Ernest Fleischmann, Los Angeles Philharmonic impresario and music visionary, dies at 85


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Ernest Fleischmann, the impresario who dominated the Los Angeles Philharmonic for nearly 30 years as it was transformed into one of the top orchestras in the country, died Sunday night. He was 85.

As the Philharmonic’s visionary manager, he was a famed talent scout who had a hand in every large and small decision concerning the orchestra from 1969 to 1998. He was, as conductor Pierre Boulez once said, “like an eagle, flying but looking down at the smallest mice,” able to see the big picture but also able to spot talent with the canny eye of both a promoter and a music lover.


He was a prime mover behind the dazzling Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Frank Gehry-designed Philharmonic home that opened in 2003. And he brought back to life the Hollywood Bowl, transforming it into one of the city’s favorite warm-weather venues.

Even in retirement Fleischmann wielded influence that resonates with the Philharmonic, recognizing Gustavo Dudamel’s ability as early as 2004 and championing the young Venezuelan conductor, who became the orchestra’s music director last year.

Read the full obituary here.

in his office at the Music Center Pavilion in 1998. Credit: Los Angeles Times