Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Frank Gehry-designed home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with a 2023-24 season that will pay tribute to the hall and its architect, the orchestra is expected to announce Tuesday — on Gehry’s 94th birthday.
This fall’s Disney Hall lineup will hark back to Oct. 24, 2003, when an article in the Times titled “Disney Hall opens to fanfare” began: “With a parade of stretch limos and the kind of celebrities Los Angeles usually reservations for Oscar night, a black-tie crowd of the powerful and socially prominent Thursday night hosted a coming-out party for the city’s most highly anticipated debutante in decades: the new Walt Disney Concert Hall.”
The $274 million building will once again be the beauty of the prom with a 20th anniversary season dedicated to its acoustic charms and the man who made it possible. An early October gala for Gehry will help kick off a season that will include the statewide California Festival with more than 50 collaborating institutions; a two-year tribute to John Williams’ film music; the continuation of Gustavo Dudamel’s Pan-American Music Initiative; a revival of the critically acclaimed “Fidelio” opera in association with Deaf West Theatre; over 12 world premieres of LA Phil assignments; guest conductors including Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Zubin Mehta and Simone Young; and guest artists including Yuja Wang, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Marisa Monte, and Herbie Hancock.
The season announcement comes on the heels of the Feb. 7 news that Dudamel plans to leave his post as Music and Artistic Director of the LA Phil to conduct the New York Philharmonic upon the expiration of his contract in 2026. rightly so with LA fans who had come to assume that their hometown hero would never fail them. Nevertheless, LA Phil Chief Executive Chad Smith said three years is a long time, and the love Angelenos feel for Dudamel is reciprocated by the programming announced Tuesday.
The way the news rebounded around the world underscores the work Dudamel has done to capture the imagination of audiences in classical circles and beyond.
“So we think next season continues that commitment to being the orchestra on the frontier of what can and should be a relevant, forward-thinking creative arts institution,” Smith said.
Dudamel’s Pan-American Music Initiative is definitely part of that, and this third season is curated by Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz with a focus on Latina feminism and art as cultural protest. Programming will be featured at the California Festival, including the world premiere of Ortiz’s “Revolución diamantina,” conducted by Dudamel.
The California Festival is designed to strengthen LA Phil’s partnerships with arts organizations across the state in an effort to better understand the new music and trends driving conversation in classical music, Smith said.
“We’re going to be able to look at all that contemporary work that these organizations have put out in these two weeks and say, ‘Okay, what does this say about the state of music in our world today? What are the themes we’re seeing?’” Smith said, adding that the full picture will be much more powerful than if LA Phil self-assembled the festival around a single theme.
Diversity in the programming and in the audiences the programming reaches remains the goal in this new season, Smith said.
“The LA Phil is a service organization,” Smith said. “And we give our audiences the opportunity to hear great music, in a great space with the best musicians – and we do it in a way that offers the warmest possible welcome. That’s how we continue to celebrate the city and serve the communities of LA.”
Some of the highlights of the 2023-24 season:
LA Phil Gala: Celebrating Frank Gehry
Stravinsky and Shostakovich with Dudamel and Sheku Kanneh-Mason
Halloween Organ, Film & Music: “The Phantom of the Opera”
John Williams Spotlight: “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” in concert
Dudamel leads Khachaturian plus the US premiere of Thomas Adès’ “Tower for Frank Gehry”
California Festival: A Celebration of New Music
Zubin Mehta conducts Mahler 1
‘Home alone’ in concert
Dudamel leads “Das Rheingold” with scenic design by Gehry
January 18-21, 2024
Mälkki conducts Brahms
February 23-25, 2024
February 28, 2024
John Adams ‘City Noir’
March 22-24, 2024
Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Tchaikovsky
March 28-30, 2024
Yo Yo Ma
April 3, 2024
Pan American New Music
April 30, 2024
Dudamel directs Mozart and Strauss
May 2-5, 2024
Dvorak and Ortiz wwith Dudamel
May 9-12, 2024
May 12, 2024
Beethoven’s “Fidelio” with Dudamel and Deaf West Theatre
May 16-17, 2024
Dudamel conducts “Harry Potter”
May 18-19, 2024
For the full season lineup, visit: laphil. com.