LA Phil Blog

Mad About Mahler

The Big Day!

LA Phil in Caracas

It's finally here!

Today's the day that The Mahler Project, all five weeks of it, ends in the most spectacular fashion imaginable.

Today's the day that Gustavo leads the LA Phil, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and a literal cast of thousands in the gargantuan Mahler 8, the "Symphony of a Thousand," live from Caracas!

Of course, you don't have to be IN Caracas to see it - you can head on over to your local cineplex and see it in HD from the comfort of your very own movie theater seat. It's the second installment of LA Phil LIVE, and it promises to be a movie-going experience like no other.

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Lithgow on LA Phil LIVE – Tomorrow!

Lithgow

What a week!

I've joined forces with Dudamel and the LA Phil in Caracas, who have in turn joined forces with the young people of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (also under Gustavo's direction). I'll be doing hosting duties for the LA Phil LIVE broadcast of Mahler's gargantuan 8th, the "Symphony of a Thousand," in cinemas all over the US tomorrow at 5pm EST. I also get to see two extra Mahler concerts here, to see Caracas for the first time and to hang with the big LA Phil gang like a member of the family (or I suppose more accurately like an interloper at an enormous family reunion).

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Extra, Extra – Read All About It!


Photo courtesy of the LA Times

In addition to our excellent institutional sources on the ground in Caracas - who shall remain, of course, known only as "LA Phil Staff - there's no shortage of press coverage of the LA Phil's visit to Caracas.

It's a good story, after all - Gustavo Dudamel, favorite son of the famed El Sistema music education system, becomes classical music superstar and returns home to Venezuela to combine his two musical families. Add to that the fact that no major symphony orchestra has been to Caracas in over two decades and you've got a situation ripe for coverage in the press.

Gustavo with a newspaper

That said, the media coverage of the LA Phil's trip - and of Gustavo and The Mahler Project in general - has been plentiful, comprehensive and really interesting. Here's a quick sample:

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Behind the Scenes with KUSC’s Brian Lauritzen

Editor's note: ClassicalKUSC's Brian Lauritzen is traveling with the LA Phil during their trip to Caracas and reporting on the orchestra's activities for the radio station. We're incredibly gratified that he took some time out of his own reporting and producing duties to pen a guest post for us. You can see his updates from Caracas by following @BrianKUSC on Twitter or at the KUSC Blog.

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Mahler Madness in LA – One Fan’s Story

musical notes

Editor's Note: Fan Fariba G. attended each of the 9 Mahler symphonies that made up The Mahler Project here in LA, including the performance of Mahler 8 at the Shrine Auditorium. She was kind enough to share her thoughts on Mahler with us. The above Mahler-inspired image, entitled "Mahler is Life," was provided via email by fan Elda C.

What can I say about Mahler's music? It's all about yearning, longing, gut-wrenching despair - it moves you like no other music. I think those who don't like Mahler's music are those afraid of allowing themselves to feel deep inside, to ask themselves questions of life and death and meaning. His music is abstract and can be interpreted many different ways, into many emotional layers.

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Leif Ove Andsnes is Mad About Mahler

While at Walt Disney Concert Hall for his recital last week, Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes was kind enough to take a few moments to talk about his Mahler Madness.

Andsnes will be back at Walt Disney Concert Hall next October for an all-Beethoven program with Gustavo Dudamel - part of the pianist's ongoing "Beethoven: A Journey" project - but prior to that, he'll be playing a selection of songs by Mahler and Shostakovich at several halls across the US before winging back to California in June to act in his capacity as Music Director for the Ojai Music Festival.

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Saying Farewell

Robert Gupta
LA Phil violinist Robert Vijay Gupta takes a moment to practice during a break at the dress rehearsal for Mahler 8 at the Shrine Auditorium

Editor's Note: LA Phil violinist and Senior TED Fellow Robert Vijay Gupta penned this post after completing the first performance of the orchestra's trip to Caracas - a performance of Mahler 9. In this post, he's saying farewell to the piece, but it also serves as a fine farewell to The Mahler Project from the orchestra.

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