Los Angeles Philharmonic Announces Walt Disney Concert Hall 2021/22 Season

World-renowned guest artists include Jazz Herbie Hancock, Ólafur Arnalds, Emanuel Ax, Nicola Benedetti, J’Nai Bridges, Yefim Bronfman and more.

By: Jun. 22, 2021
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Los Angeles Philharmonic Announces Walt Disney Concert Hall 2021/22 Season

Los Angeles Philharmonic Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel and Chad Smith, Chief Executive Officer and David C. Bohnett Chief Executive Officer Chair, today announced the LA Phil's 2021/22 season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, heralding the long-awaited resumption of live concerts at the iconic venue following a 19-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Celebrating this return, trailblazing projects throughout 2021/22 include: the multi-year Pan-American Music Initiative (PAMI), curated this season by composer Gabriela Ortiz; the Power to the People! festival, organized by Gustavo Dudamel and Creative Chair for Jazz Herbie Hancock, bringing together musicians in every genre and distinguished guests in the humanities for a multidimensional vision of music and social change; a multidisciplinary, multi-genre Gen X festival paying tribute to the hierarchy-defying generation (1965-1980) that gave rise to hip-hop, riot grrrls, indie film and an explosion of new concert music transforming world culture; Reel Change: The New Era of Film Music, celebrating film music and the wide-ranging influences of its new generation of groundbreaking voices; a staged production of Beethoven's Fidelio conducted by Dudamel and produced in collaboration with Deaf West Theatre; and the premieres of two dozen works commissioned by the LA Phil.

Other highlights include four concerts led by Thomas Wilkins, Principal Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, celebrating the orchestral music of Duke Ellington with the LA Phil. Continuing the LA Phil's commitment to free digital content, Sound/Stage season 3, an online series of concerts, features nine episodes highlighting programming across the season, with further details to be announced.

Gustavo Dudamel said, "Over this past year, the pandemic has isolated us from one another, and so as we celebrate our return to Walt Disney Concert Hall, we want to remember all that unites us, and all that is best in us. This season, we will blend different musical traditions, bridge geographical borders and build new connections among cultures, communities, audiences and artists. Whether experiencing the overpowering message of freedom in Beethoven's Fidelio; moving to the rhythms of Ginastera, Villa-Lobos and Revueltas in the Pan-American Music Initiative; or feeling the passionate urgency of change in Power to the People!, this season is about coming together and once again sharing the beauty of life with each other."

Throughout the 2021/22 season, Gustavo Dudamel conducts a dozen wide-ranging programs, including Schoenberg's Transfigured Night and Strauss' Death and Transfiguration, the world premiere of Thomas Adès' Dante (an LA Phil commission supported by the Lenore S. and Bernard A. Greenberg Fund) as part of the Gen X Festival, two world premieres by Gabriela Ortiz, programs for PAMI pairing Stravinsky's major ballet scores (The Rite of Spring, Petrushka, The Firebird) with ballet and film scores by Ginastera (Estancia), Villa-Lobos (Uirapuru), and Revueltas (La noche de los Mayas) and a season-capping Power to the People! festival including the world premiere and LA Phil commission of a new work for orchestra by Angélica Negrón alongside William Grant Still's Symphony No. 1, "Afro-American."

Chad Smith added, "While Gustavo and the orchestra have continued to connect with audiences online and at the Hollywood Bowl, their return to the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage is a special kind of homecoming. It's a moment we've been waiting for since the start of the pandemic, and Gustavo has put together an extraordinary lineup of programs that invite us to return to live music and to one another. The themes that run throughout the season are informed by our collective experience of the past year, focusing on the power of creative expression to help us transcend our circumstances and our interdependence across generations, continents, and perspectives. The 2021/22 season offers opportunities for celebration, reflection, discovery and connections, and we couldn't be more thrilled to begin."

The 2021/22 season features guest conductors including LA Phil creative leaders Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Susanna Mälkki, John Adams, Paolo Bortolameolli, and Thomas Wilkins, alongside Thomas Adès, Semyon Bychkov, Karina Canellakis, Elim Chan, Paavo Järvi, Philippe Jordan, Simone Menezes, David Newman, Anthony Parnther, Nathalie Stutzmann, Michael Tilson Thomas, Simone Young, and Xian Zhang.

World-renowned guest artists sharing the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage this season include LA Phil Creative Jazz for Jazz Herbie Hancock, Ólafur Arnalds, Emanuel Ax, Nicola Benedetti, J'Nai Bridges, Yefim Bronfman, Robert Glasper, Jeff Goldblum, Hilary Hahn, Emmylou Harris, Leila Josefowicz, Sunwook Kim, Mon Laferte, Lang Lang, Igor Levit, Víkingur Ólafsson, Itzhak Perlman, Pink Martini, Beatrice Rana, Ry X, Golda Schultz, Andy Shauf, Sparks, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Sergio Tiempo, Daniil Trifonov, Yuja Wang and Cece Winans, among others.


