This article was originally published on APRIL 15, 2011
I moved to Los Angeles in 1974, having just graduated from Cal State Fresno, where I had had a pretty wonderful and active musical life for the preceding two years. I was going to bide my time in LA for a year, continue studying with my flute teacher, Roger S. Stevens, and then move on to the New England Conservatory, where I had already been accepted for grad school in flute the following year. Like many people who don’t live in Los Angeles, I had such a bad impression of the place and assumed I would be eager to leave after my one year here. Imagine my surprise when, pretty much as soon as I arrived here, I felt as if I were home. I never left.
I was so drawn to its innate physical beauty—and even more, to the aesthetic freedom that I found here. Some 30 years later, I drew on my deep love and appreciation of LA when I wrote this introduction to the 2004 Pacific Serenades season:
Southern California has long held the world in its spell.
It is a place of rich natural beauty—of sensuously rolling hills, of fragrant sage and orange blossoms, of carpets of golden poppies bending in gentle breezes, of grand mountains, of the blue Pacific.
It is a place of beautiful Mediterranean homes nestled in those rolling hills, of improbably long streets that seem to traverse many worlds, of exotic foods from every land, of Hollywood.
It is a place whose mystique has called to many who seek freedom and adventure and a life unfettered by the traditions of their homelands.
It is a place that has nurtured creativity—among expatriates who came here seeking artistic freedom and among homegrown artists—allowing for the blending of new and old, of one culture and another and another, and for the creation of new art forms and languages.
Among the many creations that this rich and unique culture has given rise to is Pacific Serenades—a singularly Southern California ensemble which has created its own traditions.
For eighteen years, we have taken our freedom to heart, freely expressing music in the ways we value most: with excellence, with a love of overt beauty, with a commitment to lyricism—to music which moves us and uplifts our spirits—and with the personal warmth and friendliness so natural to this, our home.