L.A. Phil’s 2017-18 season will build bridges, Dudamel says

Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel in Disney Hall last month.
(Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

The Los Angeles Philharmonic is expected to announce its 2017-18 lineup Tuesday, and in offering a sneak peek of the season, Music Director Gustavo Dudamel said if there is a theme, it is diversity — in cultures, in artists and in the music itself.

“It’s a really, really special season,” Dudamel said of a schedule that includes four women — Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, Susanna Malkki, Emmanuelle Haim and Xian Zhang — each conducting multiple concerts. The season also includes a 10-day festival, “CDMX — Music From Mexico City,” part of the L.A. Phil’s participation in the Getty Museum-led “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA,” exhibitions and events centered on Latino and Latin American art.

The 2017-18 season includes 23 commissions and 22 world premieres, the L.A. Phil said.


At a time when immigration and diversity are in the news, the forthcoming season may have added resonance for audiences. “We keep creating these bridges, destroying, in a way, the borders that we can have culturally,” Dudamel said. “As I said when I started as music director, it’s about showing that we are one America.”

In a blending of cultures, not to mention music and movies, the “Music From Mexico City” festival will screen the film “Birdman” with a live performance by percussionist Antonio Sanchez, who wrote the score for director Alejandro G. Inarritu, a friend of Dudamel’s. The festival also will present historical and contemporary Mexican movies to which Dudamel will conduct an orchestral accompaniment.

The season will open with Dudamel conducting an all-Mozart gala, and two subsequent programs will focus on a single year in the composer’s life: 1791. “He wrote so many things in this last year of his life that are [among] his most important music,” Dudamel said. “It will be very deep and beautiful.”

L.A. Phil conductor laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen will return to conduct his piano concerto with soloist Yefim Bronfman, his violin concerto with soloist Leila Josefowicz and the West Coast premiere of his cello concerto, to be performed by Yo-Yo Ma.

Other season highlights:

“Bernstein 100”: In a centennial celebration of Leonard Bernstein, Dudamel will conduct a production of the composer’s “Mass,” a theatrical piece that includes singers and dancers.

Yuval Sharon: L.A. Phil artist collaborator Sharon, now in the second year of his three-year residency, will stage the world premiere of an opera by New York composer Annie Gosfield. “War of the Worlds” will unfold, as other Sharon works have, inside Walt Disney Concert Hall and on the streets of L.A.

Schumann Cycle: Dudamel will conduct a Schumann symphony cycle as well as a production of the composer’s “Das Paradies und die Peri,” which was inspired by China’s Dunhuang Caves, a mile-long stretch of ancient caves painted with murals. In a first for the L.A. Phil, the production is a collaboration between the L.A. Phil, director Peter Sellars and video artist Refik Anadol. “It’s full of bridges,” Dudamel said of the piece.

“We are creating connections with and within our community, every season,” Dudamel added. “Music is a language everybody understands. It’s universal.”

The full 2017-18 season lineup can be seen here.

Follow me on Twitter: @debvankin


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