Jacaranda is both a genus of purple-bloomed tree that flourishes along Los Angeles streets and the name of our burg's most curiously beautiful series of contemporary classical concerts. The year 2012 saw the launch of the series' first concerts at the excellent environs of the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, as well as at select area concert venues and site-specific events. 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. They've done Messiaen, Cage, Boulez, Schoenberg and Glass, but some pretty special things, too, like a salute to Scandinavian music with pieces by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Per Nørgård, Magnus Lindberg and Kaija Saariaho, or little-performed works by Peter Maxwell-Davies, Thomas Ades, David Lang and Julia Wolf. The reasonably priced series runs fall through spring; this year's highlights include works by John Adams, Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington and Steve Reich.

LA Weekly