Shaham + Contreras – NoHo Arts District

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, led by Music Director Jaime Martín, presents renowned violinist Gil Shaham on Dvořák’s Violin Concerto in A minor and the world premiere of Lucha Libre! by Juan Pablo Contreras, with works by Kodály, Ligeti and Bartók.

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, conducted by music director Jaime Martín, presents Gil Shaham, “among the most inspired violinists of his generation” (The Guardian), to Dvořák’s dazzling Violin Concerto in A minor, colored with folk music from the composer’s Czech roots, on Sunday, December 11, 2022, 7 p.m., at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena. The Grammy-winning violinist made his LACO debut in 2021, appearing in one of the highly-acclaimed “LACO Close Quarters” digital episodes, blending music and visual art.

The concert opens with the world premiere of Juan Pablo Contreras’ Lucha Libre!, a LACO Sound Investment commission that pays homage to Mexican masked wrestling, the unique cultural phenomenon the composer observed while growing up in Guadalajara. Subtitled Sinfonia Concertante for Chamber Orchestra, the piece, which LACO was originally due to release in March 2020 but was postponed due to the global pandemic, focuses on a “battle” between LACO’s master musicians, whose instruments represent Contreras’ favorites of the iconic Lucha Libre characters. Six star soloists from the Orchestra will wear custom masks created by the renowned San Diego-based artists to produce them for the wrestlers. Contreras, who was LACO’s 2019-2020 Sound Investment Composer, won the 2023 Vilcek Foundation Award for Creative Promise in Music and received a Latin Grammy Best Arrangement nomination for the title track of his orchestral debut album, Mariachitlanis “one of the most prominent young composers in Latin America” ​​(Milenio). His music “masterfully portrays Mexican identity” and is “colorfully orchestrated, emotionally intense and rhythmically vibrant” (The Informant). Sound Investment is a groundbreaking program created by LACO in 2001 that engages viewers to develop new classic works.

Composer Juan Pablo Contreras courtesy of Juan Pablos Contreras.

Additionally, the program – the second and final installment of LACO’s celebration of 100 years of Ligetie anniversary – features three other works that evoke the vibrant texture and diversity of folk music traditions: Ligeti’s Concert Romanesc and that of Bartok Romanian folk dances for winds, both influenced by Romanian folk music, and Kodaly’s Galanta Dancesreflecting the music of the composer’s childhood in Slovakia.

LACO acknowledges the generous support of the Colburn Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Orchestra also receives public funding through grants from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Los Angeles County Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. LACO warmly thanks Hogan Lovells US LLP for their generous pro bono support.

Steinway is the official piano of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.


JUAN PABLO CONTRERAS is known for combining Western classical music and Mexican folk music into a single soundscape. His works have been performed by 30 major orchestras in the United States, Mexico, Spain, Austria, Slovakia, Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela. Contreras has received commissions from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Riverside Choir, Carlos Prieto and the Onix Ensamble. He has won numerous awards, including the BMI William Schuman Prize, Presser Music Award, Jalisco Orchestral Composition Prize, Brian Israel Prize, Pi Kappa Lambda Award, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Dutch Harp Composition Contest and the Young Artists Scholarship from the Mexican National Fund for Culture and the Arts, among others. Contreras was composer in residence with LACO, the soundON Modern Music Festival in San Diego, the Prickly Pear Music Festival in San Antonio, and at the Turtle Bay Music School and Concerts on the slope At New York. He has degrees in composition from the University of Southern California (DMA), the Manhattan School of Music (MM), and the California Institute of the Arts (BFA). Contreras’ work was presented to LACO audiences at the SESSION 2018 concert hosted by Derrick Skye, which included the US premiere of Angel Mestizo, followed by the world premiere in February 2019 of his work commissioned by LACO Mexican music as part of LACO’s bedroom series. Mexican music paid tribute to women who played important roles in Mexico, including artist and icon Frida Kahlo, 17th-century poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and La Malinche, the Aztec woman who translated for Hernán Cortés during the conquest Spanish.

