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  • WDCH
  • Oct. 2, 2008
  • Concert Tickets Available to the Public for the First Time

    Salonen’s Final Season as Music Director and Fifth Year Anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall’s Opening Celebrated in an Evening of Stravinsky and More, Dinner and Dancing

    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2008, AT 7 PM

    Pre-concert reception begins at 6 PM

    Post-Concert Dinner and Dancing

    Evening Graciously Sponsored By Breguet

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrates Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen’s final season in a role he has held since 1992 with its annual concert and black-tie gala benefit featuring super-star sopranos Barbara Hannigan, Audra McDonald and Dawn Upshaw, as they join the LA PHIL, led by Salonen, Thursday, October 2, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The milestone evening includes a pre-concert reception in BP Hall at 6 p.m., and the concert at 7 p.m., and features a program of signature works sung by the sopranos, with alternating selections from Stravinsky’s Firebird throughout the program. Following the concert, festivities continue with an elegant gathering on Grand Avenue as guests dine and dance under the Los Angeles skyline and reflected beauty of Walt Disney Concert Hall. Acclaimed chef Joachim Splichal of The Patina Group creates a gourmet dinner for patrons to enjoy as they “Celebrate Salonen,” the theme for the evening and for the 2008/09 season. The occasion also marks the fifth anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall as well as the first time Opening Night concert seats can be purchased by the general public. The gala and concert are graciously sponsored by luxury timepiece manufacturer Breguet, the official timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    “'Tonight we open our season with a program that reflects Esa-Pekka’s forward-looking vision as our music director,” says Philharmonic President Deborah Borda. “The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles itself, and the world of music have benefitted enormously as a result of Esa-Pekka Salonen's influence. This singular Opening Night performance and gala kick off a season-long celebration of the many facets of his artistry."

    “For the second consecutive year, Montres Breguet is honored and privileged to be the exclusive sponsor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic 2008/09 Opening Night gala celebration. Our continuing partnership is a testament of the magnificent synergy between the mastery of watch making and musical arts,” says Mr. Nicolas G. Hayek, CEO of Montres Breguet S.A. and Chairman of the Board of The Swatch Group. “Preservation of tradition, creative passion and innovative spirit are the foundation of Breguet’s fine and complicated watch making heritage. Tonight, we salute Mr. Salonen, who has brought enormous amounts of these qualities throughout his tenure as Music Director of the LA Philharmonic.”

    A cornerstone of Salonen’s tenure is the music of Igor Stravinsky and this deep affinity is reflected in the evening’s program, which includes, in addition to selections from Firebird, “No Word from Tom,” from The Rake’s Progress, sung by Ms. Upshaw. Also on the program are Adams’ “This is Prophetic” from Nixon in China, sung by Ms. Upshaw, as well as Ellington’s Solitude, Sondheim’s There Won’t Be Trumpets, and Styne’s “10,432 Sheep,” sung by Ms. McDonald, and Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, sung by Ms. Hannigan.

    At the conclusion of the 2008/09 season, Salonen will be the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s longest serving Music Director. After 17 years under Salonen’s guidance, the LA PHIL is a model for the future of orchestras - an organization firmly planted in the 21st century, pioneering and forward-thinking.

    Funds raised from the concert support the Musicians Pension Fund. Funds raised from the gala support the presentations, concerts and programs of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, including its educational and community outreach programs. Excellent seats are reserved for this benefit evening. Tickets — ranging in price from $1,500 to $10,000, and including significant charitable contributions — may be reserved by calling 213.972.3051. Concert tickets range in price from $21 to $184.

    In keeping with the mission of bringing live music to as broad an audience as possible, support of this event also allows music students and teachers from throughout Los Angeles to attend this concert as guests of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    The gala committee for the 2008 Los Angeles Philharmonic benefit at Walt Disney Concert Hall includes honorary chairs Berta and Frank Gehry and Diane and Ronald W. Miller; gala chairs David Bohnett and Tom Gregory; Margaret and Jerrold L. Eberhardt; Joan and John Hotchkis; Ginny Mancini; Elizabeth and Henry T. Segerstrom; in addition to chairs Judith and Tom Beckmen; Helen and Peter S. Bing; Eris and Lawrence Field; Lenore and Bernard Greenberg; Carla and Fred C. Sands; and Alyce and Warren B. Williamson.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the evening’s exclusive sponsor and official Los Angeles Philharmonic timepiece, Breguet.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music — Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association’s involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.

