• Jan. 22, 2016
  • Los Angeles, CA (January 21, 2016) – The Los Angeles Philharmonic spotlights the universal appeal of French music with its City of Light festival, led by Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen. In his exploration of composers working in Paris since the early 20th century, Salonen shares the artistic significance of these composers and their musical response to the cultural, social and political changes of their time. Always a great admirer of this period of time and place, Salonen delved into this repertoire with the Philharmonia in London in the latter part of 2014. His festival with the LA Phil weaves in many elements from this experience, such as a production of Debussy’s influential opera Pelléas et Mélisande, for which Salonen received ecstatic reviews – “…among the finest achievements of Salonen’s principal conductorship,” (The Guardian) – and also takes on additional elements such as presenting a newly-created multidisciplinary installation to enhance a diverse program culminating in Ravel’s Mother Goose. A Chamber Music event, Symphonies for Youth programs and a Green Umbrella concert round out the festival. Each orchestral and Green Umbrella performance is preceded by an Upbeat Live discussion in Walt Disney Concert Hall’s BP Hall, free to all ticket holders, to provide additional insight into the programs.

    City of Light begins at Walt Disney Concert Hall January 23 with a Toyota Symphonies for Youth program designed for children aged 5 to 11. City of Light: Debussy’s La mer, features the LA Phil led by conductor Lee Mills, and is preceded by a choice of art workshops, including an instrument petting zoo, dance and more. The program repeats January 30

    The festival continues, February 2 with a Green Umbrella concert featuring the St. Louis Symphony, led by its music director David Robertson, in a multimedia production of Messiaen’s 12-movement masterwork Des canyons aux étoiles…. In this performance, the grandeur of the American southwest, which served as the inspiration for the piece, simultaneously experienced through a visual production created by artist Deborah O’Grady, envelops the stage of Walt Disney Concert Hall. The production illustrates the interplay between sight and sound as the orchestra becomes part of the landscape displayed in the still and video work of O’Grady.

    The Upbeat Live discussion that evening will be hosted by LA Phil Chief Operating Officer Chad Smith.

    Next on the festival schedule is a presentation by the LA Phil, led by Salonen, featuring a mix of music spanning a century of French music, February 12 through 14. The program opens with Eric Tanguy’s tribute to his friend and colleague Henri Dutilleux, Affettuoso. Following is Dutilleux’ Correspondances, which when Salonen performed the cycle with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, impressed Dutilleux so much that he suggested a new recording (which Salonen and that orchestra recently made for Deutsche Grammophon) and composed a new finale for it. Next on the program is Poulenc’s Organ Concerto performed by Vincent Dubois. The entire program is enhanced by an immersive media and video experience created by Ars Electronica Futurelab, an Austrian institute focusing on the intersection of art, technology and our society. The performances culminate with Ravel’s complete Mother Goose enhanced by Ars Electronica Futurelab’s newly-commissioned live 3D graphic renderings developed by utilizing the sounds and shadows produced by the orchestra to generate abstract imagery and paintings. Soprano Camilla Tilling serves as the soloist in the Dutilleux songs.

    These performances are presented as part of in/SIGHT, the LA Phil’s multimedia series supported in part by grants from the Wallace Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The February 12 concert is part of the LA Phil’s Inside the Music with Brian Lauritzen. This interactive series – now in its second season – includes a video, hosted by the KUSC radio DJ, sent to audience members prior to the performance, pre- and post-concert discussions with the host and artists, and ways to engage online for further exploration.

    The Upbeat Live discussion for February 13 and 14 will be hosted by conductor Christopher Russell.

    February 19 and 21 the City of Light festival continues with the LA Phil’s performances of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, led by Salonen and featuring baritone Stéphane Degout and soprano Camilla Tilling as the title characters. The semi-staged production, created by director David Edwards, contextualizes the story and illustrates the fantasy-like themes and the isolation of the characters. Award-winning actress Kate Burton narrates the performance with words of poet Maurice Maeterlinck compiled by composer, writer and broadcaster Gerard McBurney. The opera of tragically entangled love is revisited by the creative team behind Salonen’s resoundingly successful London production – “…gave Esa-Pekka Salonen the opportunity to sculpt a performance of great transparency and lightness” (The Telegraph). Salonen and the LA Phil also have a distinguished history with the work, performing it in an acclaimed Peter Sellars production for LA Opera in 1995. Additionally, an extended suite from the opera was part of the LA Phil’s Tristan Project in 2004.

