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Committee Formed for New Philharmonic Hall

December 27, 1987|JOHN HENKEN

The year's major cultural windfall was a $50-million gift in May to the Music Center from Walt Disney's widow, Lillian B. Disney, for a concert hall that will house the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A 10-member Disney Concert Hall Committee has been established and an architect and acoustician are expected to be announced by May or early summer.

The committee is chaired by Frederick Nicholas of the Music Center Board of Governors and includes Lillian B. Disney, her attorney, Ronald Gother, and her daughter, Diane Disney Miller, who is also a member of the Board of Governors. Philharmonic music director Andre Previn and Los Angeles County Supervisor Edmund Edelman are ex-officio members.

Seven subcommittees also have been established, of which the one handling architecture is perhaps the most interesting. It includes the directors of the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Museum, and the deans of the UCLA and USC schools of architecture. Conductors Previn, Simon Rattle, Pierre Boulez and Zubin Mehta, and violinists Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman are serving as consultants.

A seating capacity of between 2,000 and 2,500 is projected for the hall. Nicholas, who gave the timetable for the selection of the architect and acoustician, said he hopes the ground-breaking will be in 1990, and the hall completed in 1992. It will be built on the county-owned parking lot across First Street from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, as stipulated by the terms of the gift.

The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, one of the three Music Center auditoriums, currently houses the Philharmonic, as well as the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Music Center Opera, the Joffrey Ballet and the Glendale Symphony, plus the annual Academy Awards ceremony (though not in 1988) and visiting performing groups from ice skaters to the Bolshoi Ballet, among others.

The tight booking schedule is expected to be relieved by the construction of Disney Hall, giving the Philharmonic and the other resident performing organizations more playing time.

The Disney family gift, believed to be one of the largest single donations to the arts, will accrue interest that benefit the new concert hall.

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