“On April 22 and 23 violist Masumi Per Rostad and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra gave the West Coast premiere of a viola concerto that composer Jessie Montgomery wrote for him called “L.E.S. Characters,” a piece that illustrates both Masumi and Jessie’s shared impressions of their childhood in New York’s Lower East Side (aka L.E.S.), back in the ’80s and ’90s.
The characters are colorful, as is the music. Names of the movements read like a list made by an observant set of children, identifying the eccentricities of their neighborhood: The Can Man, The Poet, Mosaic Man, Garbage Art.
Certainly, “L.E.S. Characters” was different from any other viola concerto I’ve heard, and a joyous and vibrant addition to the viola repertoire.”