Southwest Chamber Music

Press Release 

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 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   
March 28, 2012                                                                                              626.685.4455
(Press contact)



International collaborations are spearheaded by  
Southwest Chamber Music for its 25th Anniversary Season  


4 commissions / 25 compositions / 14 LA premieres
4 world premieres 

representing the United States, Vietnam, Mexico, 
South Korea/Berlin, and The Netherlands


15 composers / 7 visiting composers 


May 9, 12, 21 and 26, 2012 
The Colburn School 


Los Angeles - Two-time Grammy Award-winning Southwest Chamber Music announces its inaugural LA International New Music Festival which takes place May 9, 12, 21, and 26 at 8:00 p.m. at The Colburn School. The festival is a culmination of the ensemble's celebration of its 25th season. Each concert will be preceded at 7:00 p.m. by a discussion with the concert's composers and musicians moderated by Southwest Artistic Director Jeff von der Schmidt.


The Festival presents 25 works, which include 14 Los Angeles or west coast premieres, three US premieres, and four world premieres. Southwest has commissioned four of the works to be presented: South Korean/German composer Unsuk Chin's Play Without Words (US Premiere), co-commissioned with the Nieuw Ensemble - Amsterdam and the WDR (West German Radio); The Song of Napalm (World Premiere) and Cracking Bamboo (WP) by Vietnamese composer Vu Nhat Tn; and South Korean composer Hyo-shin Na's Morning Study (WP).  


Tn Tht Tit's Miroir, Mmoire, presented as a gift to Southwest, will also receive its world premiere. Southwest is pleased to present the west coast premiere of the 103-year-old Elliott Carter's Three Explorations, as well as the US premieres of Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz' Rio de las Mariposas and Rio Bravo. LA premieres include works by Kurt Rohde, Milton Babbitt, Peter Lieberson, Alexandra du Bois, Tn, and Na. 


Artistic Director Jeff von der Schmidt reflects, "I was looking for a way to integrate Southwest experiences from Vienna to Vietnam, Phnom Penh to Washington D.C., Angkor Wat to UNAM in Mexico City, all connected by the reputation resulting from two Grammy Awards and seven nominations, three from the Latin Academy. Over time our group biography has come to reflect the community of Los Angeles in all its complexity, a civic responsibility our colleagues on the East Coast or in Europe do not face. I was beginning to see that our 25th anniversary could bring together the various local, national and international projects that define our ensemble." 


Other composers presented on the festival include: Anne LeBaron (US), Daniel Catn (Mexico/Los Angeles), Peter Lieberson (US), Igor Stravinsky, Milton Babbitt (US), Lou Harrison (US), and Arnold Schoenberg. Composers in attendance will be Chin, Na, Rohde, LeBaron, du Bois, Tn and Ortiz. 

Guest artists include Helenus de Rijke, guitar, and Hans Wesseling, mandolin, from the Nieuw Ensemble in Amsterdam; Vn nh Vanessa V, dan bau, dan tranh and T'rung; poets Bruce and Hanh Weigl; Abdiel Gonzalez, baritone; Evan Hughes, bass- baritone; and Elissa Johnston, soprano. 


For additional information scroll to Background below.  Link to brochure.

For interviews/photos please contact: 

Heidi Lesemann: (626) 685-4455


 Concert Information and Listing  


LA International New Music Festival 

Presented by Southwest Chamber Music


The Colburn School.
All concerts begin at 8 p.m. 
Pre-concert talk: 7 p.m. prior to each concert

Festival package:  30% off regular ticket prices!

4 concerts: $105 general; $75 seniors; $25 students with full time I.D.


Single Tickets: $38 general admission, $28 seniors over 65, and 

$10 students with full-time I.D.


