Britten Encore


Pittance Chamber Music and the Lyris Quartet will recreate the 1941 concert at which Benjamin Britten’s String Quartet No. 1 received its world premiere on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Thorne Hall.

The performance, which also will feature performances of Beethoven’s Quartet in B-Flat Major, Opus 130, with the Grosse Fuge and the Quartet in F Major by Ravel, is free and open to the public.

Commissioned by noted chamber music patron Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, Britten’s Spring Quartet No. 1 was premiered in Thorne Hall on September 21, 1941 by the Coolidge Quartet. Commissioned by Coolidge, the quartet was written by the 27-year-old English composer that summer while staying in Escondido.

It wasn’t until four years later that Britten’s opera Peter Grimes opened in London to great acclaim that he was catapulted to international fame.

Pittance Chamber Music was founded in July 2013 by artistic director Lisa Sutton to showcase the extraordinary yet invisible musicians of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra. They perform in a variety of mixed ensembles with vocalists from the Domingo Colburn Stein Young Artists Program.

The Lyris Quartet, described as "radiant … excellent ... and powerfully engaged" by Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times, was founded in 2008. The individual members of the quartet have won top prizes at such competitions as the Tchaikosvky International Competition and Aspen Music Festival and collaborated with renowned artists such as Natalia Gutman, David Geringas, and Martha Argerich.

Designed by noted architect Myron Hunt, Thorne Hall was just four years old in 1941. It has been a venue for such distinguished artists as Arthur Rubinstein, Andres Segovia, Marian Anderson, Robert Merrill, Leontyne Price, Isaac Stern, Joshua Bell, and Hilary Hahn.