The Los Angeles Philharmonic Announces Details for GEN X Festival

Liz Phair to be joined by special guests Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast), Remi Wolf and Vagabon.

By: Mar. 24, 2022
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The Los Angeles Philharmonic Announces Details for GEN X Festival

The Los Angeles Philharmonic announced today additional details for the Gen X festival, a multidisciplinary, multi-genre exploration of Generation X-the slackers, hackers and latchkey kids who started off analog and became digital. Born between 1965 and 1980, Generation X is the dark horse demographic dwarfed in number by the Boomers and Millennials on either side. While small in number, their collective impact on culture continues to be felt today. With concerts curated by Thomas Adès and Liz Phair, and special events by Waiting to X-hale podcasters Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, the festival combines orchestral concerts, popular presentations, and humanities events in a decidedly LA Phil-esque way.

"Putting together this mini-festival, I quickly came to feel that if there was one big thing that united creative artists born between 1965 and 1980, it was that there is no one big thing," said artistic curator Thomas Adès. "Certainty is out; being right or being wrong are equally unappealing. Maybe even that is saying too much? Who wants to be put in any kind of box, be it a 'generation,' or a start and end date?"

i??Co-curators of the festival's humanities programming Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh and Karen Tongson described their offerings as exploring "Gen X culture through a distinctly LA lens, revisiting so much of what we remember fondly about the era, along with what some of us have tried hard to forget. Too often what stands in for both Los Angeles and Gen X culture has been filtered through male fantasies about the mastery of pop culture and its range of references, with little regard for the disparate scenes, subcultures, sensibilities, and sites throughout our sprawling metropolis. Our curatorial approach to the Gen X festival will be in keeping with an expansive but also whimsical view of LA and its role in Gen X pop culture, while honoring our podcast Waiting to X-hale's queer/woman-of-color focus on the era, as we amplify the artists, activists, creators and communities whose points of view have been pushed to the peripheries in the story of Los Angeles."

"As reductive as it may be to make generalizations based on the year someone is born, there is an undeniable affinity and even an attitude shared by people who, during their formative years, went through the same stuff-the same sociological shifts, the same presidential administrations, the same cultural juggernauts, the same silly trends, the same unimaginable heartbreaks. When I look across the festival's programming and the incredible collection of artists, thinkers and cultural partners who've come to the party, I see a complex portrait of Gen X expression emerge that is thoroughly postmodern. It mixes high and low, skips through history, and brings identity and irony to the fore in ways that continue to reverberate in our culture today," said Julia Ward, the LA Phil's Director of Humanities.

The Gen X festival runs from April 22 to May 14, 2022, with concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall and humanities events across Los Angeles, many of which are free with RSVP.

See below for a complete listing of concerts and events, or visit


Available to stream starting Friday, March 25, at 10:00 AM

Online at


Sound/Stage: Ani DiFranco

With her own record label and a fierce following of like-minded feminists, Ani DiFranco shook up ideas of queer identity, bodily autonomy, and what it meant to be a woman circa 1990. Today she continues to bring her politics to bear in songs calling for a "revolutionary love." As part of the LA Phil's online streaming series Sound/Stage, DiFranco took the stage at the Hollywood Bowl with a combination of Gen X anthems and contemporary reflections. Between songs, DiFranco is joined by guest Humanities curators Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh for a conversation about Gen X values and their reverberations through time.


Friday, April 22, at 8:00 PM

Walt Disney Concert Hall


Voices of a Generation

Los Angeles Philharmonic

Thomas Adès, curator & conductor

Pekka Kuusisto, violin

Thomas Adès exemplifies a generation of composers who drew upon the long history of symphonic music but rethought those traditional forms with a postmodern eye and sometimes ironic distancing. Adès both curates and conducts an evening featuring an international selection of Gen X composers, and violinist Pekka Kuusisto shines in music by Francisco Coll and the U.S. premiere of Adès' Märchentänze. As a post-concert bonus on the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage, Thomas Adès turns from conductor to pianist with Pekka Kuusisto for two duets, Stravinsky's Duo concertante and Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Piano.

Saturday, April 23, at 8:00 PM

Sunday, April 24, at 2:00 PM

Walt Disney Concert Hall


Corigliano and Norman

Teddy Abrams, conductor

Los Angeles Philharmonic

Teddy Abrams, conductor

Thomas Adès, curator

John Corigliano long resisted writing a symphony, seeing it as a form that served a composer's ego over the audience and performers. At the height of the AIDS crisis, Corigliano overcame that hesitation and wrote his Symphony No. 1 as a way to memorialize friends lost to the epidemic. Though he was a member of the so-called "Silent Generation," Corigliano's symphony served as influential composition for those coming of age in symphonic circles when it premiered in 1990. In this Gen X program curated by Thomas Adès, the milestone Symphony No. 1 is paired with music by Andrew Norman and Jonathan Bailey Holland.

