Collectively, the members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute make a fine, vigorous orchestra. A chamber-music concert Saturday evening, however, revealed that the sum is greater than the parts.
The Institute players are, after all, young students of greatly varying ability and musical maturity. The uneven performances, amounting to barely 45 minutes of music, could be duplicated by at least four local schools.
For the overflow crowd in the diminutive Recital Hall at Cal State Northridge, there were few thrills. The program allowed opportunity to members of each orchestral section except percussion, in ensembles coached by Los Angeles Philharmonic players.
The tightest, most stylish playing came in the most recent and trickiest music, which may mean these musicians simply need to have their minds challenged as much as their fingers. Valerie Potter (flute), Leanne Becknell (oboe), Owen Kotler (clarinet), Sue Heineman (bassoon) and John Reynolds (horn) gave Villa-Lobos' Stravinskyan "Quintette en forme de Choros" a reading of interpretive breadth and technical elan.