Performing arts organizations are complicated enterprises to run. Keeping them afloat prompts ever-new experiments. One of the latest is the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, formed by clarinetist cum entrepreneur Benjamin Mitchell and an ambitious group of L. A. musicians, inspired by New York's Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Its goal is straightforward: create audience encounters of a closer kind with engaging performances of classic and new works. Its means are unorthodox: as with the Orpheus, scrap the conductor in favor of more collaborative leadership on and off the podium.
Founder Mitchell says it this way: "I decided to create Kaleidoscope for a multitude of reasons. Although there are many wonderful orchestras in Los Angeles, and some groups occasionally perform without a conductor, we would be the only professional orchestra that performs solely this way. I'm passi...
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