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The L.A. Philharmonic awaits Dudamel

The orchestra's musicians have high hopes for the new season

September 13, 2009

All eyes will be on Gustavo Dudamel when he takes the L.A. Philharmonic baton next month. But it's not all about him. Here, some of his 106 musicians express their anticipation for the landmark season ahead.

Meredith Snow

Viola, since 1986

"I am most excited by the worldwide appeal that Gustavo brings with him. I want everyone to come downtown, see the orchestra, and celebrate in the classical music revolution!"

Leticia Oaks Strong

Viola, 1994

"Of course I'm so excited about working with Gustavo Dudamel. I am looking forward to being part of the world premiere of Stephen Hartke's Symphony No. 4, 'Organ.' The concert should be great with Gustavo conducting, featuring the organ (which we rarely get to hear with the orchestra), a world premiere (this means a living composer!), and Tchaikovsky's 'Pathetique' Symphony. I can't wait to experience the emotion of the 'Pathetique' with Gustavo!"

James Wilt

Associate principal trumpet, 2003

"I am grateful to be experiencing the upcoming season from my side of the podium for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I am thankful to be playing again following a severe injury. Gustavo's inaugural season in L.A. is going to be historic, and we get to sit right smack in the middle of it -- what a privilege! He's the guy that every other orchestra wants, and he's ours."

Christopher Still

Trumpet, 2007

"The 'Dies Irae' from last season's 'Symphonie Fantastique' with Gustavo felt like being aboard Han Solo's Millennium Falcon. We were playing with such frenzy and determination that the building seemed to thrash and vibrate -- I expected pieces to start flying off. I'm looking forward to the sequel this season!"

Joanne Pearce Martin

Keyboards, 2001

"I am particularly looking forward to our playing the world premiere of John Adams' 'City Noir,' not only here in Los Angeles, but also on our U.S. tour in May. I am certain that the melding of John's irresistible music and Gustavo's infectious energy will make for one exhilarating ride!"

Minor Wetzel

Viola, 1994

"Let's see . . . in terms of acoustics and aesthetics we have one of the best halls in the world to return to after spending the summer outside at one of the most pleasant music venues anywhere. We get to begin a new season with a new, energetic and dynamic music director who is the envy of not just the classical music world but the world at large. And we have a season full of my favorite guest conductors and soloists performing much repertoire that I adore . . . even the viola parts. As examples, I don't have to go very far into the future: e.g., the first week of the season with Gustavo conducting Mahler 1."

Kristine Whitson

Second violin, 1990

"What am I most looking forward to this season? The Dude, of course, because it's a blast to make music with him; touring with the Dude; and playing Mahler 1 and 5. (Mahler is my favorite composer.)"

Ethan Bearman,

Assistant horn, 2007

"I'm looking forward to our performances of the Berg Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham in the fall. His playing has so much personality, and he is so enthusiastic and passionate it really makes for great concerts."

David Garrett,

Cello, 2000

"Expanding our experience and our repertoire with Dudamel; two high-cholesterol weeks with [Lorin] Maazel in January; the West Coast, Left Coast festival this fall; I like Stephen Hartke's music, so I'm looking forward to the premiere of his Fourth Symphony in May; and, as a cellist, the Elgar Concerto and especially the too-little-played Korngold Concerto."

John Hayhurst

Viola, 1983

"What I am looking forward to? Every moment. Only twice before have I felt what I feel with Gustavo, and that was with Leonard Bernstein and Simon Rattle."

Kazue McGregor

Librarian, 1995

"It's exciting to be at the start of new beginnings. The West Coast, Left Coast festival will be a major event and I'm looking forward to forging stronger musical relationships with Gustavo and John Adams."

Mischa Lefkowitz

First violin, 1976

"I am just so excited to work with our new conductor, Gustavo Dudamel. His dynamic personality will make every concert into a special event."

David Howard

Clarinet/bass clarinet, 1981

"I'm really excited about playing the Berg Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham and Gustavo. It's one of the most heavenly, transformative pieces I know, and I can't imagine a better soloist or conductor to perform it."

Elizabeth Baker

First violin, 1987

"I am looking forward to beginning our relationship with Gustavo. I am a strong believer in change, that it opens up new possibilities and opportunities to grow in new directions. Gustavo embodies those possibilities and opportunities for me."

Peter Rofe

Bass, 1986

"I am particularly thrilled about the appointment of John Adams as our creative chair. We are a 21st century orchestra and he is the most important composer of our time."

Mark Kashper

Violinist, L.A. Phil member since 1978; associate principal since 1986

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