1.”

According to Ronald S. Rosen, president of the board of directors of LACO, “The board (spearheaded by longtime orchestral supporters Robert A. DeWitt, Morton B. ‘Tony’ Jackson and David K. Ingalls) raised over $200,000 in excess of the (last) season’s operating needs. We are deeply grateful to these individuals, and the foundations that provided large grants.” He mentioned, among others, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the Irvine Foundation, the Atlantic Richfield Foundation and the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation.

In the meantime, Brustad has announced the 1986-87 season, one which he says will stay close to the fiscal limits of 1985-86. “We are stepping out a little bit, while keeping a close eye on the financial thing. Our total budget for 1986-87 will be $1.7 million.”

At home--at its residency at Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena--LACO will increase its full-orchestra series from four to six concerts. The Baroque series will shrink from five concerts to four (with the annual “Brandenburg” concertos presentation remaining outside any series).

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The orchestra will also maintain its activity at Embassy Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles, and will institute a new Westside series at the Beverly Theatre in Beverly Hills. “This is a fine auditorium we just stumbled on,” Brustad says.

As Gerard Schwarz, music director of LACO from September, 1978, through June 1, prepares to depart, no successor for him has been chosen, Brustad reports. Instead, several guest conductors--all of them candidates “for some future association with the orchestra"--will lead the coming season.

Schwarz himself will return for the close of the season, in May, 1987--just as he closes this season with three sets of concerts, April 12-13, May 1-4 and May 31-June 1.

Sir Charles Mackerras opens the concert year Sept. 18 and 20, to be followed by the Berkeley/Paris-based conductor Kent Nagano, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Hugh Wolff, who recently assumed music directorship of the New Jersey Symphony, visits here in December; a conductor to-be-announced will preside over the January, 1987, concerts.

In February, composer-conductor Gunther Schuller will lead LACO; in March, flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal will be on the podium. The German musician Christof Perick leads two concerts here, April 30 and May 2; recorder soloist and conductor Frans Brueggen displays both achievements, in mid-May.

Among non-conducting soloists, some of the visitors will be pianists Jorge Bolet and Jeffrey Kahane, violinist Elmar Oliveira, violist Sol Greitzer and cellist Ofra Harnoy.

AND AT THE PHILHARMONIC: Heinz Holliger, that multi-hyphenate musician--he is, in the order of his fame, oboist, composer, conductor, flutist and pianist--spends an evening with followers of the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Monday night at 8 at the Japan America Theatre. An entire program of Holliger’s compositions will include three United States premieres. . . . With Boris Belkin as soloist, Kurt Sanderling conducts a second week of Philharmonic subscription concerts, beginning Thursday night at 8 in the Pavilion of the Music Center. Sanderling’s program: the Violin Concerto of Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony.

UNHOUSED: After five years of successful operation, the UCLA community-based dance and performing arts facility, The House in Santa Monica, will close its doors next Sunday. According to Robert H. Gray, dean of the UCLA College of Fine Arts, “The owners have sold the facility and we have lost our lease. We intend to relocate and have been actively seeking a suitable location.”

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A special reception for members and supporters of the facility will be held at The House, which is at 1329-B 5th St. in Santa Monica, Tuesday night at 7:30. Among the speakers will be Carol Scothorn, Bella Lewitzky, Lola Montes, Tina Griffin and Lewis Segal.

For further information: (213) 393-3962.

RECORDS: American Ballet Theatre, which closed its Los Angeles engagement two weeks ago today, has already broken its own record in terms of tickets sold, even before the L.A. figures--from three weeks at Shrine Auditorium--are in.

According to Charles Dillingham, ABT executive director, the dance troupe, which began its current transcontinental tour Jan. 27 in Miami Beach Theatre of the Performing Arts, then went to Auditorium Theatre in Chicago and then to the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, sold over 115,959 tickets in those cities, with a total box-office income of $2,788,344.49.

Additionally, Dillingham said, the company’s December, 1985, engagement of “The Nutcracker” in Shrine Auditorium here was the highest-grossing two-week engagement in the company’s history, with a total box office of $1.7 million.

Ballet Theatre went to San Diego from Los Angeles, is now appearing at the Kennedy Center in Washington and closes the spring season with a nine-week residency at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, beginning May 5.


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