From the archives:: Rothwell to Dudamel: First impressions of L.A. Phil music directors


Since the L.A. Phil debuted in the fall of 1919 and "startled Los Angeles out of her symphonic slumbers," 11 musical directors have led the orchestra. We wondered what type of first impression each conductor made, so we dived into our archives to find out. We hope you enjoy reading about their debuts.

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Walter Henry Rothwell

Philharmonic Makes Debut; New Orchestra Raises Tone of Local Music

Convincingly proving his ability to weld into shape a new organization and his capacity for realizing both the musical and artistic content of his programme, Walter Henry Rothwell, as conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra, yesterday startled Los Angeles out of her symphonic slumbers and ... Read more

Obituary: Walter Rothwell, Head Of Orchestra, Stricken

Georg Schneevoigt

Schneevoigt In Triumph; Initial Concert With Philharmonic Orchestra Brings Immediate Victory for Conductor

The name of Georg Schneevoigt will perhaps be duly mispronounced over a wide territory this morning, but the glory of a superb triumph, gained at his initial concert with the Philharmonic Orchestra, belongs to him regardless. One is inclined...Read more

Artur Rodzinski

Los Angeles' Season of Music Opens Thursday; Philharmonic Orchestra Will Begin New Concert Series Under Artur Rodzinski

The Philharmonic Orchestra of Los Angeles gives its opening program of the season Thursday evening and Friday afternoon directed by Dr. Artur Rodzinski. The concert list chosen by Dr. Rodzinski is of general interest with the Leonore overture (Beethoven) and the Mozart G Minor symphony followed by... Read more

Obituary: Conductor Artur Rodzinski Dies at 64

Otto Klemperer

Klemperer Acclaimed; New Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor Receives Ovation on Opening Night of Season

Great! One word, perhaps, suffices to estimate the new conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra. Superenthusiastic, the audience gave its verdict last night, and it was preponderantly in favor of Otto Klemperer. Read more

Obituary: Otto Klemperer Dies; Former L.A. Maestro

Alfred Wallenstein

Wallenstein Wins Ovation; Opening Concert of Philharmonic Warmly Greeted

The Southern California Symphony Association presented its new musical director, Alfred Wallenstein, to an audience which filled the Philharmonic Auditorium to the top row last night. The orchestra, too, was new...Read more

Obituary: Noted Conductor Alfred Wallenstein Dies in N.Y. at 84

Eduard van Beinum

Philharmonic Brilliant in Van Beinum's Debut; Musicians Display Their Capacities in Most Favorable Light as Conductor Takes Over

Last night's concert of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in Philharmonic Auditorium, the sixth subscription program of the season, had the festive air and excitement of an opening, for it brought about the first appearance of Eduard van Beinum in his new capacity as... Read more

Obituary: Van Beinum, Philharmonic Director, Dies at Rehearsal

Zubin Mehta

Mehta Conducts First of Season's Concerts; Director's Debut Heralds Eventful New Chapter in Philharmonic History

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra began a new and what promises to be an eventful chapter in its history when Zubin Mehta officially took over the reins as musical director and conductor at the opening concert of the 44th season in Philharmonic Auditorium Thursday night. Mehta becomes... Read more

Carlo Maria Giulini

Inauguration of Giulini Era

On paper it didn’t look all that interesting. To inaugurate his regime as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Thursday night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Carlo Maria Giulini did not select a long-lost masterpiece or a neglected mystery piece. Nor did he turn to... Read more

Obituary: Intense Poet of the Podium Left Mark on Philharmonic

Andre Previn

Music, TV, Fireworks; Maestro Previn Takes Over

It certainly wasn't just another opening, another show. To celebrate the arrival of Andre Previn as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Thursday night, our cultural guardians pulled out a few extra extramusical stops. Before the concert could begin... Read more

Esa-Pekka Salonen

An Inspired Opening for Esa-Pekka Salonen

Lights. Camera. Mahler. It is official at last. Esa-Pekka Salonen has become the 10th music-director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Or the 11th, if one cares to count the lamented, aborted regime of Georg Solti. It certainly didn't... Read more

Gustavo Dudamel

Bowled over by L.A.'s new maestro

And so, Saturday, it came to pass. After all the extraordinary buildup — the billboards and the bilingual media frenzy — 18,000 people from every corner of the city came to the Hollywood Bowl to bear witness. He goes by many names... Read more