Musicians of Pittance Chamber Music
Musicians of Pittance Chamber Music | Credit: Brenden John Photography​​​

Some of the best classical musicians work behind the scenes. Pittance Chamber Music offers a welcome change of pace for audiences and performers alike. The players of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra — those in the pit, mostly hidden from view — take center stage in this chamber series.

The result is programming at the highest level that you might not often hear. Pittance, founded in 2013 by LA Opera Orchestra Assistant Concertmaster Lisa Sutton, is now looking ahead to its 2022 season. The series has settled on a new venue — First United Methodist Church, Pasadena — and the music promises to be as revelatory as ever.

The first concert back (Jan. 22, 2022) showcases the percussion section. On mallet instruments — marimba and more — Theresa Dimond leads LA Opera Orchestra colleagues in seldom-heard 20th- and 21st-century repertoire. Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel Im Spiegel, here in a version for cello and marimba, might be the most recognizable work on the program.

Things turn melodic with the next performance, “The Lyric Oboe” (Feb. 26, 2022). Oboist Leslie Reed and pianist Edith Orloff are the core of this program that features some French favorites: Camille Saint-Saëns, Gabriel Fauré, Jacques Ibert, and Gabriel Pierné. Strings join in for two big works, Joseph Horovitz’s Quartet and Arnold Bax’s Quintet, and Reed also plays unaccompanied in two sets of lyrical etudes inspired by famous paintings.

Pittance gets close to opera with the final concert of the season, a performance of Brahms’s complete Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 52 and 65 (April 23, 2022). Soprano Elissa Johnston and members of the LA Opera Chorus interpret these love songs, and the company’s choral conductors, Grant Gershon and Jeremy Frank, tackle the piano four hands part.

Find single and subscription tickets for the 2022 season, along with audience information on COVID safety protocols, on Pittance Chamber Music’s website.