By the end of this season, Pacific Serenades will have presented the premieres of 110 new works for chamber ensembles by more than 62 composers from primarily Southern California – an accomplishment unmatched by any other group of its kind in the nation. Nor has this achievement gone unnoticed. On Monday, May 13, composer and flutist Mark Carlson will travel to New York City to accept a Letter of Distinction awarded to Pacific Serenades by New Music USA for its “significant contribution to the field of contemporary American music.”
“All of my adult life, I’ve believed passionately in the importance of supporting the work of composers and performers not only of my own time, but also of my own community,” explains Carlson, who founded Pacific Serenades in 1982, with its first full concert season taking place in 1987. “It’s been extraordinarily rewarding to see so many of the works we commissioned and premiered over the past 27 seasons enter the repertoire of other chamber music ensembles. We’re very honored to receive this recognition for our work and, as a locally-grown and locally-oriented organization, thrilled to be getting national acknowledgement!”
Also receiving Letters of Distinction are: Anthony Braxton, John Kander, John Luther Adams, and William Kraft.
This year’s awards are the first to be presented since American Music Center and Meet The Composer merged to become New Music USA. “New Music USA is committed to the vitality of the new music community,” New Music USA President and CEO Ed Harsh commented last October when the awards were announced. “In continuing the American Music Center’s great awards tradition, we are delighted to be able to highlight some of the great artists and organizations who themselves have made such indispensable contributions to that community.”
Previous recipients include George Balanchine, Leonard Bernstein, Joan Tower, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Morton Feldman, Laurie Anderson, Dizzy Gillespie, Michael Tilson Thomas, Virgil Thomson, Joan La Barbara, Randy Weston, the Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can, Dawn Upshaw, Jack Beeson, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Copland House, William Bolcom and La Monte Young.
“We’re in very lofty company,” says Carlson with a smile.
Pacific Serenades’ next performance, entitled “Vibrations,” will take place on Saturday, May 4 at 4 p.m. at a private home in Pacific Palisades; Sunday, May 5 at 4 p.m. at Neighborhood Church in Pasadena; and Tuesday, May 7 at 8 p.m. at the UCLA Faculty Center. The program will include String Quartet No. 2 in D Minor by Bedrich Smetana, Franz Josef Haydn’s String Quartet in B minor, Op. 64, No. 2; and the WORLD PREMIERE of String Theory, a string quartet by Gernot Wolfgang.
Violinists Roger Wilke and Connie Kupka, violist Roland Kato, and cellist David Speltz will perform.
Neighborhood Church is located at 301 North Orange Grove Blvd. in Pasadena. Ample free parking is available at the church and at the nearby historic Gamble House, as well as at the Pasadena Museum of History and on surrounding streets.
The UCLA Faculty Center is located at 405 North Hilgard Avenue on the UCLA campus in Westwood. Parking is $11. Dinner is available prior to the UCLA concert at the Faculty Center by making reservations at 310.825.0877.
For more information about Pacific Serenades and its upcoming performances, visit www.pacser.org or call 213.534.3434.