Summer of Sounds

Pasadena-based MUSE/IQUE roars back to life with dynamic four-month series of shows at the Huntington Library
BY CARL KOZLOWSKI
Published on Jun 21, 2021

(Artwork courtesy of MUSE/IQUE)

As the rest of Southern California sprang back to life with the elimination of Covid-19 restrictions in mid-June, the beloved Pasadena-based arts institution MUSE/IQUE joined in the excitement by unveiling an ambitious slate of shows kicking off July 14. Titled “L.A. Composed: A Festival of Los Angeles Music,” the 2021-22 season’s first half – entitled “Iconic L.A. Moments and Artists” – will feature four months of stellar shows at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.

The performances will spotlight the music and influence of Carole King, Nat King Cole, Bob Dylan and Etta James, and how they defined the city’s musical legacy. Each artist will be honored with shows on Wednesday and Thursday nights at the Huntington, in addition to Sunday shows at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

The season’s second half will consist of a wide range of pop-up shows at historic locations across Los Angeles in spring and summer 2022. Those performances, titled “L.A. Streets Make Music,” will have their dates and locations announced at a later date. Altogether, the new season celebrates a dynamic decade of music-making that often blended orchestral and pop music together with singers and dancers who brought extra layers of life to the tunes.

“In the spirit of rediscovery and celebration, MUSE/IQUE’s 2021-22 season begins a new chapter that explores the musical legacy of Los Angeles and its legendary artists,” said Rachael Worby, the orchestra’s founder and artistic director. “As we emerge from the pandemic, what better way to move forward than to look back and rediscover the inspiring musical moments that shaped our city. MUSE/IQUE is thrilled to return to the Huntington and make its debut at the Skirball, two of L.A.’s most beloved institutions.”

The series kicks off July 14-15 at the Huntington and July 18 at the Skirball with “Tapestry at 50,” a celebration of the 50th anniversary of one of pop music’s greatest albums: Carole King’s 1971 Grammy-winning masterpiece “Tapestry.”  An eclectic range of performers and styles will add new sonic dimensions to the album’s piano-driven classics.

On Aug. 18-19 at the Huntington and Aug. 22 at the Skirball, “MUSE/IQUE” brings Bob Dylan’s cinematic songs of the West Coast to life in “Dylan Goes Hollywood.” Nat King Cole gets his due with “The House That Nat Built” on Sept. 22-23 at the Huntington and Sept. 26 at the Skirball.

Rounding out the quartet of performances is “Etta at Last,” which will highlight Etta James’ most beloved songs and famed collaborations on Oct. 13-14 at the Huntington and Oct. 17 at the Skirball.

The series marks MUSE/IQUE’s third season at the Huntington and first ever at the Skirball. Those iconic locations are examples of MUSE/IQUE’s mission to bring great music to the city, rather than engaging the traditional approach of having a defined concert hall that all audience members must attend.

That spirit reflects Worby’s desire to upend the misconception that the performing arts are elitist, unapproachable and dull. The orchestra’s unique and intimate performances combine music, movement, and ideas from a diverse array of genres including jazz, rock, blues, gospel and more at nine major public events annually.

MUSE/IQUE membership begins at $200 and members receive complimentary admission to all the organization’s events. Admission for non-members starts at $75 and includes a trial membership and admission to MUSE/IQUE’s next three events – giving purchasers four shows for the price of one. Visit muse-ique.com/membership.

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