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For a giant like the L.A. Phil, how does NEA funding factor into the big picture?

For a giant like the L.A. Phil, how does NEA funding factor into the big picture?

The Los Angeles Philharmonic is hardly a shoestring operation, with its $255-million endowment and an annual budget of $120 million for the 2015-16 season. The 106-member orchestra led by Gustavo Dudamel is considered one of the most preeminent in the world, not to mention the most financially secure in the country.

So why, then, with its ticket sales and network of donors, would the L.A. Phil seek funding from the National Endowment for the Arts?

Here’s one answer: to push the art of music forward. For its 2016-17 season, the L.A. Phil received two NEA grants, one of $90,000 for its in/Sight program pairing video art with orchestral and choral music — one way the...

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