The Classical Music Concerts We're Most Looking Forward to in 2012
5. Cage 2012
Southwest Chamber Music, Japanese American National Museum, March 3-4
Hey L.A., where's the love for your native son, John Cage? It's the 100th anniversary of his birth next year, and the only party in town is being thrown by Southwest Chamber Music. The opening Cage 2012 concert showcases violinist Shalini Vijayan playing two late opuses while sharing the stage with sound art by Mineko Grimmer. Melting chunks of ice slowly release embedded pebbles above wires and rods, creating an unpredictable, jangly, splashing counterpoint to the long but sparse notes of the violin part. This is as Zen as it gets in a concert hall.
4. Jacaranda: Calder Quartet plays Christopher Rouse
First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, March 17-18
So many young string quartets play with such precision, energy, and musicality that we don't know what the hell to write about them -- repeated praise soon becomes meaningless. How does an up-and-coming group distinguish themselves from the competition?
The Calder Quartet finagled a new work from Christopher Rouse, a man notorious for not composing chamber music. Rouse responded with a devilishly difficult piece that he describes as "something akin to a schizophrenic having a grand mal seizure."
3. Ojai Festival
Plenty of reasons to spend the weekend at Ojai next year: pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin playing Ives, Berg, and Bartók; pianist Leif Oves Andsnes performing Beethoven, Mozart, Kurtág, and the U.S. premiere of a Bent Sørensen concerto; both pianists coming together to play Stravinsky's two-piano arrangement of his Rite of Spring. Not many Americans have heard the brilliant Swedish clarinetist Martin Frost in concert, which is another excuse to attend.
Since Cage's death, John Luther Adams has slowly but clearly emerged as the greatest living exponent of the American experimentalist tradition. The West Coast premiere of his primal outdoor composition, Inuksuit, for 48 percussion and piccolo players, is the reason we'll be there.