Jacaranda Music produces a series of classical music adventures designed to awaken curiosity and discovery. Based in Santa Monica since 2003, Jacaranda was immediately hailed by the LA Weekly as “the right music in the right place at the right time.” More than a decade later, LA Weekly named Jacaranda Best Contemporary Classical Series in 2016: “Wonderfully un-stodgy curation by Jacaranda founders Patrick Scott and Mark Alan Hilt and performances by acclaimed and expert musicians make for ear-cleansing dives into bracingly new music composed largely by living composers, as well as unplayed-to-death music of the past century.”
The series is devoted to stimulating listeners with ingenious musical experiences. Alex Ross’s blog The Rest Is Noise wrote “season after season the twentieth century comes to life in Jacaranda’s programs.” Jacaranda also champions music written since 2000, as well as neglected earlier music with strong potential interest for today’s listeners. The “powerful” U.S. premiere of a co-commission with Britain’s Aldeburgh Festival, led by composer Peter Eötvös, was also cited by the LA Times for its “national significance.” These concerts are dedicated to advancing the standard repertory of soloists and diverse ensembles through live music, recordings, and education.
Jacaranda recently launched METRO (Music Education Through Resource Opportunities) to network and mobilize university music students from CalArts, Chapman University, CSUN, UCLA, and USC through recorded music services, Facebook, and live concerts. Maintaining high performance standards in acoustically effective locations throughout Greater Los Angeles, this innovative concert series is committed to increasing understanding of classical music using unexpected strategies – and by telling the stories of its makers with passion. “A sell-out throng of glitter, beauty and brains in all sorts and varieties responded warmly to the totally decadent music menu…full of energy and themes of unimaginable beauty…” said the Huffington Post.
Patrick Scott, Artistic & Executive Director, is considered one of the most original thinkers about classical music today. In 2015, and again in 2016, BBC Music Magazine recognized his curatorial vision with their editors’ choice of Jacaranda among the twenty best live concerts in North America. His OM Century, a two-year celebration of the Olivier Messiaen centenary, garnered international attention for its daring scope. In the blog So I’ve Heard, Alan Rich remarked, “I cannot remember a better-imagined, better played program supercharged with the pleasure of discovery…improbable but tangibly deliciousness.”
Scott produced the West Coast premiere of David Lang’s Pulitzer-prize winning the little match girl passion with an incandescent quartet of singing percussionists led by tenor Grant Gershon, soprano Elissa Johnston, alto Adriana Manfredi, and baritone Cedric Barry. “The audience sat transfixed,” wrote Mark Swed of the LA Times, “the performance was a stunner.” A friendship with the composer led to the LA premieres of Lang’s darker for twelve solo strings (“absorbing…gleamingly energized” – LA Times) and a new co-commission with the LA Philharmonic, sleepers prayer for the inaugural new music marathon Noon to Midnight.
Scott’s Cage 100 Festival included a 24-hour marathon with 36 solo pianists, and the world premiere of John Cage’s The Ten Thousand Things, noted in the LA Times' international Best of 2012 list. Writing uncommonly detailed program notes from an inter-disciplinary perspective, Scott embodies what musical curation is all about – yet he has achieved that distinction by an unusual path including no formal music education. At age sixteen he was the youngest member of the Gustav Mahler Society, an Eagle Scout, and ballet dancer. At UC Irvine, where he received the Chancellor’s Award and President’s Fellowship for painting, his teachers were among the who’s who of California artists – Robert Irwin, Vija Celmins and Ed Moses, to name a few.
His schooling in the visual arts, dance, and stage design led to a 15-year career as a designer and craftsman for film, television, stage, opera, ballet, and video. Non-profit administrative work included producing innovative interdisciplinary cultural collaborations geared to high school teachers and students. As Executive Director of Film Independent (then Independent Feature Project West) he helped expand the Spirit Awards to become what it is today. He directed a groundbreaking education program for Peter Sellars’ LA Festival in 1990, and chaired the Motion Picture Centennial Committee under the auspices of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As chief development officer of LA’s BEST after school enrichment program in the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, he initiated art, music and dance residencies now in over 194 public elementary schools throughout Los Angeles County. For the Colburn School Conservatory of Music, he curated Found Horizon: Stravinsky in LA’s Progressive Music Scene 1949-66, a Pacific Standard Time event sponsored by the Getty Center. Since 2010, Scott established Jacaranda partnerships with the LA Phil: Left Coast West Coast, Americans in Americas, Minimalist Jukebox, and Noon to Midnight. A partnership with the LA Opera began in 2010 with Ring Festival LA, and was followed by Britten 100 in 2013. Scott can be seen acting in the Oscar-winning film Beginners by Mike Mills as one of Christopher Plummer’s circle of friends.
