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Stars under the stars is what the Hollywood Bowl is all about. In the 2014 Bowl season announced Tuesday by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a number of them – namely, the cast of “Hair” -- will be briefly nude and spouting some salty language.
And Gustavo Dudamel, the star most fundamental to the Phil’s fortunes, will conduct a composition of his own for the first time in L.A.
The cluster of names assembled for the season also includes Esa-Pekka Salonen, making his first Bowl appearances since stepping down as the Phil’s music director and taking up his lifetime baton as its conductor laureate.
Frequent Bowl podium occupants Leonard Slatkin and Bramwell Tovey will be back, each conducting multiple programs.
Classical soloists include Yo-Yo Ma, Yuja Wang, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Hilary Hahn and Gil Shaham.
Among the pop and jazz luminaries will be Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Steve Martin, Gladys Knight, Peter Frampton, Buddy Guy, Trey Anastasio, Megan Hilty, Caetano Veloso, Elvis Costello and Chris Botti.
But an homage to the Beatles could be the biggest pop show of all, musically directed by former Eurythmics member Dave Stewart to mark the 50th anniversary of their 1964 Hollywood Bowl debut. Yet-to-be-named singers and instrumentalists hand-picked by Stewart and the Phil’s artistic staff will run through the exact set the Beatles played at the Bowl on Aug. 23, 1964, along with other Fab faves.
The promised “all-star cast” that will perform a fully staged production of “Hair” (Aug. 1-2) has yet to be named, but the Phil’s cautionary note that the show “contains mature subject matter and brief nudity” indicates that the tribal gathering of hippies in the altogether at the end of Act 1 and the sex-manual terminology from the song “Sodomy” will proceed unexpurgated.
One of Dudamel’s five late-July performances leading the Phil at the Bowl will find him conducting his own music: a suite from his film score for “Libertador: The Liberator,” a 2013 Venezuelan-Spanish biopic about Simon Bolivar that has yet to be screened in Los Angeles.
It will be part of a July 31 “Noche de Cine ("Night of Cinema") program focusing on film music from the Americas, also to include a suite from Acadamy Award-winning Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla’s score for “The Motorcycle Diaries.”
Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic will perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Triple Concerto (July 22 and 24), aided by a trio of French soloists – pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the sibling violin-cello combination of Renaud and Gautier Capucon.
With Dudamel and Grant Gershon conducting, the Phil will join forces with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Los Angeles Children’s Chorus on July 27 for an operatic double bill of Mascagani’s “Cavalleria Rustica” and Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci,” with principal roles sung by Stuart Neill, Michelle de Young, Juliana Di Giacomo, Christopher Maltman, Tamara Mumford and Susan Bickley.
The program for Dudamel’s other concert, July 29, is yet to be announced but will focus on composers of the Americas and include dancing – part of an “America and Americans” festival that also includes the “Noche de Cine” program, a July 23 Latin jazz program with artists to be announced and Estefan’s July 24-25 concerts with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra led by Thomas Wilkins.
Salonen will conduct the first piano concertos of Prokofiev and Shastokovich, with Wang at the keyboard (July 17). He will be joined by Bronfman on a program that includes Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (July 15).
Tovey will lead the season’s first classical concert, joined by Bell on violin for a program that includes Ravel and Stravinksy (July 8); Tovey will be at the piano for the “Rhapsody in Blue” portion of an all-Gershwin program that will also feature Hilty, a Broadway star and erstwhile leading lady of the ill-fated TV series "Smash," in a selection of the master’s songs (July 10).
The Phil will accompany Botti’s trumpet and Chris Isaak’s crooning in an orchestral pops evening led by Tovey (July 11-12), and Tovey will sign off for the season Sept. 9, conducting a program that includes high-definition images from NASA as a backdrop for Holst’s “The Planets,” as well as the first U.S. performance of Mark-Anthony Turnages’ “Concerto for Drum Kit and Orchestra,” featuring drummer Peter Erskine – a piece commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The Los Angeles-raised Slatkin will pick up the baton for three programs encompassing four concerts in mid-August. Two will explore Russian music: Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherezade” and Prokofiev’s violin concerto No. 2 featuring soloist Gil Shaham (Aug. 12) and an all-Tchaikovsky evening (Aug. 15-16) capped by a fireworks display during the “1812 Overture.” The USC Marching Band led by director Arthur Bartner will add to that final crash and boom.
