Los Angeles, CA (October 25, 2019) The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel celebrated the orchestra’s 100-year anniversary with an historic Centennial Birthday Celebration, Thursday, October 24, 7pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The event, held on the very day of the orchestra’s first performance 100 years ago, featured all three living music directors – Dudamel, Conductor Emeritus Zubin Mehta and Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen – leading the orchestra. The evening was filmed for international and national PBS telecast to be broadcast later this year.
The celebratory event marked the culmination of a year-long Centennial season, considered one of the most ambitious to ever be undertaken by an orchestra, which looked ahead to the orchestra’s next century. The Centennial season brought more than 54 commissions and featured massive initiatives like the award-winning visual artist Refik Anadol’s WDCH Dreams, a dynamic media installation that incorporated imagery, video and audio drawn from the LA Phil’s archive from the last 100 years, projected onto the façade of Walt Disney Concert Hall; Celebrate LA, a free day-long public street festival spread across the City of Los Angeles, stretching from Walt Disney Concert Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, featuring six stages for performances; the season-long Fluxus festival; and the production of ATLAS, Yuval Sharon’s final project as the orchestra’s Artist-Collaborator. The year also demonstrated the organization’s investment in the future with the ground-breaking of the first dedicated YOLA headquarters, the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood, which is an adaptive reuse designed by Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry, and the launching of the LA Phil Resident Fellows program, which provides a viable pathway towards a more diverse and inclusive orchestra of the future.
The Centennial Birthday Celebration theme – past, present and future – was expressed in the three parts of the evening. The nostalgic art deco décor of the pre-concert cocktail reception reflected the past 100 years of the LA Phil. The present was embodied by the works on stage during the concert – Lutosławski, Wagner, Ravel, Stravinsky, and the final piece, the world premiere of Daníel Bjarnason’s From Space I Saw Earth, commissioned specifically for the Centennial Birthday and conducted by all three music directors. The post-concert dinner and party with décor and technology represented a future-looking aesthetic and included an Intel® Shooting StarTM drone light show.
The LA Phil Centennial Celebration Concert and Gala raised more than $4.6 million for the LA Phil’s many music learning programs, which serve more than 150,000 youths, families and teachers every year.
The special evening to kick off the LA Phil’s next century began with the arrival of notable celebrities and VIPs: Corbin Bleu, Jane and Michael Eisner, film director, producer and screenwriter Alejandro González Iñárritu, Jaime King, Loni Love, Alex Meneses, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Christoph Waltz, composer/conductor John Williams, and Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry.
Local officials in attendance included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Nick Ippolito, and LA County CEO Sachi Hamai. They were joined by newly-appointed LA Phil Board Chair Thomas Beckmen; LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel with Maria Valverde; LA Phil Gala Co-Chairs Judith Beckmen, David C. Bohnett, Mari L. Danihel, Jenny Miller Goff, Carol Colburn Grigor, Joan Hotchkis, Diane and David Paul, Jay and Barbara Rasulo, Ann Ronus, and Alyce de Roulet Williamson; Consul General of Spain Juan Carlos Sánchez Alonso; LA Phil CEO Chad Smith; and LA Phil Executive Director Gail Samuel, along with more than 650 Gala patrons.
Throughout the evening, guests had an opportunity to participate in an online auction made possible through the generous support of Board member and Gala Committee co-chair Joan Hotchkis. Dedicated to her late husband, John, Hotchkis’ auction allows for the winner to conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the “Star-Spangled Banner” at a Hollywood Bowl concert next summer. The online auction continues through the weekend, ending at midnight on October 27. For more information visit https://www.laphil.com/hotchkisbanner.
The pre-concert cocktail reception was held on Grand Avenue, where guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and wine in a setting that paid homage to the history of the LA Phil over the past 100 years with a 1919 Art Deco theme in a color palette of black, gold and pearl with blush accents.
As the reception came to a close, Gala guests and concert attendees moved into Walt Disney Concert Hall for the concert performed by the LA Phil. The specially created program incorporated the theme of the present, featuring works with personal connections to each of the three living music directors – Salonen and Lutosławski’s LA Phil-commissioned Symphony No. 4 – Salonen and the LA Phil recorded all four of the composer’s symphonies; Mehta and Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, as well as Ravel’s La valse, which marks the end of a bygone era; and Dudamel leading the Suite from one of Stravinsky’s most beloved ballet scores, The Firebird.
For the final piece, Bjarnason’s From Space I Saw Earth, all three conductors took to their engraved podiums to lead the orchestra in a work written specifically for three conductors, a very rare occasion. Twenty YOLA representatives – 15 students and five teaching artists – positioned throughout Walt Disney Concert Hall played along on hand-held crotales. The performance was accompanied by four different types of confetti drifting from the ceiling.
Post-concert festivities were held at the recently re-designed Music Center Plaza across the street. The dinner party décor offered a glimpse into the future with sleek furniture in a color palette of gold, silver and black.
While Gala guests enjoyed their meals, created by Patina Chef Joachim Splichal, with wine provided by Winc, brief opening remarks were made by LA Phil Board Chair Thomas Beckmen and LA Phil CEO Chad Smith. Smith was then joined by the three maestros – Dudamel, Salonen and Mehta – as they shared their reflections about their time with the LA Phil and its future before toasting to the next 100 years.
Following the remarks, the gala guests’ attention was directed toward the sky above Grand Park to witness a drone light show performance by Intel. This element of surprise was brought to life by 300 Intel® Shooting StarTM drones, with animations choreographed to music specifically for the Centennial Birthday Celebration. Via the illuminated drones, the performance took the audience through an abridged look at the LA Phil’s 100 years, with archival musical excerpts dedicated to the eras of each Music Director present – Mehta, Salonen, and Dudamel, as well as an in memoriam section for former Music Directors Carlo Maria Giulini and André Previn. The drones also spelled out YOLA in the sky, accompanied by 50 YOLA musicians performing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
After the show-stopping spectacle of the aerial drones, Gala patrons partied into the night to the sounds of IMPULSE The Band.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Gala Committee included Gala Co-Chairs Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen, David C. Bohnett, Mari L. Danihel, Jenny Miller Goff, Carol Colburn Grigor, Joan Hotchkis, Diane and David Paul, Jay and Barbara Rasulo, Ann Ronus, and Alyce de Roulet Williamson.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Centennial Birthday Celebration Concert & Gala party was created by Sequoia and the LA Phil’s Special Events Team.
All Gala proceeds support the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its learning and community programs, including YOLA, the signature program of Gustavo Dudamel. The Gala concert was made possible with the proud support of Rolex, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.