    Breguet is the ultimate watch brand among the 159 member companies comprising the Swatch Group Ltd of Biel, Switzerland, the largest watch company in the world. With boutiques in Beverly Hills, New York, Cannes, London, Paris, Geneva, Seoul, Vienna, Dubai and Tokyo, the 232-year-old brand appeals to a very discerning clientele.

    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, who was born in Helsinki in 1958, studied at the Sibelius Academy in Finland. In 1979, he made his conducting debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and his American debut conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1984. He was recently appointed Principal Conductor of London's Philharmonia for this season, his last with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In addition, Salonen has won acclaim for his work as a composer. Among the many highlights of Salonen's career with the Los Angeles Philharmonic have been world premieres of works by composers John Adams, Franco Donatoni, Anders Hillborg, William Kraft, Magnus Lindberg, Witold Lutoslawski, Bernard Rands, Kaija Saariaho, Rodion Shchedrin, Steven Stucky, Tan Dun, and Augusta Read Thomas, as well as his own works. He has led critically acclaimed festivals of music by Ligeti, Schoenberg, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Berlioz, and Beethoven, and the Tristan Project. He and the Philharmonic have toured extensively since 1992. In October of 2003, Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic opened Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry. In March 2003, Salonen signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. The following year, DG released a disc devoted to his recent orchestral works, featuring Foreign Bodies, Insomnia, and Wing on Wing. In January 2006, Salonen and the Philharmonic recorded their first CD together for DG, the first live recording at Walt Disney Concert Hall. (Salonen and the Philharmonic also have four live concert recordings available for download on iTunes from DG Concerts.) Before signing with DG, Salonen recorded regularly with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Sony Classical. Salonen is the recipient of several major awards including the Siena Prize from the Accademia Chigiana in 1993, the first conductor ever to receive the prize; the Royal Philharmonic Society's Opera Award in 1995; and their Conductor Award in 1997. In 1998, he was awarded the rank of Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. Musical America named him 2006 Musician of the Year.

    Canadian soprano BARBARA HANNIGAN has received much acclaim for her performances of Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, a tour de force for soprano and orchestra which she has sung at Lincoln Center in New York, the Berlin Philharmonie, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and across Europe and North America. This season she began another stage in performing this work – singing AND conducting it at the same time. She has also performed the other major vocal works of Ligeti, making her BBC Proms debut in 2003 performing Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures with the London Sinfonietta conducted by Peter Eötvös, with further performances at Lincoln Center in New York, and Ligeti’s Requiem with the Bamberger Symphoniker conducted by Jonathan Nott at the Salzburg Festival, and with the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Peter Eötvös. Additionally, Dutilleux’s Correspondances for soprano and orchestra has become a major work in her repertoire, which she has sung with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw, Oslo Phiharmonic conducted by Jukka Pekka Saraste, the CBSO conducted by Sakari Oramo at the 2005 BBC Proms, the Helsinki Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Orchestre National de France conducted by Kurt Masur, the Toronto Symphony conducted by Peter Oundjian and at the Palais Garnier with the Paris Opera Orchestra and Oliver Knussen. On the opera stage, Hannigan sang the world premieres of Pascal Dusapin’s Passion at the 2008 Aix en Provence Festival, Louis Andriessen’s Writing to Vermeer (Saskia) with the Netherlands Opera, Jan van de Putte’s Wet Snow (Liza) with Holland’s National Reisopera, Michel van der Aa’s solo opera One for soprano, film and electronics, and Gabrielle in the world première of Gerald Barry’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant at English National Opera. Gerald Barry also composed La plus forte for her voice – a full setting for soprano and orchestra of Strindberg’s play, which had its concertante premiere in Paris 2006 and awaits a complete staging. In 2007, she made her debut at Venice’s La Fenice with the world premiere of Luca Mosca’s opera Signor Goldoni (Despina). Hannigan has performed with major orchestras and ensembles throughout the world, in repertoire ranging from Handel, Bach, and Mozart, to Knussen, Dutilleux and Ligeti. She has worked with conductors including Reinbert de Leeuw, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Pierre Boulez, Sir Simon Rattle, Thomas Ades, Kurt Masur, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Ingo Metzmacher, Peter Oundjian, Oliver Knussen, Jonathan Nott, Peter Rundel, Michael Gielen and Peter Eötvös, has been on tour for several years with Maurizio Pollini’s Progetto Pollini, singing the works of Luigi Nono, and has had the privilege of working with composers including György Ligeti, Louis Andriessen, Gerald Barry, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Oliver Knussen and Henri Dutilleux. Upcoming engagements include productions at La Monnaie (Ligeti’s Grand Macabre and the world premiere of Kris deFoort’s House of Sleeping Beauties), Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre and the title role in Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol with the Berlin Philharmonic, Gerald Barry’s La plus forte with the New World Symphony in Miami, and concerts with Ensemble Intercontemporain, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, the Schoenberg Ensemble, and Deutsche Symphonie Orchestra, and the CBSO. Besides her activities in concert and opera, Hannigan also presents liedrecitals with pianist Reinbert de Leeuw.

