By Ted AYALA
Valentine’s Day is approaching and with it are myriad ways for musicians the world over to reflect upon love and sing its praises – literally.
“If music be the food of love, play on,” the Bard of Avon famously wrote. Local musicians will be doing just that, presenting a dizzying array of concerts in the next week.
Starting things off will be Camerata Pacifica at Downtown Los Angeles’ Zipper Hall with the first of its four February concerts tonight, Thursday, Feb. 7 starting at 8 p.m. Camerata Pacifica always delights with its varied and eclectic programs and this month is no different. The “Violin Sonata” by Maurice Ravel and “Piano Trio No. 1” of Felix Mendelssohn share the bill with works by local composer Gernot Wolfgang and Argentine master Alberto Ginastera. Local music lovers who miss the Zipper Hall concert will be able to catch the program again Tuesday, Feb. 12 when Camerata Pacifica performs at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Saturday, Feb. 9 will be packed with music as the Pasadena Symphony and Glendale Pops continue their seasons while Pacific Serenades inaugurates theirs.
Conductor Nicholas McGegan returns to lead the Pasadena Symphony this Saturday in a pair of concerts (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.) of Mozart and Mahler. Joining him as soloist will be the orchestra’s own principal clarinetist, Donald Foster, in Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto.” Following is Mahler’s “Symphony No. 4,” a work drenched in the light of Haydn, Mozart and Schubert. Singing the finale’s setting of “Das himmlische Leben” from Des Knaben Wunderhorn will be soprano Yulia van Doren in her debut appearance with the orchestra.
Meanwhile, Glendale’s Alex Theatre will be lighting up the night at 8 p.m. as the Glendale Pops heats up for its concert of hits and love songs with country music star Jo Dee Messina. Matt Catingub, the Pops’ charismatic leader and brilliant multi-instrumentalist, will be leading the proceedings, lending his vibrant direction and classy arrangements to what promises to be a memorable night.
Also at 8 p.m. in Pasadena will be the opening concert of Pacific Serenades’ 2013 season in an all-cello program of J.S. Bach, a world premiere by composer Eugene Friesen, and a piece by the late Dave Brubeck. The concert, which will be held in a private home, will be followed up with a repeat of the same program the next day at Pasadena’s Neighborhood Church at 4 p.m.
The Santa Cecilia Orchestra will also continue its 2012-13 season on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. with a mixed program of music by Ástor Piazzolla interspersed with baroque and classical favorites at Occidental College’s Thorne Hall in Eagle Rock. Maestra Sonia Marie de León de Vega leads the program with violinist Melissa Phelps and cellist Catherine Biagini, both members of the orchestra, taking a star turn of their own.
Not to be outdone, chamber series Le Salon des Musiques will be presenting a program of Frank Bridge and the short-lived Polish composer Juliusz Zarebski at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion also at 4 p.m. Bridge, better known as a teacher and mentor to Benjamin Britten, was an intriguing and highly original composer in his own right. Zarebski’s 1885 “Piano Quintet” – his last major work before he succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of 31 – will be receiving its U.S. premiere at the concert.
Whatever your musical preference, the buffet being laid out over the next few days is sure to satisfy even the most demanding appetite without laying to waste one’s trim figure.
For tickets and more information:
Camerata Pacifica – Internet: http://www.cameratapacifica.org/tickets/order_tickets.htm; phone: (805) 884-8410.
Pasadena Symphony – Internet: http://www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org/concerts-and-tickets/ticket-information/order-tickets/; phone: (626) 793-7172.
Glendale Pops – Internet: http://www.glendalepops.org/tickets; phone: (818) 243-7700, ext. 216.
Pacific Serenades – Internet: http://pacser.org/v2/tickets/; phone: (213) 534-3434.
Santa Cecilia Orchestra – Internet: http://www.scorchestra.org/index.html; call: (323) 259-3011.
Le Salon des Musiques – Internet: http://www.lesalondemusiques.com/tickets.asp; phone: (310) 498-0257