Dudamel launches multi-year Pan-American Music Initiative
celebrating the vision and creativity of artists from across the Americas;
inaugural year curated by composer Gabriela Ortiz features
commissions and multi-disciplinary collaborations
America: The Stories We Tell, a season-long musical journey into the ways
in which narrative shapes American identity
Seoul Festival, curated by composer Unsuk Chin, links South Korea’s
cultural scene to the city with America’s largest Korean population
The return of the landmark Tristan Project led by Esa-Pekka Salonen,
with direction by Peter Sellars and visuals by Bill Viola, featuring
Nina Stemme, Stephen Gould, Michelle DeYoung and Franz Josef Selig
Katia and Marielle Labèque in an immersive multimedia journey, Supernova, with
Barbara Hannigan and director Netia Jones, and concerts featuring new music by
Nico Muhly and The National’s Bryce Dessner
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Los Angeles, CA (February 5, 2020) – Los Angeles Philharmonic Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel and David C. Bohnett Chief Executive Officer Chair Chad Smith today announced the 2020/21 Walt Disney Concert Hall season featuring three trailblazing new projects: Pan-American Music Initiative and America: The Stories We Tell led by Gustavo Dudamel and Seoul Festival curated by Unsuk Chin; the premieres of 27 LA Phil commissions; the revival of LA Phil productions including the landmark Tristan Project collaboration of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Sellars and Bill Viola; and performances by world-renowned guest artists including Yuja Wang, Hélène Grimaud, Lang Lang, Itzhak Perlman, Yefim Bronfman, Leila Josefowicz, Katia and Marielle Labèque and Barbara Hannigan.
Under the leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil launches the Pan-American Music Initiative, a five-year celebration of the vision and creativity of artists from across the Americas. Over the life of the project, Dudamel and the LA Phil will invest in 30 commissions, recording projects, residencies and partnerships with Pan-American cultural institutions, and original collaborations with Pan-American artists across all of the LA Phil’s venues: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Bowl and The Ford. Each season will be shaped by an artist-curator, and the first year will be guided by Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz. In the 2020/21 season, programs feature iconic works by Revueltas and Ginastera, including the latter’s Estancia ballet with choreography by Brazilian dance troupe Grupo Corpo in their first collaboration with orchestra, as well as new music by Erika Vega, Alejandro Cardona and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez in a Green Umbrella concert conducted by Lina Gonzalez-Granados.
America: The Stories We Tell is a year-long exploration of the ways in which narrative shapes our nation – from well-worn myths to the lesser-known tales. Gustavo Dudamel opens the focus with a program featuring a LA Phil-commissioned world premiere from Puerto Rican-born multi-instrumentalist and composer Angélica Negrón. The focus ends with a performance of Julia Bullock’s History’s Persistent Voice, which highlights the words, work, and experiences of Black American artists. The voices of those enslaved through the 1860s are placed alongside those who lived through years of sharecropping and Jim Crow, as well as currently incarcerated individuals. This mixed-media concert features all-new commissioned music by an esteemed roster of American women of color, including Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Loggins-Hull, Tania León, Jessie Montgomery, Camille Norment, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Pamela Z. Other performances include John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess paired with works by Florence Price and William Grant Still, Sousa marches and responses to them by contemporary composers and a season-long exploration of the music of Pauline Oliveros curated by Claire Chase.
Seoul Festival, curated by acclaimed composer Unsuk Chin, is an in-depth look at the South Korean capital’s flourishing contemporary scene that brings Korean musicians, conductors and composers to Los Angeles, which has the largest Korean population in the United States. This week-long festival features multiple world and U.S. premieres, showcases leading Korean performers, and includes lectures and panel discussions offering additional insight into the concert programs and the cultural context from which they emerged.
Gustavo Dudamel said, “In these divided times, it has never been more important for us to remember all that unites us. This season, we look at America in its sprawling, wondrous complexity. We explore the very nature of American identity and how these countless musical stories and ideas can all come together in this magical city of ours. We seek to build musical bridges, exploring how these bridges connect us across different communities, cultures and genres. Through our special focus on Korea, a rich culture embedded deeply into our local community, we pay tribute and enrich our understanding of who we are as a people. I look forward to sharing this wonderful adventure with you, as these extraordinary artists come together to remind us of all that unifies us and all that is best in us.”
Chad Smith added, “Gustavo has been with us for more than a decade now, and in that time, he has widened our embrace of our Los Angeles community and of the world. In the 20/21 season, we welcome new voices and new perspectives from Latin America, East Asia, and our own backyard, while inviting new audiences to experience the wonder of Mahler, Beethoven, and Rachmaninoff. Gustavo’s artistic vision and immense talent combined with our orchestra’s incredible openness and skill create a space in the concert hall where, for two to three hours at a time, borders dissolve, and everyone is invited.”
Throughout the 2020/21 season, Gustavo Dudamel conducts 16 wide-ranging programs, including Mahler’s Symphonies 5 and 6, Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night, and John Adams’ Nixon in China. He also performs a complete cycle of the Rachmaninoff piano concertos with Yuja Wang and a new LA Phil-commissioned piano concerto by Daníel Bjarnason, with Víkingur Ólafsson, and the world premiere of Andrew Norman’s Violin Concerto with soloist Leila Josefowicz. As part of his new Pan-American Music Initiative, he leads the complete score of Ginastera’s Estancia, accompanying a new full-length ballet by Brazil’s Grupo Corpo. Surrounding Holy Week, Dudamel leads the orchestra in programs of sacred music by Pergolesi and Verdi and the U.S. premiere of Thomas Adès’ LA Phil-commissioned visions of Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise, inspired by Dante.
Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the orchestra in the LA Phil-commissioned U.S. premiere of Anders Hillborg’s Sound Atlas and the Tristan Project. Principal Guest Conductor Susanna Mälkki returns with concerts that include Enno Poppe’s Fett (the U.S. premiere of an LA Phil commission), Olga Neuwirth’s Remnants of Songs…an Amphigory (U.S. premiere) with Principal Violist Teng Li, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, and Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in its original version, with soloist Isabelle Faust. Associate Conductor Paolo Bortolameolli returns with performances of works by Brahms and Bartók, plus Beethoven with piano soloist Yefim Bronfman.
During the 2020/21 season, the LA Phil tours, opening New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall season in October, the orchestra’s first appearances there in 30 years. The orchestra will present four concerts, including the Hall’s gala opening of its new season with soloist Lang Lang. The LA Phil continues as the International Orchestral Partner for London’s Barbican Centre, performing exclusively at the Barbican in London and making it the orchestra’s London home in a partnership that began in 2010. There will be four performances in May as part of the orchestra’s annual residency, which will also combine creative learning programs, collaborations and partnerships.
PAN-AMERICAN MUSIC INITIATIVE
Under the leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo, the LA Phil will embark on an expansive, five-year undertaking celebrating the creativity of the Americas. The Pan-American Music Initiative will include 30 commissions, recordings of major repertoire, residencies and partnerships with Pan-American cultural institutions and artistic collaborations across all of the LA Phil’s venues. With the inaugural year guest curated by Gabriela Ortiz, the Pan-American Music Initiative includes collaborations with artists from Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, beginning October 1-4 with a complete performance of Alberto Ginastera’s dance score Estancia, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel with baritone/narrator Gustavo Castillo accompanying a new full-length ballet by Brazilian dance troupe Grupo Corpo. Sharing that program is the return to Walt Disney Concert Hall of Gabriella Smith’s Tumblebird Contrails (performed in 2019 as part of the Centennial Season).
Additional programming will include a Green Umbrella program conducted by Lina Gonzalez-Granados, featuring works by leading artists from Latin America, including Felipe Tovar, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Carolina Heredia and world premieres of LA Phil-commissions from Erika Vega and Alejandro Cardona (February 9), and Gustavo Dudamel conducting works by Gabriela Ortiz (Hominum) and Silvestre Revueltas (La noche de los mayas) in May.
AMERICA: THE STORIES WE TELL
The series America: The Stories We Tell begins November 13-15, with Dudamel leading the orchestra in two works from Bernstein – Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and Divertimento – a series of marches by John Philip Sousa paired with marches commissioned from contemporary composers Saad Haddad, Viet Cuong, Clarice Assad and Jonathan Bailey Holland, and the LA Phil-commissioned world premiere of a new work for orchestra by Angélica Negrón.
Two iconic works by John Adams punctuate the series. On November 19 and November 21-22, Dudamel conducts Nixon in China, directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer, featuring Ryan McKinny, Craig Colclough, Joélle Harvey, Joo Won Kang, John Matthew Myers, and So Young Park. On February 26 and 28, Adams conducts his own opera, Girls of the Golden West, featuring the Los Angeles Master Chorale and vocalists Julia Bullock, Davóne Tines, Paul Appleby, Hye Jung Lee, Elliott Madore, Daniela Mack, and Ryan McKinny.
Renowned young pianist-composer Aaron Diehl, known for his mastery in music ranging from early jazz and mid-century “third stream” music to the Minimalism of Philip Glass, joins Dudamel as soloist in the series finale, June 3–6. The program includes Florence Price’s 1934 Piano Concerto in One Movement; William Grant Still’s Darker America; and selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
Additional performances of the focus include a recital by Julia Bullock, an evening with Mexican indie-pop singer and composer Carla Morrison and a focus on the music of Pauline Oliveros curated by Claire Chase.