For tickets or information: 1.800.726.7147 or  


Wednesday, May 9
Hyo-shin Na - Ocean Shore 2 (LA Premiere)
Gabriela Ortiz - Rio de las Mariposas (US Premiere)
Unsuk Chin - Akrostichon Wortspiel
Milton Babbitt -  Concerto Piccolino (West Coast Premiere)
Kurt Rohde -  Concertino for Solo Violin & Ensemble (LA Premiere)
Vu Nhat Tn -  K c

Saturday, May 12
Lou Harrison -  Varied Trio
Vu Nhat Tn -  Rain Flower (LA Premiere)
Hyo-shin Na -  Morning Study (World Premiere)

Unsuk Chin -  Play Without Words (US Premiere)
Milton Babbitt -  Homily
Arnold Schoenberg - Serenade

Monday, May 21
Anne LeBaron -  Solar Music
Gabriela Ortiz -  Aroma Foliado
Igor Stravinsky - Elegy for JFK
Elliott Carter -  Three Explorations (West Coast Premiere)
Homage to:
Milton Babbitt -  Beaten Paths
Daniel Catn -  Encantamiento
Peter Lieberson -  Forgiveness (LA Premiere)
Gabriela Ortiz -  Atlas Pumas
Vu Nhat Tn -  Cracking Bamboo (World Premiere)

Saturday, May 26
Gabriela Ortiz -  Rio Bravo (US Premiere)
Tn Tht Tit -  Miroir, Mmoire (World Premiere)
Alexandra du Bois - Night Songs (LA Premiere)
Vu Nhat Tn -  The Song of Napalm (World Premiere)


                         vu nhat tan smallkurt rohde                                                      du Bois smallton that tiet smallHyo-shin Na Carter

Top L to R: Composers Anne LeBaron, Vu Nhat Tn, Unsuk Chin, Gabriela Ortiz, Kurt Rohde; Bottom L to R: Alexandra du Bois, Tn Tht Tit. Hyo-shin Na, Elliott Carter.

Location, Parking and Tickets
The Colburn School, 200 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012


Parking is available on the street and at Disney Hall parking garage.


For more information, 

or call 1-800-726-7147 
(please use this number in all published materials).
Background information
Commissions and Premieres 


Unsuk Chin's Play Without Words is a music pantomime for seven instrumentalists inspired by the works of Samuel Beckett. The work features two concertante parts for guitarist Helenus de Rijke and mandolinist Hans Wesseling, members of the Nieuw Ensemble, Amsterdam, a co-commissioner. The work will be premiered in the Netherlands and repeated here at the festival for the US premiere. It is orchestrated for prepared piano, mandolin, guitar, trumpet, harp, strings and percussion. 


The Song of Napalm by Vu Nhat Tn is set to a poem by the noted poet and Vietnam veteran Bruce Weigl. The searingly vivid text describes the "Napalm girl," Phan Thi Kim Phuc, immortalized in Nick Ut's 1972 photo of a young Vietnamese girl, clothes burnt off her body, holding her arms like wings and running toward the camera. It is sung by bass-baritone Evan Hughes and spoken by Weigl's adopted Vietnamese daughter Hanh. The Song of Napalm is composed for an eleven-piece chamber ensemble which includes the preeminent dan bau, t'rung and dan tranh master Vn nh Vanessa V.  A second Tn commission is Cracking Bamboo, an improvisatory piece played from charts and conducted by the composer. 


Hyo-shin Na's Morning Study, composed in the mornings and evenings between March and September 2011, reflects the fluctuation between darkness and light, and the way the morning and evening sound of the Towhees became a part of this fluctuation. It is composed for strings, flute, clarinet, and percussion. 


Tn Tht Tit, now living in Paris, is a long-time friend of Southwest and presented them with Miroir, M


on their visit to the French capital. Composed for Southwest as a string quartet, the work is the continuation of a series of three works for string quartet and string trio. The series is about the Perfume River that flows through Hue, Vietnam where the composer was born. Miroir, Mmoire was inspired by a poem of Li Po, which speaks of man and nature.


Events leading up to the LA International New Music Festival 


The festival pulls together several threads of exploration into international cultures which have engaged Southwest over the past few years:

* Recording the complete chamber works of foremost Mexican composer Carlos Chavez in five volumes, netting the ensemble Grammy Awards for Best Small Ensemble recording in 2004 and 2005;

* A resulting tour in 2007 to Mexico City where Southwest was presented by Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), a prestigious presenter in Mexico, in five concerts of music by Chavez;

* In 2006, a two-week cultural exchange tour to Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat in Cambodia and tour to the Hanoi Conservatory in Vietnam where Southwest was the first-ever American ensemble in residence;

* In 2010, the Ascending Dragon Music Festival and Cultural Exchange with Vietnam,
the largest cultural exchange in history between Vietnam and the United States, sponsored by the U.S. State Department; the festival took place in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and in Los Angeles with an exchange of American and Vietnamese musicians, composers and administrators in all cities.

