By Ted AYALA
The recent announcement by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) regarding its 2013-14 season startled some of its supporters in Glendale who feared the ensemble may be feeling its way toward a new home.
In a press release, the orchestra announced that the first two concerts of its new season would take place at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena. Referred to as a “temporary shift,” the release stated that the move was prompted by renovations the Alex Theatre will be undergoing over the summer and into the early fall. The renovations consist of improvements to the backstage area that would cost approximately $6 million.
LACO has performed at the Ambassador in previous seasons as part of its Discover series, an annual concert that focuses on a single work of the classical music canon.
Since the end of redevelopment in 2012, the future of the Alex Theatre has been a cause for concern for the city. Though Glendale has taken steps to assume control of the venue, it technically stays in the hands of Sacramento. A particular source of worry has been the liquidation of the Alex and its assets by the State of California. This may entail the site being sold to a private owner who will be free to dispose of the theatre as they wish.
Elisa Glickman, the general manager of Glendale Arts, the organization which oversees the Alex, was quick to assure that the announcement did not presage a more permanent move by LACO.
“While we’re pleased that they have found a temporary venue while we undergo renovations,” she said, “[LACO] is fully committed to coming back to us.”
According to her, LACO has been an important source of revenue for the theatre, contributing an estimated $70,000 to the venue’s approximate yearly average of $800,000, around 8.75%. The concert series bring in approximately 700 to 1,000 patrons per concert.
Glickman named off previous improvements to the Alex that were made primarily to cater to LACO.
“We’ve already made acoustic enhancements, improved the sound stage mostly for them,” she said. “They’re one of our marquee clients and they’re committed to us for the long-term. It’s a real testament to our performance venue.”