Pasadena-Based Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, Led by Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, Announces 2019-2020 Season

Los Angeles Children\'s Chorus SpringConcert-2_18 Credit: Jamie PhamFernando Malvar-Ruiz by Ben GibbsLos Angeles Childrens Chorus Photo by Jamie PhamLos Angeles Childrens Chorus Spring Concert Photo by Jamie PhamLos Angeles Childrens Chorus Photo by JP Candelier

STAFF REPORT

11:06 am | October 21, 2019


The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), led by Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz and considered among the world’s leading children’s choirs, announces its 2019-2020 season. Showcasing the Pasadena-based Chorus’ wide ranging repertoire and musical excellence, the 34th season includes performances with such arts partners as LA Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Pasadena Symphony and POPs and culminates with the Chorus’ first tour to Spain. These engagements, in addition to LACC’s own presentations and community concerts, are designed to enrich the overall experience of its 400 young singers, ages 6 to 18 from 40 communities across Southern California. LACC has seven progressive choirs – Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, SATB Ensemble (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), Young Men’s Ensemble, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season, Intermediate Choir, Apprentice Choir and Preparatory Choir – and also offers a First Experiences in Singing introductory program and First Experiences in Choral Singing Ensemble for 6-8-year-olds.

“Los Angeles Children’s Chorus has become such an outstanding choral organization because of the rigorous music training the choristers receive in a fun and supportive environment,” says Malvar-Ruiz, who is in his second season at LACC’s helm. “Our young singers come to rehearsal extremely well prepared because they have a solid musical foundation that enables them to actively participate in – and understand – the creative process. Every chorister takes group and private vocal classes at LACC and also receives extensive music theory training, based on the Kodály method. As a result of their music literacy, choristers read music, understand harmonic progressions and are well versed in music terminology, all of which makes rehearsal a joyful, collaborative process that enables the singers to tackle challenging and varied repertoire, helping them to grow as artists and musicians.”

Since joining LACC, Malvar-Ruiz has redoubled efforts to ensure the choristers’ experience is enriching, enjoyable and rewarding. He states, “At LACC, we make certain that music is at the service of the children, not the other way around.” Since beginning his tenure with the Chorus a year ago, LACC’s membership has grown considerably.

Highlights for LACC’s 2019-2020 season include appearances in LA Opera’s productions of La Boheme and Magic Flute, both led by James Conlon at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and a featured performance of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, led by Malvar-Ruiz, on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s prestigious “Sounds About Town” series at Walt Disney Concert Hall. LACC also appears with the celebrated Tenebrae Choir of London at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove and presents its Spring Concert as well as a number of community concerts. The season culminates with the Concert Choir’s tour to Spain.

2019-2020 Season Performance Details

In addition to overseeing LACC’s extensive musicianship training, this season Malvar-Ruiz prepares LACC for a busy slate of performances with a number of leading artists, including appearances in LA Opera’s recent season-opening production of La Boheme, staged by theatrical dynamo Barrie Kosky and featuring an all-star cast (September 14 – October 6, 2019), and Magic Flute, Mozart’s dazzling and inventive celebration of love conquering all (November 16 – December 15, 2019), both conducted by James Conlon at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

LACC joins the famed Grammy-nominated Tenebrae Choir of London, conducted by Nigel Short and hailed as “phenomenal” (The Times of London), at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove (November 20, 2019), to perform Owain Park’s Footsteps, inspired by the travelers who find comfort in the sky and stars while walking the Camino de Santiago, Spain’s Medieval pilgrimage route. The performance launches LACC’s season-long exploration of works affiliated with Camino de Santiago, which culminates in summer 2020 with LACC Concert Choir’s international tour to Northern Spain. The tour, LACC’s first to the Iberian Peninsula, is particularly poignant for Malvar-Ruiz, who was raised in Northern Spain.

