‘Society,’ or ‘Collective’—music best on intimate stage

| November 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

CHAMBER MUSIC is played in Colburn School’s Zipper Hall.

In Los Angeles, chamber music, opera and classical music in general have a lot to thank in Warner and Carol Henry.

The philanthropists’ most recent gift was for $1.5 million to the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO). It was in honor of the ensemble’s 50th anniversary and to kickstart the new Chamber Music Collective.

The Collective is comprised of eight chamber groups and is designed to combine the ensembles’ projects, musicians, audience and donors.

Warner Henry prefers to call the grouping the Los Angeles Chamber Music Society.

“Collective sounds too communist,” he laughs, adding he welcomes combining efforts that can help educate people about these amazing musical ensembles, he calls “an intimate art form.”

It is highly unusual that even a large metropolitan area like Los Angeles can field as many as eight chamber ensembles.

The oldest among the group, LACO formed 50 years ago, as indeed, the Los Angeles Chamber Music Society.

Whatever the name, the new grouping unites LACO with Camerata Pacifica, Colburn School, Da Camera Society, Jacaranda Music, Musica Angelica, Pittance Chamber Music and Salastina.

Henry is a fan of them all. Under the Collective, or Society, the eight groups can work on collaborative projects, such as LACO sharing its successful Baroque series with Musica Angelica, considered among “the great Baroque chambers in the world,” adds Henry.

According to Lacey Huszcza, LACO senior director of advancement and strategic engagement: “We are still in the very early stages and will be doing a lot of testing in this first year or two, to see where organizational efficiencies can be found, or new projects pursued.  

“The stage that we are in today is more of a combined effort, to share with each of our chamber music audiences, chamber music offerings presented by all of the participating organizations throughout the year.”

Man of Larchmont

While today, the Henrys live in Pasadena, Warner grew up in Windsor Square in a 1912 house on Norton. His mother’s uncle built a house in 1916 on Fourth and Windsor. After marrying Carol in 1966, they raised their own three children in two different houses on Plymouth Blvd.

In 1982, he was named  Larchmont Chronicle’s Man of the Year.

Chronicle columnist Lucy Toberman wrote at the time: “Warner joined his father’s company as a salesman and was a success right from the beginning.” While Henry has sold the business, his family’s name can be seen on blue roofing material cans all around the country.

Henry sits on several boards, including the Coburn School and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, where “I was in the first board meeting in 1964,” he notes.

His first love was jazz, and as a student at Stanford he would travel to San Francisco to hear Dave Brubeck, among others.

“A professor said, ‘You ought to take Music 1,’ and so I did… voila!”

He frequents as much live music as he can fit in between his board meetings. He and his wife also helped found Los Angeles Opera, and Carol is president of that board. They see all the productions, “sometimes twice,” says Warner.

While the Philharmonic gets most of the attention, Henry says he appreciates the more intimate venues of the chamber ensembles. What’s more, 80 percent of music is written as chamber music, he notes.

Years ago, he recalled he worked to bring a LACO series to the Ebell on Sunday nights, but residents complained that restaurants wouldn’t be open after the concert.

The now-retired astute businessman got to work and published a guide listing 100 restaurants within a short drive of the Ebell, “and then they came.”

Sometimes the musicians would  follow up the concert at his home on the corner of Fourth and Plymouth, now the Argentinian consul general’s residence.

The Collective’s concerts this month include Camerata Pacifica playing Prokofiev and Messiaen Thurs., Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. at Zipper Hall. Jacaranda plays new works at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Sat., Nov. 18; check for time. Upcoming concerts include Da Camera Society performing Christmas at The Bradbury with the Clare College Choir, Cambridge University, Sun., Dec. 17 at 2, 4 and 6 p.m.

Tags: , ,

Category: Entertainment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *