The Lowell Chamber Orchestra is the city of Lowell’s first and only professional orchestra. The orchestra provides the area with an ensemble that presents music at a very high level, of all styles and time periods, to the general population. 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 that may not have enjoyed arts programming previously. The international and diverse nature of the orchestra members is reflective of the Lowell community itself.
The ensemble sometimes includes, along with its professional members, music students from local universities in order to provide them with an opportunity to gain experience and earn money. In the future, the concerts will be preceded by small introductions, given by students enrolled in local higher education institutions, about the pieces to be performed – this engages the students that might be taking such classes. Whenever possible, composers will be invited to speak about their own works. The performances in Lowell 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.
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