January 10, 2010 |
The dominant theme in the 2010 musical performance landscape is the Frederic Chopin bicentennial. More than 2,000 worldwide events will honor the beloved Polish composer and his elegiac piano scores. Chopin festivals abound seemingly everywhere: London, Rome, Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv, New York, Miami, Tucson -- well, you get the landscape. Look further and there's a lot of supreme stuff to experience in the coming year. Locally, the main event is Los Angeles Opera's "Ring Cycle" in May and June.
December 13, 2009 |
Esa-Pekka Salonen always said he wanted to leave the Los Angeles Philharmonic while he was ahead. In April he did, finishing his 17-year run as music director in remarkable fashion. At the end of his last concert, a quiet chord of Stravinsky's "Symphony of Psalms" hung in the air for a mini-eternity. The audience rose to its feet in a warm, mass embrace of the conductor with applause. Many wept. Orchestra members lined up and, one by one, hugged Salonen. After 20 minutes, he was red-faced, teary-eyed and loaded down with flowers.
November 26, 2009
Before Gustavo Dudamel's trademark curly coif was plastered on every spare inch of Los Angeles advertising space, the L.A. Philharmonic had a perfectly inventive and beloved musical director in Esa-Pekka Salonen. Dudamel leads the Phil in interpreting his predecessor's "LA Variations." Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. $52.75-$170.
November 18, 2009 |
From the house of the dead -- as I've heard the Metropolitan Opera grumpily described from time to time -- comes a great "From the House of the Dead." OK, that's a cheap shot, but a company generally eager to please has finally tackled Janacek's last and least ingratiating opera, with the acclaimed French theater, film and sometimes opera director Patrice Chereau and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen making their Met debuts. The result is an unusually uncompromising artistic triumph for the Met and a surprising hit. For 90 transfixing minutes Monday night, at the second of seven performances (running through Dec. 5)
November 9, 2009 |
Last month, New York's public radio station WNYC hosted what it billed as a Los Angeles-versus-New York conductor "smackdown." On one side, a controversial British music critic went to bat for Gustavo Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's effervescent 28-year-old music director. On the other, the producer of the New York Philharmonic's radio broadcasts defended her orchestra's measured, conscientious 42-year-old music director, Alan Gilbert. Norman Lebrecht praised Dudamel for driving orchestras into a kind of ferocity, in contrast with the "dull" Gilbert.
September 26, 2009 |
At any given moment, Gustavo Dudamel might be catching a red-eye flight to Sweden, rehearsing young musicians in Venezuela, blazing a path through Mahler's First in Los Angeles or brainstorming with the head of his record label in Germany.Then there are the endless hours spent memorizing brain-racking orchestral scores. And the countless weeks devoted to the type of social and educational programs that once helped catapult Dudamel from a working-class provincial Venezuelan boyhood to the top of the world's classical conducting ranks.
HOME & GARDEN
August 1, 2009 |
The Brentwood home of Esa-Pekka Salonen, former music director of the L.A. Philharmonic, has come on the market at $4.1 million. Designed by architect Ted Tanaka, the six-bedroom, 5 1/2 -bathroom house has 4,695 square feet of living space. Tanaka's works, which emphasize the use of light, geometric shapes and open space, are among the most recognizable in Los Angeles. He is responsible for the towers of colored lights at the entrance to LAX.
July 29, 2009 |
What goes up must come down, and that certainly holds true for the huge L.A. Philharmonic banners that flank the Walt Disney Concert Hall that herald the orchestra's changing of the guard. These outsize advertisements -- made of reinforced vinyl and called building banners in the trade -- stand tall at two points along the building's plain limestone facade, on the corners of Grand Avenue and 2nd Street and at Hope and 1st streets. Of the two, the vertical Grand Avenue banner, which measures roughly 20 feet wide by 40 feet high, is the more visible and traditionally features just the Philharmonic's music director, while the horizontal one at Hope and 1st (9 feet high and 47 feet wide)