Los Angeles Baroque
Los Angeles Baroque (LAB) is directed by violinist Lindsey Strand-Polyak. Started in 2016, by Lindsey and co-founding artistic director Alexa Haynes-Pilon (cello), LAB gives dedicated professional, student and community musicians from across greater Los Angeles the opportunity to explore repertoire, learn baroque playing style and perform. It aims to encourage, support and expand the early music community in LA and to be inclusive in reach, to give the maximum number of highly motivated players the chance to participate. Our players come together from all walks of life and from all over LA to give, in a typical year, a season of three weekend afternoon concerts at the group's rehearsal and performance home, St James’ Episcopal Church in South Pasadena. LAB’s opening season 2016-17 featured two concerts, collaborations with the vocal ensemble Jouyssance and with St James’ choir, and our first weekend workshop. In 2017-18 we expanded our season to three concerts, again collaborated with Jouyssance, held a consort music workshop, and made debuts at Laemmle Live Santa Monica and in Bach in the Subways at Union Station. June 2018 saw LAB take a road trip to Berkeley to make its debut in the Berkeley Early Music Festival Fringe. In our third season we explored the repertoire of the 17th Century in greater depth and marked our first concert performance of an opera: John Blow’s Venus and Adonis. We hosted our first LAB:Fest mini festival weekend May 31-June 2, 2019, with guests Ensemble Bizarria and Kensington Baroque Orchestra, San Diego. Season four continued our three-concert model in South Pasadena, regrettably cut short by the ongoing pandemic. In 2020-21 small groups met for outdoor covid-safe therapeutic coaching sessions with director Lindsey Strand-Polyak alongside occasional online lectures. 2021-22 kicked off with a pop-up concert in Fall 2021, and continues in 2022 with further concerts.
Praised for her “rococo gracefulness”, Lindsey Strand-Polyak is active throughout the West Coast as a baroque violinist and violist. She performs with ensembles such as the American Bach Soloists, Musica Angelica, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Pacific MusicWorks and Bach Collegium San Diego; and has appeared at the Oregon Bach Festival, Twin Cities Early Music Festival, and the Fringe Series of both Boston and Berkeley Early Music Festivals. Dr. Strand-Polyak was the assistant director for the UCLA Early Music Ensemble from 2011-2015, and is co-artistic director of baroque chamber group Ensemble Bizarria and of Los Angeles Baroque—Southern California’s first community baroque orchestra. Lecture-recitals include McGill University, University of Texas at Austin, and national meetings of the American Musicological Society. She has served on the faculty of the Colburn School and the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA, and was recently appointed adjunct professor of baroque violin and viola at Claremont Graduate University. She earned her PhD/MM in musicology and violin performance from UCLA, studying historical performance with Elisabeth LeGuin and modern violin with Guillaume Sutre and Movses Pogossian.
Following graduation from UCLA with a degree in Music History, Joan moved to New York City where she served as Carnegie Hall’s Programming Manager for five years. She was the first administrator of the Hall’s International Festival of Visiting Orchestras. In the early 1970s she moved to Madison, Wisconsin, serving as the national Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ first Associate Director. In Milwaukee from 1970 to 2000 she held top management positions with Skylight Opera Theater and Artist Series at the Pabst. In addition she ran her own management/consulting business: JLMS. During that time she also served on the Board of the National Association of Performing Arts Presenters, on the faculty of its basic workshop and as chair of its national conference. She has also served on the board of Opera America, on ten review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, and on review panels for Chamber Music America and Arts Midwest. From 1989-92, as a member of the management assessment team for the NEA’s Challenge Program, she conducted 65 on-site management audits of applicant organizations throughout the United States. In l989 she was appointed to the National Task Force on Touring and Presenting. She has held faculty posts in arts administration at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she directed the undergraduate program in arts administration from 1989-92. In 1999 she returned to her native California as Executive Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony and subsequently as Executive Director of Music in the Vineyards. In 2007 she returned to project-based consulting, and in 2016 became Managing Director of Los Angeles Baroque.