December 21, 2003 |
An extraordinary year, like none other. A symphony hall gave Los Angeles a new symbol, a new reason to feel good about itself. An architect, an acoustician, a symphony orchestra and its music director became civic stars. The world looked on in envy. Who would have ever thought? The Gehry-Toyota-Salonen Triumphant Triumvirate. It took 16 long years to build the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the outcome was often in doubt.
November 8, 2012 |
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.
May 21, 2012 |
Los Angeles Opera can stop worrying right now. The Los Angeles Philharmonic's new production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni," which had its first of four performances Friday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall, is certainly getting all the attention at the moment and for all the obvious and all the right reasons. The hall's architect, Frank Gehry, has designed stunning sets. The fashion world, long enamored of Disney, is involved, with powerfully theatrical costumes from Rodarte and hairstyles by Odile Gilbert.
January 24, 2011 |
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 |
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 |
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 |
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.
October 13, 1989 |
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."
April 28, 2003 |
Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. The new Richard B. Fisher Center for Performing Arts at Bard College is not a building as much as an act of seduction. Alternately stark and alluring, it presents a series of shifting images, all the while keeping you wonderfully off balance. Designed by Frank Gehry, the $62-million center opened this weekend with a gala celebration that drew a steady stream of cultural types up to this bucolic hamlet at the edge of the Hudson River.