The mission of Pacific Serenades is to generate new chamber music by commissioning works and presenting them alongside standard repertoire in intimate concert settings, emphasizing the talents of Southern California musicians.
Pacific Serenades is a 2013 recipient of New Music USA’s Letter of Distinction, which recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to the field of contemporary American music. We have twice been awarded the prestigious Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, for our 2004-05 and 2002-03 seasons. Pacific Serenades’s first CD, The Hall of Mirrors, a quartet of chamber works by Mark Carlson, was a winner of the 2001 Chamber Music America/WQXR Records Awards.
Our third CD, entitled War Scrap: that we may have peace, includes music by John Steinmetz, Larry Lipkis, and Mark Carlson and was released in 2011. Our second, Border Crossings, featuring works we have premiered by Latin American-born composers (Miguel del Aguila and Enrique González-Medina) and other composers directly influenced by Latin American music (Robert Livingston Aldridge and Mark Carlson) was released in 2008. We performed in New York, at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, in 1994, and at Old First Concerts in San Francisco in 1998.
Our self-presenting ensemble has long been one of the premier chamber music organizations in Southern California and one of the longest-performing on the West Coast since its first concert in 1982. For 34 years, including 27 four-program seasons (1987-2013), it has existed so that music lovers—listeners, performers, and composers alike—might experience chamber music as a living art—and to experience it in the intimate setting for which it is intended.
Very few ensembles can boast of premiering 113 works, but as far as we know, no other ensemble can beat our track record of commissioning and premiering music that goes on to second, third, fourth performances, and beyond. Virtually all of our pieces have done so, and some have had as many as 100 performances—and counting!
Pacific Serenades is currently focusing on broadening the reach of these 113 works. Representing 63 different composers, most of them from the Los Angeles area, many of these works have gone on to further performances by other ensembles throughout this country and in Europe and Canada, and many have already been published and recorded.
Facilitating this ongoing expansion is a new partnership between Pacific Serenades Music, our publishing company, and Subito Music Corporation in New Jersey, in which Subito will distribute the 50 out of 113 commissioned pieces that we currently publish—a number that will continue to grow.
We are also creating collaborative alliances with other ensembles and organizations, exploring opportunities to commission new works—both for other ensembles and for our own—so that we might continue our mission. Our first such collaboration happened this year, when we commissioned Yalil Guerra’s String Quartet No. 3 for the Hear Now Festival; it received its premiere in the Festival on February 24, 2016, performed by the Lyris Quartet.
Thanks to generous grants over the past several years from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Los Angeles County Cultural Affairs Commission, the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation, and the passionate support of many individual donors, we have been able to move forward with this new direction. A full-fledged concert season is not in store for us until we are able to hire a committed Executive Director, along with appropriate administrative staff, to handle the complex day-to-day and long-term details of running Pacific Serenades. Until then, our mission only grows in its commitment to new chamber music.