Find out more about the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC, under the vibrant leadership of Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, is re-inventing the concept of the 21st-century orchestra. Both at home and abroad, the Philharmonic – recognized as one of the world’s outstanding orchestras – is leading the way in innovative programming, which is received enthusiastically by audiences and critics alike. 2013/14 marks the orchestra’s 95th season.
Nearly 300 concerts are either performed or presented by the Philharmonic at its two iconic venues: Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. These presentations represent a breadth and depth unrivaled by other orchestras or cultural institutions.
In October 2013 the Philharmonic celebrated the 10th anniversary of its winter home – the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. Praise for both the design and the acoustics of the Hall has been effusive, and the building embodies the energy, imagination, and creative spirit of the city of Los Angeles and its orchestra. As Time magazine noted, “With its curvaceous exterior and acoustically adroit interior, Gehry’s building bestowed on the city an important architectural landmark and proved that L.A. residents actually do go to the symphony,” while The Washington Post stated, “At last this orchestra has a hall worthy of its stature.”
During its 30-week winter subscription season of more than 100 performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Philharmonic creates festivals, artist residencies, and other thematic programs designed to enhance the symphonic music experience and delve further into certain artists’ or composers’ work. In 2011/12, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel, completed a monumental endeavor by performing Mahler’s nine symphonies over the course of just three weeks in Los Angeles and one week in Caracas. Highlights of the 2012/13 season included: Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, the second installment of the three-year Mozart opera project (which concludes this season with Così fan tutte); an international tour of Creative Chair John Adams’ oratorio The Gospel According to the Other Mary; and Oliver Knussen’s one-act opera Where the Wild Things Are. The LA Phil’s commitment to the music of our time is also evident in its subscription concerts, the exhilarating Green Umbrella series, and its extensive commissioning initiatives.
The orchestra’s involvement with Los Angeles also extends far beyond symphony concerts in a concert hall, with performances in schools, churches, and neighborhood centers of a vastly diverse community. Among its wide-ranging education initiatives is Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA). Central to YOLA is the Philharmonic’s plan to build, with community partners, youth orchestras in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. In 2012, the LA Phil launched Take a Stand, a partnership with the Longy School of Music at Bard College which supports social change through music by providing leaders with tools for growth through a series of conferences and workshops, and provides progressive and rigorous training for performing and teaching musicians.
Always inspired to expand its cultural offerings, the LA Phil each season produces concerts featuring distinguished artists in recital, jazz, world music, songbook, and visiting orchestra performances, in addition to special holiday concerts and series of chamber music, organ recitals, and Baroque music.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic continues to broaden its audience by touring worldwide, offering an extensive catalog of recorded music, and broadcasting concerts on radio and television. Thirteen concerts from the 2013/14 season will be broadcast in partnership with Classical KUSC and the WFMT Radio Network. The 2012/13 series was broadcast in 305 markets and reached over 3.7 million listeners. Through an ongoing partnership with Deutsche Grammophon, the orchestra also has a substantial catalog of concerts available online, including the first full-length classical music video released on iTunes. Rhapsody in Blue: Opening Night Concert and Gala was telecast as part of the PBS performing arts series Great Performances and garnered a 2012 Emmy nomination. In 2011, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel won a Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance for their recording of the Brahms Symphony No. 4. In 1974, the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta won an Academy Award for “The Bolero,” a 30-minute short subject featuring Maurice Ravel’s famous orchestral work.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic was founded by William Andrews Clark, Jr., a millionaire and amateur musician, who established the city’s first permanent symphony orchestra in 1919. Walter Henry Rothwell became its first Music Director, serving until 1927; since then, ten renowned conductors have served in that capacity: Georg Schnéevoigt (1927-1929); Artur Rodzinski (1929-1933); Otto Klemperer (1933-1939); Alfred Wallenstein (1943-1956); Eduard van Beinum (1956-1959); Zubin Mehta (1962-1978); Carlo Maria Giulini (1978-1984); André Previn (1985-1989); Esa-Pekka Salonen (1992-2009); and Gustavo Dudamel (2009-present).