“Music on Main,” a new concert series opening at the Santa Monica Heritage Museum next Sunday, makes eclecticism an avowed objective. Pieces on the four programs range from Gabrieli canzonas to Steve Reich’s “Piano Phase,” the latter in its version for two marimbas.

“We wanted programs that would appeal to a variety of age groups,” museum director Toby Smith explained. “We are hoping for a mix of experienced listeners and relative novices.”

Composer Daniel Kessner, of the Cal State Northridge music faculty, was chosen to direct the series. He will also give introductory talks before each concert.


Not surprisingly, a strong Northridge connection runs through the first two programs. The opener enlists the North Wind Quintet and percussionist Paul Sternhagen playing “Viaggi” by Frank Campo, another faculty member.

Four members of the North Wind Quintet have the university in their pasts, including oboist Michael Kibbe, who is also a composer. His Sixth Quintet, which he characterizes as “minimalism with intelligence,” is on the program. An arrangement of Mozart’s “Zauberflote” Overture, Ligeti’s Bagatelles and a Quintet by Felix Rosenthal, a student of Mendelssohn’s, complete the opening agenda.

The second program, Nov. 15, features Kessner’s own “Ancient Song,” and “Galandiacoa” by Aurelio de la Vega, who also teaches at the university. Lute music and pieces by Reich and Bartok round out the bill.

Larger ensembles are involved in the program for Jan. 17, which lists Max Lifchitz’ “Night Voices” No. 7, and music by Brahms, Ives and Giovanni Gabrieli. On Feb. 14, members of the Almont Ensemble will play the Clarinet Quartet by Paul Chihara and the “Concerto a tre” by Ingolf Dahl--the former has taught at UCLA, and the latter had at USC. Hummel’s Clarinet Quintet and a movement of a Schubert Trio complete that program.

The emphasis on local contemporary composers is quite in keeping with the museum’s goals. “We’re not just a historic house, we’re also a museum,” Smith stated. “Our heritage is happening right now.”

These programs, which Smith hopes will be the first in a continuing series, have been funded by grants from the Santa Monica Arts Commission and the Performance Trust Fund of Musician’s Union Local 47. All will begin at 7:30 p.m., and are free. Reservations are required: (213) 392-8537.


DANCE PREMIERE: Thursday evening at Cal State Long Beach, the Limon Dance Company will give the world premiere of Anna Sokolow’s “Poems.” Three works choreographed by Jose Limon--”The Traitor,” “A Choreographic Offering” and “The Exiles”--completes the University Theatre bill.

OPENINGS: The 54th Los Angeles Bach Festival, at First Congregational Church, begins Tuesday with the debut of the Bachchor St. Petri, a 60-voice choir from Hamburg. Friday American organist Robert Anderson plays Baroque music, and next Sunday Thomas Somerville leads the Festival Chorus and Orchestra in works by Bach and contemporary East-German composer Volker Brautigam.

The following weekend, the Early Music Academy, performing on period instruments, plays Baroque chamber music on Friday, and the Festival concludes Sunday with the St. John Passion. Other events include the Southern California Jr. Bach Festival, Oct. 17 and 24, a Noonday Concert Series, Oct. 19-23, and a Young People’s Concert Wednesday morning, Oct. 21.

A new season of Jeffrey Siegel’s “Keyboard Conversations” at Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University, begins this afternoon with a Gershwin program. Future Sunday matinees include a Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff agenda, and “The Virtuoso Schubert.”

Siegel is also offering a Monday-evening series of his play-and-tell programs, which opens Monday with Chopin’s B-minor Sonata. A Bach and Hindemith program is scheduled for February, and the final concert of the series lists music by Beethoven, Franck and Clementi.

CLIFFORD DOCUMENTARY: This past summer, John Clifford was artistic director of the first Dance/Video Laboratory at the Sundance Arts Institute in Utah. Founded six years ago by Robert Redford, the Sundance Institute sponsors artists in various fields in developing new projects.


Elisa Monte, Kenneth Rinker, Charles Moulton and Sarah Elgart were the choreographers involved in the three-week session. Clifford directed all parts of the program and has made a documentary film of it.

REMEMBERING LAWRENCE MORTON: The 50th season of Monday Evening Concerts begins Monday with a special program honoring the late Lawrence Morton, who directed the series from 1953 to 1971. With one exception, the music is the same as on the last MEC program produced by Morton. The performers include many musicians from the Morton era, such as conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

Wednesday, Pierre Boulez leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group in a free Lawrence Morton Tribute Concert at the Japan America Theatre. Boulez made his United States debut under Morton’s aegis, and the agenda lists “Eclat,” of which Morton gave the premiere.

Other composers on that program are Webern and Stravinsky, the latter another close Morton associate. Soprano Susan Narucki is the featured soloist.

Morton also directed the Ojai Festival occasionally. Friday in Ojai, Robert Craft directs the Ojai Festival Ensemble in another Morton tribute, featuring the music of Stravinsky.

Another element in this ad-hoc Morton memorial week is a broadcast Monday on KUSC-FM, from 2-5 p.m. Produced by Gail Eichenthal, the program includes taped interviews with Morton.