The LA Phil Story
The LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC, under the vibrant leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music through a commitment to foundational works and adventurous explorations. Both at home and abroad, the Philharmonic – recognized as one of the world’s outstanding orchestras – is leading the way in groundbreaking and diverse programming, on stage and in the community, that reflects the orchestra’s artistry and demonstrates its vision. 2019/20 marks the orchestra’s 101st season.
More than 250 concerts are either performed or presented by the LA Phil at its two iconic venues: the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. These presentations represent a breadth and depth unrivaled by other orchestras or cultural institutions.
During its winter season, with approximately 165 performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil creates festivals, artist residencies, and other thematic programs designed to enhance the audience’s experience and delve further into certain artists’ or composers’ work. The organization’s commitment to the music of our time is also evident throughout the season, as well as in the exhilarating Green Umbrella series and the LA Phil’s extensive commissioning initiatives.
In its Centennial year (September 2018 through October 2019), the LA Phil invited people from Los Angeles and around the world to join them in envisioning a future that music can help create. Major initiatives included presenting the orchestra’s most ambitious artistic season to date, featuring over 50 commissioned works and the LA Phil’s largest roster of artistic collaborations; investing in the future of young people by creating a permanent YOLA center, The Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood, designed by Frank Gehry; establishing the LA Phil Resident Fellows Program, which provides musicians representing or serving historically underrepresented populations opportunities for professional advancement; welcoming all of Los Angeles to Celebrate LA!, a free, massive, open-streets festival featuring performances by 1,800 musicians, dancers, and visual artists, stretching from Grand Avenue in front of Walt Disney Concert Hall all the way to the Hollywood Bowl, and concluding with a free concert at the Hollywood Bowl; the “100 for the 100th: Be Our Guest” free ticket initiative, which invited thousands of new listeners into Walt Disney Concert Hall; and a $500 million Centennial Campaign to fund the future. Upon announcing plans for the LA Phil’s Centennial, the Los Angeles Times proclaimed, “No orchestra has been this ambitious, ever.”
Since 2003, the LA Phil’s winter home has been the inimitable Walt Disney Concert Hall. Praise for both the design and the acoustics of Walt Disney Concert 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.”
Since its official opening in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the Hollywood Bowl plays host to the finest artists from all genres of music. In February 2018, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the 14th year in a row at the 29th Annual Pollstar Awards, and in November 2018 was awarded the Top Amphitheater prize at the 2018 Billboard Live Music Awards for the second consecutive year. For millions of music lovers across Southern California, the Hollywood Bowl is synonymous with summer.
The orchestra’s involvement with Los Angeles 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 learning initiatives is Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA). Inspired by Venezuela’s revolutionary El Sistema, the LA Phil and its community partners seek to democratize music education by offering free, high-quality instrumental music instruction in neighborhoods that are overlooked and underserved, with the vision that YOLA neighborhoods become vibrant centers of musical culture with a deepened sense of community. Through YOLA National, the LA Phil extends its reach nationwide and celebrates the work that’s done around the country by programs like YOLA, by convening young people each summer in Los Angeles at the YOLA National Festival. The Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen Center at Inglewood will serve 500 students annually from the surrounding community while also providing a facility that can bring together students from existing and future YOLA venues.
The orchestra also undertakes tours, both domestically and internationally, including regular visits with partners in New York, Paris, and Tokyo, among others. The Philharmonic has been an International Associate at London’s Barbican Centre since 2009 and becomes the Center’s International Orchestral Partner starting in the fall of 2019. The orchestra’s very first tour was in 1921, and the Philharmonic has made annual tours beginning with the 1969/70 season. Most recently, Dudamel and the LA Phil toured in the spring of 2018 to Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, London, and Paris, and will travel to Korea and Japan in March 2019.
Always inspired to expand its cultural offerings, the LA Phil produces concerts each season 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 broadcasting concerts on radio and television. Thirteen concerts from the 2018/19 season will be broadcast in partnership with Classical KUSC and the WFMT Radio Network, with six also being broadcast on American Public Media.
The orchestra has a substantial catalog of concerts available online, including the first full-length classical music video released on iTunes. In November 2018, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel released Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker with Deutsche Grammophon, and, in March 2019, will release a live recording featuring the music of John Williams, as well as a comprehensive box set celebrating the orchestra’s 100th anniversary. In 2016, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen were nominated for a Grammy® for Best Classical Compendium for their live recording of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels. 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 Rodziński (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).