Meredith Monk, liberator of singers

Dance · Music · Reviews
Multimedia artist Meredith Monk, labeled avant-garde for her reducing of dance, music, and drama to their most basic and powerful elements, gave the great voices of the Los Angeles Master Chorale a remarkable gift: their bodies. Halfway through “Songs of Ascension,” the final work of Sunday evening’s Monk tribute, the singers circulated the stage of Disney ...

Herr Haselböck’s precarious perch 1

Music · Reviews
Musica Angelica’s Palm Sunday performance of St. John Passion at Santa Monica’s First United Methodist Church had us afloat in the infinite beauty of Bach’s musical soundscape. But it also had us glued to our chairs as Martin Haselböck, the orchestra’s music director, balanced backwards on the edge of the stage conducting Bach’s massive score ...

Art, books, talk, music & life … @ ALOUD

Architecture & Design · Music
It’s difficult to separate affection for the Library Foundation’s ALOUD series at Los Angeles Central Library from love of the library itself. The detailing in the original building’s grand rotonda, pictured at left, shows why. It’s gorgeous: where California Mission-style leaves off, art deco kicks in. ALOUD, the program of lectures, book talks, readings and performances ...

Leonard Bernstein meets Sharon Farber @ Pacific Serenades

Music
I’m looking forward to “Mixed Up World,” the aptly titled upcoming performance by Pacific Serenades. I wrote previously on arts•meme about the 24-year-old chamber music society’s premiere of a work by jazz pianist Billy Childs. Pacific Serenades’ mission is to present newly commissioned chamber works alongside standard repertoire in intimate concert settings. Here’s an impressive list ...

Herb Alpert @ Disney Concert Hall

Music · Reviews
Herb ‘n Lani Bringing his cool and laid-back vibration to Disney Hall’s golden circle of sound Friday night was Herb Alpert — leading a five-piece combo in a freewheeling but tightly professional rendering of the American songbook. The ever-handsome, now grey-haired Los Angeles homeboy interspersed jazz standards — Fascinating Rhythm, Paper Moon, Let’s Face the Music and Dance, Laura ...

Satchmo sings “Stardust”

Music
This nattily dressed young man is Louis Armstrong, age 30. The photo was taken in 1931, the same year in which Armstrong made his groundbreaking recording of Hoagy Carmichael’s plaintive “Stardust.” Here Carmichael plays his own great song. Here’s Nat King Cole. Now here’s Satchmo. Armstrong was by then an experienced Chicago musician, and the ...

Hitler’s emigres & exiles in Southern California 1

Language & ideas · Music
Prominently marked in my calendar for February 16 is a book talk at the L.A. Central Library’s ALOUD series by my friend Dorothy Lamb Crawford. Dorothy, a musicologist whom I met at the Ballets Russes centenial celebration in Boston last year, writes about the brilliant gathering of composers, conductors, and other musicians who fled Nazi Germany to ...

Now that Macheath’s back in town …

Music
Reading Terry Teachout’s biography of Louis Armstrong and loving it.  

Herb Alpert, local hero 8

Music
Herb Alpert was born in Los Angeles in 1935 and he lives here still. His father, a Russian Jew from Kiev, was a tailor. His mother, of Hungarian descent, encouraged his music, giving him a trumpet on his eighth birthday. Alpert grew up in Fairfax district, the second Jewish neighborhood in Los Angeles after Boyle ...

Death of a great dancer 3

Dance · Music