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LA Chamber Orchestra Opens With Special Performance

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) opened its “Baroque Conversations” series on Thursday at Zipper Concert Hall at The Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles.

It was a special affair honoring James Arkatov, artistic founder of LACO and original member of the cello section. There was a champagne toast for him at the pre-concert reception attended by musical director/conductor Jeffrey Kahane and then Arkatov kicked things off by saying a few words of thanks on stage before the concert.

And that’s when the magic began.

Kahane chose the compositions of Vivaldi, Albinoni, Corelli and Bach, but the highlight of the performance was Bach’s unprecedented and rarely performed Concerto in A minor for Four Harpsichords. For this piece, Kahane hand-picked three highly-accomplished harpsichordists – Patricia Mabee, Ian Pritchard and Gilbert Martinez - to join him as the fourth, since Kahane is also a highly-respected keyboardist.

This concert also celebrated the connection between Vivaldi and Bach, who transcribed many of Vivaldi’s works during his career. One is Vivaldi’s Concerto in B minor for Four Violins which was transcribed by Bach for four harpsichords. Both compositions were on Kahane’s program.

He lead a Baroque-size orchestra comprised of LACO musicians which included concertmaster Margaret Batjer and principals Josefina Vergara and Sarah Thornblade on violins and Allan Vogel on oboe. Also featured was violinist Jacqueline Brand. Vogel’s solo on Albinoni’s Oboe Concerto in D minor was brilliant.

But it was Vivaldi and Bach who were smiling down upon us during Bach’s four harpsichord composition which was done masterfully. All four harpsichordists were in complete harmony and showed how Bach added richness and counterpoint to Vivaldi’s original. The result was a rare and charming example of the Baroque concerto grosso.

LACO’s highly regarded five-concert “Baroque Conversations” series, now in its ninth year, explores the genesis of orchestral repertoire from early Baroque schools through the pre-classical period. In signature LACO style, each concert host shares insights into the music and invites questions from the audience post-performance, providing an in-depth look at the music being presented as well as an opportunity to get to know the musicians on a more personal level.

And there is always a complimentary wine reception for all ticket holders one hour before the concert starts.

For more information about LACO and their 2014-15 season, go to


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