Tuesday, January 24, 2017


The subject of this week's arts and culture column is Pittance Chamber Music "Music From the Pit"), yet another little-known delight of greater Los Angeles.

Here's how it begins:

Pittance Chamber Music comprises small ensembles of members of the L.A. Opera Orchestra. The name is a play on words, deriving from the pit where they play, and the “smaller” offerings they make. It’s been said that Pittance is small in the number of members, venues, audience and ticket price. But they’re anything but small in talent.

Recently I spoke to artistic director Lisa Sutton, herself a violinist for both the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra and Pittance:

“The thrust behind Pittance is connection. The initial inspiration was respect and love for my extraordinary colleagues who, at the opera, are basically invisible,” said Sutton. “The audience hears this great music emanating up from the pit but they don’t see anybody and they don’t know who we are. Conversely, those of us in the pit can hear the audience buzzing but we can’t see them either.

“We see people come and go: the great soloists, the maestros — but we’re here all the time,” she added. “Over the years we’ve grown together and had families together and celebrated milestones. We’re a community. We also live and work here in L.A., so we’re all residents of the community at large.


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