We are commissioning Donald Crockett to write a 17-20-minute piece for five cellos, to be premiered at the Carlsbad Festival in August 2018. The repertoires for cello quartet and large cello ensemble are vast, but we are interested in developing the limited repertoire for cello quintet, which retains the intimacy of a quartet that is lost in a large ensemble, but has an added richness supplied by the fifth cello. This work will be one of many works we are commissioning by LA composers, to be premiered in the next two seasons.
We have all worked closely with Mr. Crockett, both playing under him as a conductor and collaborating with him as a composer. We are taken by the energy and vitality in his music and have grown to love his rhythmic and tonal language. This new work will receive many performances after Carlsbad, including performances at USC during the 2018/19 season and at Sunset ChamberFest in June 2019.
A unique and versatile cello quintet, hailed as “brilliant” and “superb” by Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times, SAKURA is built on the artistry and virtuosity of its members: Michael Kaufman, Benjamin Lash, Gabriel Martins, Yoshika Masuda, and Peter Myers. Drawing from the rich heritage of a repertoire that spans eight centuries, eclectic and unexpected programs are constructed around conceptual threads, with an overarching commitment to opening new vistas of beauty and expression by showcasing the great warmth and scope offered by the sound of five cellos.
Last season’s highlights included a performance of Brett Dean’s Twelve Angry Men in Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival and a Tarisio Trust Young Artist Grant for its project “5 for 5,” which commissioned five Los Angeles composers to write quintets for the current season. Additionally, SAKURA was named “Young Ensemble in Residence” of the Da Camera Society of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles-based composer and conductor Donald Crockett has received commissions from a wide spectrum of organizations including the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Composer-in-Residence, 1991 – 97), Kronos Quartet, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hilliard Ensemble, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Xtet, the San Francisco-based chamber chorus, Volti, the California EAR Unit, the Guitar Foundation of America, and the University of Southern California for its 125th anniversary, among many others. Recent projects include an all-Crockett orchestral disc released in May, 2015 by Boston Modern Orchestra Project on BMOP/sound, commissions from the Harvard Musical Association for violist Kate Vincent and Firebird Ensemble, the Claremont Trio, 21st Century Consort, a chamber opera, “The Face”, based on a novella in verse by poet David St. John, and a consortium commission from twenty-two college and university wind ensembles for his Dance Concerto for Clarinet/Bass Clarinet and Wind Ensemble.
Deeply committed to education, Donald Crockett is Professor and Chair of the Composition Program, Director of Thornton Edge new music ensemble and Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs at the USC Thornton School of Music.