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The Los Angeles Philharmonic and music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel have found a way to reinvent the org’s annual winter gala amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The solution: Icons on Inspiration, an online event featuring the Phil performing at the Hollywood Bowl interspersed with Dudamel in conversation with all-star guests.
The program, which opens with composer Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst, features Dudamel in one-on-one virtual chats with the legendary Julie Andrews, Oscar winner Common, global superstar Katy Perry, Oscar winner Natalie Portman, Latin Grammy-winner Carlos Vives, and acclaimed pianist Yuja Wang. The focus of the conversations is on how “music inspires and uplifts them and about their enduring support for the art form,” per the announcement.
The show will be available free to stream beginning Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. PT and will remain available through March 6. Proceeds from the fundraiser will sustain the ongoing work of the Phil, its musicians and future work in engaging and entertaining audiences.
“This year, music has been a lifeline for so many of us, helping to bring us together in spirit through the many challenges,” Dudamel offered. “We wanted to create an event that honored that sense of hope and connection and celebrated the way that the orchestra can unite us in the service of something greater than ourselves. To be able to share the stage with these extraordinary cultural icons is a dream and privilege, and to be able to perform some of their favorite pieces of music is a gift.”
Also featured between the conversations, the orchestra will play music selected and inspired by the guests: Ellington’s “Martin Luther King” from Three Black Kings in a new orchestration by Terence Blanchard; Scherzo: Pizzicato ostinato from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4; Berceuse from Stravinsky’s The Firebird; Márquez’ Danzón No. 2 in a version for solo piano performed by Yuja Wang; Romero’s Fuga con Pajarillo featuring members of YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles); and “Das himmlische Leben” from Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in an arrangement by Erwin Stein and featuring soprano Liv Redpath. More information about the event can be found here.
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