The LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC, under the vibrant leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, is invested in a tradition of the new, 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 ground-breaking programming, both on stage and in the community, offering a diverse range of programs that reflect the orchestra’s artistry and demonstrate its vision. 2016/17 marks the orchestra’s 98th season.
More than 250 concerts are either performed or presented by the Philharmonic 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 30-week winter subscription season of more than 170 performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil creates festivals, artist residencies, and other thematic programs designed to enhance the symphonic music 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 programming, as well as in the exhilarating Green Umbrella series and the LA Phil’s extensive commissioning initiatives.
In the 2014/15 season, Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil embarked on their first tour together to Asia, making stops in Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo. Back at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presented its inaugural Next on Grand: Contemporary Americans festival. A collaboration with the other prominent arts organizations along Grand Avenue, the festival focused on contemporary American music from the likes of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams, Caroline Shaw, Bryce Dessner and Andrew Norman among others. The 2015/16 season began with Dudamel leading two complete sequential cycles of Beethoven’s nine symphonies shared between the LA Phil and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. Other highlights of the season included City of Light, Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen’s festival of 20th- and 21st-century French masterworks; a collaboration with American Ballet Theatre and its principal dancer Roberto Bolle to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary; and the return of the in/SIGHT series along with other multimedia presentations.
Since 2003, the LA Phil’s 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.”
The orchestra’s involvement with Los Angeles also 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 education initiatives is Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA). Inspired by Venezuela's revolutionary El Sistema – the LA Phil and its community partners provide free instruments, intensive music training, and leadership training to over 700 students from underserved neighborhoods, empowering them through multi-year engagement to be college-ready and on a path to becoming vital citizens, leaders, and agents of change. The LA Phil extends its reach nationwide through the LA Phil’s innovative initiative Take a Stand. In 2016, the LA Phil and Take a Stand partners will launch the National Take a Stand Festival – a series of week-long youth orchestra camps with students from programs like YOLA across the country.
Always inspired to expand its cultural offerings, the LA Phil each season produces concerts 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 2015/16 season will be broadcast in partnership with Classical KUSC and the WFMT Radio Network, with six also being broadcast on American Public Media. The 2014/15 series was nationally broadcast in 206 markets and reached over 4.1 million listeners.
The orchestra has a substantial catalog of concerts available online, including the first full-length classical music video released on iTunes. In 2015, the Los Angeles Philharmonic introduced the VAN Beethoven mobile experience and the Orchestra VR app, which utilized Oculus virtual reality headset technology to transport users into a 360˚ 3-D performance of music from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. 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 Rodzinski (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).