Embracing works from the Old and New Worlds, Camerata Pacifica presents with “From Bach to Bolivia,” the first of two programs in its new Camerata Pacifica Baroque series featuring period instruments and curated by acclaimed flutist Emi Ferguson. The repertoire for the inaugural Baroque concert includes five seminal Bach chamber works: Prelude and Fugue; Trio Sonata No. 5; Prelude; Trio Sonata No. 2; and Toccata and Fugue. They are set against six anonymous chamber works composed during the same era in Bolivia, which were rediscovered in the past 20 years in the Chiquitos Music Archives housed in a Bolivian Jesuit mission church and compiled by Dr. Piotr Nawrot. Bridging Bach’s masterworks and the anonymous works composed on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean is La Folia by Doménico Zipoli, an Italian composer who completed his musical training in Europe before moving in 1717 to Córdoba in Spanish Colonial America (now in Argentina), where he served as music director for the local Jesuit church.
Camerata Pacifica presents the fascinating program of 17th and 18th century works in four locations across Southern California, from the San Gabriel Valley to Santa Barbara, on Tuesday, October 17, 7:30 pm, at The Huntington’s Rothenberg Hall in San Marino; Thursday, October 19, 8 pm, at Zipper Hall in Downtown Los Angeles; Friday, October 20, 7:30 pm, in Hahn Hall at Santa Barbara’s Music Academy; and Sunday, October 22, 3 pm, at Janet and Ray Scherr Forum in Thousand Oaks. Camerata Pacifica is a chamber music collective renowned for its musical versatility and bold programming that demonstrate the limitless scope of the chamber music repertoire.
Ferguson, who is also resident flutist for the Camerata Pacifica Baroque series, says of the newly discovered manuscripts, “They are a veritable time capsule from that region of South America. Even though the music was composed by people in Bolivia hundreds of years ago, it’s new music to all of us because we haven’t heard it before. I programmed these pieces specifically to amplify Camerata Pacifica’s commitment to bringing new works to life, although the organization typically premieres pieces by contemporary composers.”
Adding luster to the eclectic program are Katie Hyun, a violin “virtuoso by any measure” (The Berkshire Review); cellist Coleman Itzkoff, praised for his “flawless technique and keen musicality” (The New Yorker); and Mikael Darmanie, a gifted cross-genre pianist noted for championing music of the African diaspora. Joining them is Ferguson, “a glorious flutist” (Los Angeles Times) who was awarded a 2023 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Ferguson has previously appeared twice with Camerata Pacifica, including last season with RUCKUS.
Camerata Pacifica’s second and final Baroque program this season, “Camerata Pacifica Baroque: The French Dispatch,” which offers a selection of rarely heard French Baroque repertoire, is set for April 21-26, 2024.
For “Camerata Pacifica: From Bach to Bolivia” tickets ($75 at The Huntington, Hahn Hall and Zipper Hall; $80 at Janet and Ray Scherr Forum) and information for please visit www.cameratapacifica.org.
A 2023 recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Emi Ferguson can be heard live in concerts and festivals with groups including AMOC*, Ruckus, the Handel and Haydn Society, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Manhattan Chamber Players, and as the music director of Camerata Pacifica Baroque. Her recordings celebrate her fascination with reinvigorating music and instruments of the past for the present. Her debut album, Amour Cruel, an indie-pop song cycle inspired by the music of the 17th-century French court, was released by Arezzo Music in September 2017, spending four weeks on the classical, classical crossover, and world music Billboard charts. Her 2019 album Fly the Coop: Bach Sonatas and Preludes, a collaboration with continuo band Ruckus, debuted at #1 on the iTunes classical charts and #2 on the Billboard classical charts, and was called “blindingly impressive … a fizzing, daring display of personality and imagination” by The New York Times. Emi has been a featured performer at the Marlboro, Lucerne, Ojai, Lake Champlain, Bach Virtuosi, and June in Buffalo festivals, often premiering new works by composers of our time. Emi has spoken and performed at several TEDx events and has been featured on media outlets including the Discovery Channel, Amazon Prime, WQXR, and Vox talking about how music relates to our world today. As part of WQXR’s Artist Propulsion Lab, she created the series “This Composer is SICK!” with Max Fine that explored the impact of Syphilis on composers Franz Schubert, Bedřich Smetana, and Scott Joplin, and has also guest hosted WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase. Her book, “Iconic Composers,” co-written with Nicholas and David Csicsko, was released in June 2023, introducing music lovers of all ages to 50 incredible composers. Born in Japan and raised in London and Boston, she now resides in New York City.
Camerata Pacifica, considered one of the nation’s leading chamber ensembles, has been hailed as “innovative and intrepid” (The Daily Telegraph), “visceral and powerful” (The Economist). Its considerable commissioning portfolio includes more than 20 works by such established and rising composers as John Harbison, Jake Heggie, Huang Ruo, Lera Auerbach, Bright Sheng, Ian Wilson, David Bruce, Libby Larsen, and John Luther Adams. Two new commissions for the ensemble are currently in process from Clarice Assad and Niloufar Nourbakhsh. The chamber collective has also been lauded for its warm and engaging rapport with audiences, bringing context and immediacy to the music it performs. Based in Santa Barbara, California, the ensemble enjoys a busy performance schedule throughout Southern California and beyond. Camerata Pacifica’s flagship annual series showcases its exceptional musicians as well as a range of distinguished guest artists. Each program is structured as a week-long residency with the ensemble performing in four Southern California locales: The Huntington’s Rothenberg Hall in San Marino; Colburn School’s Zipper Hall in downtown Los Angeles; Janet and Ray Scherr Forum in Thousand Oaks; and Santa Barbara’s Music Academy, Hahn Hall. The chamber ensemble has previously toured to Hong Kong and appeared at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, and major concert halls in London, Dublin and Belfast. Camerata Pacifica was founded by Artistic Director Adrian Spence, an acclaimed “high-flying flautist” (The Irish Times) applauded for his “unstoppable energy, his organizational genius, his taste in music and musicians” (Noozhawk). A native of Northern Ireland, Spence’s keen artistic sensibilities are evident in every aspect of Camerata Pacifica, from the ensemble’s stellar roster of international chamber artists and thoughtfully curated musical offerings to its authentic connection with audiences. He also sets the tone for the deep comradery among the collective’s musicians, which is evident both on and off stage.
In addition to its busy performance schedule, Camerata Pacifica is committed to serving the community. In 2021, Camerata Pacifica, in collaboration with UCLA Health, developed The Nightingale Channel, a landmark resource for hospitals providing programming drawn from the ensemble’s extensive video library of its performances delivered via iPads to patient bedsides and care teams. Based on the well-documented positive effects of music in healing, The Nightingale Channel has been adopted by UCLA Health, UC Davis Health, Keck Medicine at USC, Loma Linda University Medical Center, City of Hope National Medical Center, and Augusta University Health, and is being introduced to other hospitals across the country.
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