The mission of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is to preserve and advance a living tradition of orchestral music through artistically excellent performances that energize and enrich the lives of players and listeners alike. We celebrate the personal connection among our musicians, audiences and community, as shaped by the intimacy of our unique chamber orchestra experience.
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1968 as an artistic outlet for the film and record studios' 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.
Since then, the 40-member Orchestra has earned a reputation as one of the foremost ensembles of its kind in the world and has been hailed as "America's finest chamber orchestra" by respected music critic Jim Svejda of PRI's The Record Shelf. Renowned pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane has led the group since 1997 and has continued the standard of excellence set by the Orchestra's first four music directors, Sir Neville Marriner, Gerard Schwarz, Iona Brown and Christof Perick.
Praised by the Los Angeles Times as "…a shining feature in L.A.'s cultural landscape...," the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is lauded for its virtuosic music making, dynamic programming and signature personal style. The Orchestra performs repertoire ranging from Baroque masterpieces to newly commissioned works and is recognized for championing young musicians on the brink of major careers, as well as working with some of today's leading artists.
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra maintains its local presence with an annual home season of 14 Orchestral Series concerts at two historic theatres, the Alex Theatre in Glendale and UCLA's Royce Hall; its acclaimed Baroque Conversations series at Zipper Concert Hall; a series of three Family Concerts at the Alex Theatre; and Westside Connections, a series of three chamber music concerts with an interdisciplinary twist, at The Broad Stage of the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center. In addition, LACO presents the second concert in its multi-year "Discover" series when Jeffrey Kahane explores Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in depth at Pasadena's Ambassador Auditorium on November 6.
Nationally recognized for its support of new music by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), LACO has forged meaningful relationships with noteworthy composers throughout its 42-year history. In 2010-11, LACO celebrates the tenth anniversary of Sound Investment, an innovative program that invites individuals to pool their resources to commission a new work each season. LACO composer-in-residence Derek Bermel, who received the Sound Investment commission this season, premieres his new work on the Orchestral Series in May 2011.
The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra was honored with The Recording Academy® President's Merit Award at the Grammy Salute to Classical Music® in 2009 for its continued support and dedication to young musicians and families in the Los Angeles area, and strong commitment to making classical music accessible to everyone. LACO's Meet the Music program reaches thousands of elementary school students, most of whom have never experienced a classical concert before.
By special invitation, the Orchestra has performed in Carnegie Hall's Chamber Music series under the direction of Jeffrey Kahane and in South America, Europe and Japan. On its most recent tour of European music capitals including Paris, Vienna and Berlin, LACO garnered praise for its "orchestral athleticism and dynamism" and the "tremendous precision of [its] ensemble playing." (Die Welt)