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MUSE/IQUE’s ‘L.A. Composed: A Festival Of Los Angeles Music’ Returns

Series rocks on with ‘The Songs And Stories Of Laurel Canyon’
By CYNTHIA YANG, Weekendr Staff Writer
Published on Mar 26, 2022

MUSE/IQUE’s  yearlong concert series, L.A. Composed: A Festival of Los Angeles Music, carries on this spring with “Laurel Canyon,” a musical journey into one of rock and roll’s most mythical neighborhoods.

Laurel Canyon was home to artists such as The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Carole King, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, all of whom shaped a generation with their music. 

“Laurel Canyon” takes place April 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, and April 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Joining MUSE/IQUE’s roster of musicians, led by Artistic Director Rachael Worby, is singer-songwriter Nikka Costa, making her MUSE/IQUE debut, and returning favorite, tenor Ashley Faatoalia.

As the daughter of legendary producer and arranger Don Costa, Nikka was born with music in her bloodlines.

Growing up around the likes of her godfather Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, and Sammy Davis Jr., she was already a child star in Europe and had sung on the White House lawn with Sinatra before she was old enough to enroll in middle school. 

She recorded her first single, a Christmas duet with Hawaiian singer Don Ho, when she was just five years old. With the encouragement of her parents, she cut her eponymous debut album at eight, and her childhood in Los Angeles was punctuated by world travel and performances before enormous crowds. 

After a string of acclaimed and commercially successful LPs that began with her 2001 Virgin debut, Everybody Got Their Something, Nikka, along with artists like Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone, became a bright star in the “nu-soul” firmament, renowned the world over for her unique style — a seductive alchemy that recombines the tropes of American soul and funk music into something wholly her own. 

She has toured with Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Coldplay, and Beck, has recorded with superstar DJ and producer Mark Ronson, was nominated for an MTV Music Award, and had multiple hit singles in Europe. 

MUSE/IQUE mainstay Ashley Faatoalia was born and raised in Los Angeles. Opera News calls his singing “hauntingly beautiful,” crediting him with “a voice of winning purity and variety of expression,” and the San Francisco Chronicle calls him “sweet-toned.” 

Ashley’s recent engagements include performances as Bobby McCray in the world premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera The Central Park Five with Long Beach Opera, The Crab Man in Porgy & Bess with Seattle Opera, Lyric Tenor in EUROPERAS with the LA Phil, and his debut as Marco Polo in the Emmy-Award-winning, Pulitzer Prize-nominated Invisible Cities with The Industry.  

“Laurel Canyon” also welcomes LAVA, Los Angeles Vocal Artists, led by music director, Jeffrey Bernstein. LAVA is a youth choir from the California School for the Arts San Gabriel Valle, featuring Caroline Buckman, viola; Marisa Kuney, violin; Timothy Loo, cello; Kaveh Rastegar, bass; Justin Smith, guitar; Alan Steinberger, piano/keyboards; Jamey Tate, drums; and Tim Young, guitar

Curated and led by Founder and Artistic Director Rachael Worby, L.A. Composed features renowned musicians and dancers from stage and screen performing at cornerstone cultural institutions throughout the city, including The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. 

L.A. Composed runs until November 2022; tickets are on sale now.

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