Facing Southeast

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In the third installment of "L.A. Is the World," the multiyear commissioning project that unites immigrant master musicians, composers and the L.A. Master Chorale, we travel to the Far East — and no, Governor Palin, that's not Connecticut — with a program featuring Lou Harrison's Eastern-influenced anthem La Koro Sutro and the world premiere of Cambodian-born composer Chinary Ung's Spiral XII: Space Between Heaven and Earth. La Koro Sutro, Esperanto for the famous Buddhist "Heart Sutra," is a musical journey into the "heart of divine wisdom" and was written for choir, organ and American Gamelan — the latter being, for this work, a collection of exotic "percussion" instruments like sawed-off gas cylinders and steel-tube electrical conduit built by Harrison, who was as famous for his unorthodox instrumental inventions as he was for his compositions. Spiral XII, a meditative work for chorus, instrumental ensemble, dancers and vocal soloists, is a continuation of Chinary Ung's ongoing exploration of an idea that works its way up a musical spiral — which, he says, is central to his mission to "employ my music as an agent of spiritual healing through aesthetic experience." In Spiral XII, voice, percussion and dance fuse in a Southeast Asian musical technique in which the percussionists and string players also sing, chant and whistle, “as if they are participants in a village ritual, and the dancers portray both the suffering of Cambodia's brutal history and the hope that resonates in its present. This performance features Ung’s creative partner, Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, a legendary Cambodian dancer and artistic director of the Khmer Arts Academy, and seven female dancers from her troupe. Walt Disney Concert Hall; Sun., Nov. 9, 7 p.m.; preceded by a Listen Up! talk with conductor Grant Gershon, KUSC’s Alan Chapman and Chinary Ung, 6 p.m.; $19-$124. (800) 787-5262, www.lamc.org.
Sun., Nov. 9, 7 p.m., 2008

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