Postcard from Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a gargantuan, outspoken, bizarre, insistent and free-spirited series of cities where the sun shines all year round and Europe and its traditions can feel like a world away. But the city responsible for most of the world's movies is also a place with a long, proud and forward looking classical music tradition. Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Korngold and Klemperer emigrated here while John Cage, Michael Tilson Thomas, Thomas Newman and Leonard Slatkin are all native Angelinos.Read more…
LA thrives on its position at the cusp of contrasting worlds – American and Hispanic, prosperous and downtrodden, popular and highbrow, digital and analogue. In the middle of the twentieth century, a group of avant-garde composers arrived from Europe just as the movie score was reaching its apotheosis. The result was one of the most extraordinary of classical music's melting pots that delivered, among other things, the distinctive orchestral sound that is West Coast Minimalism.
One venue dominates not just the classical music scene: Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA, its dancing metallic sails cutting through the LA haze and its organ pipes collapsing into disorder like something from a Tom & Jerry cartoon (they're known locally as the 'French Fries'). Despite its vomit-coloured seat fabric, the auditorium is wondrous and watching concerts here, from any seat, a privilege.
On stage, the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil) is in the midst of a golden age that has been on a steady crescendo for nearly three decades, powering towards its centenary in 2019. Music Director Gustavo Dudamel has reconnected the orchestra with the city's Hispanic roots and got Angelinos of all backgrounds excited about it again. Our playlist includes not only the best music written by residents and natives, but some of the LA Phil's best performances on record too, from Dudamel and his predecessors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Carlo Maria Giulini and Zubin Mehta.
[Due to geo-blocking restrictions, some tracks might be unavailable in certain territories.]