Music by Mozart, including some works he composed as early as age five, interspersed with lively enactments of the youthful composer's letters to his father create a vivid picture of this remarkable musical wunderkind at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's (LACO) final Family Concert of the season, "Mozart & Me," on Sunday, May 6, 2012, 2 pm, at the Alex Theatre.
Jeffrey Bernstein, music director of the Pasadena Master Chorale, is the guest conductor and host of the delightful program, which also features actor Dan Selon portraying the young Mozart. The performance by 10-year-old piano sensation Ray Ushikubo, a student at The Colburn School, includes variations Mozart wrote on an old folk tune recognizable as "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and soprano Krystle Casey and the Pasadena Master Chorale join the Orchestra for some of Mozart's gorgeous vocal works.
LACO Family Concerts, recommended for ages 5 to 105, are designed for children with little or no previous musical experience and include a performance prefaced by creative activities to amuse, enrich and engage them. Beginning at 1 pm, families can experience LACO's "Instrument Petting Zoo," where youngsters handle and play brass, woodwind and string instruments with the assistance of students from the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and get creative with fun handcrafts from Kidspace Children's Museum. In addition, members of Los AngeLes Children's Chorus (LACC) demonstrate basic vocal techniques and invite children to participate in exercises from LACC's "First Experiences in Singing" classes for the youngest singers.
Tickets are priced at $12 and $20 and may be purchased online at laco.org or by calling LACO at 213 622 7001. Tickets to individual concerts will also be available at the venue box office on the day of the concert, if tickets remain. Discounted tickets are available by phone for groups of 12 or more.
LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (LACO), proclaimed "America's finest chamber orchestra" by Public Radio International, has established itself among the world's top musical ensembles. Since 1997, LACO has performed under the baton of acclaimed conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, hailed by critics as "visionary" and "a conductor of uncommon intellect, insight and musical integrity" with "undeniable charisma." Under Kahane's leadership, the Orchestra maintains its status as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and a champion of contemporary composers. During its 43-year history, the Orchestra has made 30 recordings, toured Europe, South America and Japan, performed across North America, earning adulation from audiences and critics alike, and garnered seven ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, LACO presents seven Orchestral Series concerts at both Glendale's Alex Theatre and UCLA's Royce Hall, five Baroque Conversations concerts at downtown Los Angeles' Zipper Concert Hall, three Westside Connections chamber music concerts at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, three Family Concerts at the Alex Theatre and an annual Discover concert at Pasadena's Ambassador Auditorium. In addition, LACO presents a Concert Gala, an annual Silent Film screening at Royce Hall and several fundraising salons each year. LACO was founded in 1968.
JEFFREY BERNSTEIN is known for his ability to inspire musicians and audiences alike. During the 19-year span of his career, he has conducted most of the major oratorio repertoire and led choirs on over a dozen tours of three continents. A guest conductor in the United States and abroad, he has led Bach's St. John Passion with Sanford Sylvan in Boston, Haydn's The Creation with the Arad Philharmonic Orchestra and Arad State Philharmonic Chorus in Romania and Dvo?ák's "Czech" Suite in D major with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra in Florida. Bernstein received his training in orchestral conducting from Jorge Mester, under whom he served as assistant conductor of the Pasadena Symphony for five years. He is also a prolific composer and in 2007, led a full concert of his own choral-orchestral music. Bernstein founded the Pasadena Master Chorale in 2009 and serves now as artistic director. He is also artistic director of the Los Angeles Daiku. From 1997 to 2008, Bernstein was director of choral music at Occidental College in Los Angeles. In 2010, Bernstein's broad musical interests came together in the creation of Life of Mozart, a theatrical framework for Mozart's Requiem, premiering in Pasadena and Boston.
KRYSTLE CASEY has performed as a symphonic, oratorio and operatic soloist in the US and in Austria. Her most recent roles include Blanche in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites; Fire, Princess, and Nightingale in Ravel's L'enfant et les Sortilèges; Nero in Handel's Agrippina; Flight Controller in Jonathan Dove's Flight and Yetta in The Blue Moose by Dan Tucker and Daniel Pinkwater. She has worked with such directors and conductors as Peter Kazaras, Neal Stulberg and Steven Stubbs. An active concert soloist, Casey has recently performed the Fauré, Mozart, and Brahms Requiems both in Los Angeles and Boston; Orff's Carmina Burana; Handel's Messiah; Haydn's Missa Brevis as well as Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Pasadena Master Chorale, L.A. Daiku and the L.A. Daiku Orchestra. Casey has attended the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival as a developing artist for two consecutive summers. She is an award recipient of the Leni Fè Bland Foundation and the Mimi Alpert Feldman Scholarship in music. A recent graduate of UCLA, where she received her MM in Vocal Performance, Casey is a student of Vladimir Chernov. She received her BA in Music from the University of Redlands in 2007.
Bringing Mozart to life has proved a fantastic journey for DAN SELON who has made previous appearances with Jeffrey Bernstein and the Pasadena Master Chorale. Selon's musical theatre training at both The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis and Occidental College in Los Angeles has afforded him a varied career path. In the last few years Selon has performed as a surfer at The Getty Museum, a unicorn at the LA Opera, the letter "V" in a Chevy commercial and a crass frat boy on Adult Swim's NTSF:SD:SUV.
Ten-year-old pianist, RAY USHIKUBO began his studies at the age of 5, adding the violin at 6. On April 2011, Ushikubo was invited to perform on NPR's "From the Top," and became the youngest of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artists. Ushikubo won first prize in the International Russian Music Piano Competition in San Jose, CA in July 2010. Along with the first prize, he was awarded Most Promising Young Talent that included a performance at Carnegie Hall. He has performed in Steinway Hall and Merkin Concert Hall as a Gold prizewinner for both piano and violin in the AADGT International Music Competition. In 2009, Ushikubo was invited to perform with Lang Lang at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. His current piano teacher is Ory Shihor and violin teacher is Robert Lipsett, both at the Colburn: The Academy.