Composer Unsuk Chin comes to Walt Disney Concert Hall April 27-May 4 to curate the orchestra’s first week-long Seoul Festival. Linking South Korea’s vibrant contemporary scene to Los Angeles, the festival offers seven premieres, as well as a number of US premieres, and features leading Korean musicians including soprano Sumi Hwang, pianists Sunwook Kim, Hie-Yon Choi, Chloe Jiyeong Mun and Mi-Joo Lee, violinist Clara Jumi Kang, violist Yura Lee, flautist Yubeen Kim, clarinetist Han Kim, performance artist Joo Won Park and the Novus Quartet.
Conductor Shi-Yeon Sung, in her return to the LA Phil, will conduct three symphony concerts. Iconic works by Isang Yun, Sukhi Kang and Byungdong Paik will be performed for the first time in the US; the premieres include the LA Phil-commissioned world premieres of a new song cycle by Kay Kyurim Rhie, a revised version of Texu Kim’s Viola Concerto “Ko-Oh”, and works from Donghoon Shin, Dongjin Bae, Yie-Eun Chun and Unsuk Chin.
The festival also includes a Green Umbrella concert conducted by Sooyeoul Choi and a variety of events designed to contextualize and expand on the themes of the concert programs.
Featured guest artists pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque bring three imaginative programs to Walt Disney Concert Hall.
In Supernova they are joined by contemporary music’s superstar soprano Barbara Hannigan on October 9 for a one-night-only immersive, multimedia staged concert with live, interactive projection, costumes and light. The music is by Hildegard von Bingen, Barbara Strozzi and Francesca Caccini reimagined by David Chalmin and Bryce Dessner, alongside new works by Chalmin and Dessner, directed and designed by Netia Jones. A meditation on the individual and the universal, Supernova reflects on aspects of the mystical, cosmic, temporal and mortal in music that reaches through centuries and collapses time.
The Labèques return in spring 2021 to perform two programs. With conductor Gustavo Gimeno, they will give the West Coast premieres of concertos for two pianos by Bryce Dessner (of The National) and Nico Muhly, March 12-14.
On March 16, the Labèques present Don’t Fear the Light, joined by Bryce Dessner and David Chalmin on guitars and the LA Phil, to perform a program of Minimalist and electronica-influenced works by composers including Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Timo Andres, Meredith Monk, Dessner, and Chalmin.
THE TRISTAN PROJECT RETURNS TO WDCH
Esa-Pekka Salonen and the LA Phil broke new ground in 2004 with the landmark Tristan Project, featuring stage direction by Peter Sellars and video by world-renowned visual artist Bill Viola. The now-legendary production of the full-length Tristan and Isolde returns for four performances only – October 30, November 1, November 5, and November 7 – with an all-star cast led by Nina Stemme, Stephen Gould, Michelle DeYoung, and Franz Josef Selig.
DUDAMEL, YUJA WANG AND RACHMANINOFF
In a series of monumental programs, Yuja Wang joins Dudamel and the LA Phil to scale the heights of all four piano concertos by Sergei Rachmaninoff. The cycle begins with Concerto 1 on March 18 and 19, continues with Concerto 2 on March 20 and 21, offers Concerto 3 on March 25 and 26, and concludes with Concerto 4 on March 27 and 28. On March 25–28, Dudamel and the LA Phil also perform Rachmaninoff’s rarely heard 1913 choral symphony The Bells, inspired by the poem by Edgar Allen Poe, with the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
TRAVERSING HELL AND HEAVEN
Dudamel and the LA Phil performed the world premiere of Thomas Adès’ Dante-inspired, LA Phil-commissioned Inferno as a highlight of the 2018/19 season. Now that cycle of LA Phil commissions is complete. On April 8–10, Dudamel leads the orchestra in Inferno, along with the U.S. premieres of Purgatory and Paradise.
DUDAMEL CONDUCTS MAHLER Symphony 5 and 6
Dudamel performs one of the glories of his repertoire, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, in a series of four concerts, May 13–16. Paired with the symphony on the program will be the LA Phil-commissioned world premiere of Julia Adolphe’s Violin Concerto with Martin Chalifour, celebrating his 25th year as Principal Concertmaster of the LA Phil, as soloist. Additionally,
Dudamel opens the season with three performances of Mahler Symphony No. 6 (September 25–27).
GREEN UMBRELLA CONCERTS
Continuing its steadfast commitment to the future of music, the LA Phil presents six Green Umbrella series concerts in the 2020/21 season, guided by Creative Chair John Adams. The series will include a Pan-American Music Initiative concert curated by Gabriela Ortiz (February 9); the Seoul Festival concert curated by Unsuk Chin (May 4); and the annual Noon to Midnight marathon on April 24.
