LA Phil looks south and east for its diversity

LA Phil looks south and east for its diversity


norman lebrecht

February 06, 2020

Gustavo Dudamel’s LA Philharmonic is still setting the pace in America for new audiences and relationships. No other orchestra comes close.

Next LA season will focus on Latin American voices and the rising Korean sun.

Press release below.



Under the leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil launches the Pan-American Music Initiative, a five-year celebration of the vision and creativity of artists from across the Americas. Over the life of the project, Dudamel and the LA Phil will invest in 30 commissions, recording projects, residencies and partnerships with Pan-American cultural institutions, and original collaborations with Pan-American artists across all of the LA Phil’s venues: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Bowl and The Ford. Each season will be shaped by an artist-curator, and the first year will be guided by Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz. In the 2020/21 season, programs feature iconic works by Revueltas and Ginastera, including the latter’s Estancia ballet with choreography by Brazilian dance troupe Grupo Corpo in their first collaboration with orchestra, as well as new music by Erika Vega, Alejandro Cardona and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez in a Green Umbrella concert conducted by Lina Gonzalez-Granados.

America: The Stories We Tell is a year-long exploration of the ways in which narrative shapes our nation – from well-worn myths to the lesser-known tales. Gustavo Dudamel opens the focus with a program featuring a LA Phil-commissioned world premiere from Puerto Rican-born multi-instrumentalist and composer Angélica Negrón. The focus ends with a performance of Julia Bullock’s History’s Persistent Voice, which highlights the words, work, and experiences of Black American artists. The voices of those enslaved through the 1860s are placed alongside those who lived through years of sharecropping and Jim Crow, as well as currently incarcerated individuals. This mixed-media concert features all-new commissioned music by an esteemed roster of American women of color, including Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Loggins-Hull, Tania León, Jessie Montgomery, Camille Norment, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Pamela Z. Other performances include John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess paired with works by Florence Price and William Grant Still, Sousa marches and responses to them by contemporary composers and a season-long exploration of the music of Pauline Oliveros curated by Claire Chase.

Seoul Festival, curated by acclaimed composer Unsuk Chin, is an in-depth look at the South Korean capital’s flourishing contemporary scene that brings Korean musicians, conductors and composers to Los Angeles, which has the largest Korean population in the United States. This week-long festival features multiple world and U.S. premieres, showcases leading Korean performers, and includes lectures and panel discussions offering additional insight into the concert programs and the cultural context from which they emerged.


  • R. Brite says:

    I just read the LA Times article on the season. It sounds fantastic. Would like to know what they are doing by William Grant Still, who left a huge body of work that IMO has been unjustly neglected.

  • Adam Stern says:

    One wonders how the combination of “…’Porgy and Bess’…with works by Florence Price and William Grant Still” will go over in some quarters:

    • M2N2K says:

      These days in this country, there is virtually nothing that can “go over” equally well in all “quarters”, so there is no point in wasting one’s time wondering.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Great!! As long as they’re the very best talent available this will be a tremendous thing.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    I wish LA luck in their endeavor. Although they’re doing a fair amount of standard rep, the exploration of non-traditional music is exciting. There’s so much wonderful music to explore, and the incessant repetition of the European classics has become tiresome. Bravo Dude!