The other shoe has dropped. The Los Angeles Philharmonic sent an email to subscribers this morning inviting them to go to their website to view details of the 2021 summer season at the Hollywood Bowl. The full press release came about 30 minutes later.
This comes a month after they announced that (a) there actually would be a 2021 summer season, and (b) that it would start with four free concerts whose tickets would be offered exclusively to frontline and essential workers, with very little detail besides that.
After a very quick perusal of the schedule and press release, my initial observations are:
- There are fewer concerts overall, but not by much. It looks pretty close to a normal Hollywood Bowl season schedule. Really. “Normal” . . . how awesome is that?!?! After 14 months of the decidedly abnormal, it’s hard to think of a more welcome thing. his includes:
- The standard array of classical, jazz, world music, sing-alongs, fireworks-laden extravaganzas, the USC Marching Band playing in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, and more.
- Key members of the LA Phil artistic leadership team — Gustavo Dudamel, Herbie Hancock, Thomas Wilkins, and Paolo Bortolameolli — will make appearances.
- The guest artists include a mix of long-time friends returning (John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma, Bramwell Tovey, Sergio Mendes, Kamasi Washington) and new faces making their debut.
- Two of the four free concerts will be live streamed to the general public:
- Among a sea of interesting concerts, the one that floated to the top and made me smile the most :
- Thursday, July 15: Viola Davis narrates Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf: You rarely see/hear it performed outside of children’s concertsreally looking forward to many of the LA Phil’s great principals getting numerous solo turns. The concert that also includes Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1, Classical, and Selections from Montgomery Variations by Margaret Bonds; Mr. Dudamel conducts the LA Phil.
- Biggest initial disappointment: A drop in jazz programming. There is no eight-concert “Jazz at the Bowl” series on Wednesdays. Instead, a four-concert “Jazz Plus” series makes its appearance on Sundays, plus a Kamasi Washington concert is served up under the auspices of KCRW’s World Festival.
- The Covid-19 protocols sound interesting (emphasis mine):
- “Following the health guidelines set forth by the County of Los Angeles, the LA Phil’s Hollywood Bowl 2021 season (July 3–September 28) will be a majority vaccinated venue, with two sections reserved for non-vaccinated audience members with proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to attendance. Mask wearing will be required for all attendees. The Hollywood Bowl will continue to receive public health guidelines from Los Angeles County and as policies evolve over the summer, more information can be found here.“
I’ll share more detailed thoughts in the near future. In the meantime, the full media release is HERE.
- Hollywood Bowl to re-open in May 2021; Dudamel/LA Phil, Thundercat & Flying Lotus, and La Santa Cecilia headline free concerts for critical workers
- 2020 Hollywood Bowl summer season is officially cancelled
Photo credit: courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association