Aug. 16--Lera Auerbach began composing music when she was 4 years old and living in Chelyabinsk, a Russian city near Siberia. She wrote her first opera at age 12 and five years later, in 1991, she was touring America as a concert pianist.
That's when she decided to defect.
"I sensed this intangible sense of freedom, which everyone talks about," she told The New York Times last month, reflecting on her decision not to return to the Soviet Union. "I felt like I needed it like water in order to really mature as a human being and as an artist. I was very hungry for all these influences."
She enrolled at Juilliard and studied piano and composition. As the years ticked by, her creative juices flowed. She penned chamber pieces, concertos and another opera, "The Blind," which opened last month at Lincoln Center in New York. One of her latest pieces, "New Work for Cello & Chamber Ensemble," is slated to premiere next spring as part Camerata Pacifica's 24th season. Camerata, a Santa Barbara-based chamber music group, announced its 2013-14 season schedule last week.
Ani Aznavoorian, Camerata's cellist, will be the soloist for the Auerbach piece. The work was commissioned for Aznavoorian and the Camerata by Sandy Svoboda in memory of her husband, Al. It will be performed March 6 in Los Angeles, March 7 in Santa Barbara, March 9 in Ventura and March 11 in Pasadena. The concert also will feature Britten's "Temporal Variations," featuring oboe player Nicholas Daniel; Brahms' Clarinet Quartet; and Thomas Ades' "Catch."
Camerata's season will open Sept. 20-26 with a concert spotlighting 21st century works, including John Harbison's solo violin work "Four Songs of Solitude," which will feature Paul Haung. Later Huang will be joined by Adrian Spence (flute), Jose Franch-Ballester (clarinet), Warren Jones (piano) and Aznavoorian on cello for Harbison's "Songs America Loves to Sing."
October's program will feature Auerbach herself. She'll team up with Aznavoorian to perform her own "24 Preludes for Cello & Piano." In November, pianist Adam Neiman will perform two major works by Beethoven: the Op. 120, 33 Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli, and the Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106, Hammerklavier.
Camerata will close out the year with the husband-and-wife piano team of Joanne Pearce Martin and Gavin Martin performing music by Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Debussy and Lutoslawski.
For tickets, and a look at the full season schedule, call 884-8410 or visit www.cameratapacifica.org.
A starry night
Broadway star Patrick Cassidy, who just finished codirecting a production of "The Sound of Music" at Moorpark's High Street Arts Center, will host a benefit for the center in September.
Cassidy, who lives in Thousand Oaks, is slated to emcee the Arts Under the Stars fundraiser. The evening will feature dinner, music (including a song or two by Cassidy himself) and a silent auction. It will take place 6-10 p.m. Sept. 12 at The Walnut Grove, 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark. Tickets are $95. Call 844-5441 or visit moorparkarts.org.
Cassidy's next project is directing an October production of "Oklahoma!" for Point Park University's Conservatory Theatre Company in Pittsburgh, Pa. The musical will be staged at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, where Cassidy's mother, Shirley Jones, began her professional career. After that, he'll turn his full attention to producing a national tour of "The Music Man." He'll star as con man Harold Hill and his mom, who played Marion Paroo in the 1962 movie version, will play Mrs. Paroo. For a preview, check out http://www.shirleyjonesmusicman.com.
"My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm In Therapy" will run Oct. 9-27 in the Scherr Forum Theatre at Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. The one-man comedy, penned by Steve Solomon and starring Peter J. Fogel, is described as "one part lasagna, one part kreplach and two parts Prozac." Tickets are available in person at the box office or through Ticketmaster.
Ventura's Lizette Rubio will compete against 11 other singers Sept. 7 in the Rising Star contest at Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez. The winner gets $5,000, musical mentoring from J.R. Richards of Dishwalla and a chance to open for one of the headlining performers at the casino.
League of their own
Tickets are on sale now for Theater League's 2013-14 season at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. The four-musical slate kicks off Nov. 5-10 with "Million Dollar Quartet," a Tony-nominated show about the legendary 1956 recording session that united Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. It continues with "The Addams Family" (Dec. 3-8), based on the altogether ooky '60s TV series starring John Astin; "Mamma Mia!" (Jan. 14-19), which celebrates the music of ABBA; and "West Side Story" (March 11-16), the Broadway classic featuring such standards as "Tonight," "America," "Maria," "I Feel Pretty" and "Somewhere." Tickets are available in person at the box office or through Ticketmaster. Visit http://theaterleague.com for more information.
The CSU Channel Islands Choir is holding auditions this month for its 10th anniversary season, which will include performances of Britten's "Ceremony of Carols" and Brahms' "Requiem." Tenors and basses are especially needed. Call KuanFen Liu at 278-0375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Young performers ages 9-17 can audition Sept. 7 for a spot in the Gold Coast Theatre Conservatory's next round of master classes in Thousand Oaks. Students will learn about stage combat, comedy and improv, then perform Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor" in November. To schedule an audition, email GoldCoastTheatre@gmail.com. For information, call 427-5314 or visit http://www.goldcoasttheatreconservatory.com. Improv-savvy actors are needed to portray historical characters in the inaugural Nottingham Festival, set for Nov. 16-17 at Rancho Tapo Community Park in Simi Valley. For information, email Carlos Penaranda at email@example.com.
(c)2013 Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.)
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