The LA Phil's Humanities Programs are generously supported by Linda and David Shaheen.

The 2021/22 season kicks off Saturday, October 9, with the LA Phil's annual celebratory fundraising-event as Dudamel leads the orchestra in a "homecoming"-themed program including the world premiere of an LA Phil commissioned work for orchestra by Gabriela Ortiz (also part of the Pan-American Music Initiative).


From November 14 to 21, in Reel Change: The New Era of Film Music, the LA Phil celebrates today's increasingly adventurous film music and the wide-ranging influences of its most groundbreaking voices with programs curated by composer Kris Bowers and Nicholas Britell. Performances include the world premiere of Kris Bowers' LA Phil-commissioned Concerto for Horn, featuring soloist Andrew Bain, LA Phil Principal Horn and John Cecil Bessell Chair, on November 20. Other programming to be announced.


Under Dudamel's leadership, the LA Phil has embarked on the expansive, five-year Pan-American Music Initiative (PAMI), celebrating the explosive creativity of music found in Bogotá, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, CDMX, and across the Americas. The first PAMI season is curated by Latin Grammy-nominated composer Gabriela Ortiz (Mexico) and features two world premieres of her music commissioned by the LA Phil: a Violin Concerto, featuring soloist María Dueñas (May 14-15, supported by the Lenore S. and Bernard A. Greenberg Fund), and a new work for orchestra (October 9). Another three programs conducted by Dudamel feature pairings of key ballet scores by Igor Stravinsky with music for ballet by Latin American composers, as well as world premieres of LA Phil-commissioned works. Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Alberto Ginastera's (Argentina) complete Estancia share the program with a new work by Alex Nante (Argentina) and will feature baritone/narrator Gustavo Castillo (May 5 - 8), Stravinsky's Petrushka and Silvestre Revuletas' (Mexico) La noche de los Mayas will be performed with Ricardo Lorenz's (Venezuela) new work (May 12-13), and Stravinsky's complete The Firebird and Hector Villa-Lobos' (Brazil) Uirapuru will be on the program with Ortiz' Violin Concerto (May 14-15). Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 will be performed with soprano Jeanine De Bique, mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven, tenor Issachah Savage and bass José Antonio López on a program with world premieres from Francisco Cortéz-Álvarez (Mexico) and Gonzalo Garrido-Lecca (Peru) (May 26-29). June 2-5 includes the world premiere of an LA Phil-commissioned work for orchestra by Angélica Negrón (Puerto Rico), which is also part of the Power to the People! festival. Additional programming to be announced will include the world premiere of a new work commissioned by the LA Phil from Victor Agudelo (Colombia).


Dudamel and Creative Chair for Jazz Herbie Hancock join forces to curate collaborative programs celebrating the role of artists in advancing social change, civil rights and humanitarian causes, with musicians of every genre helping us to see the world as it is and imagine the world as it could be. Started in 2020 but cut short due to the pandemic, programs this season include the world premiere of an LA Phil-commissioned work for orchestra by Puerto Rican-born Angélica Negrón paired with William Grant Still's Symphony No. 1, "Afro-American" (June 2 & 5), also part of PAMI. This program also features mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges. Organist Nathaniel Gumbs will be featured in a program titled Hold On, We Shall Overcome! (May 29). Composer/conductor/librettist Ted Hearne and poet/librettist Saul Williams present their Pulitzer nominated work Place, co-produced and co-commissioned with Beth Morrison Projects, to conclude the Green Umbrella series (June 7). Additional programs to be announced.


Born between 1965 and 1980, Gen X has had an impact on our culture that is only beginning to be recognized. The Gen X festival combines orchestral concerts curated by Thomas Adès with popular presentations and humanities conversations taking a multi-genre look at the slackers, hackers, and latch-key kids who were born analog and became digital. The festival will feature both Gen X icons and music that addresses seminal moments in Gen X history, including the birth of the internet and the AIDS epidemic. Programs feature far-ranging humanities presentations and a wide variety of popular music and will include Dudamel conducting the orchestra in the U.S. premiere of Adès' LA Phil-commissioned Dante (April 28-30, supported by the Lenore S. and Bernard A. Greenberg Fund) a composition spanning hell, purgatory, and heaven. Additional programs to be announced (April 18-May 1).

