Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical

Checking in with the LA Phil (part 1 of 3): the 2017 Hollywood Bowl season announcement

bowl_fireworks_2Lots of things to discuss regarding the Los Angeles Philharmonic — the new Hollywood Bowl season, a quick look back at January’s concerts, and some recent and impending personnel changes within the orchestra — so let me spread it over a few posts for easier consumption.  Latest news first . . .

Earlier today, the LA Phil officially announced most of the details for this summer’s concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, the 96th of its illustrious existence. I’ll share my thoughts on the season in combination with the 2017/18 Walt Disney Concert Hall season once it is announced in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime, just the facts, ma’am.

Some noteworthy items:


  • Gustavo Dudamel, the orchestra’s Artistic & Music Director, conducts the orchestra in nine concerts including:
    • One performance headlined by Misty Copeland, San Pedro resident turned ballet superstar and cultural icon, with dance music still TBD (Tues, July 11)
    • Two performances of Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Thurs, July 13, and Tues, July 18)
    • Two nights with the LA Phil backing Tony Bennett before he and his jazz quartet take over the remainder of the concert (Fri & Sat, July 14 & 15)
    • One night of choral and orchestral excerpts from Wagner operas, featuring the Los Angeles Master Chorale (Thurs, July 20)
    • Sondheim on Sondheim, a night of the great Broadway composer’s music, with  the LA Phil  joined by the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) (Sunday, July 23)
    • The Planets by Holst paired with the world premiere of Daníel Bjarnason’s Violin Concerto featuring Pekka Kuusisto as soloist (Tues, Aug 22)
    • Harmonium by John Adams and Mozart’s Requiem (Thurs, Aug 24) with Miah Persson (soprano), Christianne Stotijn (mezzo-soprano), David Portillo (tenor), John Relyea (bass)
  • John Williams conducts three concerts — ’nuff said (Fri – Sun, Sept 1 – 3)
  • Other conductors returning to the bowl include Stéphane Denève, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Ken-David Masur, Nicholas McGegan, Vasily Petrenko, Bramwell Tovey, and Krzysztof Urbański
  • Conductors making their bowl debut include Karina Canellakis (winner of the 2016 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award and presumed to be one of the candidates for the vacant Music Director chair of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra) and Rafael Payare (Chief Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra and husband of cellist Alisa Weilerstein)

Classical Music Soloists

  • In addition to those mentioned above, some of the other soloists performing concertos with the LA Phil include:
    • Pianists:  Behzod Abduraimov (Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto), Pierre-Laurent Aimard in his Hollywood Bowl debut (Beethoven’s 1st Piano Concerto),  Beatrice Rana (Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1),  and Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2)
    • Violinists:  Kristóf Baráti in his LA Phil and Hollywood Bowl debut (Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5), Joshua Bell (Lalo’s  Symphonie espagnole), LA Phil Principal Concertmaster Martin Chalifour (Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto), Simone Porter (two of Vivaldi’s Violin Concertos from Op. 4:  no. 3 in G major and no. 4 e minor), and Gil Shaham (John Williams’ Violin Concerto)
    • Trumpet:  Alison Balsom (Hummel Trumpet Concerto)
  • Yo-Yo Ma will make a solo appearance (a rarity for the Bowl) performing Bach’s six Cello Suites


  • hancock_herbie_hb11_03_hiWednesday night Jazz concerts include:  a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie; The Brian Setzer Orchestra; Gente de Zona, with Angélique Kidjo’s Tribute to Celia Cruz and The Pedrito Martinez Group; Herbie Hancock, LA Phil Jazz Chair, with Kamasi Washington; Jill Scott, plus the Robert Glasper Experiment; Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, with St. Paul & The Broken Bones; a night honoring Quincy Jones, featuring Christian McBride and John Clayton, two of former LA Phil Jazz Chairs, and many others
  • This year’s Playboy Jazz Festival runs June 10 and 11.  The line-up includes: Gregory Porter; Corinne Bailey Rae; Kenny Garrett; Common; Hudson with Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski and John Scofield; and Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ Band

Movies and Musicals

  • The LA Phil plays live scores along with four full-length movies:  Raiders of the Lost Ark and Singin’ in the Rain, both conducted by David Newman; and two Harry Potter movies, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, with Justin Freer conducting
  • This year’s full staged musical:  Mamma Mia!.  Kathleen Marshall will direct and choreograph.  Casting is will be announced at a future date
  • The sing-along Sound of Music returns on June 24

World Music and Other Genres


  • Appearing as part of KCRW’s World Festival nights:  Ziggy Marley and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (Thomas Wilkins conducts), with the Specials and U-Roy opening; Blondie and Garbage co-headlining one night; Seu Jorge and his tribute to David Bowie; Pink Martini featuring China Forbes and Storm Large, with Charo (yes, THE Charo); Belle and Sebastian featuring Spoon; and Solange, plus Blood Orange and other special guests
  • Other noteworthy acts appearing during the summer:  Diana Krall; Jack Johnson; Gipsy Kings; the combination of Kool & The Gang, Morris Day & The Time, and The Village People for two nights; and Brian Ferry with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, plus Cécile McLorin Salvant
  • Café Tacvba, La Santa Cecilia, and Mon Laferte kick off “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA,” an initiative of The Getty in conjunction with arts institutions across southern California celebrating Latin American and Latino art.

There is a whole lot of additional detail.  See and/or download the full season schedule HERE, or if you’ve already decided that you’d like to purchase a subscription, click HERE


Photo credits:

  • Hollywood Bowl, Gustavo Dudamel, and Herbie Hancock:  courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association
  • Blondie:  photo by Danielle St. Laurent, circa 2014, courtesy of the artist’s website
  • Garbage:  courtesy of the artist’s Tumblr page



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