We are very proud to represent photographer Gary Leonard, who is based in Los Angeles and is supplying us with new pictures of American authors and creators. These include US Poet Laureate Philip Levine, author of the best-selling book “The Obamas”, Jodi Kantor.
Author Jodi Kantor at Los Angeles Public Library Aloud event (8 February 2012).
© Gary Leonard/Lebrecht Music & Arts
You can see further images by Leonard here.
Mahler’s Fifth symphony performed by the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Gustavo Dudamel was greeted with a standing ovation more familiar to football matches than classical music concerts. Grey haired matrons whistled loudly, waved tee-shirts with the word ‘Venezuela’ imprinted on them, and shouted encouragement to the young musicians on stage below them.
Prior to the concert Norman Lebrecht discussed the Adagietto from the fifth movement famous from its use in the Visconti film ‘Death in Venice’ with an enthusiastic audience of 600, with standing room only, in the igloo shaped BP Hall.
The SBSO represents the top 200 young musicians from El Sistema which has 380,000 young Venezuelans learning to play instruments after school and providing them with the opportunity to make careers in the many orchestras now flourishing in Venezuela. Marshall Marcus who has been involved with El Sistema since its inception in Venezuela described how El Sistema reaches all groups in society but in particular its aim is to reach the street kids and engage them. Classical music in Venezuela does not come with the elite baggage that is part of the European experience. Two of the violinist in figure-hugging black evening dresses sway to the music as they wait for their cue to come in, the drummer taps his feet to Mahler – surely this must have been how Mahler would have wanted his music to be played in the future.
Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra at last year's BBC Proms
Lebrecht Music & Arts has had a first hand opportunity this week to see the Walt Disney Concert Hall
in action during the Gustavo Dudamel Mahler cycle.
The exterior is more like an abstract sculpture than the normal shoe box design of classic concert halls. The interior is designed in the round with the stage surrounded on all sides by the audience.
The exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall on South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, USA
The interior shapes curve and are reminiscent of the concave sides of a boat. All the surfaces are covered in a light coloured wood with a flash of deep blue at the farthest point of the ceiling, reminding the audience that they are sitting in the Sunshine State. The consequences of this organic design are an acoustic that is very clear and gives an orchestra a very different sound from other venues.
The grand interior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall with a view of the organ
The master architect behind this transcendent experience is Frank Gehry . And he attended the Mahler cycle concerts this week.
Lebrecht Music & Arts are attending the Gustavo Dudamel Mahler cycle at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Mahler’s third Symphony was performed on Tuesday 24th January by the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra with incredible verve and passion. The oldest member of the orchestra is 28 years old and this is reflected in the amount of energy that went into the performance. Soloists were world class, in particular the off-stage flugelhorn player. Gustavo Dudamel conducted this very long symphony with great panache.
Tonight (Thursday) Mahler 5 will be performed by the LA Philharmonic Orchestra under the conductorship of Dudamel.