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May 15, 2008|Mark Swed | Times Music Critic

The INDICATION of summer in ever-sunny Southern California is that the music has moved outdoors. If the calendar doesn't agree, that's the calendar's problem. Case in point: Our summer starts when the Ojai Music Festival does, June 5 in Libbey Bowl. It ends when the Hollywood Bowl does, Sept. 27 -- no matter that Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra begins its fall season the same day and that Los Angeles Opera's fall season will already be 3 weeks old.

The big Bowl dominates, as always, and this year there is a lot to look forward to. Bramwell Tovey, a popular British conductor, has just been named the Los Angeles Philharmonic's principal guest conductor of the Bowl, and he leads things off with the premiere of his own "Urban Runway" and Orff's "Carmina Burana" (July 8).

But the really big stuff comes at the end of the Philharmonic's summer season, when Esa-Pekka Salonen will make his final appearance as the orchestra's music director at the Bowl in the biggest symphony of them all -- Mahler's Eighth, with hundreds of musicians and singers (hollywoodbowl.com, Sept. 9 and 11).

This is a good summer for Minimalists. Steve Reich will be a featured composer at the Ojai Music Festival, which this year is under the artistic direction of David Robertson (ojai festival.org, June 5-8). Meanwhile Philip Glass' Violin Concerto has finally been programmed at the Hollywood Bowl for the first time, with concertmaster Martin Chalifour as soloist (Aug. 12).

The most intriguing Bowl night? "Tchaikovsky With Fireworks." Pyrotechnics may prove beyond the point what with Lang Lang making his Bowl debut in Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto, Philharmonic cellist Ben Hong appearing as soloist in Tan Dun's "Crouching Tiger" Concerto and the Bowl debut of an up-and-coming Chinese conductor, Long Yu (July 17).

The silliest Bowl night? "Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy)" with Eric Idle (Aug. 1-2). You need to ask?

And if you must go indoors -- and worse still, indoors in Santa Barbara -- Music Academy of the West will stage the West Coast premiere of William Bolcom's sunny 2004 comic opera, "A Wedding," based on Robert Altman's film (musicacademy.org, Aug. 8 and 10).

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