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Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Review - Guest Conductor Matthew Halls at UCLA's Royce Hall

By Christy Oldham

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Jefferey Kahane conducting a past LACO concert. Photo credit: Ken Hively

January 26th, 2013- UCLA’s Royce Hall: The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) continued its long established relationship with the Oregon Bach Festival by welcoming the festival’s new artistic director Mathew Halls as guest conductor on Sunday at UCLA’s Royce Hall. In his California debut, Halls led a concert program that spanned the centuries with classic pieces from Mozart, Haydn, Aaron Jay Kernis and Beethoven.

Jefferey Kahane conducting a past LACO concert. Photo credit: Ken Hively

Jeffrey Kahane, one of the world’s most brilliant conductors and expert pianist, marks his 17th season as LACO’s music director who also programs established and up-and-coming composers. The spotlight was on LACO’s Concertmaster Margaret Batjer on Violin, Andrew Shulman on Principal Cello, Allan Vogel on Principal Oboe and Kenneth Munday on Principal Bassoon as well as Assistant Concertmaster Tereza Stanislav on Violin.  These incredibly talented LACO principal musicians entertained a packed Royce Hall audience with Mozart’s Ballet Music from Idomeneo, Haydn’s Sinfonia concertante in B-flat major, Aaron Jay Kernis’ Musica Celestis and Beethoven’s Symphony No.1 in C major.

Jefferey Kahane conducting a past LACO concert. Photo credit: Lee Salem

The other equally impressive LACO orchestra members include: On Violin: Jacqueline Brand, Jennifer Munday, Maia Jasper, Tamara Hatwan, Susan Rishik and guest player Grace Oh. On Violin 2: Josefina Vergara (principal), Sarah Thornblade (associate principal), Cheryl Norman-Brick, Connie Kupka, Katia Popov, Carrie Kennedy, and Joel Pargman. On Viola: Roland Kato (principal), Victoria Miskolczy (associate principal), Robert Brophy and Carole Castillo. On Cello: Armen Ksajikian (associate principal), Trevor Handy and Giovanna M. Clayton. On Bass: Nico Abondolo. On Flute: David Shostac (principal) and Sandy Hughes. On Clarinet:  Joshua Ranz (principal) and Chris Stoutenborough. On bassoon: Damian Montano. On Horn: Richard Todd (principal) and Kristy McArthur Morrell. On Trumpet: David Washburn (principal) and Darren Mulder. On Harp: JoAnn Turovsky (principal). On Keyboard: Patricia Mabee (principal). On Timpani/Percussion: Wade Culbreath (principal). With Andrew Norman as composer-in-residence, Steven Scharf as Personnel manager and Librarian/Stage Manager Robert Dolan.


LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer and Assistant Concertmaster Tereza Stanislav. Photo copy and credit Demi Goddess Pictures

Assistant Concertmaster Tereza Stanislav and husband Robert Brophy who also plays Viola in the LACO. Photo copy and credit Demi Goddess Pictures

Film producer Clinton H. Wallace and LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer. Photo copy and credit Demi Goddess Pictures

About Mathew Halls

Guest Conductor Matthew Halls. Photo copy and credit Demi Goddess Pictures

Mathew Halls is known for his dynamic and intelligent work with major symphony orchestras and opera companies, and for his probing and vibrant interpretations of music of all periods. He is the artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival and his European appearances include BBC Scottish Symphony, Bergen and Bremen philharmonic and Royal Northern Sinfonia.



About Jeffrey Kahane

Music Director Jeffrey Kahane. Photo credit: Michael Burke


Equally at home at the keyboard or on the podium, Jeffrey Kahane has established an international reputation as a truly versatile artist, recognized by audiences around the world for his mastery of a diverse repertoire ranging from Bach, Mozart and Beethoven to Gershwin, Osvaldo Golijov and John Adams.