SYMPHONIC Duke Ellington

Thomas Wilkins and the Los Angeles Philharmonic explore the music of Duke Ellington against the backdrop of our own historical moment, during which the composer's explorations of Black American history, expressive life and compassionate future continue to resonate. Joined by pianist Gerald Clayton for a weekend of compositions with full orchestra (January 20-23), Wilkins will conduct works including Night Creature, New World A-Comin', Black, Brown & Beige, Solitude, The River Suite and selections from the Sacred Concerts. In addition, pianist Robert Glasper partners with special guests to reconstruct Ellington for the 21st century (January 15) as part of the jazz series.


Dudamel will collaborate with Los Angeles' acclaimed Tony Award-winning Deaf West Theatre, in a new, semi-staged production of Beethoven's opera of redemption and liberation, Fidelio, directed by Alberto Arvelo and Joaquín Solano (April 14-16). Entirely performed by Deaf actors as well as sung by hearing performers, the production is intended for both Deaf and hearing audiences. Featured performers include Christiane Libor as Leonore and Ian Koziara as Florestan, Gabriella Reyes as Marzelline, Jose Simerilla Romero as Jaquino, Ryan Speedo Green as Rocco, Shenyang as Don Pizarro and Ethan Vincent as Don Fernando.


Joined by soprano Golda Schultz, Dudamel leads a program that explores the richly colored, harmonically searching music of the late Romantic era in its metamorphosis into modernism (October 14-17). Arnold Schoenberg's Transfigured Night will be paired with Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs and Death and Transfiguration. These performances are supported by the Lloyd E. Rigler-Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation.


Dudamel conducts the orchestra in his beloved Mahler's Symphony No. 4 (soloist Camilla Tilling) on a program combining it with the world premiere of Steve Mackey's LA Phil-commissioned Trumpet Fantasy, featuring soloist Thomas Hooten, LA Phil Principal and M. David and Diane Paul Chair, and Jessie Montgomery's Strum (October 21-24).


For this season's residency, Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the orchestra in two world premieres of LA Phil-commissioned compositions. He conducts the world premiere of Gabriella Smith's Organ Concerto (supported by the Lenore S. and Bernard A. Greenberg Fund), featuring soloist James McVinnie, the U.S. premiere of the orchestral version of his own composition FOG, and Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra February 11-12. Salonen is joined by Víkingur Ólafsson for the world premiere of Daníel Bjarnason's Piano Concerto (supported by the Lenore S. and Bernard A. Greenberg Fund) on a program that also includes Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and Sibelius' Symphony No. 7 (February 18-20).


Conductor Emeritus Zubin Mehta returns to the LA Phil for two monumental programs this season. Mehta conducts the orchestra in Mozart's "Great" Mass in C minor, with sopranos Brenda Rae and Miah Persson, tenor Attilio Glaser, and bass Michael Sumuel, joined by the Los Angeles Master Chorale (March 31-April 3), as well as Berg's Violin Concerto with soloist Vilde Frang and Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 (April 7, 8 & 10).


Principal Guest Conductor and Ann Ronus Chair Susanna Mälkki returns to Walt Disney Concert Hall to lead the LA Phil in two programs of music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Mälkki conducts the U.S. premiere of Kaija Saariaho's LA Phil-commissioned Vista, along with Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto with pianist Beatrice Rana and Scriabin's The Poem of Ecstasy (October 29-31) and Steve Reich's Runner and John Adams's Violin Concerto, with soloist Leila Josefowicz, and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances (November 6-7).


Associate Conductor Paolo Bortolameolli returns with Elgar's Cello Concerto featuring soloist Camille Thomas in her LA Phil debut, Chilean composer Miguel Farías' El Color del Tiempo, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, "Pathetique" (March 4-6).


Making his annual appearance at Walt Disney Concert Hall, long-time LA Phil guest conductor Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct his own Meditations on Rilke with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and bass-baritone Dashon Burton, in a program that also includes Fauré's Pavane and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 (January 7-9). MTT leads the LA Phil in Mahler's Blumine and Alban Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra and is joined by Emanuel Ax for Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 (January 13-16).


Pianist Igor Levit joins conductor Elim Chan and the orchestra to perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 on a program that also includes the U.S. premiere of Elizabeth Ogonek's LA Phil-commissioned Cloudline and Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4, "Italian" (January 27, 29 & 30).


Pianist Yefim Bronfman will be the soloist, with conductor Philippe Jordan, in Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3, in a program that also includes Prokofiev's Suite from Romeo and Juliet (February 3-6).


Sergio Tiempo joins conductor Karina Canellakis to perform Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1 on a program that also includes Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Metacosmos and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10. (March 12-13).


In a concert led by guest conductor Paavo Järvi, Hilary Hahn will be the soloist for Barber's Violin Concerto in a program that also includes Arvo Pärt's Silhouette and Dvořák Symphony No. 7 (March 18-20).


