LA Phil Chairman David Bohnett with Kiki and David Gindler
Twelve hundred people came to see the LA Phil at the Barbican last night. Not bad for a weekday new music program performed by a visiting orchestra. The Phil could not have asked for a more enthusiastic audience--"the most spoiled musical audience in the world," according to The Telegraph.
But the excitement for many of us began long before the first note. How cool to see the LA Phil's familiar logo lighting the iconic wood walls encircling the Barbican stage? Pretty darn cool, indeed.
Despite the "no cell phone" sign on the side walls, smart phones instantly appeared throughout the hall to capture John Adams stepping on stage to conduct the first work of the LA Phil's Green Umbrella Concert, his "Son of Chamber Symphony," and once again as Dudamel made his entrance to conduct "Concerto for Percussion and Chamber Orchestra" (composed by the orchestra's timpanist Joseph Pereira), and yet again for Dudemel's return after intermission to conduct Unsuk Chin's Graffiti. Classical music has rock stars, even across the pond.
The artists clearly had a great time. A smile or two broke out amid the string section even before the crowed began cheering at the end of Son of Chamber Symphony. And then there was the moment when one trombonist flipped the mute into his hand a la Tom Cruise in Cocktail during the Pereira work--a work ending in three curtain calls by the visibly touched soloist/composer. Dudmel, Adams and Chin also couldn't help but bask in the London love. We heard comments like "fantastic" and "incredible" as people gathered their coats to exit the hall. In the Green room, still energized by the evening, Dudamel beamed. "Wow," he said, a bit breathless. "The audience really liked it!" A bit of an understatement, Gustavo.
Onward to The Gospel According to the Other Mary. London, watch out. There's more groundbreaking to come.