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Biography by Uncle Dave Lewis, from The All Music Guide
The Illustrious Theater Orchestra was a chamber group founded in 1989 and based out of Cal State Fullerton. Led by saxophonist and keyboard player Shane W. Cadman, the group consisted of keyboard player Paul Greenhaw, cellist Christine Dietrich, baritone saxophonist John P. Hoover, and clarinetist Scott McIntosh. Unlike any other classical chamber ensemble of its time, the members of the Illustrious Theater Orchestra insisted on playing their own compositions, which were informed to a small extent by minimalism and unvaryingly tonal, though not new agey, and they did not venture into jazz-styled territory or indulge in improvisation. The compositions, often bearing bizarre, whimsical titles such as Hats Off to the Lemming People and Love Answers under Rain's Allure, were designed to reflect their own strengths as an ensemble and their love of certain harmonic combinations; Cadman's All Night I Heard the Birds Flying was conceived, for example, as a clarinet concerto for McIntosh. The Illustrious Theater Orchestra felt no pressure to make the music thornier just to conform to the established taste of the music conservatory environment of the time, nor to pretty it up to please the crystal worshipping pyramid power crowd — it is the perfect synthesis of classical chamber music and what used to be considered pop music.For a time, this approach was viewed as fresh in some quarters, and the group got strong support from public radio, particularly at KCRW in Los Angeles where it was championed by Chris Douridas. The Illustrious Theater Orchestra self-produced two full-length CDs, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (1993) and Pythagorean Xydiko Machine (1995), both of which were well received, although record stores found it difficult to figure out just where to stock them. Nevertheless, as the 1990s wore on, outside commitments began to tug at the members of the Illustrious Theater Orchestra, along with the realization that the new music scene in the United States was still too hostile to accept them on the kind of concert tour they could realistically book. After Cadman left the group, citing family commitments, the group struggled on for a while before finally disbanding. The Illustrious Theater Orchestra was mostly forgotten thereafter, but when the book is finally written on the transition from late modernism to twenty first century styles, it will figure as a prominent stepping stone between these two historical poles.
The Illustrious Theatre Orchestra is a chamber music ensemble dedicated to providing original music for collaborative works in the fields of theater, dance, film and visual arts. Coming from the Post-Modern tradition, the music is an eclectic weave of classical, minimalist, pop and music theater styles.
In addition to concert performances (having performed in such venues as the Getty Center, UCLA, California Plaza, CSU Northridge, Armand Hammer Museum and the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts at Whittier College), the Illustrious Theatre Orchestra is also active in other mediums. Along with radio appearances and airplay, the group’s music can be heard in various theater and dance performances, including the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, the Cleveland Repertory Dance Company, and Iona Pear Dance Theatre. In 1994, the ITO collaborated with Naomi Goldberg’s Los Angeles Modern Dance and Ballet (performing at UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall, and California Plaza), and in 1997, the ensemble collaborated with Oguri and Renzoku, premiering "A Flame in the Distance," a site-specific work commissioned by the Friends of California Plaza and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation, and performed at California Plaza (downtown Los Angeles). In 1999, the ITO premiered a new dance/theater piece ("Lovesickness") commissioned by and performed with Rosanna Gamson/Worldwide. In 2000, the ITO recorded the music (composed by Shane W. Cadman and John P. Hoover) for "Women of Mystery," a documentary film by Pamela Beere Briggs and William McDonald.
To date, we have released two recordings, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (1993) and Pythagorean Xydiko Machine (1995) on Trompe l'Oreille records.