A Disney Hall Sunday simulcast in Grand Park

A Disney Hall Sunday simulcast in Grand Park
Music fans take in a free simulcast of a show inside Walt Disney Hall at Grand Park on Sunday. (Jessica Gelt)

The inside of Walt Disney Hall spilled outside in all its symphonic glory on Sunday as nearly 2,000 music fans caught a simulcast of the show while sitting in the grass of Grand Park in downtown L.A.

The event, the first of its kind, was part of a series of celebrations in honor of the famed Frank Gehry-designed building's 10th anniversary. The festivities included performances by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, organist extraordinaire Philip Allen Smith and Latin heavy hitters La Santa Cecilia.


The Youth Orchestra L.A. also performed alongside the L.A. Philharmonic for the first time ever, with Gustavo Dudamel conducting both.

Dudamel was beamed from backstage to the giant screen in the park just before the show. He appeared with L.A. Phil president Deborah Borda, who gave an enthusiastic welcome to the cheering crowd in Grand Park.

"Welcome to your house!" said Dudamel as the pair walked onstage. Enthusiastic applause could be heard through the speakers from the ticketed guests inside.

The tickets for this particular show were free but were quickly claimed as soon as they became available, which was partly how the idea for the simulcast came to be, said L.A. Phil promotions manager Erin Pargas.

"Any time we can bring music out to the people is a good thing," she said. "The idea is that Walt Disney Concert Hall is supposed to be a living room for L.A."

Grand Park too was a living room for L.A. on Sunday as people sat scattered across the grass on colorful blankets and portable chairs. They brought picnics or bought food from a variety of food trucks on premise. Many were barefoot. Children played and danced. Some people simply lay in the grass with their eyes closed, listening to the music, which sounded crystal clear through loudspeakers.

The screen was a bit harder to see because of a bright sun, but with the familiar white peak of City Hall as a backdrop against the deep blue of a late-afternoon sky, that hardly mattered. The scene was peaceful and the audience content.

A good number of people in the park had never been inside Disney Hall, so they welcomed the sneak peek.

"I love Dudamel, and this will be my first opportunity to see him," said former ballerina and dance teacher Nancy Juarez, who came with a friend. "Next time I'll get tickets to go inside."

Ellice Soliven, who came with her friend Jonathan Mora, said that it was just a good day to attend a fun and free event.

"It's interesting and different," said Mora.

"And we can get some culture," said Soliven, adding with emphasis, "In L.A.!"


Also getting some culture were musician Michael Nattboy and his 8-year-old son who came to the park with friends and relaxed on a blanket in the shade.

"It's just a beautiful Sunday to spend listening to great music," said Nattboy.

Meanwhile, just behind him, a pair of young women emerged into the park from an underground parking structure. They looked up with surprise as Dudamel's hands swept like skilled dancers across the screen before them.

"Oh, a concert!" one exclaimed to the other. "How nice!"