Without a lot of fanfare, Iona Brown this week begins a new era at Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. With a series of concerts beginning Friday, the 46-year-old violinist from England assumes music directorship of the ensemble, only the third leader in the 18-year history of the group.
On the phone from Ann Arbor, Mich., where she was on tour with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Brown expressed genuine excitement about beginning her first Los Angeles season.
"Taking over this job is just such a colossal responsibility. I can't quite register that this is all happening," she said. What are her immediate plans?
"Well, my main plan--and I know it sounds like a cliche--is to build up a happy, healthy working relationship with the orchestra. That, of course, is not done quickly, but gradually, over time. But it is basic."
This season, all arranged, announced and packaged, is complete except for the performing. What will 1988-89 bring?
"It will be our 20th season, as you know, and we want to do something special for the anniversary.
"We have chosen to feature things American--American music, composers, soloists. It's too early to announce, of course, but we want to commission a number of new works by American writers for the orchestra in this anniversary season. At this point I can't really talk about specific names."
In 1988-89, as this season, music director Brown will lead at least six sets of programs during the year. She looks forward, she says, to making music in the Wiltern Theatre, which has, she says, "a warm, wonderful sound, a beautiful acoustic--plus atmosphere. It is very promising for our future there." She also praises the "intimacy of the (850-seat) Japan America Theatre, which seems to be very useful for chamber music."
With pianist Ivan Moravec as soloist, the season opens Friday at 8 p.m. in the Wiltern. The Mozart program--the Overture to "Le Nozze di Figaro," the Piano Concerto No. 23, K. 488, and the "Haffner" Serenade--will be repeated Saturday at 8:30 p.m. in Ambassador Auditorium.
AND AT THE MUSIC CENTER: Beginning his third year as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Andre Previn leads the orchestra in the opening concert of its 69th season Thursday night at 8 in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center. This orchestral program--with no guest soloist--lists two bulwarks of the repertory, Brahms' Fourth Symphony and Shostakovich's 10th. It will be broadcast live on KUSC-FM (91.5), and repeated Friday at 1:30 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
PEOPLE: Daniel Barenboim and Henri Dutilleux are the 1987 winners of the UNESCO-International Music Council prize, an award that recognizes "musicians whose works have contributed to the enrichment of music and have served peace, understanding between peoples and international cooperation." . . .
Stephen Mosko has been named principal guest conductor of the San Francisco Contemporary Players; in that post, he will lead three concerts during this season. . . .
Jon Vickers will sing operatic excerpts by Handel, Purcell, Wagner, Vaughan Williams and Britten, with appropriate commentary by the singer, at his Ambassador Auditorium recital Wednesday at 8 p.m. The tenor from Canada will be assisted at the piano by Richard Woitach. . . .
In recent weeks, Brooks Smith was feted twice publicly on the occasion of his 75th birthday, once at the Aspen Music Festival, where the veteran pianist has taught for 36 years, then at USC, Smith's wintertime academic home, from where he continues to tour. . . .
Original works by composer Kathy Henkel will be presented on the "Sundays at Seven" chamber music series at Barnsdall Park tonight at 7. . . .
After presiding over the opening night of the Royal Ballet season at Covent Garden in London Friday, American conductor Isaiah Jackson goes on tour with the company, making his debut in West Berlin Nov. 1. . . .
Patrick O'Connor, former deputy editor of the British magazine Harpers & Queen, will become editor-in-chief of Opera News effective Jan. 1. . . .
The career of Jess Thomas is the focus of the current exhibition at the Archives for the Performing Arts in the Memorial Opera House Museum in San Francisco through Jan. 3.