    Earning an unprecedented three Tony Awards before the age of 30 (Carousel, Master Class, and Ragtime) and a fourth in 2004 (A Raisin in the Sun), singer and actress AUDRA MCDONALD is frequently compared to legendary performers such as Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. But like all great artists, she is a unique force, blending a luscious, classically-trained soprano with an incomparable gift for dramatic truth-telling. In addition to her theatrical work she maintains a major career as a concert and recording artist appearing regularly on many of the great stages of the world. Returning to ABC in the fall of 2008, McDonald can be seen as Dr. Naomi Bennett in the second season of the hit television series Private Practice. Earlier in the year she earned an Emmy nomination for her role in the made-for-television movie version of A Raisin in the Sun on ABC, alongside hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, her co-star from the 2004 Broadway revival. In September 2006, McDonald released her first solo album in four years – Build a Bridge – on Nonesuch Records. Her fourth solo recording for the label, Build a Bridge looks beyond her usual repertoire and explores music written by contemporary singer/songwriters, including Elvis Costello, Nellie McKay, John Mayer, Randy Newman, Laura Nyro, Neil Young, Rufus Wainwright, and two songs by her longtime collaborator, musical-theater composer Adam Guettel. She embarked on a U.S. tour, stopping in Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Fresno, and San Francisco to perform selections from Build a Bridge. In New York, she appeared at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room as part of the American Songbook series in a concert that was broadcast nationwide on PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center. These programs also featured her customary offering of Broadway favorites and songs from the contemporary musical-theater repertoire. McDonald made her Los Angeles Opera debut in February 2007 as Jenny in John Doyle’s production of Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, conducted by James Conlon. This marked the second operatic engagement of her career; she made a highly-praised debut at Houston Grand Opera in March 2006 in a double-bill featuring Poulenc’s famous monodrama La Voix Humaine, coupled with the world premiere of Send, a companion piece to the Poulenc written by one of McDonald’s frequent collaborators, Michael John LaChiusa. McDonald has sung regularly with all the major American orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony, under many of the world’s greatest conductors, such as John Adams, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, and Michael Tilson Thomas. In the spring of 2005 she “previewed” a scene from John Adams’s not-yet-premiered opera, Doctor Atomic, for the New York Philharmonic, with the composer conducting. Earlier she was the muse behind the Ellington Suite, a unique set of arrangements of favorite Duke Ellington tunes created by several of America’s top arrangers and commissioned jointly by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. Overseas she is a returning guest at the BBC Proms (where she was only the second American in over 100 years to solo on the famed “Last Night of the Proms”), with the London Symphony Orchestra, with the Berlin Philharmonic, and at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

