February 21st has come and gone, but Matthias Pintscher, German composer and conductor, delighted Royce Hall like very few could have ever been capable of. He led the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra along a wonderful, sonorous journey that had to have pleased even the most fastidious aural critics.
In some ways, it was an audition for Pintscher, who brings a cool factor to chamber music not seen since perhaps ever. Not many were sure how Pintscher would react to the rousing possibility of taking the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra by the bull horns and grabbing its conductive brass ring, but he may have done just that.
By conducting masterful pieces like Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8, Gabriel Fauré’s Pavane, and Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 2, Pintscher not only did the musical benchmarks justice, he surpassed expectations with effortless precision. He was as calm as a professional of the highest echelon could be; he didn’t seem fazed under the expectant lights nor did he seem overwhelmed by the moment. In actuality, he rose so splendidly to the occasion that he could, and just might be, the one to take the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s baton into a fruitful future. And by doing so, he’d bring in demographics that have, historically, not been drawn to chamber music. His flair and aptitude for the complex, while making it seem simple but not simplistic, could in point of fact attract younger crowds who might otherwise attend a pop-rock concert.
And for the new chamber music fans that the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra would gain under Pintscher’s reign, it will be because of the modernity that the part-time Juilliard professor brings to classroom classics like Beethoven’s 8th Symphony. At the regal Royce Hall on the historic UCLA campus, it was the sumptuous contemporaneity brought to the two-century-old composition that galvanized an audience who recognized the significance of the moment. As Pintscher raised his arms and made eye-contact with his instrumentalists, one could not help but witness that a new leader was anointed.