Since making his Carnegie Hall debut in 1983, Kahane has given recitals in many of the nation’s major music centers, including New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Atlanta. He appears as soloist with major orchestras such as the New York, Los Angeles, Rotterdam and Israel Philharmonics; the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras; and the San Francisco Symphony; and is also a popular figure at all of the major US summer festivals. Kahane is equally well known for his collaborations with artists and chamber ensembles such as Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Joshua Bell, Thomas Quasthoff and the Emerson and Takács quartets.

Kahane made his conducting debut at the Oregon Bach Festival in 1988. Since then, he has guest conducted many of the major US orchestras such as the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; the Philadelphia Orchestra; the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; and the Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, Dallas and New World symphonies among others. Currently in his 17th season as music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Kahane concluded his tenure as music director of the Colorado Symphony in June 2010 and for ten seasons was music director of the Santa Rosa Symphony, where he is now Conductor Laureate. He has received much recognition for his innovative programming and commitment to education and community involvement with all three orchestras and received ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming for his work in both Los Angeles and Denver.

In addition to his programs and projects with LACO, recent and upcoming engagements include appearances at the Aspen, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Blossom, [email protected], Chamber Music Northwest and Oregon Bach festivals; recitals in Salt Lake City, Scottsdale, Carmel and at the Laguna Beach Festival; concerto performances with the Toronto, Indianapolis, Houston, Oregon and Colorado symphonies and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; play/conduct engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco, National, Vancouver, Seattle and New Jersey symphonies; and conducting the New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra in Boston and the Juilliard Orchestra at Lincoln Center.

Kahane’s recent and upcoming European engagements include play/conduct programs with the Camerata Salzburg, Hamburg Symphony and the Real Filharmonía de Galicia in Spain as well as appearances at the Meck-Pomm Chamber Music Festival in Germany.

Jeffrey Kahane’s recordings as pianist include works of Gershwin and Bernstein with Yo-Yo Ma for Sony, Paul Schoenfield’s Four Parables with the New World Symphony conducted by John Nelson for Decca/Argo, the Strauss Burleske on Telarc with the Cincinnati Symphony under Jesús López-Cobos and the complete Brandenburg Concertos (on harpsichord) with the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra under Helmuth Rilling on the Haenssler label. He has also recorded the complete works for violin and piano by Schubert with Joseph Swensen for RCA, Bach’s Sinfonias and Partita No. 4 in D major for Nonesuch and Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety for Virgin Records, which was nominated by Gramophone magazine for its Record of the Year award. Kahane’s recordings as conductor include the Bach violin concertos with Hilary Hahn and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon).

Kahane is a native of Los Angeles and a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and his early piano studies were with Howard Weisel and Jakob Gimpel. First Prize winner at the 1983 Rubinstein Competition and a finalist at the 1981 Van Cliburn Competition, he was also the recipient of a 1983 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the first Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award in 1987. An avid linguist who reads widely in a number of ancient and modern languages, Kahane received a Master of Arts in Classics from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2011.

Jeffrey Kahane resides in Santa Rosa with his wife, Martha, a clinical psychologist in private practice. They have two children – Gabriel, a composer, pianist and singer/songwriter and Annie, a dancer and poet.


About Margaret Batjer

LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer. Photo courtesy www.LACO.org

Margaret Batjer has served as concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 1998. Throughout her successful career as soloist, chamber musician, teacher and concertmaster, she has established herself as a versatile and respected artist worldwide.

Batjer made her first solo appearance at the age of 15 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has since appeared with a succession of leading American orchestras, including The Philadelphia Orchestra; St. Louis, Seattle and Dallas symphony orchestras; and a re-engagement with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Batjer has performed with such European ensembles as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Prague Chamber Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (of Ireland), Berlin Symphony Orchestra and Hallé Orchestra.

