Want to hear a world-class orchestra, but don't want the headaches of driving Downtown to the Music Center?
No problem. The Los Angeles Philharmonic will give a free performance March 24 at Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar as part of its Neighborhood Concerts program.
The orchestra has done Neighborhood Concerts since 1991. The events, designed to appeal to families, are the orchestra's version of a free sample, said James Ruggirello, the Philharmonic's director of educational programs.
"We're hoping to develop a concert-going habit. But, it's a more complex process than just handing out tickets," Ruggirello said. "We go to the neighborhoods where people aren't in the habit of going Downtown. We need to get the orchestra out there to show what a live concert is all about."
The Neighborhood Concerts program works in conjunction with another program called "New Connections," Ruggirello said. People attending the neighborhood concert are encouraged to then attend a free concert at the Music Center that includes a tour, a preconcert seminar and an after-concert reception. The idea is to make the concert-going experience more accessible to people who wouldn't ordinarily attend, Ruggirello said.
For the Sylmar concert, Jaime Laredo will conduct a downsized version of the orchestra in a program that will include Mozart's "Eine kleine Nachtmusik," "Ciranda das sete notas" by Villa Lobos and "Winter" and "Spring" from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic will give a free concert at 8 p.m. March 24 in the Campus Center at Mission College, 13356 Eldridge Ave., Sylmar. Requests for tickets should be made by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Northeast Valley Arts Council, 13000 Sayre St., Sylmar, CA 91342. Requests will be honored as they are received. Call (818) 367-8561.
MUSICAL BUFFET: Jazz composer and trumpet player Wadada Leo Smith is the creative force behind a musical extravaganza happening Saturday at CalArts.
"Odwira," a musical event featuring more than 50 performers in 16 ensembles on six stages, will offer a buffet of music, dance and film. Included will be jazz and blues, as well as Indonesian and African music and other forms. Although some events will occur simultaneously, Smith said he did not think the audience would suffer sensory overload.
"It's just like when you go to a three-ring circus or a football game," Smith said. "You rotate your focus in a stream." Besides trumpet, Smith plays fluegelhorn, bamboo flute and koto. He's written more than 400 compositions and recorded 17 albums.
Smith, who holds CalArts' Dizzy Gillespie chair in jazz, said he patterned the event after an annual five-day festival called Odwira held by the Akuapem people in Ghana. He has tried, however, to compress the festival into a 100-minute celebration.
"It's not anyone's responsibility to hear everything in a single piece," he said. "Not even professional musicians do."
"Odwira," an eclectic musical extravaganza, will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Walt Disney Modular Theatre at CalArts, 24700 McBean Parkway, Santa Clarita. Tickets are $8 general, $2 students. Call (805) 253-7800.
VOICES ONLY: The Angeles Chorale will perform March 18 in Glendale sans orchestra, an undertaking that has presented programming challenges for John Alexander, the ensemble's artistic director and conductor.
"When you listen to an orchestra with strings and horns (you have) all these colors. With choirs, there's not as much color or variety," Alexander said. "So, I've tried to get as much variety (as possible) in the musical selections."
Other than four songs by Brahms, the program, titled "In Perfect Harmony," consists of works by American composers and arrangers--including Charles Ives, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland and Roger Wagner--and generally celebrates the diverse American musical heritage.
The concert will open with three American motets, including the "Sixty-Seventh Psalm" by Ives. Songs of Brahms will then be performed, followed by several works by Barber, including "A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map for Chorus and Orchestra," a work for men's chorus and timpani that features a story from the Spanish Civil War.
After intermission and a performance by the Angeles Chorale's Children's Chorus, the ensemble will perform what the program refers to as "songs of the Hispanic tradition": "Brazilian Psalm" by Jean Berger, "Las Agachadas" by Copland and "El Vito" by Mack Wilberg.
A selection of folk songs will close the program, including a Roger Wagner choral arrangement of "Danny Boy."
The Angeles Chorale and its Children's Chorus will perform "In Perfect Harmony" at 8 p.m. March 18 at the Glendale High School Auditorium, 1440 E. Broadway, Glendale. Tickets are $9 to $25. Call (818) 760-7449.