Other highlights of the classical season include an Aug. 7 program of Brahms’ Double Concerto featuring violinist Hahn and Mahler’s “Titan” symphony, led by Lithuanian conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, who’ll make her Bowl debut.
For those who like fireworks with their music, or vice versa, the season affords three programs besides the aforementioned “1812 Overture.”
A July 2-4 holiday program features bluegrass music from Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, featuring Edie Brickell, followed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic led by John Morris Russell playing patriotic music to accompany the fireworks bursting in air.
On Sept. 4, Simone Porter, a Los Angeles teenage violin prodigy who’s studying at the Colburn School, will make her Bowl debut on a program to be announced, led by Ludovic Morlot. To cap it the Phil promises “a vivid new fireworks display.”
If you want to find out what it’s like to experience Do’s (not to mention Re’s and Me’s) accompanying “dohs,” then the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra’s 25th anniversary tribute to “The Simpsons,” featuring screened highlights from the animated series, is your ticket, with fireworks at the end (Sept. 12-13).
Shows featuring movie music include sing-along screenings of “Grease” (July 13) and “The Sound of Music” (Sept. 20), “Dreamworks Animation in Concert,” a 20th anniversary celebration of the studio featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and hosted by Jack Black (July 18-19). John Williams conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a program of his film music (Aug. 29-30), and David Newman pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock leading the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in footage-and-music combinations from an assortment of his films (Aug. 31).
A celebration of the “Black Movie Soundtrack” featuring Marcus Miller and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, co-presented by the Phil and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will encompass a wide range of music from African American cinema, including "Stormy Weather," "Purple Rain," "Waiting to Exhale" and "Superfly" (Sept. 3).
Jazz concerts include a “To Ella With Love” appreciation of Ella Fitzgerald, featuring Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgwater and the Count Basie Orchestra (July 9) and Herbie Hancock, the Phil's creative chair for jazz, performing orchestral arrangements of his own compositions (Aug. 6).
The Phil also will present the Playboy Jazz Festival (June 14-15), with George Benson, Kenny Barron, Dianne Reeves and the Arturo Sandoval Big Band among the headliners.
Apart from the Beatles’ 50th anniversary show, the veneration of Hall of Fame pop acts extends to James Brown (Aug. 13) and Marvin Gaye (Aug. 20). Musical director Christian McBride will assemble alumni of Brown’s backing bands for his homage, and the appreciation of Gaye will offer John Legend performing the “What’s Going On” album in its entirety.
Elvis Costello and Ben Folds will perform separate sets with the Los Angeles Philharmonic behind them (Sept. 5-6), Peter Frampton gets to make a late-career Hollywood Bowl debut, sharing a guitar-hero bill with Buddy Guy (Aug. 27), and singer-guitarist Trey Anastasio will front a Phil-backed retrospective of his career with and apart from the band Phish (Sept. 26).
A series of six Sunday evening world music concerts, presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and KCRW, includes Janelle Monae and Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 (June 22), a reggae night headlined by Jimmy Cliff (July 20), Glen Hansard with Iron and Wine (Aug. 10) and Caetano Veloso in his Bowl debut (Sept. 21).
The full season schedule is at www.hollywoodbowl.com. Single tickets won’t go on sale until May 4; until then only subscription series are available. Subscriptions prices range from $140 to $1,070 for the classical week-night series of 18 concert programs, $175 to $1,390 for a mixed bag series of 10 weekend programs, including the Beatles tribute, “Hair," classical performances and others, and $140 to $536 for four Sunday programs -- the Beatles extravaganza, the opera night, “Hair” and “The Simpsons” tribute.
For single tickets, the traditional $1 price in the Bowl’s upper reaches remains unchanged, while the top price is $164, a 2.5% increase from last season’s $160 peak.
A bill passed by Congress in January requires the Federal Aviation Administration to make a new study of helicopter noise over L.A., and implement changes to protect sensitive spots including residential areas and the Hollywood Bowl. A Los Angeles Philharmonic spokeswoman said it’s too soon to tell whether the bureaucratic wheels will turn quickly enough to bring relief in the coming season, but “we will continue to work, as we always do, directly with the helicopter pilots” in hopes they’ll voluntarily steer clear on performance nights. The new law exempts flights by military and public safety helicopters.
For the record, Feb. 4, 11:29 a.m.: An editing error removed Beethoven's name, leaving the composer of Symphony No. 5 and the Triple Concerto unidentified in an earlier version of this post.
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