Camerata Pacifica is one of the most notable chamber music organizations in the country, distinctive not only for its exceptional artistic quality, but also for its dynamic sense of community. The group's exceptional international artists have been drawn together over the course of many seasons, and provided with the rehearsal and performance environment necessary to form an ensemble unique in style and sensibility. The bond between the artists is clear, as is theirs’ with the audience. The Los Angeles Times recently highlighted the emphasis of Spence’s work: “What was out of the ordinary was the wildly enthusiastic response that each work received. Whatever it's doing, Camerata Pacifica seems to be cultivating a passionate audience – and that’s good news.”
The intellectual curiosity of the Camerata Pacifica audience is evident at every performance, where a broad range of programming is presented in a manner both welcoming and provocative. Over the course of 24 seasons, Camerata Pacifica has developed a loyal following and now presents resident series in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Pasadena & Los Angeles, in small, intimate venues maximizing the impact of the music.
Camerata Pacifica has a strong commissioning program which began prominently with “Winter Roses”, a song cycle by Jake Heggie and premiered with Frederica von Stade. In 2006 Spence announced an initiative, commissioning seven works from three composers: Ian Wilson, Huang Ruo and Lera Auerbach. The first commission, Wilson’s Messenger Concerto for Violin and Chamber Ensemble, received its premiere with 5 Southern Californian performances in May 2007 and a subsequent tour to The Library of Congress in Washington DC, New York’s Morgan Library & Museum, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, and venues in Northern Ireland. The Irish Times referred to the Camerata as a “miracle of modern artistic organisation” and London’s Daily Telegraph referred to the ensemble as, “a very serious group of fine artists, both innovative and intrepid.” The portfolio expanded to include works by MacArthur geniuses Bright Sheng, and John Harbison whose String Trio is to premier in September 2014 coincident with the release of a Camerata Pacifica recording of Harbison’s music by the Harmonia Mundi label.