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Jaime Martín Names Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s Next Music Director

LACO Music Director Designate Jaime Martin. Photo by Alexander Lindstrom

Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 – 4:45 PM

Jaime Martín, who has risen to worldwide prominence as a conductor following a career as a flutist, will become music director of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) beginning with the 2019-20 season. The announcement was made by Dana Newman, board president.  The appointment, which launches the music ensemble into its second fifty years ofmusical programs, signifies an even deeper infusion of talent and leadership into L.A.’s already rich cultural landscape. Martín was selected for the post following an international search by a committee comprised of LACO musicians, board, staff, community representatives and artistic advisors.  He continues his roles as artistic director and principal conductor of Sweden’s Gävle Symphony Orchestra, chief conductor of Spain’s Orquestra de Cadaqués and artistic director of the Santander International Festival.

Born in Santander, Spain, and a current resident of London, Martín will continue building LACO’s intersecting artistic profiles, both in L.A., as well as nationally and internationally.  As LACO’s sixth music director, Martín succeeds Jeffrey Kahane, who stepped down as music director in June 2017 after a 20-year tenure and is now conductor laureate, and four other distinguished artists: Sir Neville Marriner, Gerard Schwarz, Iona Brown and Christof Perick. Martín held principal flute positions in orchestras including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under Marriner, who strongly supported his move into conducting. 

During his West Coast debut leading LACO and Joshua Bell to open the 2017-18 season last September, Martín electrified the orchestra’s musicians and audiences. One critic declared, “A standing ovation was deserved.”  He next appears with LACO in April 2019, when he conducts the Mozart Requiem and a West Coast premiere by Bryce Dessner, a LACO co-commission with Carnegie Hall and Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

Critics have lauded Martín’s work, including London’s The Telegraph, which noted, “[His] performance took on heady swagger, and his infectious enjoyment of the music communicated to the orchestra and audience alike.” Gramophone said, “He draws some highly personable, beautifully blended and exquisitely turned playing,” Opus Magasin praised his “great sensibility for this exceedingly beautiful music” and Platea Magazine called him, “a visionary conductor, discerning and meticulous.”

“The minute Jaime stepped onto LACO’s podium last fall, he had a chemistry with the musicians and a charm with the audience that created an exhilarating atmosphere in the concert hall,” says Newman.  “With a deep knowledge of repertoire across centuries and a taste for all the ways the orchestra and its 40 virtuoso musicians can connect with audiences and serve a community, he is the perfect fit in every way.”

VP and President Elect Leslie Lassiter notes, “Beyond the stage, Jaime has an adventurous spirit that aligns with Los Angeles’ ethos for ambitious and wide-ranging art, and a humanistic desire to further open up the orchestra to audiences representing the diversity of the city’s population. We believe he epitomizes our motto, ‘making great music personal,’ in a way that is in LACO’s best traditions.”

“I am honored and excited to have been named music director of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra,” said Martín. “From the moment I stepped in front of this group of outstanding musicians, I could feel that their exceptional musical commitment and flexibility offered great possibility. Los Angeles is unique in its energy and its diversity, and as I get to know both the city and the orchestra over the coming seasons I am confident we will find new collaborations and innovative outreach opportunities as we continue to aim for the highest possible artistic level. There are many great artists I’d like to introduce as well as many long-term relationships I hope to nurture and develop, and I’m very eager to start planning my first season. I look forward to following in the incredible footsteps of Sir Neville and Jeffrey Kahane and hope we can build upon their work to bring LACO even further recognition.”

Adds LACO Executive Director Scott Harrison, “Deeply familiar with the transformative music making that happens at a finely-tuned chamber orchestra, Jaime has a gift for unlocking radiance and emotion in a broad range of repertoire. His style and experience affords him an acute sense of balance, color and pacing that leads to captivating performances. That kind of intimacy and precision is our hallmark.” 

“I’m really thrilled about the future of the orchestra with Jaime as music director,” says LACO Principal Bassoon Kenneth Munday. “His deep orchestral experience gives him the credibility to lead us and the understanding to show us what we need to see from a conductor. He keeps it all fresh.”

Since turning to conducting five years ago, Martín has worked with the London Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber, New Zealand Symphony, Queensland Symphony, Royal Scottish National, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Antwerp Symphony, Swedish Radio Symphony, Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Lausanne Chamber, Lyon National, Ulster and Winterthur orchestras; Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Philharmonia Orchestra, RTE Orchestra in Dublin and London Mozart Players.  Future engagements include debuts with the London Symphony, Gulbenkian, Colorado Symphony and Essen Philharmonic orchestras, among others. He made his operatic debut conducting The Magic Flute at El Escorial Madrid and San Sebastian Festival in 2012. He made his debut at the English National Opera in 2013 conducting The Barber of Seville and returned in 2014 to conduct The Marriage of Figaro. Martín’s recordings include the Brahms Serenades with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra and a CD of Brahms’ choral music entitled Songs of Destiny for Ondine, Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, Montsalvatge’s Petita Suite Burlesca, Halffter’s Sinfonietta and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica” with the Orquestra de Cadaqués and James Horner’s last symphonic work, Collages, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He studied with Antonio Arias in Madrid and later with Paul Verhey in The Hague, Holland.

LACO has made 31 recordings, toured Europe, South America, Japan and North America and garnered eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming.  Established in 1968 as an artistic outlet for the recording industry’s most gifted musicians, LACO’s founder, cellist James Arkatov, envisioned an ensemble that would allow the Orchestra’s conservatory-trained players to balance studio work and teaching with artistic collaboration at the highest level.  Financial backing for the orchestra came from philanthropist Richard Colburn and managerial expertise from attorney Joseph Troy, who also became LACO’s first president. 

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