The Los Angeles Philharmonic: A Lovefest

By Victoria Looseleaf

Just a quick note from The Report, whose main scribe’s wild and crazy career has lately involved a lot of Bowl-going (some 25 times during the fabulous 2011 season), a bit of globe-hopping to cover music and dance festivals (click here for our LAT Dispatch From Amsterdam, here for Zürich and here for Montpellier), and a brief family visit to Florida to celebrate our birthday (which actually has something to do with our career, as it inspired us to begin writing a play, The Last Lobster in Lake Worth).

Having penned all of the program notes and broadcast scripts for the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, its  90th season – as well as interviewing many of the musicians heard during said broadcasts – we want to thank everyone for tuning in and remind you that the final broadcast airs tomorrow on Classical KUSC 91.5 at 2 p.m., as it has every Saturday for the past 10 weeks. The season ends on a solemn note, with Bramwell Tovey, Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, leading the orchestra – and the Los Angeles Master Chorale (we wrote the program notes for the Chorale for four seasons) – in a concert of emotionally reflective music. And if you miss the program, you can hear it on the station’s website,, anytime over the course of the coming week. Oh, and one more thing: We want to give a very special shout-out and thank you to the amazing Brian Lauritzen, host of the program series and our editor extraordinaire.

So: With Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Mozart’s last work, his Requiem, programmed to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of September 11th (the concert was performed live on September 13), it was meant to provide solace. And so it did (click here for our 9/11 remembrances). For that is one of the many glorious reasons we continually turn to classical music – it comforts, inspires, enlightens, heals and provides an eternal source of awe – which is precisely what the Los Angeles Philharmonic provided for us at the Hollywood Bowl this past season.

Here, then, are some highlights from the past summer: Kicking things off, of course, was LA Phil Music Director, Gustavo Dudamel, aka, The Dude, in a series of wide-ranging programs that included Lang Lang playing Prokofiev (click here for our take on that), Turandot, and an all-Mozart evening (click here for our musings on the Shaham/Dudamel pairing). Other conductors also took the reins and unleashed joyful and powerful sounds, as well. From newly appointed Resident Conductor of the LA Phil, Lionel Bringuier (he only just turned 25), and superstar violinist Joshua Bell leading the orchestra for the first time in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, to the beloved 78-year old maestro, Raphael Frühbeck de Burgos, it was certainly the best of times.  We also adored hearing our favorite sibling pianists –Katia & Marielle Labèque (click here for more on the sisters, including news of their upcoming November appearance at Disney Hall), and the list goes on.

Indeed, the Bowl is our most favorite place to go in LA in the summer – and we’ve been going there for years. It’s not only a bucolic venue and a cool place to hear music, but it brings people together in an incredible way. It’s also democratic, as a ticket can still be had for a buck.

Now that we’re into Autumn, things are already sizzling with the Phil at its winter home, Walt Disney Concert Hall. This season, The Dude’s third, promises to be stellar, including a Mahler cycle, three staged operas and numerous commissions and premieres, the most recent being Esteban Benzecry’s Rituales Amerindios, first heard with The Dude‘s other orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony and given its U.S. premiere last weekend in L.A. For those unable to get to the Hall this weekend for an all-Mendelssohn concert, not to worry, the program will be broadcast to theaters nationwide on Sunday as part of the orchestra’s LA Phil Live series.

Wow, the good news just keeps coming: This week the Phil announced a Dudamel-inspired music education initiative with Bard College and the Longy School of Music. And…drum roll, please, The Dude was named musician of the year by Gramophone magazine. There’s never been so much music in our city as there is now. Take advantage of this, take it all in…and start your own lovefest. In other words: Pop a cork and raise a glass to the Los Angeles Philharmonic!

About Victoria Looseleaf

Victoria Looseleaf is an award winning arts journalist and regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, KUSC-FM radio, Dance Magazine, Performances Magazine and other outlets. She roams the world covering dance, music, theater, film, food and architecture. Have pen - and iPad - will travel! Her latest book, "Isn't It Rich? A Novella In Verse" is now available on Amazon. Thank you for reading! Cheers...
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