L.A. Museum Slashes Contemporary-Music Program

Classic Arts News   L.A. Museum Slashes Contemporary-Music Program
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has cancelled one of its new-music concert series and ended the tenure of its two resident new-music ensembles, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The museum will no longer present performances by the California EAR Unit and Xtet. California EAR Unit has been part of LACMA's ensemble-residency series since 1987, and Xtet has been a resident ensemble since 2002.

LACMA has eliminated the Rosalinde Gilbert Concerts, and decided to sponsor the Monday Evening Concerts series for only one more year. The Friday-night Jazz series and live Sunday concerts will continue as before.

According to LACMA deputy director Bruce Robertson, the need for new-music concerts in Los Angeles has been addressed by other organizations.

"After careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that the distinction of LACMA's classical-music program's focus on newer music is less of a necessity than it was a decade ago, given the strength of contemporary programming at a number of venues in L.A.," Robertson said. "The fact is reflected in audiences which are ebbing rather than growing at LACMA. . . We're going to concentrate on programs that enhance the core mission of an art museum, which is to present the visual arts to the public."

Ernest Fleischmann, former Los Angeles Philharmonic general manager, disagreed. "This is a big blow to the development of a vibrant contemporary music scene in Los Angeles," he said. "It just sets us back terribly, and it is really unfortunate that a sister arts organization should take it upon itself to make such a negative statement about music."

The EAR Unit has already found a new home performing at CalArts and at REDCAT, the institution's downtown theater.

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