Opening the series is a concert on September 29 curated by Andrew Norman and conducted by John Adams, featuring the world premieres of LA Phil commissions from Martin Francisco Mayo and Katherine Balch and the return of another LA Phil commission, Andrew Norman’s Try.
On March 2, John Adams curates and conducts a program that includes the LA Phil commissioned world premiere of Katherine Young’s For Daphne and Delia, plus a new commission from Dylan Mattingly and Louis Andriessen’s de Staat.
Thomas Adès will be the conductor and curator and Jacob Kellermann the guitar soloist on April 6, for a program that will include Adès’ Chamber Symphony, Francisco Coll’s Turia; Oliver Leith’s Honey Siren; the world premiere of a new work by William Marsey, commissioned by the LA Phil; and Erika Fox’s Hungarian Rhapsody.
The Noon to Midnight all-day new music festival on April 24, featuring the LA Phil New Music Group, includes the world premiere of Gerald Barry’s Salome, an LA Phil-commission, conducted by Barbara Hannigan. Hannigan also sings the role of the Princess, in a cast that includes James Way as the King, Alison Scherzer as the Queen, and Trevor Eliot Bowes as a young Syrian, Erik Rosenius as a soldier, with Mathieu Amalric acting the role of the Prisoner. WildUp will perform the premiere of Annie Gosfield’s The Planets, a work derived from her War of the Worlds score.
DISTINGUISHED GUEST ARTISTS
During the 2020/21 season, Walt Disney Concert Hall also welcomes an exceptional roster of guest artists. Recitalists include the trio of Lisa Batiashvili, Gautier Capuçon, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet (December 2); pianist Seong-Jin Cho (December 8); pianist Emanuel Ax (January 10); violinist Itzhak Perlman with pianist Rohan de Silva (January 19); pianist Igor Levit (February 7); pianist Chloe Jiyeong Mun with the Novus String Quartet on May 2, as part of the Seoul Festival; and Julia Bullock (June 9).
Ensembles scheduled to take the stage are the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, with cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason (October 14); and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lahav Shani (November 8).
Conductors include Pablo Heras-Casado (December 4–6) leading the U.S. premiere of an LA Phil commission from Helen Grime; Ton Koopman with a holiday program of Bach and Handel (December 18–20); the return of Michael Tilson Thomas for two programs, Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliet (January 7,9,10) and one that includes his own Rilke Songs (January 15–16); Herbert Blomstedt in a program of works by Schumann and Nielsen (January 28–31); and the return of former Dudamel Fellow Elim Chan with Renaud Capuçon in a program that features the U.S. premiere of a new work by Elizabeth Ogonek (February 11–14).
Conducting debuts include Eva Ollikainen (December 11-13) leading Denis Kozhukhin in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Lorenzo Viotti with Jean-Yves Thibaudet in a program of Rimsky-Korsakov and Ravel (January 22-24).
Continuing the LA Phil’s commitment to today’s music, the 2020/21 season includes world or U.S. premieres of 27 LA Phil commissions, from composers Thomas Adès, Julia Adolphe, Dongjin Bae, Katherine Balch, Gerald Barry, Daníel Bjarnason, Unsuk Chin, Yie-Eun Chun, Bryce Dessner, Helen Grime, Anders Hillborg, Texu Kim, Kay Kyurim, William Marsey, Dylan Mattingly, Nico Muhly, Angélica Negrón, Andrew Norman, Elizabeth Ogonek, Enno Poppe, Donghoon Shin, Erika Vega, and Katherine Young.
JAZZ, WORLD MUSIC, AND SONGBOOK
Jazz concerts in 2020/21, curated by Herbie Hancock, will feature saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Christian McBride, and percussionist Brian Blade coming together for a sophisticated set 25 years after their debut on the album Moodswing.
Herbie Hancock performs on February 27 and the jazz collective Snarky Puppy returns on October 13. In April, the SFJAZZ Collective with Lizz Wright pays tribute to the music of Joni Mitchell. Joining them with a tribute to the pioneering jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams will be Allison Miller and Derrick Hodge.
World Music programs will range from the Icelandic pianist and composer Ólafur Arnalds on November 11 and a celebration of Spanish flamenco culture and music direct from Jerez, Spain including flamenco dancer Joaquin Grilo in Fiesta de la Bulería on November 28 to the return of Japanese drummers Kodō on February 16 and singer-songwriter Andy Shauf, May 21.
The Songbook series this season includes Walt Disney Concert Hall debuts from singer-songwriter Carla Morrison, February 6, an evening with RY X with orchestra on October 11 and Jeff Goldblum and his Mildred Snitzer Orchestra closing the series on May 22.
Additional details can also be found at the LA Phil’s website: laphil.org.
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