Pacific Palisades

St. Matthew’s Music Guild opens its thirty-second series of concert in Pacific Palisades on Friday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m., with a program of music by Mozart, Wagner and von Weber. Clarinetist Michele Zukovsky, recently retired Principal Clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is the guest soloist.

In announcing the series, Music Director and Conductor Thomas Neenan said, “thanks to the continued support of more than 125 subscribing households, plus foundations and government agencies such as the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Music Guild continues to offer outstanding concerts, perform meaningful outreach in underserved communities and commission new music from deserving young composers.”

The Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s is a critically acclaimed ensemble made up of some of the finest freelance and studio musicians in the city.

Michele Zukovsky began her career with the LA Phil in 1961 at the age of eighteen and she remained with the orchestra until last fall when she retired as Principal Clarinet. Since then she has been in great demand as a soloist throughout the U.S. and continues to teach at the USC Thornton School of Music. Zukovsky will play the Fantasia and Rondo Finale from Carl Maria von Weber’s Opus 34 Quintet for Clarinet and Strings.

The Chamber Orchestra begins the concert with Richard Wagner’s beautiful birthday present for his wife Cosima, the Siegfried Idyll, which he presented to her on Christmas morning in 1870. For the occasion, Wagner arranged for a chamber ensemble from the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra to array themselves on the staircase of the family’s villa in Lucerne, Switzerland. He later expanded the orchestration and used several moments from the piece in his Ring cycle opera Siegfried.

Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony will round out the program. The Jupiter earned its nickname for its good humor, exuberant energy, and unusually grand scale. The symphony was completed in 1788 and was Mozart’s last major orchestral work. It is the largest and most complex of his symphonies and concludes with a five-voice fugato that would do J.S. Bach proud. At moments jovial, as if Jupiter himself were laughing heartily in the celebratory key of C Major, the work contains dark and serious moments that foreshadow grand Romantic masterpieces of the next generation.

All concerts in the Music Guild’s series take place on Fridays at 8 p.m., in the architecturally and acoustically exciting St. Matthew’s Church, 1031 Bienveneda Ave., Pacific Palisades. Admission is $35. The Music Guild offers discounted season passes, good for all concerts, for as little as $200. For more information, visit the Music Guild website: MusicGuildOnline.org or call (310) 573-7421.

Submitted — Thomas Neenan