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Yasuhisa Toyota

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.
October 25, 2003 | Diane Haithman, Times Staff Writer
Walt Disney's daughter Diane Disney Miller pondered for a moment as she considered the marked difference in feeling between Thursday's star-studded black-tie opening night at Walt Disney Concert Hall and Friday's performance of contemporary compositions, to which the audience was invited to wear "L.A. chic" attire. "I think this one is about the music," she said.
August 6, 2011 | By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
The new Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo will debut Sept. 17, offering what appear to be by far the lowest major-venue ticket prices in the region, for its opening season of 23 shows. The 1,034-seat hall features acoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota, famed for his work on such projects as Walt Disney Concert Hall. Jazz, classical music and world music will be the main fare at the $73-million auditorium and arts classroom complex on the Orange County campus of Soka University, a small liberal arts institution affiliated with the Tokyo-based Buddhist movement Soka Gakkai.
November 8, 2012 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Once on a flight to Warsaw in the 1990s, when the Polish airline LOT was still trying to get the hang of market economy, I requested a vegetarian meal. For the first course, I was served the same salad of iceberg lettuce and thousand-island dressing as everyone around me. But my hot entrée, I discovered as I peeled away the foil, was another helping of that salad zapped in the microwave. It took a minute or two for the Pole sitting next to me to stop laughing and wipe his tears away, but he then described how fabulous Polish vegetarian cooking could be. He suggested several dishes I try once I landed and told me where to find them.
November 25, 2011 | By Matt Pearce, Los Angeles Times
Kansas City's flirtations with the fine arts have always been a little mixed up in its bluer-collared tendencies. This Midwestern hub was known as the Paris of the Plains back in the 1920s and '30s, mostly for being an island of Prohibition denial whose outrageous night life attracted minds both brilliant and debauched. Paris had Igor Stravinsky, Kansas City had Charlie Parker, and both had enough booze and sex for everybody. Today, Kansas City's known more for its tailgating and its barbecue.
January 24, 2011 | By Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times Architecture Critic
From nearly every exterior angle ? as approached from the beach, which is just a few blocks from its front door, or from the boutiques and gelaterias on nearby Lincoln Road ? Frank Gehry's building for the New World Symphony looks surprisingly nondescript. Wrapped in glass and white plaster, the six-story concert hall has a boxy profile to go with a rather unassuming architectural personality. But the building's outward simplicity ? miles from the shimmering metal skins of Walt Disney Concert Hall or the Guggenheim Bilbao ?
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.
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.
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.
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