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Camerata Pacifica: Southern California’s Premier Chamber Music Ensemble

First up was Bach Camerata, the brave new chamber music ensemble founded by the eloquent, eloquent classical flautist and entrepreneur Adrian Spence. The group has performed in Loughborough and elsewhere, but soon evolved into the broader and ocean-lined name Camerata Pacifica, which includes 34 bands.y Coming soon to a season near you in Southern California. The Santa Barbarians’ musical home is the Academy of Music’s Han Hall, which kicks off locally on Friday, September 15, with a meat-and-potatoes program of Beethoven, Mozart and Elgar.

Adrian Spence, Technical Director, Camerata Pacifica | Credit: Courtesy

Camerata Pacifica has become one of Southern California’s most technically sound and durable classical music venues, with world-class musicians and monthly concerts at the Academy of Music, as well as in Ventura, Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles (Zipper Hall). Although associated with Bach during the band’s heyday, Spence’s programming has always ranged from baroque to romantic cuisine, to modernist and contemporary repertoire, to still-wet-ink world premieres.

Highlights of the season include the world premiere of Clarisse Assad’s Accordion, a new work, and the US premiere of Martin Butler’s Aria. Remember this fire. Bach continues to be in the band’s DNA, and this season has been extended with the launch of a new Camerata Pacifica sub-series of baroque instruments. From an organizational standpoint, this is the first season that Anna Papakhyan, who has long been centrally associated with the Academy of Music, has served as executive director in more than a quarter-century resume.

We recently caught up with Spence at the end of his summer, when he is riding his motorcycle through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. He greeted saying:Eta – Thank you. One of the four Estonian words I learned, the others being “hello”, “please” and “beer”. Then I found out that Latvian is a completely different language. and in Lithuania.”

Back in SoCal, Spence often returned to Bach and other Camerata works.

To ask a broad question: Do you have a specific opinion or insight on this upcoming issue of 34?y Your adventurous project season?

She has 34y A step from a long way, which started in 1990, dedicated to art that reflects our times. In 2023, this great music has spread throughout the world, and the music and musicians of this season of Camerata are a snapshot of that time. And the point is another 34 steps and beyond.

Arriving at a season’s program, especially one that mixes different eras and styles, world premieres and moving parts among the musicians, must have been a difficult task. Was this achieved by your usual care of checks and balances?

Thank you for the good words – Eta.

I always have programs or music mixes in my head that want to hit the stage. I especially enjoy discovering the emotional connection that sometimes, I admit, occurs between seemingly unrelated pieces. The point for me is that while the language of music has changed over 300 years, the object of expression, the emotion, has not – and that provides the connections that need to be discovered.

There is the inspiration from our amazing musicians who influence the direction of the program and then there is our audience – the most important ingredient. So, checks and balances, yes. I can be as creative and esoteric as I want, but if I can’t bring people along, it defeats the very purpose of a performing arts group.

However, I will not fall for the audience that has held us so well for three and a half decades. We, as artists and listeners, are honored to be associated with this music.

You have deftly responded to the limitations of life under the coronavirus, uncovering some deep archives and maintaining your presence in the organization, albeit from a distance. Do you think that with 2023-2024 Has the seasonal pandemic period returned life to normal, or is there still room to resume work?

Normally it is yesterday.

Anna Papakian, Executive Director of Camerata Pacifica | Credit: Courtesy

The effects of the pandemic are still strongly felt and will be felt for years to come, and we will see the failure of many groups. These challenges also present great opportunities. Those groups that cling to the idea of ​​a return to normal life will not fare well. At Camerata, we see that a lot of our pre-pandemic audience is gone, but it’s making room to welcome new friends across different demographics, a phenomenon we’re seeing. It has also allowed many bands to creatively reset things that are long gone.

Anna Papakhyan joins the organization as executive director this season. How did this relationship come about and what do you hope to achieve by sharing it?

Anna and I have known each other for almost ten years. I’ve always admired her, and when circumstances presented an opportunity to work together, I jumped at her. At the moment, there are no specific goals, because it is just starting. Camerata Pacifica’s vision is clear and Ana brings a whole new set of skills and perspective. I am very excited to be able to develop our next steps with Anna as a managing partner.

Premieres became a regular feature of Camerata life over the years. Can you tell me how many world premieres the band has in their library so far? Do you have any plans to record these pieces?

As I am currently in Lithuania, I will ask Anna to check this number – it must be more than 20, many of which are on our YouTube channel. Commissioning of Nilufer Nurbach and David Bruce is underway.

As a fan of the accordion and a fan of new music in general, I am happy to hear Clarissa Asada’s new composition. What can you tell me about this business?

You are on Accordion fan? I have been introduced to the accordion as a ‘classical’ instrument for about ten years now and have been trying to use it in my programming and it has taken me that long. I met Julian [Labro, accordionist] I first heard him live at Dizzy’s in New York about five years ago. And he could play Scarlatti – it was amazing.

I’ve known Clarissa for a long time and this project seemed perfect – her cross-genre pace and Brazilian/American background fit perfectly with Camerata Pacifica’s vision of ‘classical’ music in the 21st century.

Julien Labroux, accordionist | Credit: Courtesy

I’ve read that live show visuals will be part of the shows: is that something you’re increasingly interested in, along with live shows, video elements and other musical and digital aspects?

It just is. Beethoven and Mozart adapted to the technological advancements of their time, like the piano, and we need to take every opportunity to make our music, today’s music, as musically engaging and expressive as possible. When submitting these days, I ask composers to consider including these technical resources. (Broadcasting is something we use for the Nightingale Channel, an initiative that provides programming for hospital patients.)

You have always managed to make the concert experience more accessible and even interactive, which partly explains your large and loyal audience. I was involved in the process of making classical music more appealing to both fanatics and enthusiasts before it became a more general trend in classical music. Is this still an emotional concern for you?

Isn’t that the definition of running a performing arts group? Isn’t that the raison d’être? We are all custodians of this amazing art form and it is our responsibility to pass it on to the next generation even better than we were when we received it.

“Affordability” is a buzzword, what does it really mean? Free champagne? Delete music? compromise the product? I’ve never been an advocate for this music – we all know how great it is, and I’m really excited to share it with you and make it easier for you to attend the show. At Camerata, however, we treat smart people smartly, and we expect you to commit to listening. If it’s not for you, then we’re not for you.

Here’s another great concept…instead of free drinks or whatever the latest motivational trend is, how about we make the concert experience so compelling and engaging that the audience will want to come back for it? a radical idea.

to be visible Cameratapacifica.org More information about the season.

2023-09-02 04:36:41
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