Go Behind the Scenes with the LA Phil

Have you found yourself thinking, “It’s about time I heard a concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall,” but not being sure what to choose? After all, you’ve heard that the orchestra is right up there with the best, and that the Hall has amazing acoustics. What makes one concert different from another? 

Perhaps you should consider Inside the Music, the LA Phil’s new series designed to expand your enjoyment of orchestral music, with KUSC deejay Brian Lauritzen as your host and guide. Your concert ticket gets you behind-the-scenes videos emailed before the performance, a fascinating pre-concert presentation, personal insight from the musicians in a post-concert Q&A, and even an online game. 

The second Inside the Music concert comes up on December 12, and it will grab you. It’s an ideal combination of composers you know along with pieces you may not have heard (at least not recently). For example, a lot of people know Prokofiev from "Peter and the Wolf." But chances are, you haven’t heard Prokofiev’s Third Symphony. It all began with his opera "The Fiery Angel," which is about demonic possession, eroticized spiritualism, medieval sorcery, and…well, let’s say it’s not for the "Peter and the Wolf" crowd. Prokofiev thought it contained some of his best music, so he decided to remake the opera as a symphony. When you listen, you can let your imagination run completely wild – anything goes.

The concert’s centerpiece is "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," one of the world’s most popular piano concertos (even though it’s not called a concerto). The composer, Rachmaninoff, is known for his big, lush, ultra-Romantic, Russian music, and this piece has got it all, including a piano part that would bust the knuckles of the average human. Fortunately, the concert features a brilliantly talented, internationally celebrated virtuoso pianist, Simon Trpceski, whose fingers will remain decidedly unharmed.

Finally, it’s time for Leonard Bernstein, one of the greatest figures in American music. Would you believe that he only wrote one film score specifically for Hollywood? In 1954, the same year he began his now-classic Young People’s Concerts, he composed the rousing, deeply expressive music for Elia Kazan’s much-lauded drama "On the Waterfront," which garnered eight Oscars, including one for its star, Marlon Brando (“I coulda been a contender”). 

That would be one amazing concert experience, even without all the Inside the Music extras, but why not go for the whole tantalizing package and make it an affair to remember?

What: Inside the Music: Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody with the LA Phil

Where: Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Parking is available underneath.

When: Fri Dec. 12  8pm

Tickets: start at $20

Info: www.laphil.com, (323) 850-2000

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