Guest conductor Semyon Bychkov returns to Walt Disney Concert Hall to lead the LA Phil in Mahler's Symphony No. 7 (March 24, 26 & 27).


Returning guest conductor Nathalie Stutzmann leads the orchestra in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21, featuring soloist Sunwook Kim, on a program that also includes Ravel's Menuet antique, Le tombeau de Couperin, and Bolero (November 12-14).


In a concert led by returning guest conductor Simone Young, Nicola Benedetti will be the soloist in the Korngold Violin Concerto. The program also includes the U.S. premiere of Australian composer Connor D'Netto's Uncertain Planning and Brahms's Symphony No. 4 (November 26 & 28).


Guest conductor Xian Zhang conducts the world premiere and LA Phil commission of Julia Adolphe's Concerto for Violin, featuring Martin Chalifour, LA Phil Principal Concertmaster and Marjorie Connell Wilson Chair, as soloist. The evening also features Nokuthula Ngwenyama's Primal Message and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 (December 3-5).


Continuing its steadfast commitment to the future of music, the LA Phil presents five Green Umbrella series concerts in the 2021/22 season, guided by John and Samantha Williams Creative Chair John Adams. The series will include:

  • Storytelling, curated by Nathalie Joachim and Pamela Z, conducted by Simone Menezes (January 11)
  • A program curated by Pekka Kuusisto and Ellen Reid and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, featuring the West Coast premiere of Shrink by Nico Muhly (February 15)
  • Installation, curated by inti figgis-vizueta and Jay Campbell (March 8)
  • Noon to Midnight: anchored by the LA Phil New Music Group's performance of music by Louis Andriessen, curated and conducted by John Adams, the day also includes Pauline Oliveros' Tuning Meditation led by flutist Claire Chase and world premieres of LA Phil commissions by Rajna Swaminathan, Mazz Swift, and Annie Gosfield (supported by the Lenore S. and Bernard A. Greenberg Fund) (April 9).
  • Place (LA Phil commission), written by Ted Hearne and Saul Williams, directed by Patricia McGregor (June 7) (also part of Power to the People! festival)


During the 2021/22 season, Walt Disney Concert Hall also welcomes an exceptional roster of guest artists. Recitalists include Yuja Wang solo and with Leonidas Kavakos, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Mahan Esfahani, Itzhak Perlman, Garrick Ohlsson, Midori, Lang Lang, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Isata Kanneh-Mason, and Daniil Trifonov. Ensembles scheduled to take the stage in the Sounds About Town series include the American Youth Symphony and Colburn Orchestra. The organ series includes Cameron Carpenter, Chelsea Chen, Monica Czausz, and Nathaniel Gumbs.


Jazz concerts in 2021/22, curated by Herbie Hancock, feature Robert Glasper Reimagines Ellington (January 15) (also part of the Symphonic Duke Ellington week); Herbie Hancock (February 27); a Wayne Shorter Celebration featuring Brian Blade (drums), John Patitucci (bass), Danilo Pérez (piano) plus special guests Terence Blanchard, Kenny Garrett and Joe Lovano, the program also includes trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire's Origami Harvest (March 9); and the Maria Schneider Orchestra with Soul on Soul: A Tribute to Mary Lou Williams (March 25).


World Music programs include Flamenco! Fiesta de la Bulería Jerez (November 27), Chilean singer Mon Laferte (February 26), Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf (March 11) and the Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds (June 14).


The Songbook series this season features Australian singer-songwriter RY X with the LA Phil conducted by Anthony Parnther (November 10), and Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra (April 29). The series concludes with the return of Emmylou Harris to Walt Disney Concert Hall (June 11).


Special additional concerts include Sparks celebrating 50 years together (February 8); a screening Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with live organ accompaniment by Clark Wilson for Halloween (October 31); conductor David Newman leading the orchestra in performances of John Williams's music for the film Home Alone (December 11-12); and New Year's Eve with Pink Martini (December 31). Other holiday concerts include Chanticleer (December 14), Cece Winans and The Kingdom Choir (December 17), Holiday Sing-Along hosted by Melissa Peterman (December 18), Arturo Sandoval Big Band Swinging Christmas (December 21) and The Doo Wop Project (December 22).


Following the current health guidelines set forth by the County of Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall will be available at 100% capacity for concerts starting in October. All attendees are encouraged to get vaccinated when possible. Our policies and procedures are created to align with the LA County Department of Public Health protocols, which currently require unvaccinated individuals to wear a mask in public indoor settings. We will continue to closely monitor updates and recommended guidance from our public health experts; further information and updates can be found here.


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