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LA Phil to Honor Frank Gehry as it Marks 20 Years at Walt Disney Concert Hall

MyNewsLA logo MyNewsLA 2/28/2023 Contributing Editor

The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 20th anniversary season at the Walt Disney Concert Hall will serve as a season-long tribute to the man who designed the iconic venue, architect Frank Gehry, the philharmonic announced Tuesday in unveiling its plans for the 2023-24 schedule.

“This season we celebrate an icon, Frank Gehry, and his iconic creation, Walt Disney Concert Hall, an extraordinary building that has shown us new ways to look, listen, feel and create,” Gustavo Dudamel, the philharmonic’s music and artistic director said in a statement. “Our programs echo that same spirit of endless exploration, from the statewide creative explosion of the California Festival to the continent-spanning Pan-American Music Initiative, to the fantastical world-building scores of John Williams, to the revival of our groundbreaking production of Beethoven’s `Fidelio’ with Deaf West Theatre and the Coro de Manos Blancas — a production that took us to the most profound depths of the human experience.”

The season will begin in September, but the tributes to Gehry will begin Oct. 5 with an opening night gala and performance conducted by Dudamel. LA Phil Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen, who was the music director when Walt Disney Concert Hall opened in 2003, will lead performances in late October featuring violinist Pekka Kuusisto and the premiere of Salonen’s “Fanfare,” which was inspired by Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The Phil will also present the U.S. premiere of Thomas Adés’ “Tower” for Gehry on Nov. 4-5, according to the philharmonic. In January, Dudamel will conduct a staging of Wagner’s opera “Das Rheingold,” featuring scenic design by Gehry.

Meanwhile, the LA Phil Humanities Initiative will partner with Getty for an exhibition of Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall models.

The 2023-24 season at the concert hall will feature appearances by Herbie Hancock, Itzhak Perlman, Anthony McGill, Natalie Merchant and Yo-Yo Ma, among others.

“Since its opening 20 years ago, Walt Disney Concert Hall has welcomed Angelenos, Californians and people from all over the world to be moved by extraordinary music,” LA Phil CEO Chad Smith said in a statement. “An anniversary year like this one not only invites us to look back at a historic 20 years of creativity in this inspiring hall but also invites us to continue to challenge convention and take artistic risks as we look ahead toward our future.”

Other highlights of the upcoming season include:

— “California Festival: A Celebration of New Music,” which is billed as a two-week, statewide festival of music written in the past five years from around the world;

— the start of a two-year retrospective on the music of the movies, an event curated by Oscar-winning composer John Williams;

— a performances of Beethoven’s “Fidelio” created for both deaf and hearing audiences, in collaboration with Deaf West Theatre and El Sistema’s Coro de Manos Blancas; and

— 12 world premieres of LA Phil-commissioned works, including Oliver Leith’s “Last Days,” a 90-minute opera inspired by Gun Van Sant’s film of the same name.

The LA Phil also plans to tour Barcelona, Paris and London in 2023-24.

The concert hall season will officially begin Sept. 28 with appearances by Japanese Breakfast and Ichiko Aoba, followed by Jamie Cullum the next night, and Natalie Merchant on Sept. 30.



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