The Los Angeles Philharmonic marks the 20th anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall at its annual gala concert by paying homage to Frank Gehry, a long-time friend of the LA Phil and architect behind the iconic downtown LA venue. Honoring Gehry’s iconoclasm with performances by iconoclasts in their own fields, the evening’s program will journey from Walt Disney Concert Hall’s storied beginnings to the architect’s oceanic inspirations, immortalized in the building’s steel sails and unprecedented sense of movement.
The prelude from Bach’s Partita, the first piece performed in the then-still-under-construction Hall, opens the program, followed by Esa-Pekka Salonen’s transformation of its melody into his piece FOG accompanied by Lucinda Childs, performing her own original choreography. Gehry’s love of the sea, orchestral music, and jazz then combines into offerings from LA Phil Creative Chair for Jazz Chair Herbie Hancock, GRAMMY Award-winning R&B singer H.E.R., and LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who concludes the program with Debussy’s “La mer.”
In ancient traditions around the world, water is the element associated with intuition and imagination, with emotion and feelings. It can be still or in motion, and with its ability to shift shapes from liquid to solid or gas, water is also identified with change and variation. Gustavo Dudamel has put all of these aspects into play in his curation of this gala program, designed to mark the 20th anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall. Not coincidentally, they also characterize the Hall itself and the work of its architect, Frank O. Gehry, whose creations at any scale can seem restless and serene at the same time.
Gehry has a long-standing fascination with fish, which has found literal expression in designs ranging from table lamps to monumental sculptures. But the water-defined form and function of fish can be manifested more metaphorically as well, as in the undulating curves of Walt Disney Concert Hall, clad in shimmering scales. Gehry is also an avid sailor, and he found inspiration for the elegantly dynamic view of the Hall from the corner of Grand Avenue and First Street.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Partita in E major, BWV 1006: Preludio
Herbie Hancock / Vince Mendoza
Make It Rain
Concerto for organ, timpani and strings in G minor, FP 93
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
Frank Gehry, honoree
Geneva Lewis, violin
Lucinda Childs, choreographer and performer
Herbie Hancock, LA Phil Creative Chair for Jazz
H.E.R., R&B singer and songwriter
Paul Jacobs, organ