OWA is back from the recent cold and snow on the East Coast to sunny everyday Los Angeles and looking forward to a busy March. What to do? Here’s my list for the picks of this month in performing arts around town and beyond. Interestingly the two events I’m most anticipating involve composer Timothy Andres who has been seen on local stages before and will be all over the place at the end of the month. He’s one of a number of young composers whose music will be featured in the latest program from wildUp, entitled “Craft” on the 23rd and the 24th. Director Christopher Rountree and his fellow young musicians have selected a program riffing on the contrast (or lack thereof) between East and West coast composers programming them side by side for these evenings at Beyond Baroque in Venice. Meanwhile, Anders will unveil a major new piano concerto commission entitled Old Keys for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra as part of their Sound Investment commissioning project on the 24th and 25th. And just to cap off LACO’s big month on the 7th, music director Jeffrey Kahane and his players will celebrate his 15th anniversary with the group in a concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Probably the other major musical event this month will be the inaugural Piatigorsky International Cello Festival that will welcome over two dozen cellists from around the world for two weeks worth of concerts, master classes, and other events in a large collaboration between LACO, the L.A. Philharmonic, and the Colburn and Thornton Music Schools. There’s a lot to choose from including performances from Mischa Maisky (17th), Alisa Weilerstein (18th), and Ralph Kirschbaum (15th) with the L.A. Philharmonic under Neeme Järvi (a different work and soloist is featured in each program.) There are also two group shows worth checking out including a performance of all six of Bach’s unaccompanied Cello Suites with 6 different soloists on the 11th and another program that closes the festival on Sunday the 18th at WDCH featuring music by Adès, Stravinsky, Bach, Rachmaninoff and others played by 9 different soloists. And speaking of internationally known cellists, REDCAT will welcome Frances-Marie Uitti for a program of late 20th century works in a rare L.A. appearance on the 23rd.
Of course if you want 20th century music there are other opportunities to consider. The Southwest Chamber Music collective will continue its John Cage 2012 festival with programs on the 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th and 24th all around town covering a wide variety of the composers works in his centenary year. Monday Evening Concerts will offer avant-garde works on the border between jazz and everything else in a program including works by Peter Ablinger and Stefan Wolpe on the 26th. Also at REDCAT this month will be another adventurous evening from the California E.A.R. unit who'll collaborate on the works of Morton Subotnick on the 24th. Meanwhile, there's plenty to see in San Francisco where Michael Tilson Thomas will lead two weeks of American 20th century music as part of the wide ranging “American Maverics” festival which will repeat at Carnegie Hall later this season. Music by Harbison, Ives, Foss, John Cage and others will be performed by the likes of Jessey Norman, Joan La Barbara, and Meredith Monk who will collaborate on selections from Cage's Song Books on the 10th. The SFS has created a festival pass as well that can get you into the shows for relatively little and it breaks my heart that I’ll only get to see the shows on the 9th and 10th but there are many other worthwhile events including an appearance by the PARTCH ensemble on the 11th.
There’s other music of course. The L.A. Philharmonic will offer a program with Osmo Vänskä leading Sibelius 6th symphony on the weekend of the 23rd. Ute Lemper and the Vogler Quartet will grace UCLA’s Royce Hall on the 29th with more early 20th century cabaret music. And as we head into April the Los Angeles Master Chorale will perform Bach’s St. John’s Passion on the the 31st and April 1st at WDCH. The Philharmonic Society of Orange County will welcome three big guest ensembles including the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra on the 13th, the Takács Quartet with Garrick Ohlsson on the 20th and Marin Alsop with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on the 28th. And there will be two major opera openings in the region with San Diego Opera reviving Donizetti’s Don Pasquale starring Danielle de Niese and Charles Castronovo on the 10th and Long Beach Opera offering a puckish 20th century comedy double bill with Poulenc’s The Breasts of Tiresias and Martinu’s The Tears of a Knife on the 11th and 17th. (Castronovo will also give recitals in Orange County on the 30th and April 1st.)
On the theater front, Pasadena’s A Noise Within will offer two new productions. First up will be Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra starting on the 3rd which will be followed on the 17th with Tony Kushner’s adaptation of Corneille's The Illusion. REDCAT will present the world premiere of a new work from Martin Acosta called Timboctou starting on the 3rd. Dance at the Music Center will host visits from Evidence starting on the 9th and Ballet Preljocaj who will give three performances of their highly regarded production of Snow White the 23rd through the 25th. The Center Theater Group will have new shows in all of their houses including the Green Day musical American Idiot at the Ahmanson starting on the 13th, Beckett’s evergreen Waiting for Godot at the Mark Taper Forum on the 14th, and on the 9th at the Kirk Douglas Theater the excellent American Night, a comedy from L.A.'s own Culture Clash that received its premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2010. And speaking of OSF, I’ll be reporting on some of their early productions for the year as the month closes including Mary Zimmerman’s staging of The White Snake but will share more on their great season a bit later on. Down in San Diego the Old Globe has productions of O'Neill's Anna Christie to consider on the 15th and a new musical version of A Room with a View from the 2nd. And don't forget South Coast Repertory's latest revival of Donald Margulies Sight Unseen which starts on the 11th. And won't you please go see Ms. Sandra Bernhard as she returns to the area at La Jolla Playhouse from March 14 - 17. Of course there's plenty more so stay tuned for further detail as the month goes along and always check out the calendar section for selected upcoming events.