Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Behind-the-Scenes: LA Bach Festival Part II (Video Clip)

My last Bach Festival post gave you my experience as being a choir member in this year's festival. And as Sunday, November 2nd is coming ever closer, I thought I'd give you guys a behind-the-scenes peek at our last piano rehearsal for the Finale Concert (video after the jump).

In the footage is Jonathan Talberg conducting and First Congregational Church of Los Angeles Organist-in-Residence S. Wayne Foster accompanying on piano.

It was unbelievably hard to pull myself away for just a minute to get some rehearsal footage. You don't want a miss a single beat when you're in rehearsal (and you don't want to distract people either!). More to come as we enter this sprint toward November 2nd.

Free concerts are still going and plenty of time to schedule in attending the finale. Check out the remainder of the festival on

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Music Center Spotlight Awards

The Music Center of Los Angeles County invites Southern California high school performers, artists and photographers to apply for the 21st Annual Music Center Spotlight Awards. The program is one of the nation's most acclaimed performing and visual arts education programs for teens, offering training in the arts and awarding over $100,000 in scholarships annually to finalists, semi-finalists and participants who received honorable mentions. Students can apply online at There are no fees to participate.

Visual Arts - Photography & Two-Dimensional Art
Deadline: December 1, 2008
Applications Now Available

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Behind-the-Scenes: LA Bach Festival Part I (My Experience)

The Opening Concert (October 19th) of the 75th Annual Los Angeles Bach Festival begins on Sunday. As a member of the chorus in the Finale Concert on November 2nd, this fact fills me with both dread and excitment.

I usually talk about experiencing the arts from the patron's perspective, but in light of my looking frantically at my Bach B Minor Mass score, I thought it'd be fun to write as someone from the other side, sharing a little behind-the-scenes action. So over the course of the festival, I'll be tossing my two cents and seeing what background and exclusives I can muster from those hard at work in making this event happen.

To give a glimmer into the insight of what it's like to be a member of the chorus, we have been rehearsing as a group weekly since Sunday, September 14th. Each rehearsal lasts 2-3 hours. At the writing of this entry, our group rehearsal time is 10-15 hours, but this is before we kick into high gear and have a span 3 rehearsals in one week before our performance (that should be fun :)).

But there's no counting the collective hours of people working on the music on their own. It's nice though, to know personally the amount of time and effort it takes to to make something come alive. I think I take that appreciation with me when experiencing LA - that while it might seem like something happens before your eyes, it takes a lot of time and energy to get there.

So as I dive back into some more Bach (It's everywhere: in the score I'm learning from, the listening and singing along, the youtube videos I look up to hear it all collectively when I'm not in rehearsal), take some time to check out the events of the festival (some of which are FREE!). And I'll hopefully be back soon with something new to say as things get underway for the 75th Annual Los Angeles Bach Festival.

-Charity Tran, Web Coordinator

Thursday, October 09, 2008

LA Phil: Chamber Music with Yefim Bronfman

Walt Disney Concert Hall SignI've expressed my love of chamber music on this blog before (see: LA Chamber Music Fixe), and my Tuesday evening of Chamber Music at the LA Phil with Yefim Bronfman was no exception.

After a lovely dinner at the Engine Co. No. 28, my friend Adam and I headed out on the local shuttle to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. While we were a little squished at one point, I was happy to see that a large number of people were not only going to the Music Center and the Walt Disney Concert Hall on a Tuesday night, but that they were also taking advantage of the local shuttles that run from the restaurants in the Downtown area (Hint: Check out the website of the restaurant you're dining at, they might have a complimentary shuttle).

The evening began with Brahms: String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51, No. 1. I'm a big fan of strings, and it was just great to hear how 4 different string instruments can make such beautiful sound with such intensity.

But as lovely as the Brahms piece was, I was really there for the second half, which featured pianist Yefim Bronfman on piano - Schubert: Quintet for Piano & Strings, D. 667 "Trout". While the Brahms provided a sense of intensity, Schubert's Trout had such a light and happy air. From what I could tell about most of the crowd there - with the quiet tapping of their fingers, the automated grins that would appear - that's what they were really there for too.

I'm a particular fan of Schubert's "Trout" because it reminds me of my childhood and the CDs my parents let me buy after some begging. I often say that the music of my childhood is Spanish music on Sundays in the neighborhood, Vietnamese music on static-prone AM radio in the kitchen, and in my own room, the shift between radio stations: classical, oldies, and 80s/90s pop. Radio is a beautiful thing because it's free to listen to, but my apprecation of the CD (or any music bought) is that you can listen to it over and over again at your choice.

The third movement of the piece - the scherzo - is one I remember from a compliation CD I owned when I was younger. Nothing beats hearing something played right before your ears, that before you only knew from a recording. I've had experiences like this before - one when knowledge is an experience and not just a belief - but everytime it comes around it still feels new and is such a great feeling.

There's plenty of LA Phil events coming up and many with Yefim Bronfman at the piano. Check out all of the LA Phil Events on

-Charity Tran, Web Coordinator

Friday, October 03, 2008

UCLA Live: McCabe's 50th Anniversary

Yesterday, when I was about to hop on the Red Line via the Wilshire/Vermont station, the elevator doors opened for me - without me having to press a single button, without anyone being in the elevator. It was just there: as if to say "hello" and "welcome back". Admittedly, it was kinda spooky, but it was pretty nice. Or perhaps it was just my introduction to what would turn out to be a wonderful evening, where I had an unexpected invitation from my friend Katie at the GRAMMY Museum (which opens in December 2008!). She had an extra ticket to McCabe's 50th Anniversary: A Living History of Music at UCLA's Royce Hall.

Featuring artist after artist (including Jackson Browne, Richard Thompson, Odetta, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, David Linley, Jennifer Warnes, The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, Peter Rowan, Blind Boys of Alabama, Peter Case, Ditty Bops, Ricky Jay, and special guests), the event was a regular jam session and showcase that lived up to its subtitle: "A Living History of Music".

I have never been to an event that took me so easily across time, space and sound, the living history of the individual artists themselves - all in one place. And I don't think I was alone in this experience. The hooting and hollering of the crowd and the toe-tapping and head-nodding of my audience neighbors was undeniable. There was a celebration of song both on stage and off.

As odd as it may sound, attending McCabe's 50th Anniversary concert was reminicient of my morning, like having elevator doors open up without pressing a button, without anyone stepping out, and then walking into something that just carried me away. But even better than a destination that moves you forward in time to where you need to go, McCabe's 50th Anniversary took you back into their shop, their history, their present, and beckoning you to visit in the future.

The UCLA Live season is just starting. There's plenty of things to take you away. Check out the upcoming season on

-Charity Tran, Web Coordinator

18th Annual Divas Simply Singing: Part I

Our blog contributor Daood will be covering the 18th Annual Divas Simply Singing event on October 11th, benefiting HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

In the mean time, he's given us a great clip of Diva Foundation founder and creator of DIVAS Simply Singing, Sheryl Lee Ralph singing "I Am A Woman" from her one-woman play Sometimes I Cry inspired by real stories of women and their battle with HIV/AIDS. Staff