Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s “Stradosphere: A Strad-Studded Gala Evening” Raises $535,000 for Ensemble

(L-R) violinist Cho-Liang Lin, LACO Board Members Agnes Lew and Mahnaz Newman, and David Newman (L-R) Giuseppe Perrone, Consul General of Italy, with John Brooks and Gala Committee Member Elisabetta Criel(L-R) violinist Philippe Quint, LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer, LACO Music Director Jeffrey Kahane, violinist Xiang Yu (with ice sculpture)(L-R) Mal Feinberg and Gala Committee Member Joyce Feinberg(L-R) Ned Newman and LACO Board Member Dana Newman(L-R) LACO Board Member Ann Mulally, LACO Executive Director Rachel Fine, LACO Board Member Eugene Ohr and Catherine Ohr(L-R) LACO President Gene Shutler, LACO Executive Director Rachel Fine, Gala Co-Chairs Pat and Sandy Gage.  LA Chamber Orchestra\'s STRAD FEST, an unprecedented showcase for eight of luthier Antonio Stradivari’s most divine creations, was a remarkable celebration of Strads featuring four sold-out events in different venues from March 26-29, 2014.(L-R) Gala Committee Members Joyce Feinberg, Vanessa Butler, Ruth Eliel(L-R) Mary Blodgett, Carlton Calvin(L-R) Bill Sloan, Mario Miralles, Judith Sloan, Peter Beare (the Sloans own the 1714 Violinists posed with violins (the Stradivarius “honorees”): (L-R) Cho-Liang Lin (1715 (L-R) Jerry Kohl, Elizabeth Pitcairn (with her1720 “Red Mendelssohn” Stradivarius), and Terri Kohl  (The Kolhs own the 1716 “Milstein” Strad)

STAFF REPORTS | Photography by LEE SALEM PHOTOGRAPHY

3:29 pm | April 7, 2014


The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) transformed the Southland into “Strad Central” with its unprecedented STRAD FEST LA featuring eight of the world’s most exquisite and rare Stradivarius violins brought together for the first time in history and played by renowned violinists in a series of four sold-out events from March 26-29, 2014. The festival was capped by Stradosphere: A Strad-Studded Gala fundraiser co-chaired by Pat and Sandy Gage at the California Club in downtown LA at which the Orchestra, rather than honoring a celebrated artist or philanthropist, instead feted the eight 300-year-old violins considered among luthier Antonio Stradivari’s most divine hand-crafted creations. The March 29 gala at the California Club raised $535,000 to benefit LACO’s concert series, radio broadcasts and community engagement programs. LACO, considered one of the world’s premier chamber orchestras, is a leader in presenting wide-ranging repertoire, adventurous commissions and stand-out events like Strad Fest LA.

“We may never see a gathering of Stradivarius violins like this again in our lifetime,” said LACO Executive Director Rachel Fine.

In addition to the gala, Strad Fest LA included a scholarly evening at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, and concerts at Zipper Hall in downtown LA and The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

The featured violin/violist pairings included LACO Concertmaster Margaret Batjer on the 1716 “Milstein” Strad, Martin Chalifour on the 1711 “Kreisler” Strad, Chee-Yun on the 1714 “Leonora Jackson” Strad, Cho-Liang Lin on the 1715 “Titian” Strad, Elizabeth Pitcairn on the 1720 “Red Mendelssohn” Strad, Philippe Quint on the 1708 “Ruby” Strad, Xiang Yu on the 1666 “Serdet” Strad, and 12-year-old prodigy Ray Ushikubo on the c. 1720 “Beechback” Strad. The 1666 “Serdet” Strad is the earliest known of the Stradivarius violins, and the seven others are all from Stradivari’s Golden Period during the late 1600’s and early 1700s.