LA Chamber Orchestra performance features Violinist Nigel Armstrong

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), noted for discovering and showcasing stellar young artists early their careers, presents the dynamic and uniquely talented 21-year-old violinist Nigel Armstrong in a Mozart (Mostly) program led by LACO Principal Cello Andrew Shulman, in his LA conducting debut, on Saturday, January 21, 8 pm, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, and Sunday, January 22, 7 pm, at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Armstrong, a finalist in the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, held every four years and considered “classical music's equivalent of the Olympics” (Los Angeles Times), has been hailed as “gifted” and “blazing” (Chicago Tribune). The California native and recent graduate of The Colburn School Conservatory of Music performs Mozart’s stunning Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216. This is the fist time Armstrong has performed publicly in California since being named a finalist in the prestigious competition and marks his LACO debut.

In addition, Shulman conducts Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 in A major, K. 201, and the virtuosic Sonata for Strings by British composer William Walton. Sonata for Strings, a transcription of Walton’s 1947 String Quartet in A minor, was commissioned in 1971 by Sir Neville Marriner for the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and LACO gave the US premiere two years later under Marriner’s baton.

Regarding Walton’s piece Shulman notes, “It’s a work I’ve known since my early student days. I recorded it in its original version for string quartet in the 1990s with my Britten String Quartet. The Academy and Neville made a stellar recording of Sonata for Strings in 1972 with Walton, himself, present at the sessions. He and Neville made a few changes that have been handed down through the decades. I've gathered them all for this performance with LACO. It’s a tremendous piece. The first movement swings between gorgeous, melancholic lyricism and jagged, emotional rhythmic outbursts. The second is a fast, tense, incredibly virtuosic scherzo, incorporating jete (bounced bow) and col legno (with the wood of the bow) bowing and trills. The third is a beautiful slow movement with heart wrenching violin, viola and cello solos. The final movement is a wild ride, incorporating what were at that time mold-breaking, almost rock-like rhythmic undercurrents, ending with five 16th notes played, in a flash, by the entire orchestra in unison.”

Tickets ($24 – $105) are on sale now and may be purchased online at laco.org, by calling LACO at 213 622 7001, or at the venue box office on the night of the concert, if tickets remain. Discounted tickets are also available by phone for seniors 65 years of age and older and groups of 12 or more. College students may purchase rush tickets one hour before curtain; also available for students is the $25 “Campus to Concert Hall All Access Pass” – good for all seven of LACO’s Orchestral Series concerts at either the Alex Theatre or Royce Hall and for all three Westside Connections concerts at The Broad Stage, plus other benefits.

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