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ENTERTAINMENT
November 5, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Music Critic
Estonian is a language dominated by overlong phonetic sounds. Double letters and umlauts are common. The Estonian name of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, which appeared at the Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo on Sunday afternoon, is Eesti Riiklik Sümfooniaorkester. It was led by its artistic director and principal conductor, Neeme Järvi. The first piece was by Arvo Pärt. These are not names meant to trip off the tongue but to be allowed to resonate generously in the vocal cavity.
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ENTERTAINMENT
October 1, 2013 | Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
It looked on paper, with a few small exceptions, like an ordinary season-opening gala, the kind every major U.S. orchestra seems to practice these days - a jumble of Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Saint- Saëns favorites. The superstar soloist was Yo-Yo Ma, who flew in after having been guest last week for the New York Philharmonic's season-opening gala. Music director Gustavo Dudamel had jetted in himself practically at the last minute from performing in Japan. But Walt Disney Concert Hall is not paper.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 28, 2003 | Mark Swed, Times Staff Writer
The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts is a dramatically soaring building with soaring ambitions and, in its 900-seat Sosnoff Theater, a soaring sound to match. During a noisy and exuberant opening weekend, this marvelous new facility for music, opera, dance and theater, at a small liberal arts college in the Hudson River Valley, has already begun making a statement that is hard to ignore.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 25, 2003 | Christopher Reynolds, Times Staff Writer
When Frank O. Gehry, star architect, arrives at Walt Disney Concert Hall to lead a VIP tour of his nearly completed building, a quiet guy with a ponytail holds the door. In the lobby, where Gehry draws his guests near to confide that he swiped the idea for his tree-like support columns from the Czech architect Joze Plecnik, the quiet guy hangs back, whispering into his cell phone.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 26, 2012 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Musically, Venezuela is like no other place on Earth. Along with baseball and beauty pageants, classical music is one of the country's greatest passions. In the capital, Caracas, superstar Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel is mobbed wherever he goes. Classical music teeny-boppers run up to him for autographs when he walks off the podium at concerts. The state-run music education program, which is known as El Sistema and from which Dudamel emerged, is the most extensive, admired and increasingly imitated in the world.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 24, 2003 | Janet Eastman, Times Staff Writer
Yo-Yo ma, sans cello, waited outside an elevator to be escorted to a camera crew filming inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Near him was an electrician in a hard hat on a mission to fix a light over the new stage, along with a contractor chewing on a stubby, burnt-out cigar who needed to lay carpet for a party in the garden. No one around seemed interested in this unlikely trio, though.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 1, 2003 | Mark Swed, Times Staff Writer
The polished steel exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall is already familiar. Inside, the paint is dry, and few hard hats are in evidence. But one lingering question has been the most important: How will it sound? On Monday morning, that question was finally, if not conclusively, answered when the Los Angeles Philharmonic had its first rehearsal in what will become its home in October.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 12, 2003 | Mark Swed, Times Staff Writer
Mahler's Third Symphony, written in the last years of the 19th century as an epic farewell to Romanticism and a herald of Modernism, still stands as a masterpiece of intrepid hellos and sentimental goodbyes. The longest and most varied symphony in the standard repertory, it begins with eight horns, jubilant in unison, gleefully turning a Brahms tune into something new.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 13, 1989 | NOBUKO HARA
Some acousticians say designing concert halls is like making a musical instrument--They won't know how it sounds until it's completed. Others take a purely scientific approach, relying on mathematical equations and analysis. But Minoru Nagata, the gray-haired Japanese acoustician responsible for how the music will sound in Walt Disney Hall, is a man with a levelheaded approach: "Acoustics is like seasoning--too much can ruin the food. You want just enough."
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