Jeffrey Kahane to Lead L.A. Chamber Orchestra


American conductor-pianist Jeffrey Kahane has been appointed music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, effective at the beginning of the 1997-98 season, the orchestra announced Thursday.

Kahane has signed a three-year contract with the ensemble, promising to act as conductor and/or soloist for at least six weeks each season, as well as being responsible for the overall artistic direction of LACO.

Kahane, a 39-year-old Los Angeles native now living in Northern California, is primarily known as a soloist, but, he said Thursday, he is pleased to be doing more conducting. “As a conductor,” he said, “I can affect future generations of music lovers in ways I couldn’t as a soloist.”

In addition to his solo career, Kahane will continue to serve as music director of the Santa Rosa, (Calif.) Symphony and associate conductor of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival. He will also continue to work as a guest conductor. He is scheduled to conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the 1996-97 season, and has led the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Colorado Symphony and the New World Symphony. In 1991, he was co-founder of the Gardner Chamber Orchestra in Boston and led that ensemble through 1995.


Kahane will be the fifth music director of LACO. Neville Marriner was the founding conductor in 1969; he was succeeded by Gerard Schwarz, Iona Brown and Christof Perick. Perick stepped down in 1994. Brown has regularly led the orchestra since then, and was named principal conductor in 1995; she will continue in that capacity through the ’96-97 season and is expected to return as a guest conductor after Kahane takes over.

Bruce Thibodeau, LACO executive director, also announced Thursday that as of June 30, the orchestra will be operating in the black for the first time in nine years, the result of a successful fund-raising campaign begun in February 1994.