“Does an orchestra need a conductor? For clarinetist Benjamin Mitchell, founder of the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, the answer is a resounding no,” writes Rick Schultz in Wednesday’s (2/13) Los Angeles Times. “In Kaleidoscope’s five seasons, connecting with the audience has been key, said Mitchell…. Last season Kaleidoscope performed late-night concerts in downtown L.A. that included a full bar, food trucks, dancing and a post-concert DJ playing electronic music past midnight. ‘The idea was to make … the audience [feel] part of what we’re doing,’ Mitchell said. On Thursday, Kaleidoscope is giving a free concert of music by six contemporary L.A. composers at the Hammer Museum…. The ensemble sustains itself largely on donations and a pay-what-you-can model…. Aside from the cellists, musicians stand while performing…. Mitchell said he was inspired by the conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, founded in 1972…. All the musicians potentially have a say in how a score is interpreted and performed…. Almost three-quarters of Kaleidoscope’s programming this season is by living composers. Irene Kim, one of Kaleidoscope’s artistic directors and featured soloist in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, said, … ‘We let the orchestra players bring out the fascinating peculiarities of their parts.’ ”

Posted February 14, 2019

In photo: The conductorless ensemble Kaleidoscope performs the U.S. premiere of Joseph Tamarin’s Domra Concerto with mandolinist and domra player Ekaterina Skliar (seated at center), October 2018.