CAMA presented the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Granada in Santa Barbara on 1/28.

Elim Chan | Credit: Rahi Rezvani

No matter how many times one attends a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, it remains a staggering musical experience. This concert was the orchestra’s 144th appearance in Santa Barbara, and they delivered all the power, nuance, and excitement audiences have come to expect. Elim Chan is a thrilling presence on the podium, capable of eliciting extreme precision even at wild tempos. For example, in the opening movement of the Symphony No. 4 in A Major, “Italian,” Op. 90 of Felix Mendelssohn, Chan accelerated to escape velocity without the flutes losing any details of their wonderfully complex parts. 

The concert began with Cloudlines, an appropriately atmospheric composition by Elizabeth Ogonek that started with long, thin lines before unleashing staccato statements from the brass punctuated by exotic percussion accents. 

Igor Levit plays Beethoven with understated precision. His style complemented Chan and the orchestra’s reading of the composer’s Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37 perfectly. The sense of a lively and natural conversation between the soloist and the ensemble never flagged. Chan and Levit also appeared with another orchestra on this tour — the Boston Symphony — and the fruits of the close partnership they have developed were amply evident on Friday, January 28, at The Granada Theatre. It will be a pleasure to track these musicians as they continue exploring new opportunities. In particular, the brilliant Mendelssohn performance showed how much potential Elim Chan has in conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

This edition of ON Culture was originally emailed to subscribers on June 7, 2024. To receive Leslie Dinaberg’s arts newsletter in your inbox on Fridays, sign up at


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