LACC, conducted by Malvar-Ruiz, rings in the holiday season with A Ceremony of Carols, one of Benjamin Britten’s most beloved works, in the sparking acoustics of Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s prestigious “Sounds About Town” series (December 8, 2019). Harp virtuoso Cristina Montes Mateo joins the Chorus as special guest. LACC adds a unique twist to A Ceremony of Carols, interspersing between its 12 movements accompanying works that link either musically or thematically to them. Among the companion works are Swedish composer Jan Sandström’s ethereal 1990 choral arrangement of Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming; National Medal of Arts recipient Morten Lauridsen’s quintessential setting of O Magnum Mysterium; Ola Gjeilo’s stunning soundscape Tundra, set to lyrics by Charles Anthony Silvestri that reflect the barren and beautiful Norwegian mountain plateau where the composer’s father grew up; and Eriks Ešenvalds breathtaking Stars, a setting of words by Sara Teasdale composed in 2011 for choir and water-tuned glasses. In addition, LACC has commissioned a new arrangement of Silent Night from award-winning Spanish composer Juan Colomer, which is being premiered at the concert.

The Chorus is featured in matinee and evening performances of the Pasadena Symphony and POPS’ popular Holiday Candlelight, conducted by David Lockington with special guest Broadway star Sarah Uriarte Berry, at Pasadena’s All Saints Church (December 14, 2019) and “Bach to Broadway,” a fundraising event for St. Andrew Church in Pasadena (October 4, 2019).

Other performances include LACC’s Spring Concert (May 2019), as well as a number of community concerts throughout the season.

Los Angeles Children’s Chorus’ educational, performance, and scholarship programs are made possible, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, Adams-Mastrovich Family Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Ann Peppers Foundation, City of Pasadena, Colburn Foundation, Green Foundation, James C. Stewart Charitable Foundation, Pasadena Arts League, Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts, Pasadena Tournament of Roses® Foundation and Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. LACC is also deeply grateful to lead patrons Helen and Peter Bing and the hundreds of individual, foundation, corporate and government donors whose dedicated support sustains LACC’s annual choral music program for children.

For more information on Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, visit www.lachildrenschorus.org or call (626) 793-4231.

Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), widely recognized for its agile bel canto sound and artistic excellence, has been lauded as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times), “astonishingly polished” (Performances Magazine) and “one of the world’s foremost children’s choirs” (Pasadena Star News). Founded in 1986 and led by Artistic Director Fernando Mulvar-Ruiz, who began his tenure in August 2018, LACC presents its own concerts and regularly performs with such organizations as LA Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Master Chorale and Jacaranda. The Chorus serves 400 children ages 6 to 18 from in seven choirs – Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, SATB Ensemble (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), Young Men’s Ensemble, Intermediate Choir, Apprentice Choir and Preparatory Choir – and a First Experiences in Singing program and First Experiences in Choral Singing Ensemble for 6-8-year-olds. LACC, recipient of Chorus America’s 2014 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, tours internationally, is the subject of three documentaries and has appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” PBS’s “Great Performances,” BBC Radio, Public Radio International’s “From the Top” and is featured on John Williams’ latest recording, John Williams & Steven Spielberg: The Ultimate Collection. www.lachildrenschorus.org.

Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, internationally regarded choral conductor, clinician and educator, began his tenure as Artistic Director of Los Angeles Children’s Chorus in the 2018-19 season. He has worked with children’s and youth choirs his entire career. From 2004 to July 2017, Malvar-Ruiz was the Music Director of The American Boychoir, leading some 150 performances and up to five national and international tours annually. He prepared the choir for appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra, among others, working with such conductors as Marin Alsop, Pierre Boulez, Charles Dutoit, Michael Tilson Thomas and Valery Gergiev and artists ranging from cellist Yo-Yo Ma, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and pop legends Beyoncé Knowles, Sir Paul McCartney and Josh Groban to opera singers Kathleeen Battle and Jessye Norman. He also conducted the choir on six recordings, led its performances on the Academy Awards and a 9/11 Memorial Service, broadcast globally on CNN and was the music director on the film “Boychoir.” Malvar-Ruiz previously served as The American Boychoir’s Associate Music Director from 2000-2004 under James Litton. An expert in the adolescent male evolving voice, Malvar-Ruiz has guest conducted children’s and youth choirs around the globe. He has a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Ohio State University and completed the coursework toward a doctoral degree in from the University of Illinois.