Concert hall celebrates 10th anniversary

In October 2003, Breaking Bad wasn’t airing on AMC, Justin Timberlake had his first hit solo album and the Walt Disney Concert Hall was being celebrated as a gleaming icon of Downtown Los Angeles.

In a decade of change, one thing has remained the same: The Walt Disney Concert Hall is still a Downtown L.A. landmark, and the famed venue will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year with the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

The hall, which stands on the corner of 1st Street and Grand Avenue, kicked off its season of celebration earlier this week, starting on Sunday with a free concert featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and other guests.

The concert hall continued the festivities into Monday, which was the opening night for WDCH’s season, with a concert and gala that celebrated the start of the 10th anniversary festivities. Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma played classical favorites, with selections from Bach, Tchaikovsky and Saint-Saens, alongside the Los Angeles Philharmonic. On the actual anniversary date, the L.A. Phil will play a world premiere of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels on Oct. 23.

The celebration won’t stop there. The rest of the season is sure to spike insightful musical interest and fanciful fun with classical and jazz concerts by numerous special guests, one of which is USC’s very own Thornton Symphony.

In late November, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will present the Colburn Orchestra and members of the USC Thornton Symphony and the Thornton Choral Artists for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten. James Conlon will conduct “War Requiem” by Britten as a part of the Britten 100/LA celebration at Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, Calif. on Nov. 24, and again at Walt Disney Hall on Nov. 25. USC Thornton Symphony orchestra manager Josh Roach is excited to work with Conlon.

“It’s a great opportunity for the students to work with a world-class conductor, James Conlon, gain exposure to one of the great choral-orchestral repertoire pieces of the 20th century, and perform in two fantastic venues: Disney and Segerstrom,” Roach said.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic will be playing this concert as a part of their Sounds About Town series, one of their many concert series of the season.

Another event that is sure to excite is the Tchaikovskyfest. An eight-part concert series, Tchaikovskyfest will include various educational events in Los Angeles and end with a grand finale with both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

With larger-than-life intensity, music director Gustavo Dudamel will conduct Tchaikovsky symphonies with the L.A. Philharmonic.

“As a young boy, I discovered Tchaikovsky through great recordings and he has had a very special place in my heart ever since,” Dudamel said.

In light of the L.A. Philharmonic’s 2012 Mahler Project, the orchestra will collaborate with partner orchestra Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra to bring to life the work of Tchaikovsky during their series beginning in February 2014.

On top of a star-studded season, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is going a step further and is offering $10 tickets for select concerts throughout the season.

Some of the selected dates include an All-Beethoven concert, an organ recital by Hector Oliver and a special Halloween treat: live organ accompaniment to the film The Phantom of the Opera.

With some of these special offer concerts already sold out, these tickets are sure to be a hot commodity in the community. Elisa Ruiz, a graduate student studying opera performance, feels there’s plenty to be excited about.

“I would be excited about all of these concerts. This is a great array of music, however, I would be more interested in seeing Schubert’s symphony No. 4, and Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto No. 1, since I have never seen them performed,” Ruiz said.

If $10 is still too much (after all, that would buy you a whole steak salad at Seeds), USC’s Visions and Voices arts initiative is offering students the chance to see some of these grand concerts for free. The next opportunity is on Saturday, with buses leaving USC for the Walt Disney Concert Hall at 6:30 p.m. Advance reservations are full, but students can wait on standby the day of the event.

Editor’s note: This post has been edited to include the exact dates that members of the USC Thornton Symphony and the Thornton Choral Artists will perform with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

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