The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra performs Weill and Maxwell Anderson’s Lost in the Stars as part of a festival inspired by the lives of civil rights champions Rabbi Joachim Prinz, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Weill himself. The festival, conceived and curated by LACO Music Director Jeffrey Kahane (photo at right), runs 14-29 January 2017 at several venues with the help of several area institutions, including the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, the Salastina Music Society, USC, and UCLA. Other Weill works include The Seven Deadly Sins with Storm Large and Hudson Shad, and the U.S. premiere of the Song-Suite for Violin and Orchestra with soloist Daniel Hope. Ancillary events include a symposium, with presentations by Weill scholars Kim H. Kowalke, Stephen Hinton, and Tamara Levitz, and a chamber concert featuring students at USC’s Thornton School of Music.
Weill and Anderson’s musical adaptation of Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton’s great novel of apartheid, commented on race relations in the U.S. and helped foster a burgeoning awareness of violence and discrimination that flowered into the civil rights movement a few years later. It takes the stage in Royce Hall on the UCLA campus 28-29 January, with members of the SITI Company directed by Anne Bogart and starring past Lenya Competition prizewinners Lauren Michelle (photo at left) as Irina and Justin Hopkins (photo lower left) as Stephen Kumalo. (Michelle played Irina in the Washington National Opera production in February 2016.) 2016-2017 Julius Rudel/Kurt Weill Conducting Fellow Jonathon Heyward serves as assistant conductor under Kahane for the production. The performance marks the first staging of Lost in the Stars in Los Angeles since the 1950 tour of the original Broadway production.
The festival realizes a long-held dream for Jeffrey Kahane, whose twenty-year tenure at LACO draws to a close at the end of this season. His interest in Weill’s music stems from a personal connection: Weill was a distant cousin of Kahane’s grandmother, who also fled Germany in the 1930s to escape Nazism. The internationally acclaimed conductor and concert pianist has proven himself a dedicated champion of Weill’s music, notably Symphony no. 2, which he conducted in Hamburg and Los Angeles before leading four performances at the New York Philharmonic in 2014–the first time the Philharmonic had given the work since its U.S. premiere in 1934.
Los Angeles Times (Mark Swed on Lost in the Stars)
Los Angeles Times (Rick Schultz on Daniel Hope/Storm Large concert)
“Class Act” (Robert D. Thomas on Lost in the Stars)
Complete video recording of symposium, 22 January
Complete Festival schedule
LACO press release on “Lift Every Voice”
Learn more about Lost in the Stars
Learn more about The Seven Deadly Sins