An esteemed chamber musician, Batjer was a longtime participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, and often performed on tour with Music From Marlboro. She has appeared at the Minnesota Orchestra and La Jolla summerfests; Sarasota and Vancouver Chamber music festivals; and in the Naples and Cremona festivals in Italy. As a member of the Quartetto Accardo from 1984 – 2000, Batjer performed with Maurizio Pollini at the Salzburg Festival, and at La Scala, Carnegie Hall and London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Drawing upon her affinity for chamber music and her curiosity of other artistic disciplines, Batjer developed LACO’s acclaimed chamber music series, Westside Connections, which enters its fifth season in 2012-13.

Among Batjer’s most noteworthy performances are explorations of the complete Beethoven and Brahms violin sonata cycles in partnership with pianist Jeffrey Kahane at Zipper Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Batjer was featured in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, in partnership with Yo-Yo Ma, Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. As concertmaster of LACO, Batjer has collaborated with such notables as mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, cellist David Finckel, and pianists Wu Han and Peter Serkin.

Batjer has twice recorded Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins: for the Philips label with Salvatore Accardo and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and for Deutsche Grammophon in 2003 paired with Hilary Hahn with Jeffrey Kahane conducting the LA Chamber Orchestra. She has also made numerous chamber music recordings on the EMI, Nuova Era and BMG labels.

Margaret Batjer is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Ivan Galamian and David Cerone. She joined the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music in 2005. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, composer Joel McNeely; her two children, Joshua and Claire; and their dog, Bailey.




About LACO


The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Photo courtesy www.LACO.org

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), proclaimed “America’s finest chamber orchestra” by Public Radio International, has established itself among the world’s top musical ensembles. Since 1997, LACO has performed under the baton of acclaimed conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, hailed by critics as “visionary” and “a conductor of uncommon intellect, insight and musical integrity” with “undeniable charisma.” Under Kahane’s leadership, the Orchestra maintains its status as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and a champion of contemporary composers. During its 45-year history, the Orchestra has made 31 recordings, toured Europe, South America and Japan, performed across North America, earning adulation from audiences and critics alike, and garnered eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming.

Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, LACO presents seven Orchestral Series concerts on Saturdays at either Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium or Glendale’s Alex Theatre and on Sundays at UCLA’s Royce Hall; five Baroque Conversations concerts at downtown Los Angeles’ Zipper Concert Hall at The Colburn School; three Westside Connections chamber music concerts, designed to illustrate the relationship between music and other artistic disciplines, at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica; and an annual Discover concert, which features an in-depth examination that sheds new light on a single piece of music, at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium. LACO also presents a Concert Gala, an annual Silent Film screening at Royce Hall and several fundraising salons each year. Additionally, LACO outreach programs—Meet the Music, Community Partners, Campus to Concert Hall and the LACO/USC Thornton Strings Mentorship Program—reach thousands of young people annually, nurturing future musicians and composers as well as inspiring a love of classical music.

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1968 as an artistic outlet for the recording industry’s most gifted musicians. The Orchestra’s artistic founder, cellist James Arkatov, envisioned an ensemble that would allow these conservatory-trained players to balance studio work and teaching with pure artistic collaboration at the highest level. With the financial backing of philanthropist Richard Colburn and managerial expertise from attorney Joseph Troy, who also became the Orchestra’s first president, LACO presented its first performances in the fall of 1969. Current music director Jeffrey Kahane continues the standard of excellence set by the Orchestra’s first four music directors, Sir Neville Marriner, Gerard Schwarz, Iona Brown and Christof Perick.

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About The Writer

Guest Conductor Matthew Halls and Filmmaker Christy Oldham. Photo copy and credit Demi Goddess Pictures

Acclaimed Indie filmmaker Christy Oldham, is the founder of Los Angeles based film production companies, Mercury Rising Films and DemiGoddess Pictures. She has written, produced, directed and starred in numerous award winning feature films that are in world wide distribution. Look for her latest vigilante social message thriller, Barracuda’, winner of 3 Best Picture awards, on VOD and DVD.




Published on Jan 30, 2014

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