Thursday, January 22, 2009


Just back from a LA Philharmonic press conference which is the most elaborate i've seen from any arts group, including i think the getty's launch a decade ago... they're very excited about Gustavo Dudamel, the 27-year-old venezuelan who kicks off his first season here in the fall. the one concert i saw him conduct, which included a berlioz, was as good as the considerable hype. (i have vowed to call him "the dude.")

so we're all looking curiously forward to the guy's arrival. i was disappointed, though, that esa-pekka salonen was not at the shindig -- his time as music director kinda of defines not only my time in LA personally, but i think a period where the city's culture become vastly more sophisticated, unpredictable and hybrid. (i did get to bump into california composer john adams, who is directing a very cool festival of west coast music that includes frank zappa and his own "the dharma at big sur," more on him later.)

anyway what i mean by hybrid, mostly, is a union of fine and pop culture that has been part of LA's genetic makeup for a long time, but which really developed in the last few years. one of my favorite conversations with salonen involve his interest in rock n roll. i'm quite impressed with it, especially if you think of what terrible taste in music most continental europeans have. i mean, italo-pop anyone?

Photo credit: Flickr user 12

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