Classical Music Buzz > Robert D. Thomas/Class Act > Five-Spot: What caught my eye on...

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News

Each Thursday morning, I list five events (six this week) that pique my interest, including (ideally) at least one with free admission (or, at a minimum, inexpensive tickets). Here’s today’s grouping:

• Tonight at 8 p.m. at Royce Hall (UCLA)
Paul Jacobs, organist

Despite being just 34, Paul Jacobs is one of America’s extraordinary organ talents, who came to international renown 11 years ago when he performed the complete organ works of J.S. Bach in an 18-hour non-stop marathon performance. Later he performed the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in nine-hour marathon concerts around the country. At age 26, he was named chairman of the organ department at The Juilliard School in New York City, one of the youngest faculty appointments in that school’s history.

There’s no Bach on this Royce Hall program, but the selections include music by Messiaen, Elgar, John Weaver and others.

Royce Hall’s E.M. Skinner organ was built in 1930. It was restored and rebuilt after being damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. With 104 ranks and 6,600 pipes, it’s one of the larger instruments in Southern California.

Concert information:

• Tomorrow and Saturday at 8 p.m. Sunday at 2 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Los Angeles Philharmonic: “The Mahler Project” begins

The Los Angeles Philharmonic begins its massive survey of all of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies as Gustavo Dudamel leads the orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, with soprano Miah Persson as soloist, and Songs of a Wayfarer, featuring baritone Thomas Hampson. Links to my articles on the cycle are HERE and HERE. The Phil’s “Mahler Project” information site is HERE. Concert information:

• Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Ambassador Auditorium (Pasadena)
Pasadena Symphony; David Lockington, conductor

The PSO resumes its 2011-12 season as David Lockington, music director of the Modesto and Grand Rapids Symphonies, become the latest in a string of PSO guest conductors. He leads a program with a British theme: The Gale of Life by British composer Philip Sawyers, Elgar’s Cello Concerto, with Andrew Shulman as soloist, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 (Scottish). In addition to the compositional British tone, Lockington and Shulman are English. A link to my preview story on this concert and next weekend’s L.A. Chamber Orchestra concerts (Shulman is conducting the LACO programs) is HERE. Concert information:

Looking for a marketing edge, the PSO has joined forces with Breakthru Fitness to sponsor a Yoga class tomorrow at 6 p.m. (As the late, great British comedienne Anna Russell once famously said of Wagner’s Ring, “I’m not making this up, you know!”) Lockington, an avid practitioner of yoga, will offer a brief explanation on the influence yoga has made on his life and career as a symphonic conductor. He will also play the cello during the class. Space is extremely limited; contact Breakthru Fitness at 626/396-1700 to reserve a spot.

• Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Los Angeles)
Young Musician Foundation’s 57th annual Gala Concert

Usually a YMF concert would be in the “free admission” category, but this one is held yearly to raise funds for this important training program. Legendary film composer John Williams will lead the YMF Debut Orchestra in selections from The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, the first concert performance of this music. Williams will conclude the program conducting music from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

Michael Tilson Thomas, who was the YMF’s music director from 1963-67 while he was a student at USC, will return to conduct Ravel’s La Valse. Other pieces will be conducted by David Kaufman, Joey Newman and Teddy Abrams. Information:

• Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Steve Reich; Bang-on-a-Can All Stars; ref fish blue fish; percussionist David Cossin

Steve Reich, one of the greatest composers working today, brings a program to the Phil’s Green Umbrella series that includes the West Coast premiere of the double-rock quintet, 2 x 5, and concludes with one of Reich’s seminal works, Music for 18 Musicians. Information:

And the weekend’s “free admission” program …

• Saturday at 8 p.m. at La Mirada Theater for the Performing Arts (La Mirada)
La Mirada Symphony; Robert Frelly, conductor

For the second concert of its 48th season, this community orchestra presents a Spanish-themed program with music by Fannin, Chabrier, Bizet, Turnia, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Guitarist Jeff Cogan will be the soloist in Rodrigo’s Fantasia para un Gentilhombre. Information:

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

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