    Joining a rare natural warmth with a fierce commitment to the transforming communicative power of music, DAWN UPSHAW has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience, and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “Genius” prize, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Her acclaimed performances on the opera stage comprise the great Mozart roles (Pamina, Ilia, Susanna, Despina) as well as modern works by Stravinsky, Poulenc and Messiaen. From Salzburg, Paris and Glyndebourne to the Metropolitan Opera, where she began her career in1984 and has since made nearly 300 appearances, Upshaw has also championed numerous new works created for her including The Great Gatsby by John Harbison; the Grawemeyer Award-winning opera L’Amour de Loin and oratorio La Passion de Simone by Kaija Saariaho; John Adams’ Nativity oratorio El Niño; and Osvaldo Golijov’s chamber opera Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre. Upshaw’s 2008/09 season includes the U.S. premiere of Peter Sellars’s production of La Passion de Simone at Lincoln Center, a role she reprises with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in January, and at the Paris Opera in June. She opens Carnegie Hall’s season in an all-Bernstein program with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (broadcast on PBS). She also sings world premiere performances of two new works written for her, by Michael Ward-Bergeman (with Ensemble ACJW at Zankel Hall, commissioned by the Terezin Foundation) and Maria Schneider (commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where she is an Artistic Partner). Upshaw returns to Lincoln Center with violinist Geoff Nuttall in György Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments in a staging by Peter Sellars that will also travel to Los Angeles and Berkeley. She tours Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Germany with the Knights. It says much about Upshaw’s sensibilities as an artist and colleague that she is a favored partner of many leading musicians, including Richard Goode, the Kronos Quartet, James Levine and Salonen. In her work as a recitalist, and particularly in her work with composers, Upshaw has become a generative force in concert music, having premiered more than 25 works in the past decade. From Carnegie Hall to large and small venues throughout the world she regularly presents specially designed programs composed of lieder, unusual contemporary works in many languages, and folk and popular music. She furthers this work in master classes and workshops with young singers at major music festivals, conservatories and liberal arts colleges. She is Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center. A four-time Grammy Award winner, Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including the million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Gorecki. Her discography also includes full-length opera recordings of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro; Messiaen’s St. Francois d’Assise; Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress; John Adams’s El Niño; two volumes of Canteloube’s “Songs of the Auvergne,” and a dozen recital recordings. Her most recent release on Deutsche Grammophon is “Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra,” the third in a series of acclaimed recordings of Osvaldo Golijov’s music.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music – Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association’s involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2008, at 7 PM

    Walt Disney Concert Hall,

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles


    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, conductor


    AUDRA McDONALD, soprano

    DAWN UPSHAW, soprano

    STRAVINSKY Selection from The Firebird

    ADAMS “This is Prophetic” from Nixon in China – Ms. Upshaw

    STRAVINSKY Selection from The Firebird

    ELLINGTON Solitude – Ms. McDonald

    SONDHEIM There Won’t Be Trumpets – Ms. McDonald

    STYNE/CAHN “10,432 Sheep” – Ms. McDonald

    STRAVINSKY Selection from The Firebird

    STRAVINSKY “No Word from Tom” from The Rake’s Progress – Ms. Upshaw

    STRAVINSKY Selection from The Firebird

    LIGETI Mysteries of the Macabre – Ms. Hannigan

    STRAVINSKY Selection from The Firebird

    6 PM Pre-concert reception throughout the Hall including wine and hors d‘oeuvres

    7 PM Concert

    8:15 PM Dinner and dancing

    This gala evening benefits the Los Angeles Philharmonic Musicians Pension Fund. Our thanks to the Philharmonic musicians for donating their services this evening.

    Tickets for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2008 annual Opening Night black-tie gala benefit may be reserved by calling 213.972.3051. Tickets for the Opening Night Concert ($21 - $184) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, online at, or via credit card by phone at 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Lisa White, 213.972.3408,; Photos: 213.972.3034