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ENTERTAINMENT
October 25, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
"Hit it, Zubin!" Thus spake Zappa in Pauley Pavilion in 1970. Forty-three years later, this immortal injunction to Zubin Mehta at the premiere of Frank Zappa's "200 Motels" came back Wednesday night to haunt us. And taunt us. We think of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, once it moved into Walt Disney Concert Hall, as having become a uniquely relevant and risk-taking orchestra. After all, it celebrated the 10th anniversary of the opening of the hall on Wednesday with a staged production of the world premiere of what is being called Zappa's "200 Motels - The Suites.
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ENTERTAINMENT
October 20, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
The Los Angeles Philharmonic's monthlong 10th-anniversary celebration of the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall entered Phase 2 on Friday night. Esa-Pekka Salonen was back. And it was old-home week. The former music director's old Finnish friends were on hand for the premiere of Magnus Lindberg's Cello Concerto No. 2, written for soloist Anssi Karttunen. There were other old friends as well - Debussy and Bartók. Both composers were mainstays of Salonen's 17 years leading the L.A. Phil.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 11, 2013 | By Richard S. Ginell
When the boilerplate disclaimer, “Programs, dates and artists subject to change,” appears on a Los Angeles Philharmonic publication, be prepared to take it seriously. This seems to happen a lot in the Gustavo Dudamel era -- and the changes were especially convoluted in regard to this week's programming.  So be patient as we sort them out. As originally announced, the U.S. premiere of Brett Dean's “The Last Days of Socrates” was to have taken place Thursday night, followed by three repeat performances.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 10, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Music Critic
Composers have paid astonishingly little attention to Socrates over the ages. In the early 20 th century, Erik Satie wrote an exquisite, half-lit half-hour symphonic drama, “Socrate.” At the other extreme in the Baroque era, Telemann came up with “Der Geduldige Socrates” (“The Patient Socrates,”), a rollickingly fanciful four-hour comic (yes, comic!) opera. But there has been no time when the 5th century Greek thinker about whom we know little but whose moral station and thoughts about the examined life led to the birth of philosophy as we know it, hasn't meant something significant for society.
OPINION
October 7, 2013 | By Eli Broad and Richard J. Riordan
The Walt Disney Concert Hall, which opened its doors 10 years ago this month, is rightly celebrated as the most recognizable jewel in Los Angeles' cultural crown. But we should remember that Disney Hall came very close to not being built at all. Despite a singularly generous $50-million donation from Walt Disney's widow, Lillian, in 1987, a brilliant design by Frank Gehry and an expenditure of nine years and $30 million, there was no Disney Hall by the early 1990s, and it looked like there never would be. The city was attempting to recover from a devastating earthquake, the image-tarnishing O.J. Simpson trial and the shrinking of the local defense industry.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 20, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
The real estate mania that brought the financial system to the brink of collapse has also had a deleterious effect on the arts. Too many refurbished show palaces and money pit museums have found themselves at the mercy of their mortgages. When overhead costs soar in unpredictable economic times, adventurous programming is the first thing to suffer. A rising commercialism is the price we pay as a cultural community for fancier digs. But for every rule propounded by a furrowed-brow critic there is a thrilling exception.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 20, 2013 | By Dana Ferguson
In its first 10 years Disney Hall became more than a home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, it also became a destination for photographing advertisements and filming commercials, television shows and movies. Howard Sherman, vice president of operations at the Music Center, said the product of Frank Gehry's imagination works on film because the hall can be so many things to so many people. "If they want futuristic stainless steel curves, this is where they come. If they want a space to do a formal black tie gala in a traditional environment, this is where they can come," he said.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 20, 2013 | Mark Swed
For a few foolish moments in the feverish run-up to the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall 10 years ago, cynical wags nicknamed the new venue Mouse House. Tomorrowland would have been more like it. The Los Angeles Philharmonic has enjoyed the most remarkable decade of its nearly 100-year history. In Yasuhisa Toyota's transparent acoustical design for Disney Hall, there is nowhere to hide. The surround-sound auditorium favors democracy over exclusive accommodations, since listeners sit in direct contact with the musicians and with one another.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 16, 2013 | By Mike Boehm
Culture Monster tried to get a little orchestral dust-up going this week but didn't get far.  It began when something jumped out at us from a document that no one would think harbored any fighting words: the Boston Symphony's most recent nonprofit tax return. In Part III, "Statement of Program Service Accomplishments," the IRS asks groups to describe what they've done to justify their tax-exempt status and their donors' generosity. In its written response, the Boston Symphony noted that it performs more than 200 annual classical and pops concerts, concluding that, "all told, the BSO is the world's largest orchestral operation.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 16, 2013 | By Mike Boehm
Dodging the labor strife that has descended on other recent negotiations over orchestral musicians' pay, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the union representing its musicians announced Monday that they've reached a new four-year contract that lifts wages by just less than 1% a year. At the end of four years, the minimum yearly wage for the Phil's more than 100 musicians will be $154,336, up 3.8% from the $148,700 minimum in the contract that expired Sunday. The minimum wage scale had risen 17% over the previous four-year contract.
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