A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

The LA Phil begins the 2011-2012 season, the third full one under the baton of Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, on Sept. 27. And this season, like its predecessors, proves to be filled with wonderful and diverse music, soloists, and visiting conductors.

This preview covers only concerts for the 2011 part of the season. We will present another preview of the 2012 part of the season sometime in December.

The season starts off with an entire month of Dudamel conducting a wide range of music from the classics to the more contemporary. The classics include the Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz  (Sept. 30-Oct. 2) in a reprise of the very first major work Dudamel conducted with the LA Phil in March of 2008; an all Mendelssohn program featuring the Hebrides Overture, the Violin Concerto (with Janine Jansen as soloist), and the Symphony No. 3, the “Scottish” (Oct. 6-9); the Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (with Yefim Bronfman as soloist) (Oct. 13-15); the Prokofiev Symphony No. 5 (Oct. 20-21); and Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor (with Richard Goode as soloist) (Oct. 28-30).

Of course, Dudamel has also programmed some more modern works to balance the traditional works on these programs, including some U.S. and world premieres of pieces, some of which were commissioned by the LA Phil.

After October, however, audiences will see no more of Dudamel until after the New Year, leaving the conducting duties to a series of well-known guest conductors. For example, LA’s own James Conlon, music director of the Los Angeles Opera, will conduct pianist Yuja Wang in a performance of the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 and the Dvorak Symphony No. 7 in D minor (Nov. 4-6).

On Nov. 11-13, Semyon Bychkov will conduct the LA Phil in a performance of the Symphonic Dances by Rachmaninoff and a world premiere of a two-piano concerto by Richard Dubugnon with soloists Katia and Marielle Labèque, who will also perform a two-piano version of the Ravel’s Rapsodie Espagnole.

For those Handel lovers, there is a rare opportunity to hear a live version of the complete Water Music performed by the LA Phil under the direction of Emmanuelle Haïm (Nov. 17-19).

Then, LA Phil Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen will return to Disney Hall (Nov. 25-27) to conduct the rarely heard Beethoven Lenore Overture No. 2 and the more often heard Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Emanuel Ax). Also on the program is the world premiere of Anders Hillborg’s Sirens, an LA Phil commission.

Salonen stays in town for a second series of concerts (Dec. 2-4) featuring two works by Shostakovich, the Symphony No. 4 and the world premiere of his operatic satire, Orango, a piano version of which was only discovered in 2004. The piano sketches were orchestrated by British composer Gerard McBurney at the request of Shostakovich’s widow. This performance is staged by Peter Sellars and, in addition to the LA Phil, features TBA soloists and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

The 2011 portion of the season concludes Dec. 16-18 with Bernard Labadie conducting an all Mozart program featuring the chaconne from Idomeneo ballet music, the Piano Concerto No. 27, the “Coronation,” and the Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter.”

In between the LA Phil concerts, there are solo recitals, most notably by Hilary Hahn playing works by the three Bs (Nov. 1), and Lang Lang playing music by Bach and Schubert as well as the Chopin 12 Etudes (Nov. 6). Chamber music concerts include a performance by the English Concert (Oct. 11); and Johannes Moser performing octets by Françaix and Schubert (Oct. 18) with members of the LA Phil, the latter of which will also perform concerts of works by Françaix, Poulenc, and Debussy (Nov. 8 ) and Prokofiev, Dohnányi, and Dvorák (Dec. 6).

And these are only highlights from half of the wonderful season in store for you at Disney Hall.

For more information, visit www.laphil.com.