Pittance Chamber Music Presents MODERN BEAUTY

The programs will now premiere streaming online in three episodes.

Pittance Chamber Music Presents MODERN BEAUTY

Pittance Chamber Music, which presents the extraordinary musicians who perform in the pit at the Los Angeles Opera, presents Modern Beauty with special guest GRAMMY and EMMY-winning pianist Gloria Cheng.

Recorded during the pandemic, the programs will now premiere streaming online in three episodes, and will include artist and composer interviews with special tributes to Steven Stucky. One of today’s most respected and revered interpreters of contemporary repertoire, Cheng has been lauded in the Washington Post, New York Times and LA Weekly for her “breathtaking”, “exhilarating” and “broadly expressive” performances.

For this program she joins colleagues from the LA Opera Orchestra, bassoonist Judith Farmer, clarinetist Donald Foster and oboist Jennifer Cullinan, in a program of favorite chamber music pieces by composers with whom Cheng has collaborated – among them Billy Childs, Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Harbison, Steven Stucky and Gernot Wolfgang, whose work Decisions .. will receive its World Premiere.

Modern Beauty is a program that reveals the beauty of modern music through masterful performances. The choice of repertoire reflects the artists’ personal history with the composers and each other. Originally scheduled for April 2020, the live concert had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Inspired by the musicians’ desire to play and complete this project, pianist Cheng and Pittance’s Artistic Director Lisa Sutton (who also happens to be the Assistant Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra) decided to forge ahead in the new normal and record the program, with the goal of presenting it in three parts for online viewing. The highly anticipated programs will premiere at The first episode premieres on November 1, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. PST and Episodes 2 and 3 have their premieres on November 8 and 15, respectively, at 3:00 p.m. PST. Each episode will be available for continued viewing on Pittance Chamber Music’s media page.

Episode 1

Sunday, November 1, 3:00 p.m. PST

Interview with Billy Childs, Judith Farmer and Gloria Cheng


Sonata for Bassoon and Piano

Judith Farmer, Bassoon

Gloria Cheng, Piano

Billy Childs, an icon in the jazz world, is equally accomplished as a composer in the ‘classical’ realm. Both Cheng and Farmer proposed doing his Sonata for Bassoon and Piano independent of one another – recognizing it to be not only a great piece of music but an important work in the bassoon literature.

Episode 2

Sunday, November 8, 3:00 p.m. PST

Interview with Donald Foster and Gloria Cheng;
special video tributes from Salonen, Taylor, Harbison and Rhie

Garlands for Steven Stucky



STEPHEN Andrew Taylor

Green Trees Are Bending





Gloria Cheng, Piano



Meditation and Dance

Donald Foster, Clarinet
Gloria Cheng, Piano

This unique program centers around Cheng’s friendship with the composer Steven Stucky, who died in 2016. In his memory, Cheng asked over 30 composers to write brief musical memorials, which she recorded and released in an album entitled “Garlands for Steven Stucky”. In this program she performs a selection of four, each of which is preceded by video tributes of the composers (Salonen, Taylor, Harbison and Rhie) talking about Stucky and sharing insights about their works.

Episode 3 – World Premiere

Sunday, November 15, 3 pm PST

Interview with Gernot Wolfgang, Jennifer Cullinan and Gloria Cheng


Decisions ..

Jennifer Cullinan, Oboe

Gloria Cheng, Piano

Pittance has the honor of premiering Gernot Wolfgang’s Decisions .. which the composer describes as “a probing piece that raises more questions than it answers.” Written for oboist Cullinan in three movements entitled This – Or That?, Where To? and Case Closed?, the work presents a musical exploration of various stages in a decision-making process. There will be a pre-concert conversation where Wolfgang will address some of those questions. Wolfgang is no stranger to Pittance audiences, who loved his work Road Signs (performed during the 2018 season). Pittance is pleased to welcome him back and present this latest opus.

According to Pittance Chamber Music Artistic Director Lisa Sutton, “The creation of Modern Beauty was based on an idea of uncovering or revealing beauty in the unfamiliar – in this case new music. In Gloria’s hands, new works always receive loving attention – a combination of her expertise, intellect and heart. In this program the idea was to feature composers with whom Gloria had a personal connection and to showcase each woodwind instrument. In the canceled April program, we had originally included Lutoslawski’s Trio for Woodwinds – tying in Lutoslawski’s connection with the other composers, particularly Stucky – however with the pandemic there was really no way to safely rehearse and record the piece. So, we opted for a combination of duos with piano and added a set of solo pieces for Gloria.”

The entire program is presented free to the public, supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.

Among the most extraordinary musicians in the world are those you seldom see – the musicians of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra. Founder and Artistic Director Lisa Sutton, who also happens to be the Assistant Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, formed Pittance Chamber Music in 2013 to shine the spotlight on these remarkable yet invisible artists, bringing them from the pit to the stage to perform in small ensembles, hence the name Pittance. Pittance Chamber Music utilizes a roster of artists drawn from a large pool of talent including members of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra as well as Los Angeles Opera resident vocalists, resulting in a unique variety of repertoire not often heard together in one program.

For more information on the upcoming programs and to link to the performances, please visit

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