By Ted AYALA
Awhile back – actually nearly a decade ago – I remember having a discussion with a customer that came in to buy a clutch of classical CDs at the record store that I was working at back when I was in my late teens. I looked over his purchases: Beethoven, a few Baroque albums, some Mozart.
As I scanned his CDs, he looked around, catching the music that was being played on the store’s stereo, and frowning.
“What is this?” he asked.
“Stravinsky,” I responded. “His ‘Septet.’ Composed it in his later years when he moved to Los Angeles.”
The customer’s lips pursed into a nearly straight line, but not before uttering, “No good music ever came out of the 20th century. No good music ever came out of Stravinsky. And nothing good ever came out of Los Angeles.”
He was definitely wrong on the first two notions. The last may have had a bit of truth to it in, say, the early part of the last century. But that was changing rapidly even by the 1950s; certainly it was no longer true by 2000 when this exchange occurred – and even less so now.
New music of great worth by local composers can be found fairly easily these days. Nowhere is the search easier than by looking over the season calendar for Synchromy, a collective of local composers now in their third season. For those looking for a taste of the best of local new music, Synchromy’s concerts are by far the best place to start.
Stylistically, the work of the Synchromy founders run the gamut of possibilities of musical expression: from the friendly, neo-classicism by way of Samuel Barber heard in the music of Daniel Gall and Jenni Brandon, to the Slavic energy and drama of Vera Ivanova, the modernist nose-tweaking of Jason Barabba, and the searching voice of John Frantzen.
Part of their continued success can be found in the friendly atmosphere in which their concerts take place. There is a sense of shared exploration and delight, not to mention a sense that both neophytes and new music experts are all welcome.
But the most crucial component of their winning formula is the music itself. Sometimes tough, sometimes thorny, sometimes graceful – but always deeply compelling.
For their upcoming March 16 concert at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, Synchromy will be joined by guest local composers Forrest Pierce, Anne Guzzo, Paolo Cavallone, and Adam Roberts in a program entitled “4uartet,” with the entirety of the program devoted to music for violin, viola, cello and piano.
Heading the roster of performers will be violinist Irene Krechkovsky and pianist Kevin Kwan Loucks: both of them demonstrating not only a virtuosic mastery of their respective instruments, but of the scores they were entrusted to perform.
Whatever the discerning local music lover is looking for, they are certain to find something that pleases them at Synchromy’s next concert – not to mention further confirmation that the age of great music is alive and kicking in Los Angeles.
Tickets and more information for the event are still available and can be had by going online to http://synchromymusic.ticketleap.com/4uartet-pasadena/ or http://www.synchromymusic.org/Synchromy_Music/schedule.html; or by calling (213) 986-7962.