Join Harvardwood members and the Harvard Club of Southern California at LA's iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall for a concert featuring Harvard faculty members Claire Chase and Esperanza Spalding. Only 16 tickets are available (Harvardwood members & HCSC members receive discounted pricing), so RSVP at the bottom of this page soon. Tickets are located consecutively in Rows N and P of the terrace.
Tickets are $88/person for members and $110/person for non-members.
Each planet in Holst’s stirring suite of orchestral portraits takes its character from astrological descriptions, giving it a distinct, highly colorful profile, from the frighteningly war-bent Mars to the mysterious, ethereal Neptune. Our Principal Guest Conductor also shares a new concerto for flute and bass by Felipe Lara, a Brazilian-born composer based in Jersey City.
- Los Angeles Philharmonic
- Susanna Mälkki, conductor
- Claire Chase, flute (Harvard Faculty Member)
- Esperanza Spalding, bass (Harvard Faculty Member)
- Los Angeles Master Chorale
- Grant Gershon, Artistic Director
Claire Chase is a soloist, collaborative artist, curator, and advocate for new and experimental music. Over the past decade, she has given the world premiere of hundreds of new works for the flute in performances throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia, and she has championed new music throughout the world by building organizations, forming alliances, pioneering commissioning initiatives, and supporting educational programs that reach new audiences. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012, and in 2017 was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize.
In 2013, Chase launched Density 2036, a 23-year commissioning project to create an entirely new body of repertory for flute between 2014 and 2036, the centenary of Edgard Varèse’s groundbreaking 1936 flute solo, Density 21.5. Each season as part of the project, Chase premieres a new program of commissioned music, with six hours of new repertory created to date. In 2036, she will play a 24-hour marathon of all of the repertory created in the project. Chase will release world premiere recordings of the first four years of the Density cycle in collaboration with the producer Matias Tarnopolsky at Meyer Sound Laboratories in Berkeley, California.
A deeply committed educator, Chase was named Professor of the Practice in the Department of Music at Harvard University starting in 2017. She is also the co-artistic director, with her longtime collaborator Steven Schick, of Ensemble Evolution, a three-week intensive workshop for emerging musicians at Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity in Canada. In 2014, Chase was named an inaugural Fellow at Project&, a Chicago-based organization founded by Jane M. Saks that addresses cultural production with social impact. Chase collaborated with Project&, the composer Marcos Balter, and the director Douglas Fitch on the creation of Pan, an opera for solo flute and an all-ages ensemble of community members, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker called “art as grassroots action.”
Chase co-founded the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in 2001, described as the United States’ “foremost new-music ensemble” (The New Yorker), and she served as its artistic director until 2017 and as an ensemble member on performance and education projects on five continents. ICE has premiered more than 800 works since its inception and has spearheaded an artist-driven organizational model that earned the Ensemble the Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center in 2010 and the Ensemble of the Year Award in 2014 from Musical America Worldwide. The ensemble can be heard in dozens of recordings on the Tzadik, Mode, Naxos, Bridge, New Amsterdam, New Focus, Samadhi Sound, and Nonesuch labels, as well as via its own online, streaming video library of live performances, DigitICE. Chase currently serves on the Ensemble’s board of directors.
Chase grew up in Leucadia, California, with the childhood dream of becoming a professional baseball player before she discovered the flute. She received her B.M. from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in the studio of Michel Debost. She lives in Brooklyn.
From the beginning of her life to her current success as a creative musician, ESPERANZA SPALDING has charted her own course. The young bassist/vocalist/composer was one of the biggest breakout stars of 2011 – not just in jazz, but in all genres of music. Her 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist was unprecedented – the first time a jazz musician had won the award – but Spalding continues to make the unprecedented the norm.
Born in Portland, Oregon, Spalding grew up in a single-parent home and learned early lessons in the meaning of perseverance and moral character from the role model whom she holds in the highest regard to this day – her mother.
But even with a rock-solid role model, school did not come easy to Spalding, although not for any lack of intellectual acumen. She was both blessed and cursed with a highly intuitive learning style that often put her at odds with the traditional education system. On top of that, she was shut in by a lengthy illness as a child, and as a result, was home-schooled for a significant portion of her elementary school years.
However, the one pursuit that made sense to Spalding from a very early age was music. At age four, after watching classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform on an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the roadmap was suddenly very clear. “That was when I realized that I wanted to do something musical,” she says. “It was definitely the thing that hipped me to the whole idea of music as a creative pursuit.”
Within a year, she had essentially taught herself to play the violin well enough to land a spot in the Chamber Music Society of Oregon, a community orchestra that was open to both children and adult musicians. She stayed with the group for ten years, and by age 15 she had been elevated to a concertmaster position.
But by then, she had also discovered the bass, and all of the non-classical avenues that the instrument could open for her. Suddenly, playing classical music in a community orchestra wasn’t enough for this young teenager anymore. Before long she was playing blues, funk, hip-hop, and a variety of other styles on the local club circuit.
Berklee College of Music was the place where the pieces all came together and doors started opening. After a move to the opposite coast and three years of accelerated study, she not only earned a B.M., but also signed on as an instructor in 2005 at the age of 20 – an appointment that has made her one of the youngest faculty members in the history of the college. She was the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Boston Jazz Society scholarship for outstanding musicianship.
Spalding has gone through several phases, which have been well documented during her brief recording career. Her journey as a solo artist began with the 2006 release of Junjo, on the Spanish label Ayva Music, which featured pianist Aruán Ortiz and drummer Francisco Mela. She presented the many different sides of her writing on Esperanza, her 2008 international debut recording for Heads Up, which quickly topped Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart and became the year’s best selling album worldwide by a new jazz artist. Numerous awards and appearances followed, including an invitation by President Barack Obama to appear at both the White House and the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, and an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman that found Letterman and bandleader Paul Shaffer proclaiming the young musician the “coolest” guest in the three-decade history of the program.
“The objective of Esperanza was to show many sides of my musical personality,” Spalding explains; “but I also imagined that my next records would be built around a more concrete project-concept.” What followed, Chamber Music Society from 2010 and her newly released Radio Music Society, made it clear that her initial triumphs were just the beginning.
Returning to her ever-expanding book of musical sketches, “taking my notes and organizing them into something coherent,” Spalding began with Chamber Music Society, the 2010 release on which the bassist was joined by longtime colleagues Leo Genovese (keyboards) and Terri Lyne Carrington (drums), plus percussionist Quintino Cinalli, vocalists (including the legendary Milton Nascimento) and a string trio (arranged by Gil Goldstein and Spalding). The disc was another instant chart topper and gained multiple awards, none more imposing than the Best New Artist Grammy.
Spalding’s latest release, Radio Music Society, expands the cast to include, among many others, jazz legends Joe Lovano, Jack DeJohnette, and Billy Hart; hip-hop giant Q-Tip, Algebra Blessett, Lalah Hathaway, Gretchen Parlato, and Lionel Loueke, among an array of notable vocalists; and Portland mentors Janice Scroggins and Dr. Thara Memory, as well as the horn section of Memory’s American Music Program ensemble.
Spalding continues to spread her message around the globe. In addition to over 110 Chamber Music Society concerts, she still found time to tour with Joe Lovano’s US 5, perform at Rock In Rio with Milton Nascimento, play at Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” tour, and join Wayne Shorter in celebrating Herbie Hancock’s 70th birthday at the Hollywood Bowl. As Jeff Baker of The Oregonian once raved of her electrifying talent, “This was about art, performed at the highest level by someone with the vision, talent, and determination to make it happen”.
Purchase tickets $88.00 Members & Friends