Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Los Angeles Children’s Chorus’ (LACC) new Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, who began his tenure on August 1, ushers in a new chapter for the acclaimed choral organization with the announcement of plans for his inaugural season in 2018-19. The visionary conductor and educator, only the third artistic director to lead Los Angeles Children’s Chorus since its inception in 1986, will further hone the chorus’ sound and repertoire and build upon its stellar foundation as one of the most exceptional and innovative arts institutions in Los Angeles and the country. Working closely with LACC’s artistic and administrative staff to ensure that the organization continues to provide outstanding choral music education to its choristers, Malvar-Ruiz has announced a range of long—and short-term goals, including expanding the chorus’ artistic and physical reach and significantly increasing its presence in the community. He envisions bringing the chorus to new and broader audiences, increasing the diversity of its membership, providing new singing opportunities for the choristers, fostering current artistic partnerships while developing new ones, reimagining its concert presentations and enriching the overall experience of its 400 young singers, ages 6 to 18 from 50 communities across Southern California. Since taking leadership of LACC just a few weeks ago, Malvar-Ruiz has already launched a new ensemble, the Mixed Chamber Choir, which is the first SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) group in the chorus’ history, bringing the total number of LACC choirs to seven. The others include Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Young Men’s Ensemble, Intermediate Choir, Apprentice Choir and Preparatory Choir. LACC also offers a First Experiences in Singing introductory program and First Experiences in Choral Singing Ensemble for 6-8-year-olds.

LACC performance highlights this season include its debut with vocal icon Meredith Monk in the West Coast premiere of her work Cellular Songs on March 2, 2019, at Royce Hall, an appearance in LA Opera’s production of Hansel and Gretel led by James Conlon Nov. 17 through December 5, 2018, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and two Los Angeles Philharmonic engagements at Walt Disney Concert Hall – Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 conducted by Gustavo Dudamel on May 30, 31 and June 2, 2019, and Stravinsky’s setting of Perséphone staged by Peter Sellars and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen on April 18, 19 and 20, 2019. LACC also presents its Winter Concert on December 9 and 16, 2018, and Spring Concert on May 5 and 12, 2019, both at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

“Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, celebrated for its singular bel canto sound, is a world-class organization that serves a unique role in the cultural community,” says Malvar-Ruiz, who hails from Spain and relocated to Pasadena from the East Coast. “It’s exhilarating to embark on this exciting new era with these exceptional singers and my esteemed LACC colleagues. And it’s a thrilling time to be in Los Angeles, which has truly become the cultural capital of the world.”

Explaining the impetus behind the new SATB choir he formed, Malvar-Ruiz says, “The Mixed Chamber Choir, comprised of young women and men whose voices have changed or are undergoing change, enables LACC to present even broader repertoire and provides an enhanced artistic opportunity for our choristers.” He notes that the singers in the new choir are also part of one or more of LACC’s other choirs.

While recognizing that the vocal skills choristers develop at LACC are important, he points out that the life skills they forge during their time in the chorus are equally important. “Singing is all about community, collaboration, communication, team-building, fostering self-esteem, developing empathy and expanding horizons. These invaluable life lessons, implicitly or explicitly, are at the core of everything LACC does.”

Specific long-term plans for LACC’s further diversification and expansion, and development of new artistic collaborations and partnerships, will evolve in the coming months as Malvar-Ruiz and his team evaluate the chorus’ human, economic and cultural resources.