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New Ensemble Pulls Strings to Get Talent From Top Symphonies

October 08, 1987|AURORA MACKEY | Mackey is a North Hollywood free-lance writer.

For years, television executives have taken advantage of popular television shows by creating "spinoffs," transplanting original characters into new series of their own. Apparently, the idea works as well in the classical music field.

On Oct. 10, in a concert at Sutter Junior High School in Canoga Park, a newly formed professional string ensemble will debut under the direction of West Valley Symphony Conductor / Music Director James Domine. The Camerata Orchestra is the San Fernando Valley's first professional residence ensemble group, said orchestra spokeswoman Ruth Hendersen.

The 16-member ensemble encompasses musicians who have played with the West Valley Symphony, the Pasadena Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra or other professional music groups. Domine says he hopes to attract a larger audience and get Valley musicians deserved respect.

"We lose a lot of audiences to Los Angeles or even the radio," said Domine.

The program will include Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," Handel's "Concerto Grosso" and James Domine's viola concerto.

Although the West Valley Symphony has high standards for players, it is not a "professional" orchestra by strict standards, said Domine. The symphony, he said, frequently uses student players to "fill in the ranks when necessary," and has many non-union members who are not paid union scale.

Operating under the aegis of the West Valley Symphony through a grant provided by the Los Angeles County Music and Performing Arts Commission, the ensemble is scheduled to perform three concerts in its premiere season, Domine said.

Members of the group will be featured in solo performances, including violist and co-concert master Nancy Roth in the Oct. 10 performance of a concerto written by Domine.

Before joining the new group, Roth served as the principal violist with the Graz Philharmonic Orchestra in Austria. Co-concert master Darius Campo has been a member of both the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Pasadena Symphony.

The Camerata Orchestra isn't the first group born of the West Valley Symphony. After its formation in 1986, many orchestra members created smaller ensemble groups, including the Valley Wind Ensemble and the Tonkuenstler Verein, (the "Tone Artists Group").

"All of these musicians are coming out of schools, and so musicians are always looking for places to play," Domine said.

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