The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is easily the best known classical ensemble currently making its home in Glendale, but deserving of wider recognition is another ensemble and fellow Alex Theatre resident: The Glendale Youth Orchestra.
It would be tempting to dismiss the orchestra’s efforts because of the age of its members, some who are as young as 8. Yet under the leadership of Brad Keimach, who has led the Glendale Youth Orchestra since 2000, their performances are anything but the tentative stabs one may associate with youth ensembles. In the few times that I’ve lost myself among the audience at the Alex, I came away profoundly impressed by the bold playing that Keimach draws from his musicians. These are performances that beat the cobwebs of routine out of these scores and compel the listener to sit straight up at attention. (Listen to how vividly they convey the drama and energy of Mozart’s Don Giovanni Overture at the beginning of this clip.)
Keimach had a very simple answer for how he obtained such superlative level of playing:
“I treat them both as professionals and as if they were my own children. So [rehearsing and performing are] very loving processes, exciting ones. It’s a constant world of discovery for us. I ask them to do things here that they likely wouldn’t be asked in any other orchestra. The results they give me are stunning.”
You can read more of my article on Keimach and the Glendale Youth Orchestra here.