    The Upbeat Live discussions will be hosted by composer, conductor, performer and lecturer Russell Steinberg.

    The City of Light festival concludes February 23, with an intimate Chamber Music performance featuring members of the LA Phil performing Ravel’s Duo for Violin and Cello, Saint-Saens’ Septet and finishing with Roland Kato’s arrangement of Ravel’s  Mother Goose Suite. The performance is preceded by a complimentary wine-tasting reception with wine provided by Cobblestone Wine. 

    City of Light Festival Schedule:

    Saturday, January 23, 2016, at 11 AM
    Saturday, January 30, 2016, at 11 AM
    City of Light: Debussy’s La mer

    LEE MILLS, conductor

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016, at 8 PM
    City of Light
    DAVID ROBERTSON, conductor
    ROGER KAZA, horn
    WILLIAM JAMES, xylorimba
    THOMAS STUBBS, glockenspiel
    DEBORAH O’GRADY, director and photographer
    SETH REISER, set and lighting designer
    ADAM LARSEN, video design consultant

    MESSIAEN                      Des canyons aux étoiles…

    Friday, February 12, 2016, at 8 PM
    Saturday, February 13, 2016, at 8 PM
    Sunday, February 14, 2016, at 2 PM
    City of Light
    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, conductor
    ARS ELECTRONICA FUTURELAB, installation artists
    CAMILLA TILLING, soprano

    TANGUY                          Affettuoso
    DUTILLEUX                      Correspondances
    POULENC                        Organ Concerto
    RAVEL                             Mother Goose (complete)

    This production is co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Abu Dhabi Festival.

    Friday, February 19, 2016, at 8 PM
    Sunday, February 21, 2016, at 2 PM
    City of Light
    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, conductor
    DAVID EDWARDS, director
    COLIN GRENFELL, lighting designer
    CAMILLA TILLING, Mélisande
    FELICITY PALMER, Genevieve
    CHLOÉ BRIOT, Yniold
    KATE BURTON, narrator
       Grant Gershon, artistic director

    DEBUSSY                        Pelléas et Mélisande

    Tuesday, February 23, 2016, at 8 PM
    City of Light
    RAVEL                             Duo for Violin and Celllo 
                                          INGRID CHUN, violin
                                          DAVID GARRETT, cello

    SAINT-SAENS                  Septet
                                          MARTIN CHALIFOUR, violin
                                          JIN SHAN DAI, violin
                                          INGRID HUTMAN, viola
                                          JASON LIPPMANN, cello
                                          OSCAR MEZA, bass
                                          THOMAS HOOTEN, trumpet
                                          JOANNE PEARCE MARTIN, piano

    RAVEL                             Mother Goose Suite (arr. Roland Kato)
                                          VIJAY GUPTA, violin
                                          MEREDITH SNOW, viola
                                          GLORIA LUM, cello
                                          DAVID MOORE, bass
                                          JOANNE PEARCE MARTIN, piano

    For more information and full artists’ biographies, please visit: laphil.com

    Tickets for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2015/16 season at Walt Disney Concert Hall are currently available. To purchase, please visit LAPhil.com, the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office or any Ticketmaster outlet. To order by phone with credit card, please call the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office at 323.850.2000, or Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000. For more information, please call 323.850.2000.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music Director & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres - orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop - at two of L.A.'s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall (www.laphil.com) and the Hollywood Bowl (http://www.HollywoodBowl.com). The LA Phil's season extends from September through June at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.


  • contact:

    Sophie Jefferies, sjefferies@laphil.org, 213.972.3422
    Lisa White, lwhite@laphil.org, 213.972.3408
    Photos: 213.972.3034