Sunday, April 24, 2022, 4:00pm

Walt Disney Concert Hall - BP Hall

Post-concert event / FREE to ticketholders

Alarm Will Sound

Alan Pierson, conductor

Alarm Will Sound performs two works that reverberate in the world Gen X has made. Alyssa Pypers Cradle is a symbolic journey into the trauma of growing up gay and Mormon. ""Post-minimalist" composer Andrew Hamilton's music for people who like art is set to American artist Ad Reinhardt's "25 Lines of Words on Art: Statement," continually repeating "ART IS ART" and varying in each delivery.


Tuesday, April 26, at 8:00 PM

Walt Disney Concert Hall


Chamber Music: Adès & Britten

This chamber music program features Adès' Arcadiana, written in 1994. It's a statement work by a young composer whose distinctive voice comes through clearly in this contemplation of the imaginary idyll. Also on the program is Britten's Movement for Wind Sextet and his First String Quartet. Written during his time in America and premiered in Los Angeles, it is also steeped in tradition while revealing a path out of the past.

This performance is generously underwritten by Terri and Jerry Kohl.

Thursday, April 28, at 8:00 PM

The Ford - Zev Terrace


I Heart the Valley

The San Fernando Valley came into the national consciousness with Gen X film classics like Clueless, Karate Kid, Valley Girl, Foxes and Encino Man, but the Valley is also home to a racially and economically diverse population that was rarely if ever represented in these films. Gen X festival Humanities co-curator Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh writes, "I too was born with a Golden state of mind, spending my entire childhood held captive by the music, fashion, movies and television of our generation. But, it was hard to see myself in celluloid. Everything was whitewashed, glamorized and dramatized. We were in the background-the wordless classmates in the hallway, delivering a funny quip at best. The '80s offered few positive and nuanced depictions of young Black women in cinema that I could relate to. But I loved these movies, and while I ache for the authentic representation of a young Black Californian girl's life, I must come to terms with the fact that these movies have a place in my life." Hosted by Mitchell-Rohrbaugh and featuring special guest and Valley native Patrisse Cullors, this combined video essay screening and panel will move beyond the white gaze of the era's filmmakers and into the real-life legacies of the Valley.

Thursday, April 28, at 8:00 PM

Friday, April 29, at 11:00 AM

Saturday, April 30, at 8:00 PM

Walt Disney Concert Hall


Dudamel Leads Adès' Dante

Los Angeles Philharmonic

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

Thomas Adès called his "Inferno" "a grateful tribute to Franz Liszt, the composer of hell and demonic music." When Gustavo Dudamel conducted the premiere in the 2018/19 season, it received a standing ovation before it came to a full stop, and the Los Angeles Times called it "ambitious and electrifying." "Inferno" makes up one chapter of an evening-length Dante ballet wherein "each movement has a vivid musical character, with Adès' flamboyant and whimsical take on Liszt and Tchaikovsky." Dudamel conducts the return of "Inferno" alongside "Purgatory" and "Paradise" for the U.S. premiere of the complete Dante score.

Concerts in the Thursday 2 subscription series are generously supported by the Otis Booth Foundation.

Sunday, May 1, 2022, 3:00 PM



Waiting to X-hale (Podcast Taping)

Waiting to X-hale is a queer/woman-of-color-driven podcast exploring the pop culture and transformative social issues that defined Generation X. Hosted by Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, experts in the fields of pop culture and digital media, Waiting to X-hale's discussions, debates and instructive interludes reflect on Gen X culture and its enduring afterlives in ways that shed new light on both then and now. The podcast taping will bring a distinctly LA lens to the subject, amplifying the Gen X artists, creators and communities whose points of view have been traditionally pushed to the peripheries in the story of Los Angeles. Special guests to be announced.

Presented in collaboration with Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater | REDCAT

Tuesday, May 3, at 7:00 PM

Los Angeles Central Library - Mark Taper Auditorium


Let the Record Show: A Conversation with Sarah Schulman

In conjunction with the orchestra's performance of John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1, a memorial to those he lost to AIDS at the height of the epidemic, the LA Phil welcomes Sarah Schulman, author of Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993. Twenty years in the making, Schulman's Let the Record Show is the most comprehensive political history ever assembled of ACT UP and American AIDS activism. In just six years, ACT UP, New York, a broad and unlikely coalition of activists from all races, genders, sexualities and backgrounds, changed the world. Armed with rancor, desperation, intelligence and creativity, it took on the AIDS crisis with an indefatigable, ingenious and multifaceted attack on the corporations, institutions, governments, and individuals who stood in the way of AIDS treatment for all. Join Schulman, one of the most revered queer writers and thinkers of her generation, for a combined reading and conversation about how a group of desperate outcasts changed America forever, and in the process created a livable future for generations of people across the world.

