The Philharmonic demonstrates a breadth and depth of programming unrivalled by other orchestras and cultural institutions,
performing or presenting nearly 300 concerts throughout the year at its two iconic venues: Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. The orchestra's involvement with Los Angeles also extends far beyond regular symphony concerts in a concert hall, embracing the schools, churches, and neighbourhood centres of a vastly diverse community. Among its wide-ranging education initiatives is Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA). Central to YOLA is the Philharmonic's plan to build, with community partners, youth orchestras in communities throughout Los Angeles. In 2012, the LA Phil in partnership with the Longy School of Music
(Cambridge, MA) and Bard College (New York) furthered this goal with the new initiative, Take A Stand, which supports social change through music by providing leaders with tools for growth through a series of conferences and workshops, and provides progressive and rigorous training for performing and teaching musicians.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic was founded by William Andrews Clark Jr., a multi-millionaire and amateur musician, who established the city's first permanent symphony orchestra in 1919. Walter Henry Rothwell became its first music director, serving until 1927 and, since then, ten renowned conductors have served in that capacity: Georg Schnéevoigt (1927-1929); Artur
Rodzinski (1929-1933); Otto Klemperer (1933-1939); Alfred Wallenstein (1943-1956); Eduard van Beinum (1956-1959); Zubin Mehta (1962-1978); Carlo Maria Giulini (1978-1984); André Previn (1985-1989); Esa-Pekka Salonen (1992-2009); and Gustavo Dudamel (2009-present).
In October 2003, the doors to one of the world's most celebrated venues - the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall - were
opened and the Los Angeles Philharmonic took the stage in its new home, which has become known not only as a local cultural landmark, but also as ‘...a sensational place to hear music... In richness of sound, it has few rivals on the international scene, and in terms of visual drama it may have no rival at all.' (The New Yorker) Praise for both the design and the acoustics of the Hall has been effusive, and the glistening curved steel exterior of Walt Disney Concert Hall embodies the energy, imagination, and creative spirit of the city of Los Angeles and its orchestra.
Inspired to consider new directions, Dudamel and the Philharmonic aim to find programming that remains faithful to tradition, yet
also seeks new ground, new audiences, and new ways to enhance the symphonic music experience. During its 30-week winter subscription season of 110 performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Philharmonic creates festivals, artist residencies, and other thematic programs designed to delve further into certain artists' or composers' work. In 2011/12, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel, completed a monumental endeavour by performing Mahler's nine symphonies over the course of just three weeks in Los Angeles and one week in Caracas. Also in the 2010/11 season, the orchestra unveiled LA Phil LIVE, a series of concerts with Gustavo Dudamel broadcast live from Walt Disney concert Hall to more than 450 movie theaters across the U.S. and Canada.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic's commitment to the presentation of music of our time is evident in its subscription concerts, its exhilarating Green Umbrella series, and its extensive commissioning initiatives. The Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, devoted exclusively to performing compositions on the cutting edge of the repertoire, attracts leading composers and performers of contemporary music.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association expands its cultural offerings by producing concerts featuring distinguished artists in
recital, jazz, world music, songbook, and visiting orchestra performances, in addition to special holiday concerts and series of organ recitals, chamber music, and Baroque music.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic continues to broaden its audience by touring worldwide, offering an extensive catalogue of recorded
music, and broadcasting concerts on radio and television. In March, 2013, three programs including John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary will be presented in London, Paris, New York and Lucerne. Thirteen concerts from the 2012/13 season will be broadcast in partnership with Classical KUSC and the WFMT Radio Network. The 2011/12 series was broadcast in 193 markets and reached over 2.6 million listeners. Through an ongoing partnership with Deutsche Grammophon, the orchestra also has a substantial catalogue of concerts available online, including the first full-length classical music video released on iTunes. Rhapsody in Blue: Opening Night Concert and Gala was recorded for telecast by Bernhard Fleischer Moving Images, THIRTEEN for WNET, WDR/Arte, C Major Entertainment and the Los Angeles Philharmonic as part of the PBS performing arts series Great Performances and garnered a 2012 Emmy nomination. In 1974, the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta won an Academy Award for ‘The Bolero', a 30-minute short subject featuring Maurice Ravel's famous orchestral piece. In 2011, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel won a Grammy award for Best Orchestral Performance for their recording of Brahms Symphony No. 4.