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The LA Phil Insight initiative takes the work on our stages as a starting point for exploration.

Bringing together a diverse range of guest curators, artists, and partner organizations with intellectually curious audiences, our Insight efforts dig into festival and project themes, uncovering their many meanings with a sense of thoughtfulness and play.

Insight activities are typically offered in conjunction with festivals, special projects, and The Ford summer season. They take a variety of forms, including commissioned installations, panel discussions, print publications, live podcast recordings, artist residencies, multidisciplinary performances, film screenings, and participatory activities in historic sites, nightclubs, and even roller rinks.

LA Phil Insight is generously supported by Linda and David Shaheen.

Upcoming Insight Festivals and Projects

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California Festival

As part of the California Festival, LA Phil Insight has created editorial offerings, ranging from playlists and audio interviews to in-depth articles and graphic scores, from such artists and scholars as Geeta Dayal, Josh Kun, and Nadia Sirota among others.


Past Festivals and Projects

Last Days
Matt Copson, curator

Curated by Matt Copson, co-director of Oliver Leith’s opera Last Days based on the film by Gus Van Sant, LA Phil Insight offered an opportunity for audiences to view the original film, hear from Van Sant, and experience a combined visual and social art installation by Copson and Leith prior to the opera’s performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The creative team also contributed to an original print piece designed by artist Collin Fletcher.

Curated by LACMA’s Head of Contemporary Art Rita Gonzalez, LA Phil Insight offered a series of video installations and talks focused on the voices of Latina artists finding creative expression and political power in art and music. Artists included National Book Award finalist Cristina Rivera Garza, multidisciplinary artists Tania Candiana and Guadalupe Rosales, punk legend Alice Bag, and the Chulita Vinyl Club DJ collective.

To commemorate Walt Disney Concert Hall’s twentieth anniversary, Getty, in collaboration with LA Phil Insight and Frank Gehry, present two exhibitions, Modeling Sound and Sculpting Harmony. Drawn from the extensive Frank O. Gehry Papers at Getty, the exhibitions celebrate the realization of this important Los Angeles landmark. Visit the digital exhibition Sculpting Harmony at

LA Phil Insight co-commissioned Heart of Brick, experimental musician serpentwithfeet's theatrical collaboration with director Wu Tsang and choreographer Raja Feather Kelly. In addition to the performances, the show's themes of the creation of Black queer love and community on the dancefloor were explored in talks and club nights featuring such artists as Shaun J. Wright, Sevyn, Colored Craig, and Justen LeRoy.

In February 2023, the LA Phil teamed up with Beverly Hills historians to explore the cultural communities that existed during the brief, but important time Rachmaninoff lived in Beverly Hills. Exploring everything from the composer’s impact on classical music and popular culture, the American songbook being written next door, and the surrealist artists who had taken up residence in Hollywood, Rachmaninoff Was Here offered an expansive vision of a period of incredible artistic and intellectual activity. 

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In November 2022, Ava DuVernay and her team at ARRAY curated a series of events exploring the themes of Black women artists working in collaboration through the lens of film and television music. From an intimate evening with Meshell Ndegeocello to a screening of the iconic Carmen Jones with a live performance by J'Nai Bridges, Rock My Soul celebrated the excellence, artistry, and diversity of work created by Black women.

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In April and May 2022, the Gen X festival explored the forgotten generation through a distinctly LA lens, while amplifying the voices of artists, activists, and communities whose points of view were often pushed to the periphery. Events ranged from 80s horror marathons to food tastings to an exploration of the “queer utopias” of the dance floor.

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In February 2020, Weimar Variations presented exhibitions, performances, film screenings, commissioned installations, and a cabaret investigating the themes of the groundbreaking Weimar period and its contemporary resonances. Presenting iconic historical works alongside restaged, reinterpreted, and newly conceived examples, Weimar Variations emphasized how the ideas of the 1920s and 30s still reverberate today, revealing striking parallels to our own time.

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In March 2020, the first iteration of the LA Phil's Power to the People! festival was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic but not before several events organized by Humanities curator Tyree Boyd-Pates and hosted by the California African American Museum (CAAM) took place, including Rakim, Chuck D, and Talib Kweli in conversation about the poetics and politics of hip-hop and composer Imani Uzuri’s participatory freedom song workshops.

Explore this past festival

LA Phil Visual Arts and New Media

In conjunction with its festival programming, multidisciplinary presentations, and print publications, the LA Phil has made investments in the work of visual, sound, and installation artists, including Ragnar Kjartansson, Bill Viola, Shoplifter / Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, Susan Philipsz, Nicole Miller, Christine Sun Kim, Charles Gaines, Lucky Dragons, Elias Simé, and Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller among others. By bringing artists into dialogue with its concert programming, the LA Phil aims to offer audiences varied points of view and points of entry into its work, while also expanding concepts of orchestral presentation, contextualization, and audience experience.

Lucky Dragons for "Past / Forward: The LA Phil at 100"
Nicole Miller's "Transition" installation in BP Hall
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller's Video Walk of Walt Disney Concert Hall

Insight Publications

Past / Forward: The LA Phil at 100

Published on the occasion of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s centennial, Past/Forward: The LA Phil at 100 revisits the history of the LA Phil and contemplates its future. The award-winning publication offers an unconventional approach to institutional storytelling and includes more than 100 firsthand accounts, interviews conducted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tim Page, 150 rarely seen archival photos, and artwork from Lucky Dragons, Charles Gaines, and Christine Sun Kim.

The Hollywood Bowl: The First 100 Years

In conjunction with the Hollywood Bowl's centennial celebration in 2022, the LA Phil will publish The Hollywood Bowl: The First 100 Years written by Derek Traub with a foreword by Gustavo Dudamel and designed by the award-winning Content/Object studio. Traub uses many lens, from the musical to the political, to reveal the history of the Bowl, while positioning those who love the venue as a continuation of the story. 

Insight Online


California Festival Editorial

As part of the California Festival, LA Phil Insight has created editorial offerings, ranging from playlists and audio interviews to in-depth articles and graphic scores, from such artists and scholars as Geeta Dayal, Josh Kun, and Nadia Sirota among others.


Poetry and Essays

Guest poets and essayists, including Armando Iannucci, Sarah Ruhl, Ishmael Reed, Pico Iyer, and Rian Johnson, have brought their perspectives to musical programs captured for the Sound/Stage streaming series.


Animation is one of the many visual forms of expression used by the LA Phil to illuminate aspects of orchestral performance. Contributors have ranged from the folktale-inspired artwork of Ghost Animation to the experimental offerings of Lilli Carré and Jordan Wong.

Artist Interviews and Roundtables

Captured as part of LA Phil Media productions, artist dialogues and roundtables invite audiences to delve deeper into an artist’s work and the issues that are important to them, including voices like Dianne Reeves and Terri Lyne Carrington on Jazz and Gender Equity and Ellen Reid and Gabriela Ortiz on Women’s Voices in Classical Music.

In Context: Additional Engagement Opportunities


LA Phil Archives

The LA Phil Archives invites scholars into its holdings to discover not only the history of the organization but of Los Angeles itself.

Explore the Archives

Upbeat Live

Pre-concert lectures and artist discussions provide audiences with context, insights, and opportunities to engage with artists and thinkers before the evening's main event.

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Watch & Listen

A compendium of artist interviews, insightful articles, podcasts, and other media offerings, Watch & Listen is the LA Phil’s one-stop shop for music lovers and learners.

Dive In

Music 101

Audiences can enhance their listening and appreciation of classical music through Music 101 classes led by KUSC's Alan Chapman.

Learn More