The Lowell Chamber Orchestra is Lowell’s first and only professional orchestra, providing the area with an ensemble that presents music at a very high level, of all styles and time periods, entirely free to the general population.
Now in its third season, the LCO has presented concerts that encompass established orchestral repertoire as well as multimedia works, stage works, lecture-presentations, and chamber music. As part of its mission of promoting, preserving, and educating, the repertoire includes works from the Baroque to current commissions.
Two years ago, the LCO started the “Lowell Threads” initiative, in which composers are commissioned to write pieces around a theme, a genre, or other inspiration. This initiative has helped to promote composers through performances and recordings, earning international exposure and acclaim from the media.
Lowell is a gateway community, rich in cultural diversity but economically challenged in many respects so access to high-quality arts is essential. The interactive nature of the performances is especially important for audiences who may not have enjoyed arts programming previously.
There is a diverse international and diverse nature of the players as reflective of the Lowell community itself. The ensemble sometimes includes, among its professional members, some music students enrolled in local universities, in order to provide them with an opportunity to gain experience and earn some money.
The performances take place at Middlesex Community College, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and at other venues around the area. Some of these locations allow students to attend concerts without leaving their respective campuses, and allow the public in general to attend a concert at a proper performance space.
The LCO is a member of Lowell City of Learning, working to make Lowell an UNESCO learning city.
Orlando Cela, conductor
Orlando Cela is committed to engaging audiences with lively performances that open new worlds of experience. The Venezuelan-born conductor has received the American Prize for conducting and the Vytautas Marijosius Prize for orchestral programming. He also received second place in the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for excellence in the performance of American music, and second place in the London Classical Soloists Conducting Competition for his performances of Beethoven’s Symphonies 7 and 8 in 2017. Guest appearances include performances with the London Classical Soloists (London, UK), Marquette Symphony Orchestra (MI), the Randolph College Chamber Orchestra and Chorus (VA), UMass-Dartmouth Choruses (MA), and others. He has been invited to conduct and lecture at Tête-à-Tête Opera Festival (UK), the Central Conservatory of Music, and Shanghai Normal University (China). Being an advocate of new music, Cela regularly offers short, lively introductions to selected works, providing audiences with entry points into unfamiliar works. He has conducted world premieres by Bernhard Lang, Renée Baker, and national and regional premieres by Kaija Saariaho, Armando Bayolo, Bongani Ndodana-Breen, Andy Akiho, Alwynne Pritchard, and many others. Cela is the founder and Music Director of the Lowell Chamber Orchestra and serves as the Music Director of the Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the North Carolina Governor’s School. Besides teaching a number of music related courses at Middlesex Community College, he also teaches conducting at Berklee College of Music