The sweeping curves of Walt Disney Concert Hall‘s stainless-steel structure crown the skyline in downtown Los Angeles. So splendid is the building that no visit to the city is complete without witnessing the Frank Gehry-designed marvel. Somehow though, things are even more enchanting from the inside.
One of the most acoustically sophisticated venues in the world, the concert hall has been the home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic since October 2003, and the famed orchestra has been earning praise playing in the belly of the hardwood-paneled main auditorium ever since.
This fall, the iconic landmark commemorates 10 years of musical programming with insideOUT, a month of anniversary celebrations featuring events with the past and present music directors of the LA Phil — including current musical director Gustavo Dudamel and conductor laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen — in addition to a variety of special performances throughout the 2013-14 season. The festivities include a record number of commissions (13) and premieres (11 world premieres, four U.S. and four West Coast). Here are a few that you won’t want to miss.
Before the season begins at Walt Disney Concert Hall, join the LA Phil at a series of free community concerts across the city on September 25, 26, 28 and culminating on September 29 in the first joint show with the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and the LA Phil. The performance will be conducted by Dudamel and will feature famed pianist Herbie Hancock as well as other guests. If you can’t grab a seat in the concert hall for this 4 p.m. event, lay out a blanket and picnic lunch at neighboring Grand Park, where you can bask in the music on the lawn while watching it all unfold on a giant screen.
The season officially kicks off on September 30 with an opening-night gala concert with superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma (who performed at the concert hall’s debut in 2003) and the world premiere of a video art instillation by artist Netia Jones. The combination of music and visuals aims to tell the history of Walt Disney Concert Hall in five acts, highlights of which include Ma soloing in Bach’s movement from a Cello Suite and Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations. Dudamel opens the program with John Cage’s groundbreaking work 4’33,” which will allow you to experience the sound of the hall in all its ambient glory.
In 2005, Salonen led the LA Phil in the premiere of composer Peter Lieberson’s Grawemeyer-winning Neruda Songs. Lieberson moved on to work on the LA Phil-commissioned percussion concerto that would become Shing Kham — a piece that was still in progress when he passed away in 2011. Hear this new work (as realized by British composer Oliver Knussen) from Oct. 3 to 6. It will be paired with Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, and one of the world’s greatest pianists, Yefim Bronfman, will play.
On October 23 — the actual 10th anniversary of the concert hall’s opening — conductor laureate Salonen leads the world premiere of 200 Motels, a surrealist musical from L.A.’s groundbreaking iconoclast composer Frank Zappa. In 1970, Zappa experimented with the piece with the LA Phil at UCLA, but the project never fully came to fruition because of Zappa’s dissatisfaction with orchestras’ interpretation of the music. This event marks the first time you’ll be able to hear the complete combination of rock, jazz, orchestral music and spoken dialogue as it was initially envisioned — in a concert hall, with a full symphony, rock band, 15 soloists and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Photos Courtesy of Los Angeles Philharmonic