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  • WDCH
  • May. 21, 2008
  • LA PHIL Baroque Variations Series Program Features Works by François Couperin and Adès and Performances by Sopranos Christine Brandes and Elissa Johnston

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008, AT 8 PM

    Conductor/composer Thomas Adès has remarked, “My ideal day would be staying at home and playing the harpsichord works of Couperin – new inspiration on every page.” He experiences a day closely resembling his ideal as he leads the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and members of the LA PHIL at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Wednesday, May 21, at 8 p.m. The artist appears as conductor, keyboard player and composer in a concert spotlighting the works and legacy of French composer François Couperin. The program includes three works by Couperin – Adès’ arrangement of Les baricades mystérieuses, which he conducts, L’Apothéose de Corelli, featuring Adès at the harpsichord, and Troisième leçon de ténébres, conducted by Adès and featuring sopranos Christine Brandes and Elissa Johnston. Also on the program are Adès’ own Couperin-influenced works – Three Studies after Couperin, in which Adès leads the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Sonata da caccia, where Adès again plays the harpsichord. The concert is the final LA PHIL Baroque Variations series concert of the 2007/08 season.

    Couperin’s Les baricades mystérieuses (“the mysterious barricades”) is the composer’s best-known harpsichord piece, though no one has been able to explain the mystifying title. In his 1994 quintet version Adès keeps to the original notes in the original key, but scores them for an ensemble of winds and strings. Performing the piece are LA PHIL members David Howard, clarinet; Dale Hikawa Silverman, viola; Jason Lippmann, cello; and Christopher Hanulik, bass. Stephen Piazza, bass clarinet, also performs. Couperin’s L’Apothéose de Corelli is an artistic statement about uniting French and Italian musical styles, and though the debate over the two styles did not dissipate even years after Couperin’s death, French music was dominated by composers who had studied in Italy and embraced the philosophy he espoused. LA PHIL members Mitchell Newman and Bing Wang, violins; and Brent Samuel, cello, join Adès, harpsichord, for the piece. The last Couperin work of the program is his Lenten lamentation, Troisième leçon de ténèbres, which features Josh Lee, gamba and Mark Robson, organ, with singers Brandes and Johnston.

    Couperin’s music is also the basis for Adés’ Three Studies after Couperin, each of which is based on, and incorporates melodic material from a Couperin harpsichord piece. Likewise, Adés’ Sonata da Caccia, written for the BBC, blends the melodic strains of the French Baroque with modern musical language, and includes a bit of 18th-century style and attitude.

    Celebrating their 40th anniversary this fall, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is acclaimed for its virtuosic music-making and signature personal style. The ensemble performs a musical range from Baroque masterpieces to newly commissioned works, and dedicates its talents to bringing the gift of music to the Southland’s youth and underserved communities.

    An Upbeat Live pre-concert event takes place in BP Hall one hour prior to the concert, and is free to all ticket-holders. Veronika Krausas, composer and Professor at Thornton School of Music at USC, hosts.

    The LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA was founded in 1968 as an artistic outlet for the film and record studios’ most gifted musicians. Since then, the 40-member Orchestra has acquired 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 KUSC. Renowned pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane has led the group since 1997, continuing the standard of excellence set by the Orchestra’s first four music directors, Sir Neville Marriner, Gerard Schwarz, Iona Brown and Christof Perick. By special invitation, the Orchestra embarked on a two-week European tour in spring 2008 with concerts in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Hanover and Hamburg, Ferrara and Treviso, Italy, and San Sebastián, Spain. The Orchestra has previously toured South America, Europe and Japan. In both 2005 and 2007, the Orchestra received the prestigious First Place Award for Adventurous Programming, bestowed by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and the League of American Orchestras. The 2007/08 season features a world premiere by rising American composer Kevin Puts, the seventh commission of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s unique patron commissioning club, Sound Investment. The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra maintains its local presence with an annual home season of 15 concerts at two historic theaters, the Alex Theatre in Glendale and UCLA’s Royce Hall; its acclaimed Baroque Conversations concert series at Zipper Concert Hall; and a series of three family concerts at the Alex Theatre. The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra believes that classical music is a joy to be shared by everyone. Through its Meet the Music program, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra reaches thousands of elementary school students, most of whom have never experienced a classical concert before, and through Neighborhood Concerts, the Orchestra provides opportunities for new and underserved audiences to develop a love for orchestral music and performance.

