Assuming that Y2K doesn’t undo civilized life as we know it, local classical music prospects for the year 2000 are looking bright.
Then again, even in a dire post-Y2K atmosphere, classical music--a steadfastly unplugged tradition--stands a chance of survival. Wires and chips are not necessary to bow a violin.
Even January, normally a transition period on the cultural calendar, is a busy musical month in the area.
The New West Symphony presents its annual Discovery Artists concert Jan. 22 and 23, featuring stellar young Southern California musicians in soloist roles.
Later in the spring, New West will continue with programs bearing self-explanatory titles, “The Music of Love” (Feb. 11 and 12), “Parisian Spring” (March 3 and 4), “Barber of Seville” (April 14 and 15, the annual opera presentation) and “Magnificent Mahler” (May 19 and 20).
The Camerata Pacifica, keepers of the chamber music flame, continues its 10th season Jan. 13 through 16 at venues in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Thousand Oaks.
It’s presenting a balanced program of things old and new-ish, featuring Arnold Schoenberg’s pre-12-tone “Verkarte Nacht” and Brahms’ Second String Quartet.
“The Hoagy Carmichael Centennial Celebration,” at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza on Jan. 13, will pay tribute to that great American songwriter, whose “Stardust” is one of the most recorded songs of all time.
A very different, and important, type of tribute is planned in Santa Barbara in January: Conductor Gisele Ben-Dor will lead her Santa Barbara Symphony in a mini-festival dedicated to the late, great underrated Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas on Jan. 20 through 23.
The symphony’s debut CD, recorded two years ago, features music by Revueltas, who would have been 100 years old today.
The festival includes lectures, live film scores with full-screen projections and more.
The symphony’s venturesome concert program Jan. 22 and 23 will include Revueltas’ orchestral score for the film “Redes,” which will be shown at the Arlington Theater.
In addition, the Latin American angle continues with the U.S. premiere of Villa-Lobos’ 10th symphony, “Amerindia,” to be recorded for its second CD release.
This clearly sounds like one of the major musical events of the year in these parts.
Come March 18 at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, there will be a convergence of local musical organizations. Los Robles Master Chorale, the Ventura Master Chorale and the Conejo Valley Symphony Orchestra (the modest-but-ambitious “other” orchestra in the county) will present Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. The Conejo Valley Symphony will also offer concerts Feb. 26, with solo pianist Daniel Pollack, and May 6, with flutist Cibrian Ignat, in the huge Calvary Community Auditorium.
The Ventura Master Chorale will conclude its abbreviated season June 11, with a concert at the San Buenaventura Mission, featuring an ink-still-wet world premiere by famed Oxnard-based composer Miguel del Aguila.
Moorpark College’s musical schedule includes a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony by the Moorpark Symphony on March 4 and the second annual installment of the Chamber Festival on April 8.
That night, the Roger Wagner Chorale--led by the late chorale pioneer’s daughter, Jeannine Wagner--the hosting Los Robles Chorale and the group One Voice will fill the Moorpark College Performing Arts Center with joyful vocal noise.
Meanwhile, the increasingly notable Ventura Chamber Music Festival slides into its sixth annual affair.
It is scheduled from May 4 to 14 around town, with a few concerts in the spacious confines of the Ventura Theatre.
Highlights this year will include guitarist Sharon Isbin, the Shanghai Quartet, pianist John Browning and chorale director Paul Salamunovich.
Out Ojai way, the much-adoed Ojai Festival this year goes British, more or less, when noted conductor Simon Rattle takes over as music director.
Rattle has dazzled the classical world with his insight and artistry, but has avoided much of the itinerant lifestyle that world-class maestros usually have.
For the past several years, he has focused on building up his hometown orchestra in Birmingham to international status, partly to be a present family member while his children were growing up.
Musically, the program, from May 31 to June 4, will include music of contemporary British composers Thomas Ades and composer-in-residence Mark-Anthony Turnage, both of whom will present U.S. premieres in Ojai.
The musical menu also tips to France and light opera, with Ravel’s opera “L’enfant et les sortileges (The Child and the Magic)” on opening night and Poulenc’s “Les mamelles de Tiresias (The Breasts of Tiresias).”
The great L.A.-based pianist Gloria Cheng, heard in many an ensemble setting in Ojai, will present her first recital there Sunday morning of the festival weekend.
As usual, it’s something to look forward to at the outset of summer.
The 20th century is history. Here’s looking at the new epochal kid and hoping for a music-filled new year and century, right here in our home region.