How do you transform an art from the last century into something shiny and new without tarnishing the tradition? Inspired to make chamber music that would appeal to today’s audiences while honoring the past, local composer Juan Colomer and LA Opera assistant conductor Ignazio Terrasi, along with a team of visual artists headed by LA Opera design manager Carolina Angulo, gathered their friends—including some of the best local musicians from places like the LA Phil, LA Opera, and the Colburn School—to collaborate on a new project. Last year they formed the LA Grand Ensemble, named after downtown Los Angeles’ rich musical hub on Grand Avenue, and ALOUD at the Central Library is thrilled to be a part of this growing cultural intersection.
Energetic, highly skilled, and highly creative musicians and artists comprise this new experimental group, who are currently interested in blending visual elements into their musical performances. “From the Internet to television, everyone understands a visual language very well, and we think the visual can help people to better understand music,” says Terrasi.
LA Grand Ensemble will premiere their new “Visual Concert” at ALOUD next Thursday, December 13, which will bring into play a suite of visual effects from choreographed lighting, to video installments, to costumes, to sculpture. However, Terrasi is mindful of finding the right balance in filling the stage and not letting the theatrics disturb the music. In the upcoming ALOUD performance, visual elements will proceed each of two parts to the concert, but the music will remain the centerpiece of the night. The first part of the concert will feature a string quartet performing Shostakovich’s recently discovered “Unfinished Quartet” and “Largo” from “Lascivious Devout,” a short, colorful original composition by Colomer. The second longer part will be a reduction of Mahler’s Symphony No.4. Originally written for a big orchestra, Mahler’s symphony has been reimagined as chamber music performed by 11 musicians. “Our version is so pleasurable for the individual musician,” explains Terrasi. “Each musician becomes a soloist in charge, without losing the orchestral quality.”
For Terrasi, making music more accessible is akin to making it more enjoyable, “We want to choose music that is unconventional and inspires.” As this will be the first public performance by LA Grand Ensemble, they look forward to having this cultural exchange at the library as ALOUD has long been a champion of local multi-disciplinary programs. Plus, the timing is perfect because in recent years ALOUD has begun the informal tradition of closing out the year with musical performances including “Sing ALOUD” and “Dark Carols.” We hope you’ll join us for this special premiere, and the culmination of our 2012 program.
Learn more about the event and purchase tickets here.