    THOMAS ADÈS studied piano at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and read music at King’s College, Cambridge. Between 1993 and 1995, he was Composer in Association with the Hallé Orchestra, which resulted in The Origin of the Harp (1994), and These Premises Are Alarmed for the opening of the Bridgewater Hall in 1996. Asyla (1997) was a Feeney Trust commission for Sir Simon Rattle and the CBSO, who toured it together, and repeated it at Symphony Hall in August 1998 in Rattle’s last concert as Music Director. Adès’ first opera, Powder Her Face (commissioned by Almeida Opera for the Cheltenham Festival in 1995), has been performed around the world, was televised by Channel Four, and is available on a DVD as well as an EMI CD. Most of the composer’s music has been recorded by EMI. Adès’ second opera, The Tempest, was commissioned by London’s Royal Opera House and premiered under his baton to great critical acclaim in February 2004. It was revived in 2007 – again to a sold-out house – and has since been seen in Copenhagen, Strasbourg and Santa Fe. In September 2005, his Violin Concerto for Anthony Marwood was premiered at the Berliner Festspiele and the BBC Proms, with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under his baton. His second orchestral work for Simon Rattle, Tevot, (2007) was commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Carnegie Hall. Helsinki’s Musica Nova (1999), Salzburg Easter Festival (2004), Radio France’s Présences (2007) and the Barbican’s ‘Traced Overhead’ (2007) are among the international festivals that have featured his music; in addition Carnegie Hall appointed him to the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer Chair and featured him as composer, conductor and pianist throughout the 2007/8 season. Adès is also a renowned interpreter of other composers including Kurtág, Nancarrow, Schumann, Schubert, Ruders, Tchaikovsky, Barry and Beethoven. He has conducted the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Philharmonia, Orchestre National de Radio France, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, the BBC, Finnish and Danish Radio Symphony Orchestras, and ensembles such as Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (as Artistic Director), the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern and the Athelas Ensemble. Adès’ music has attracted numerous awards and prizes, including the prestigious Grawemeyer Award (2000) of which he is the youngest ever recipient. He has been Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival since 1999.

    Noted for her radiant, crystalline voice and superb musicianship, soprano CHRISTINE BRANDES brings her committed artistry to repertoire ranging from the 17th century to newly composed works and enjoys an active career in North America and abroad, performing at many of the world’s most distinguished festivals and concert series in programs spanning from recitals and chamber music to oratorio and opera. In the 2007/08 season Brandes’s operatic appearances include her Washington National Opera debut as Catherine in William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge and a return to the Central City Opera as Maria Corona in Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Saint of Bleecker Street. Her busy concert schedule includes performances of Das Paradies und die Peri with Sir Simon Rattle and the Philadelphia Orchestra (at the Kimmel Center and at Carnegie Hall), the Mozart Requiem with John Nelson and the Handel & Haydn Society, Handel’s L’Allegro with the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Seattle Symphony, and Haydn’s Mass in the Time of War with Bernard Labadie and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Recent symphonic appearances have included concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the batons of both Pierre Boulez and Esa-Pekka Salonen, performances of John Adams’s El Niño with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with Sir Simon Rattle and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mozart’s Requiem with the Cleveland Orchestra and John Nelson, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Beethoven’s Egmont with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mozart opera arias and Strauss orchestral songs with the National Symphony Orchestra and Heinz Fricke, Bach Cantatas with the New World Symphony Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Minnesota Orchestra, Carmina Burana with the Houston Symphony, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Neeme Järvi and the Detroit Symphony, and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Andreas Delfs and the Milwaukee Symphony. She also has bowed at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and at the Ravinia Festival with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra as well as with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Freiburger Barockorchester, among others. Brandes’s operatic career has been highlighted by engagements at Houston Grand Opera, in Handel’s Ariodante with Christopher Hogwood and in Falstaff with Patrick Summers, and by performances at San Diego Opera in Ariodante, Lyric Opera of Kansas City in The Turn of the Screw, Central City Opera in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Foundation in Così fan tutte, Opera Theatre of St. Louis in Cimarosa’s The Secret Marriage, Glimmerglass Opera both in Handel’s Orlando and Acis and Galatea, San Francisco Opera in Semele under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras, the Opéra de Nancy in Alcina, New York City Opera in Acis and Galatea and Platée, and at the Opera Company of Philadelphia in Die Zauberflöte, L’Elisir d’amore, and Don Giovanni. Brandes has recorded for EMI, BMG/Conifer Classics, Dorian, Harmonia Mundi USA, Virgin Classics, and Koch International.

