May 10, 2013 |
It hasn't always been so, but symphony orchestras these days fear Bach. Many modern philharmonics, intimidated by period-practice specialists, consign the composer often cited as the greatest ever to early-instrument ensembles. On the rare occasions when a timorous modern symphony does do Bach, it begs an excuse - a big-band arrangement by Stravinsky or Stokowski, say, or a special festival with big-scaled works, as the New York Philharmonic recently did. Thursday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Gustavo Dudamel had a go at something less orthodox with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
April 28, 2013 |
BERLIN - In a hotel in the embassy-heavy streets in the city's center, Lang Lang sits on a bright red couch, a modestly daring complement to the room's elaborate Bauhaus paneling. He has just come from a conference in Cannes where he gave a speech to the who's who of the music biz about classical music, social media and building music schools in China. The window is open and outside, a woman shouts enthusiastically into a megaphone. Her acolytes answer her calls with equal vim. Inside the normally happy-go-lucky, 30-year-old pianist is doing some protesting of his own. When he plays with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall in May, it will be Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, a piece second perhaps only to Grieg in the most-played concerto table.
April 21, 2013 |
PARIS - The Los Angeles Philharmonic's resident conductor Lionel Bringuier is enjoying a rapid rise in the world of classical music. With three concerts this week at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the young Frenchman will complete a six-year stint in Los Angeles in which he evolved from an insouciant prodigy into a world-class conductor. "My last concert will have a lot of emotion," he said in a café at the Bastille on a bitter wintry day. FOR THE RECORD: Lionel Bringuier: An article in the April 21 Arts & Books section about Los Angeles Philharmonic resident conductor Lionel Bringuier included one reference that misidentified him as an associate conductor.
April 19, 2013 |
Times have certainly changed in Brooklyn. Streets unsafe last decade now bustle invitingly. Composers born in the borough last century couldn't get away fast enough. Composers from all over now can't move there fast enough. Thursday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall the Los Angeles Philharmonic continued its Brooklyn Festival with three recent or new orchestra pieces by young Brooklyn residents all born in the early 1980s elsewhere. The fourth and final work on the program was by a 24-year-old just returned from studying in Paris and happily ensconced on the Upper West Side, intentionally putting as much New York City distance between himself and his native Brooklyn as was reasonable.
April 14, 2013 |
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Composer and French horn player Matt Marks, 33, has just completed writing a vocal and orchestral work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the biggest commission of his life, but this Sunday afternoon in March he's playing the ukulele at the New Music Bake Sale. Marks has trim sideburns and a bowl of black hair with straight bangs above thick black glasses. Wearing a plaid sports jacket and an ironic grin, he is on stage at Roulette, a club in an elegant old Art Deco theater in a building owned by the YWCA, where USO dances were once the ticket.
April 7, 2013 |
It wasn't B.J. Thomas, exactly, but musical raindrops seemed to be falling in a white-walled rehearsal room next to Walt Disney Concert Hall, courtesy of Milo Talwani, one of the L.A. composers least likely to write melody, let alone ear candy, into a piece of music. At 16, he's one of four area high school students taking the royal road to composing careers, at least at the outset, via the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Talwani, a lanky epitome of precocious Bohemian-intellectual cool who's a junior at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, had placed pizzicato plinking sounds that evoked the first spatterings of a cloudburst into a musical fragment from a work in progress.
March 19, 2013 |
LONDON - Downing a lunch of fish and chips just before going onstage Friday at the Barbican Centre here, 10 upbeat teenagers from Los Angeles acted, like teens everywhere, as if they were casually taking it all in. They weren't. For most of these high-schoolers, this was their first trip away from home, and it didn't take long for them to admit that everything, from flying in an airplane to witnessing a snowstorm just after they landed last Wednesday, was a gleeful new experience.
March 6, 2013 |
Perhaps the best way to describe "The Gospel According to the Other Mary" by John Adams is to borrow a phrase from the composer's frequent collaborator Peter Sellars, who wrote the libretto for the piece and is directing a newly staged production premiering Thursday at Walt Disney Concert Hall before traveling with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on its upcoming tour to Europe and New York. "It's not something you would see at the Crystal Cathedral," Sellars said during an interview following a recent rehearsal.
March 1, 2013 |
This story has been updated. See note below. The introduction to "The Firebird" begins by setting the scene for the green-tongued ogre Kastchei's enchanted garden, where he houses 13 princesses along with his soul sealed in a giant egg. There may have been no mildew-green lights licking the stage of the Walt Disney Concert Hall Thursday night, when Gustavo Dudamel began his first performance of Stravinsky's colorful early ballet score with...
February 23, 2013 |
We don't fight musical battles the way we used to. In the 19th century, you were expected to take sides between Brahmsian traditionalism and Wagner's music of the future. Gone too are the last century's partisan days of Stravinsky versus Schoenberg, serialism versus Minimalism, the avant-garde versus neo-Romanticism. Today's musicians take great pains to make different kinds of music get along even at the expense of bland conformity in much new music. Gustavo Dudamel, who seems captivated by nearly everything, is perhaps the last guy you'd expect to reopen musical wounds.