Music is breaking out all over. The beautiful documentary “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble” is on-screen at Landmark Theatres in West L.A. and at several Laemmle Theatres locations starting tomorrow.

The Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra features master cellist Armen Ksajikian in concert this Saturday at New Roads School’s Moss Theater.

Long Beach Opera concludes its season with “The News,” a reality opera described as “the Daily Show of opera,” this month at the Broad Stage.

Make Music LA, the countywide festival, will take place on June 21 in neighborhoods across Santa Monica.

And adventurous classical music presenters Jacaranda put on a one-of-a-kind event, a concert adaptation of composer Mark Isham’s score for the ABC drama “American Crime” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City on June 6.

‘The Music of Strangers’

“The Music of Strangers” is a transcendent meditation on the meaning of music and culture through the eyes, mind and heart of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, about the creation of the Silk Road Ensemble. This collection of master musicians from across the world represents both tradition and change. As Ma says, “The intersection of cultures is where new things emerge,” and, “Traditions are born of innovation and when culture fails to innovate, it will die.”

These are the sentiments that drive the narrative. Blending performance footage, personal interviews and archival film, director Morgan Neville (Academy Award-winning documentary “50 Feet from Stardom”) and producer Caitrin Rogers focus on the journeys of a small group of Silk Road Ensemble mainstays from across the globe to create an intensely personal chronicle of passion, talent and sacrifice.

Through these moving individual stories, the filmmakers paint a vivid portrait of a bold musical experiment and a global search for the ties that bind. Visit and for screening times.

Reality opera

Long Beach Opera is closing its 2016 season in Santa Monica with a stinging political parody, “The News,” by Dutch avant-pop composer Jacob ter Veldhuis (JacobTV). It’s a “reality opera” culled from today’s headlines — a cacophony of politics, economics, religion, war, celebrity trivia and commercials featuring vocalists Loire Cotler and Maeve Höglund.

Live music and rhythm vocals are synchronized with nonfiction footage from the international media. Two singing anchors present breaking news from their newsroom, accompanied by a nine-piece band and a huge screen that shows manipulated news items about politics, economy, religion, war and peace, showbiz and trivialities. The music by JacobTV is a blend of classical and world music, blues, jazz, rock, and pop.

There are three performances at The Broad Stage: June 19, June 25 and June 26; for tickets, call 562-432-5934 or visit

Doctors symphony

A special concert titled “Beyond the Tempest” will be performed by the Los Angeles Doctors Symphony Orchestra at the Moss Theater on the New Roads School campus, Saturday, June 18 at 8 p.m.

Armen Ksajikian, associate principal cellist of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, performs Elgar’s Concerto for Violoncello in E-minor. Also on the program is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F-major. Both pieces share the commonality of a storm, Elgar’s the destructive whirlwind of World War I, and Beethoven’s a sudden tempest that overtakes countryside revelers. The beauty of each piece bespeaks optimism that times get better after a destructive interlude. The program also includes two Gymnopédies by Erik Satie.

Admission at the door is $20 and parking is free. The Moss Theater is located at 3131 Olympic Blvd., in Santa Monica. For more information, visit

Make Music Santa Monica

Make Music Day Los Angeles celebrates the summer solstice June 21 with a countywide festival of music, including Santa Monica. The city Cultural Affairs Division is offering small grants to neighborhood associations to help them plan musical events.

Participating organizations are partnering with the city Recreation & Parks Commission to put together an all-day musical smorgasbord in City parks.

So far, the North of Montana Association is sponsoring local musicians from 6 to 8 p.m. in Palisades Park between Georgina Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard. Mid-City Neighbors takes over Colorado Center from 5:30 to 9 p.m. with multiple music acts and a special Daily Grill all-day happy hour, or BYO picnic in the scenic space.

The event is based on France’s Fête de la Musique, a national music holiday that became an international phenomenon and is now celebrated in over 800 cities across the world.

Events and details can be found at

Isham’s ‘Crime’

Mark Isham, known for his wide-ranging eclecticism, is a much in-demand composer in Hollywood (“Crash,” “The Moderns,” “The Black Dahlia”). The compelling ABC drama series “American Crime,” written and directed by John Ridley, delves deep into character and human flaws, enhanced by the tense, moody music that Isham creates.

On June 6, the Santa Monica-based Jacaranda “Music at the Edge” series brought Isham together with its resident string ensemble Lyris Quartet and the Jacaranda Chamber Orchestra to perform the concert rendition of Isham’s music for the show, along with works by Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich and Max Richter who have inspired him.

ABC underwrote the evening, which began with a powerful “behind the scenes” documentary about the series. A conversation with the creators followed.

Jacaranda is planning an Expo Line event in mid-October to bring attention to Metro’s newly extended light-rail line to Santa Monica. On October 1, they’re giving a concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and they open their new season in Santa Monica on October 29.

Find out more at

Sarah A. Spitz spent her career as a producer at public radio station KCRW-Santa Monica and produced freelance arts reports for NPR. She has also written features and reviews for various print and online publications. Email her at