    Hailed by Musical America for “her voice pure and ethereal, her expression embracing and heartfelt,” ELISSA JOHNSTON has appeared in a wide range of repertory. Her orchestral engagements include appearances with the Atlanta Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Fort Worth Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, San Francisco Contemporary Players and the Pasadena Symphony. Highlights of this season include Bach solo cantatas 184 and 202 with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Brahms Requiem with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock and Mahler Symphony no. 4 with Southwest Chamber Music, Handel’s Radamisto with Musica Angelica and Berg’s Lyric Suite with the Denali String Quartet. Other recent appearances include Carmina Burana with the Colorado Symphony under Jeffrey Kahane, Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the California Philharmonic, Mozart’s Requiem with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and numerous chamber music appearances with Southwest Chamber Music, Xtet and Jacaranda Music. Last season she sang the world premiere of Aura by Chinary Ung with Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music. She subsequently recorded Aura with SWCM and toured with the ensemble in Vietnam and Cambodia. Johnston has performed numerous times with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s New Music Group, both in Los Angeles and at the Ojai Festival, with conductors Tan Dun, David Zinman, Daniel Harding and Steven Stucky. She made her Lincoln Center debut singing Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes with the New York City Ballet and was subsequently invited back to premiere Morgen!, a set of 10 orchestral songs by Richard Strauss choreographed by Peter Martins.Johnston also appeared in the New York Philharmonic’s Copland Festival and Lincoln Center’s Stravinsky Festival. Her recital appearances include programs at the Aldeburgh Festival in England and at the Aspen Festival’s Winter Music Series with composer Ricky Ian Gordon. Johnston’s operatic engagements include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Snape Proms in England, the role of Female Chorus in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at the Aldeburgh October Britten Festival, and Marzelline in concert performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio at both the Aspen Festival and with the Wheeling Symphony. With L.A. Opera, she has appeared in Il Trovatore, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria. Johnston can be heard on numerous film soundtracks and is the featured soloist on Danny Elfman’s Serenada Schizophrana released on Sony Classics, and featured on the IMAX release “Deep Sea 3D.”

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music - Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association's involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    Wednesday, May 21, 2008, at 8 PM

    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    Baroque Variations


    THOMAS ADÈS, harpsichord/conductor



    ELISSA JOHNSTON, soprano

    ADÈS Three Studies after Couperin

    COUPERIN (arr. ADÈS) Les baricades mystérieuses

    ADÈS Sonata da caccia

    COUPERIN L’Apothéose de Corelli

    COUPERIN Troisième leçon de ténèbres

    An Upbeat Live pre-concert event takes place in BP Hall one hour prior to the concert, and is free to all ticket-holders. Veronika Krausas, composer and Professor at Thornton School of Music at USC, hosts.

    Tickets ($15 - $88) are on sale now online at, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. When available, choral bench seats ($15) are released for sale to selected Philharmonic, Colburn Celebrity Recital, and Baroque Variations performances two weeks prior to the concert. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 10 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3422,; Photos: 213.972.3034