Presented in collaboration with the ALOUD Series

Wednesday, May 4, at 7:00 PM

Second Home Hollywood


From Spago to Latchkey Cuisine: LA Food in the '80s and '90s with Evan Kleiman

During Generation X's formative years, the LA food scene was on the rise, with media making Wolfgang Puck a household name and the trickle-down trends of everything from pesto to sundried tomatoes making their way into America's pantries. At home, latchkey kids were popping frozen chimichangas into microwaves and peeling Fruit Roll-Ups off plastic film, while first- and second-generation kids were making their own cross-cultural mash-ups.

Hosted by Good Food's Evan Kleiman and curated by Karen Tongson, this combined panel and tasting examines how Gen X-era chefs, home cooks and kids left to their own devices in the City of Angels were shaping the tastes of a nation. Participating panelists include Diep Tran and Mary Sue Milliken, while chef Courtney Storer oversees a team reinterpreting Gen X classics for a post-panel tasting.

Presented in collaboration with Second Home Hollywood

Saturday, May 7, at 9:00 PM



Queer Utopias on the Dancefloor and Beyond

Facing the AIDS crisis and a mainstream culture that was indifferent at best and outright hostile at worst, LA's Gen X LGBTQ+ community found a home for themselves in the performance spaces and on the dance floors of clubs like Jewel's Catch One, Arena, Club Chico, The Palms, Paradise Ballroom, Outer Limits and Circus. While many of these places are no longer with us, lost to forces like gentrification and the march of time, their memory continues to inform a utopian longing, a desire to come into being on the dance floor.

Gen X festival Humanities curator and author of Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries Karen Tongson writes, "I want to explore the strange resonances and reverberations, or what I call 'remote intimacies,' that happen across time, activated by our relationship to art, popular culture and our sense of place, bringing us to the point of what is possible together, communally." The line-up, which includes author Raquel Gutiérrez, performance collective My Barbarian, dance music artist Crystal Waters and Arena's former DJ Irene Gutiérrez, is, as Tongson continues, "evocative of the queer utopias that were forged through the music and media from our shared past, conjured together for performances and a dance party that are very much about our queer here, now and everlasting."

Presented in collaboration with Zebulon

Tuesday, May 10, at 8:00 PM

Walt Disney Concert Hall


Liz Phair: Don't Holdyrbreath

From Zoomers to Boomers, everyone knows the significance of Liz Phair on the Gen X soundtrack of our lives. For this very special show, Liz will perform the greatest songs from her impressive catalog, probably swear, and host some special guests, including Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast), Remi Wolf and Vagabon, who will reimagine the lamest hits of Gen X.

Tuesday, May 10, at 7:00 PM

Pre-Concert Talk at Walt Disney Concert Hall, BP Hall

FREE to all ticketholders

Join the Waiting to X-hale podcast for a free-flowing conversation about Gen X anthems and the music videos that defined a generation, featuring author and former MTV VJ Dave Holmes, host of the You Must Remember This podcast Karina Longworth and surprise guests!

Saturday, May 14, at Noon

Aero Theatre


Sunshine and Noir: 1980s LA Horror Marathon

Borrowing its name from the phrase cultural historian Mike Davis used to describe how Los Angeles is more sinister, intense and foreboding than the city's boosters care to admit, Sunshine and Noir: 1980s LA Horror Marathon takes a deep dive into the LA-based horror films that terrorized a generation and continue to define its fears. Curated by Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, the marathon foregrounds the contributions of women and people of color, while also illuminating the ways in which horror films played out 1980s LA's preoccupation with ambition, health and wealth. Featuring a combination of film screenings and guest artist panels, Sunshine and Noir promises a chilling descent into the City of Angels' dark side and a nostalgia trip of epic proportions for those whose first encounters with horror took place on VHS.

Presented in collaboration with American Cinematheque

For more information on the entire Gen X festival, please visit:


Tickets for Walt Disney Concert Hall's 2021/22 season are currently available online at, via phone at 323 850 2000, or in person at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office.


Prior to attending, audiences are encouraged to view the LA Phil's updated COVID protocol guidelines posted on the website. All venues will continue to receive public health guidelines from Los Angeles County, and as policies evolve.

Programs, artists, prices and dates are subject to change. Ticket limits may apply.


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