Los Alamos Concert Association’s Ann McLaughlin Addresses Rotary Club

Ann McLaughlin addresses local Rotarians August 23 at their lunchtime meeting at Cottonwood on the Greens. Photo by Linda Hull

Vice President
Rotary Club of Los Alamos

“I’m like a kid in a candy store,” beamed Ann McLaughlin as she described selecting performers for the upcoming season of the Los Alamos Concert Association (LACA).  McLaughlin, who serves as LACA’s Artistic Director, has just begun her 13th season with the organization, a nationally recognized presenter of classical music.  She spoke about her position and introduced the new LACA season during an August 23 presentation to the Rotary Club of Los Alamos.  

First of all, many agents representing a variety of musicians actively contact her throughout the year, McLaughlin said.  They seek out LACA based on its 76-year reputation for presenting world class artists.  In addition to striking a diverse balance of performers each season, her top criteria are “artistic excellence” and opportunities for exciting marketing.  “Ensembles like the Canadian Brass will always be popular,” she said, but explained that other wonderful ensembles need effective marketing to attract an audience.

Before presenting an overview of LACA’s new season, McLaughlin spoke enthusiastically about her June trip to Fort Worth, Texas where she attended the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The competition was founded in 1962 after pianist Van Cliburn, a Texas native, captured world attention in 1958 after his unprecedented First Prize win in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.  The Van Cliburn competition, which is held every four years, brings together “the best young pianists in the world” in the “ideal performance environment” with “unrivaled international exposure” and with the power to “launch careers.”

Out of a field of 30 competitors, ages 18-30, the judges “advance 18 pianists to the Quarterfinal Round, 12 to the Semifinal Round, and 6 to the Final Round” with multiple piano pieces performed solo and with orchestra. 

This year’s winner of the Gold Medal and the Van Cliburn Winner’s Cup was Yunchan Lim of South Korea, 18.  The winner of the Silver Medal was Anna Geniushene of Russia, 31; the Bronze Medal was awarded to Dmytro Choni of Ukraine, 28.  It’s entirely possible you’ll find them coming to Los Alamos during one of LACA’s future seasons.

McLaughlin revealed to Rotary this year’s spectacular lineup of musical entertainment. TLACA’s first performance on Sunday, September 25th will feature the phenomenal cellist, Zlatomir Fung, who, at 19, was the youngest musician to win First Prize in cello performance in Moscow’s International Tchaikovsky Competition.  Now, at 23, he performs in Los Alamos for the first time.

November brings the Pacifica Quartet with guitarist Sharon Isbin, considered the “reigning diva of classical guitar,” and the New Year begins with the bold musicianship of “one of the preeminent pianists of our time,” Emanuel Ax.   Born in Poland and raised in Canada, Ax “returns to Los Alamos after an absence of 46 years!”

The Spanish Brass will bring their “dazzling virtuosity and light-hearted audience rapport” to the stage in February, and the LACA season concludes in April with “Quebec’s celebrated chamber orchestra, Les Violons du Roy with pianist Inon Barnatan.”

LACA tickets for adults are $35; tickets for youth ages 6-18 are free.  “It’s impossible to find better prices for performances of this world-class caliber,” noted McLaughlin, citing nearby communities in which concert tickets can cost three times LACA prices.  

McLaughlin credited LACA’s success to its all-volunteer 16-member Board of Directors, all of whom accept assignments to create magical, musical experiences for the audience.  

In closing, McLaughlin urged Rotarians, family and friends to accept LACA’s cordial invitation “to help us celebrate our 76th anniversary!”

All performances are held at the Duane Smith Auditorium on the Los Alamos High School campus.

Information about the Los Alamos Concert Association, its 2022-23 season of performances, and ticket purchases may be found at http://losalamosconcert.org/home.html.

Information about the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition may be found at https://cliburn.org/2022-cliburn-competition/.

McLaughlin, who has lived in Los Alamos since 1984, has served as the Artistic Director of the Los Alamos Concert Association since 2010.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music history and Master of Library Science degree from the University of Washington.  McLaughlin has worked as a music specialist in two academic libraries in Washington State.

The Rotary Club of Los Alamos, through its Club Foundation, is a 501(c)3 non-profit and one of over 34,000 clubs worldwide.  Rotary, which now has 1.5 million members, was founded in 1905; the local Club was chartered in 1966.  Rotary areas of focus include promoting peace; fighting disease, particularly polio; providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; supporting education; saving and enhancing the lives of mothers and children; growing economies; and protecting the environment.

The Rotary Club of Los Alamos meets in person Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00, in the Community Room, Cottonwood on the Greens, at the golf course.  A Zoom option is available by contacting Linda Hull, Rotary Club vice-president, 505-662-7950.  Hull is also happy to provide information about the Club and its humanitarian service.  The community is invited to become members.