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Los Angeles/Orange County: Classical Music

First time visitors to Los Angeles are consistently awed by the city’s sheer geographic immensity. Sure, there are other places with larger populations, but few cities rival the distance from end to end of LA’s urban sprawl. Because of this, the town’s neighborhoods – some cities in their own right – all tend to have their own distinct feel, and placing the heart of the classical music scene in any one place to visit is nearly impossible.

Downtown’s Grand Avenue is home to the grand bastions of the city’s classical world. Walt Disney Concert Hall (home base for the arguably most widely-recognized face in classical music), the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the Colburn School’s Zipper Hall are all essentially right across the street from each other here. Twenty miles to the west, UCLA’s Royce Hall hosts a vibrant and varied season of concerts, while twenty miles to the east, the Armory Center for the Arts is known for their forward-looking programming.

On the beach you’ll find Beyond Baroque, an alternative performance space in Venice, while just northeast of downtown, in Highland Park, Echo Park, and Silverlake, LA’s experimental and modern-classical musicians are building a vibrant post-classical scene. Really, head far enough in any direction, and you’ll find a venue and an ensemble that calls whatever part of town you end up in home.

The best way to tackle it is to use a listing like LA Weekly or NewClassic.LA to have a look at what’s coming up, pick out what you’d like to do, rent a car (do NOT attempt to use public transportation here), and head to whatever neighborhood the show is in well ahead of time. Don’t worry, you’ll find plenty else to do there, wherever “there” may be. (Nick Norton)

Los Angeles Classical Music: Classical Music Around Los Angeles

Below are our Los Angeles Classical Music recommendations, with information on location, admission, transportation/parking, ensemble/venue history and other points of interest in Los Angeles Art.

Long Beach Symphony

What began as a community orchestra in 1935 has grown into a professional ensemble of over 80 musicians.  The music of Brahms, Dvorák, Gershwin, and Elton John are counted among the orchestra’s repertoire; Pre-Concert Talks are free for concertgoers.  The LBSO is firmly invested in its service to young people in the community, with special performances at Miller Children’s Hospital, the Side-By-Side mentorship program for high school musicians, and its …more…

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO)

One only needs to quickly glance at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s roster of vital artistic directors and distinguished professional musicians to realize that this ensemble lives up to its vision of orchestral music as a “living tradition” to be upheld and shared.

Created in 1968 as a way for West Coast studio musicians specializing in the film and record industries to fully explore the heights of creative collaboration, the LACO …more…

Los Angeles Chamber Singers & Cappella

This vital choral music organization is actually comprised of two chamber ensembles. Founded in 1990, the 24-member mixed chorus known as the Chamber Singers focuses on the performance of contemporary a cappella choral music by American composers, and Los Angeles composers in particular.

In suitable contrast, Cappella is a smaller group dedicated to performing sacred music from the Medieval and Renaissance periods. The early music choir, which takes a particular interest …more…

Los Angeles Master Chorale

The Los Angeles Master Chorale is the resident chorus of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, notable for both its eye-popping Frank Gehry design and its outstanding acoustics. Since 2001, the Chorale has been under the musical direction of Grant Gershon, who has assisted the chorus in building a large audience base and a more extensive musical repertoire.

Some of the L.A. Master Chorale’s exciting projects have included the multi-year “Homage to …more…

Los Angeles Philharmonic (L.A. Phil)

In 1919, a multi-millionaire and amateur musician established Los Angeles’ first permanent symphony orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Under the direction of Walter Henry Rothwell, 94 musicians brought from the St. Paul Symphony in Minnesota came together to perform at the Trinity Auditorium in L.A. The next year, the Orchestra built the Philharmonic Auditorium, which it called home for the next 44 years.

Today, under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel, the …more…

New West Symphony

Serving communities in Southern California, the New West Symphony’s performance repertoire prominently features the Romantics and 20th century composers such as Bruch, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Korngold, Vaughan Williams and Stravinsky.

Educational endeavors include the “Symphonic Adventures Interactive Student Concerts” series, the free Music Van program–in which grade 3 students get the opportunity to play orchestral instruments–and the Front Row Club, designed for families to experience orchestral music together “behind-the-scenes.”

New West Symphony …more…

Pacific Chorale

Founded in 1968, the Pacific Chorale is made up of 140 professional-level singers and has long been under the musical direction of John Alexander. The group has toured internationally several times and collaborated with many international symphonies. The Pacific Chorale also has a 24-member ensemble, known as the John Alexander Singers, that specializes in chamber music.

Given that the group’s eclectic concerts feature everything from beloved holiday songs and hymns to …more…

Pacific Symphony

The Pacific Symphony began in 1979 and offers a well-rounded array of programs and concerts, from its Classical and Pops series—featuring the works of Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Mahler, and Paul McCartney, among others, Café Ludwig chamber music series, and Sunday orchestral series “Classical Connections”, to the multimedia series Music Unwound and its annual, ASCAP-award winning American Composers Festival, which has included commissioned works by Philip Glass, Chen Yi, Tobias Picker, and …more…

Pasadena Symphony and POPS

The Pasadena Symphony Association has been in existence since 1928, but it was not until 2007 that the Symphony welcomed the Pasadena POPS into the fold, resulting in what is now known as Pasadena Symphony and POPS.  The middle school-aged Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra has been part of the organization since 1972.

While the organization has an effective programming tandem in its Symphony Classics series—with compositions by Erich Korngold, Richard Strauss, …more…

World Festival of Sacred Music

Over the past ten years, WFSM-LA has brought together tens of thousands of people of diverse ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds, including artists of all types, community and religious leaders, educators, and students. With a combined total of 185 multidisciplinary events presenting the work of 6,000 artists in 180 diverse venues across Los Angeles and an attendance of 200,000 people at the 1999, 2002, and 2005 Festivals, WFSM-LA is the …more…