A look behind the Hollywood Bowl’s inventive mashups


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In recent years, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has developed a rep for teaming with indie artists -- the latest being Death Cab for Cutie, which will join the orchestra July 5 at the Hollywood Bowl. (For more about the Bowl’s creative booking style, see the story in Sunday’s Arts & Books section here.)

The Phil actually has a long history of mixing it up with rockers. In May 1970, then-music director Zubin Mehta combined forces with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention for the premiere of Zappa’s ‘Concerto for Mothers and Orchestra’ at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. Zappa infamously kicked things off by yelling, ‘All right, Zubin, hit it!,’ sending his band -- well, a version of it put together for this concert -- and the Philharmonic into a frenzied performance that included bodily noises, confetti and a romp into the audience as well as more serious orchestral themes and a lot of Zappa/Mothers’ riffs. (Some of this music ended up in Zappa’s crazy life-on-the-road movie ‘200 Motels.’)


In addition, Mehta invited a young South Bay group called Ambrosia to play with the Phil in the ‘All-American Dream Concert’ at the Bowl in 1971. The maestro reportedly got to know the prog-soft rock band -- years before it hit the charts -- thanks to classical music engineer Gordon Parry, who heard them play while the band was helping a friend check the Bowl’s sound system.

-- Karen Wada