Choral chemistry

laboratory flasks chemistryNew ensemble aims to refresh choral experience


Another new group.  If you just sighed involuntarily, you’re not alone.  As artists and organizations look for ways to revitalize the field of classical music, there’s been a slough of the same old thing, and a handful of treasured groups that challenge and delight.  L.A. Choral Lab  wants to be the newest member of the latter category.

Considering the diverse and talented group gathered by creator and artistic director Michael Alfera, this choir is positioned to be the exception to a lot of rules.  Alfera himself has a varied background, with solid classical training accompanied by a math minor, and a resume that includes all kinds of choral music and musical theater.  He’s extending that broad view to the programming and performance of choral music — mixing old and new, cultivating a new aesthetic, and if all goes well, turning the definition of the choral concert on its head.

As with many projects of this sort, Alfera has been percolating on the concept for years.  But once he started cultivating conspirators in March, it came together quickly, and most astonishingly, the group already has their 501(c)3 nonprofit status — a feat that is rare and impressive.  This drive, focus and judicious use of smart board members and specialty services (they hired CharityNet USA to help them file and get their tax-exempt status confirmed) bodes well for the future of an upstart org, and they’re already amassing a short but striking list of financial supporters.

The ensemble itself is small, and skews young — the performers are paid for their participation, and are well experienced, established pros, but many are still in their late 20s and early 30s.  That’s more a function of Alfera’s existing network than the design for the group, as this is a true passion project, contracted almost entirely through friends and personal circles.  While this may change as the organization grows, it means that the current participants are enthusiastic and actively involved, and this highly anticipated debut will be a lot of fun.  Check out their video introduction to get a sense of what they’re up to.

The first concert features madrigals, spirituals, and works by local composers.  Michael plans to draw on the diverse array of styles mastered by individual members, using the different aesthetics to inform the performance of each piece, creating a program that is eclectic and engaging.  We can’t wait to hear it.

L.A. Choral Lab
Debut concert
Michael Alfera, artistic director
Tali Tadmor, accompanist 


Zipper Hall
200 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, California 90012
Map & directions

This feature originally appeared in Next 7 — Vocal events thru 10/2/14

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