Over the course of their lengthy careers, cellist David Speltz and violinist/violist Connie Kupka have played at all sorts of locations — including inside the Grand Canyon. But they never expected to be performing across the street from their car mechanic.
“I had no idea there was a theater there,” Speltz said, recalling his surprise when he first visited the Fountain Theatre and realized the East Hollywood neighborhood looked familiar.
On March 16, he and Kupka, his musical partner and spouse of 42 years, will be tuning up steps away from where their car gets a tune-up. Along with violinist Adam Barnett-Hart, the founding first violinist of the Escher String Quartet, they will inaugurate Intermezzo, the Fountain’s new chamber music series.
Speltz, who performed on Hollywood motion-picture soundtracks for 45 years, and Kupka, a member of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for 35, are organizing the bimonthly series. The first two dates — March 16 and May 18 — will be inside the 82-seat theater. The third, on July 20, will be on an outdoor stage the company designed and built for its parking lot in order to keep producing plays during the pandemic.
The initial program features string trios by Beethoven and Schubert and a duo for violin and viola by Mozart. “We did this very program this past summer at the beginning of a new series in Boulder, Colorado,” Kupka said. “It really went over well, so it seemed like a good one to start with.”
The invitation to create a new series came as a complete surprise.
“We were at the birthday party of a close friend,” Speltz recalled. “A friend of hers [Barbara Goodhill, director of development at the Fountain] who knew we were musicians mentioned the idea of a chamber music series between productions.”
The idea immediately appealed to them. “We’ve been affiliated with many festivals across the country, and we helped start some of them,” Kupka said. “We toured the theater, mulled it over, and it looked exciting.”
Speltz was encouraged by the Fountain’s reputation as one of the finest of Los Angeles’ many small nonprofit theater companies. His hope is the troupe’s discerning audience “gives us a good base of patrons who will also be interested in chamber music.”
The second and third programs have yet to be finalized, but for one of them, the couple plans to be joined by a flutist and classical guitarist.
“We’re serious musicians,” Speltz said, “and we’re serious about this.”
The Fountain chamber music series kicks off at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 16 at the Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave. in Los Angeles. Tickets are $25. For information, call (323) 663-1525 or visit the Fountain’s website.