Gil Shaham, photographed in Central Park, on 10/11/2020 by Chris Lee

GIL SHAHAMit is flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit solidified his fame as an American master. The Grammy Award winner, also nominated Musical America’s “Instrumentalist of the Year” is sought-after worldwide for his concerto appearances with top orchestras and conductors, and regularly gives recitals and performs with ensembles on major stages in concerts around the world and at the most prestigious festivals. Highlights of recent years include the acclaimed recording and performances of Complete sonatas and partitas for solo violin by JS Bach. In 2020 he released his first solo recording in several years, which includes his very first recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto as well as the Brahms Concerto. He has already recorded more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs, winning several GRAMMY Awards, a Disc Grand Prize, Diapason d’Or and Gramophone Editor’s Choice, among other accolades. The Illinois-born, Israeli-raised violinist, who plays a 1719 Stradivarius, has been hailed for drawing “a veritable feast of sonic color from his violin” (The Baltimore Sun)he received an Avery Fischer Career Fellowship in 1990, received the coveted Avery Fisher Award in 2008, and was named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America in 2012.

LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (LACO) ranks among the best musical ensembles in the world. Beloved by audiences and hailed by critics, the Orchestra is a preeminent performer of historical masterpieces and, with eight ASCAP awards for adventurous programming, a champion of contemporary composers. Based in the heart of the nation’s cultural capital, LACO has been hailed “America’s Best Chamber Orchestra” (Public Radio International), “LA’s Most Intimidating Chamber Music Experience” (Los Angeles magazine), “resplendent” (Los Angeles Times) and “one of the greatest chamber orchestras in the world” (KUSC Classical FM). Performing in greater Los Angeles, the Orchestra has made 32 recordings, most recently including a 2019 BIS Records release of works for violin and chamber orchestra with violinist Margaret Batjer and the world premiere recording of Concerto for violin by Pierre Jalbert (co-commission). In 2020, due to the global pandemic, LACO transitioned from presenting live performances to producing the groundbreaking interdisciplinary digital series CLOSE QUARTERS blending musical and visual arts, which garnered over 1.8 million views on social media platforms since its debut in November 2020. “digital native” programs, created specifically for streaming and applauded as “musically and artistically compelling” (Los Angeles Times) have “redefined the way classical music can be presented in the 21st century (Cultural Attaché). LACO, headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, has toured Europe, South America and Japan, and performed across North America.

Jaime Martin took up his post at LACO and also became conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland in September 2019. In LACO concert reviews, the Los Angeles Times praised Martín’s “infectious musical creation”, noting that “the musicians seem to be having a blast. The public is invited to the party. Overseas, he has been hailed as “a visionary, insightful and meticulous conductor” (Platea Magazine) and that of London The telegraph said, “his contagious enjoyment of the music communicated to the orchestra and audience.” He has been Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Gävle Symphony Orchestra since 2013 and Artistic Advisor of the Santander Festival. He was also a founding member of the Orquestra de Cadaqués, of which he was the conductor from 2012 to 2019. After spending many years as a highly regarded flautist, Martín turned to the direction of full-time orchestra in 2013, and quickly became sought after at the highest level. Recent engagements include appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Antwerp Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony and Gulbenkian Orchestras, as well as touring European in nine cities with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Martín recorded a series of highly acclaimed Brahms records for Ondine Records with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra and various records with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra for Tritó Records. He has also commissioned several world and regional premieres of works by composers such as Ellen Reid, Andrew Norman, Missy Mazzoli, Derrick Spiva, Albert Schnelzer and Juan Pablo Contreras. As a flautist, Martín has been Principal Flute of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, English National Opera, Academy of St Martin the Fields and London Philharmonic Orchestra. Jaime Martín is a member of the Royal College of Music in London, where he was professor of flute.


Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: Shaham plays Dvořák
Jaime Martin, conductor
Gil Shaham, violin


JUAN PABLO CONTRERAS Lucha Libre! (LACO Sound Investment Commission, world premiere)
DVOŘÁK Violin Concerto in A minor
LIGETI Concert Romanesc
BARTOK Romanian folk dances for winds
KODÁLY Galanta Dances


Sunday, December 11, 2022, 7 p.m.


Ambassador Auditorium

131 S. St. John Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105


$29 – $133
213 221 3920

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