Mark Alan Hilt, Music Director and Conductor, has elevated Jacaranda to prominence by conducting a wide-range of ensemble works, concerti, cantatas, masses, chamber symphonies, and music with large forces – including the 2009 U.S. premiere of Messiaen’s Song of the Deported (1945), performed by orchestra and chorus of more than 180. Commissioned by Radio France for the liberation of the concentration camps, the work was subsequently lost until 1992. Hilt served as music director of Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera Curlew River, with support from the Britten Foundation, receiving only its second local performance since 1968. “A rare communal spirit was achieved,” wrote the LA Times, “a moving important occasion.”
Hilt led the U.S. premiere of Terry Riley’s forgotten Olsen III with more than 75 student and adult musicians. In 2010, he assembled a 40-minute suite of all five “Knee Plays” from the opera Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass, working from the manuscript. His choral conducting has included works by Britten, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Thomas Adès, and Schubert. His instrumental conducting included Gerald Barry’s Bob, Toro Takemitsu’s Rain Spell, Steve Reich’s Eight Lines, Chinary Ung’s Aura, Mozart’s Serenade No. 10 Gran Partita, and – at Walt Disney Concert Hall – Schnee (the 2006 version) by Hans Abrahamsen in October 2016.
In 2015 he made a performance edition of Alfred Schnittke’s Septet, originally premiered at the 1982 Memorial for Leonid Brezhnev in Moscow. Concertos included Lou Harrison’s Suite for Violin and Strings, Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa, Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp, Britten’s Young Apollo, Paul Hindemith’s Kammermusic, and Messiaen’s La Ville d’en Haut, an LA premiere with pianist Gloria Cheng. Hilt conducted music for vocal and/or chorus with chamber orchestra including songs by Charles Ives, Samuel Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915, Stravinsky’s Mass, Franz Liszt’s Via Crucis, Takemitsu’s Signals from Heaven, Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate, Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, Alberto Ginastera’s Cantata para America Magica (with Lucy Shelton), Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, and Eric Zeisl’s Hebrew Requiem. About a rare performance of Schubert’s Song of the Spirits Over the Waters, LA Opus wrote, “Hilt and his committed voices and strings gave it there all in a riveting performance…one that explored every tortured byway to its final relieving cadence.”
Symphonically, Hilt has conducted Carlos Chavez’s Sinfonia India, Franz Schreker’s Chamber Symphony, Adagio from the Tenth Symphony by Mahler arranged for the Kremerata Baltica, and “Demeurer dans l’Amour,” the string orchestra movement from Messiaen’s last major work Eclairs sur l'Au De-la..., another LA premiere. Additionally, he conducted the ballet suite Estancia by Ginastera, and Charles Ives’ Unanswered Question. Of particular note were his stunning performances at Barnum Hall of Et Expecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum for winds and percussion by Messiaen, and, at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, performances of Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony, and Requiem für Eine Polka by Henryk Górecki.
Since 2008, Hilt has been director of the Harvard-Westlake Upper School orchestra program comprised of a symphony orchestra, string ensemble, percussion group, and chamber music. To raise the capacity of the orchestra, he commissioned new works by David Lefkowitz, Joan Huang, Gernot Wolfgang, and Adrienne Albert. Hilt is music director and organist of the First Presbyterian Church. His tenure began with directing a Bach 2000 mini-festival. Bach, Messiaen, Cage, Sofia Gubaidulina, Pärt, and Philip Glass are prominent in his mostly 20th century organ repertoire. Beginning as a self-taught teenager in Kansas, with studies at Wichita State and Southern University of Illinois, Hilt gained extensive experience as a keyboardist, choral director, accompanist, vocal coach, and opera conductor.