Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Concertmaster Margaret Batjer

As recently as 40 years ago or so, the roster of many major American orchestras consisted almost exclusively of white males. Even more recently, such venerable ensembles as the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic boasted only a tiny sprinkling of women in their ranks and precious few musicians of color.

While the classical music world has grown more diverse since then — in recent years the LA Chamber Orchestra boasted a nearly all-female first violin section, and its concertmaster since 1998 is also a woman, Margaret Batjer — a lot of work remains to be done so that orchestras begin to look more like the communities in which they perform.

Thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, LACO is taking a big stride in moving to help achieve greater diversity. It’s also deepening its roots in chamber music in this, its 50th anniversary season. Here’s KUSC’s Gail Eichenthal.

Hit play below to listen to our Arts Alive interview with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s Margaret Batjer.


Mozart and Brahms in Focus runs through May 2018. The inaugural concert takes place Thursday evening, February 15, 7:30pm at the acoustically superb Moss Theater at the New Roads School on Olympic Boulevard in Santa Monica. For detailed information about the new series, and all upcoming concerts by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, visit laco.org.

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