May 15, 2017

Festival of LA Song

Pacific Serenades is planning and promoting a Los Angeles County-wide Festival of LA Song, to take place throughout the 2018-19 concert season.

Our idea for this Festival is to celebrate Song in its many manifestations, as created here in the LA area, by having as many ensembles, schools, presenters, etc., include songs by Los Angeles-area composers on their own concerts. This will be a way for organizations to showcase themselves with a shared context between all the participants, in ways that are true to the mission and aesthetic identity of each individual participant. There are lots of ways this could happen, but we happen to think that celebrating songs from this area is a particularly wonderful way to do it.

We’re modeling this on the LA Opera’s Britten 100/LA, a festival held throughout the year 2013. The Opera invited a host of organizations to be involved by programming music by Britten during their regular concerts, but other than spearheading the festival, the Opera had no other direct involvement with the individual organizations’ concerts. It was a remarkable year of many performances of Britten’s music here.

There was a much earlier model, in 1987, called New Music LA, in which organizations throughout the area programmed new music by living composers in a two-week festival. It, too, was wonderful, and it’s time to do something like that again!

This will be a decentralized Festival, but one which will provide the potential for ensembles and organizations—representing remarkably diverse aesthetics and missions—to relate to each other through the common lens of LA Song.

Each organization will commit to programming within their regular season at least one concert that features at least one song by an LA-area composer. The LA composers could be people alive and well, and the programmed songs could be premieres or older pieces. In order to show the depth and breadth of song composition here, we’ll also be happy if songs by composers no longer with us are programmed. Musical style of the songs and of the whole program is entirely up to each organization.

This promises to be an exciting celebration of music, and a fantastic way to showcase the diversity and uniqueness of Song created right here in Los Angeles.

This project is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.