* In 2010-11, Southwest commissioned and performed composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers, a single composition performed over three evenings at REDCAT in Los Angeles. The music of Ten Freedom Summers is a psychological interpretation of the events pertinent to the struggle for civil rights. For the performance, Southwest Chamber Music and Smith's Golden Quartet combined forces.

Jeff von der Schmidt:  "In hindsight I realize that I've been constructing the LA International New Music Festival since 2008. That summer Southwest received a highly competitive grant from the U.S. State Department to produce the Ascending Dragon Music Festival and Cultural Exchange.  It was a cultural breakthrough between Vietnam and the United States, and a 2010 State Department project of major international scope. But I was also thinking, 'What's next?' I wrote down the sequence of Southwest's history, and this planning exercise easily showed me that 2012 would be the milestone of our 25th anniversary.

"Other threads came together: at my first meeting in Paris last May with Tn Tht Tit, the father of Vietnamese classical music, he presented me with a new work,
 Miroir, Mmoire offered to Southwest's musicians and dedicated to us as a symbol of gratitude for our collective devotion to improving musical relations between Vietnam and the United States.  

"As the final linchpin, Elliott Carter honored us for the second time with the west coast premiere of his most recent composition, Three Explorations, written at the amazing age of 103, for baritone Evan Hughes. Evan, now with the Metropolitan Opera, is from Santa Barbara and sang Carter's On Conversing with Paradise with us in Hanoi and Los Angeles." 


In 2009 the James Irvine Foundation suggested a special project for Southwest to commission numerous composers with the stipulation that they all be California residents. This major funding for new creative work was the skeleton key that became a catalyst for the idea of the Los Angeles International New Music Festival this 2012.

The Asian Cultural Council in New York City offered to fund a two month residency this April/May with Vu Nhat Tn from Hanoi, encouraging us to develop the important work started by the U.S. State Department and Ascending Dragon. Tan's The Song of Napalm, commissioned by the Schoenberg Family Charitable Fund, is a setting in both English and Vietnamese of the powerful poetry of Bruce Weigl.

Emeritus Board President Sue Bienkowski and her husband Wang Chung Lee have joined with co-commissioning partners in Europe, the Nieuw Ensemble in Amsterdam and the Wittener Neue Musik Tage of the West German Radio, to commission Grawemeyer-winner Unsuk Chin. FONCA in Mexico City awarded funding to Gabriela Ortiz for Southwest to record a CD of her music, also helping her come to Los Angeles to work with our musicians.

New Music/USA is facilitating the visits to Los Angeles of Hyo-shin Na and Kurt Rohde from San Francisco and Alexandra du Bois from New York City. The Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and their Cultural Exchange International program in conjunction with the Dutch government allow Helenus de Rijke and Hans Wesseling of the Nieuw Ensemble in Amsterdam to join Southwest for performances of works by Unsuk Chin, Vu Nhat Tan and Arnold Schoenberg.
LA International New Music Festival - Performers
Huntington Group Photo compressed


Guest artists include Elissa Johnston, soprano; Hanh Weigl, speaker; Bruce Weigl, poet; Abdiel Gonzalez, baritone; Evan Hughes, bass-baritone; Hans Wesseling, mandolin; Helenus de Rijke, guitar; Vn nh Vanessa V, dan bau, dan tranh; Vu Nhat Tn, piano.  
Ensemble: Shalini Vijayan, violin; Lorenz Gamma, violin; Jan Karlin, viola; Peter Jacobsen, cello; Tom Peters, bass; Larry Kaplan, flute; Lisa Edelstein, flute; Diane Alancraig, alto and bass flutes; Jonathan Davis, oboe; Jim Foschia, clarinet; Helen Goode, bass clarinet; Gary Boyver, contrabass clarinet; Adam Bhatia, trumpet; Daniel Rosenboom, trumpet; Marissa Benedict, trumpet; Rob Schaer, trumpet; Bill Booth trombone; Al Veeh, trombone, Terry Cravens, trombone; Alison Bjorkedal, harp; Allison Allport, harp; Ming Tsu, piano, prepared piano; Genevieve Lee, piano; Lynn Vartan, percussion; Ken McGrath, percussion; Jeff von der Schmidt, conductor.  For biographies on Southwest Chamber Music, please visit

Southwest Chamber Music

638 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 201

Pasadena, CA 91101-2006