LA Chamber Orchestra Wraps Up Season
By Steven Lieberman
It was a magical, awe-inspiring close to the 2013-14 season for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) on Sunday at Royce Hall. Maestro Jeffrey Kahane pulled out all of the stops and created a transcendent piano “festival.”
Not only did Kahane, LACO’s music director, masterfully play piano on two of the compositions, but the pieces he played required two pianos. So he gathered up Los Angeles Philharmonic’s pianist sensation Joanne Pearce Martin for Mozart’s Concerto in E-flat major for Two Pianos, K. 365 and twelve-year-old Japanese-American phenom Ray Ushikubo to join in on Bach’s Concerto No. 2 in C major for Two Pianos.
Kahane hand-picked both pianists because he knew there would be synergy and chemistry…and there was. Kahane also conducted both compositions from the keyboard, as he is always so capable of doing. His energy is contagious.
The third pianist appearing on the program was Jeremy Denk, artistic director of the 2014 Ojai Music Festival. He was featured on Ligeti’s Etudes for Piano, Books I and II, and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major. No wonder he is a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs. He displayed a distinctive and compelling artistry as he wowed the audience.
He also treated the audience to an encore which was heavenly and delicious.
Denk was also awarded the 2014 Avery Fisher Prize, Musical America’s 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year award and the 2013 MacArthur “Genius Grant.”
Pearce Martin, who made her LACO debut in 2006, performs around the globe as a soloist, chamber musician and recording artist.
An exuberant artist exhibiting an innate musicality well beyond his years, Ushikubo -- who also plays violin—has performed at Carnegie Hall and on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He has also appeared with world-renowned pianist Lang Lang and as a piano soloist and chamber performer during performances at two LACO galas.
LACO, in its 45th season, is considered one of the world’s premier chamber orchestras as well as a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire and adventurous commissions all programmed by Kahane -- who is also known as one of the world’s foremost conductors and pianists. He concluded his 17th season as LACO’s music director.
For more information about LACO and their 2014-15 season, go to http://www.laco.org.