A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

While you are planning how to ring in another new year, you might also start thinking about the second half of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2010-2011 season because it promises to be a doozy.

First off, if you are a Brahms lover, heaven waits just around the corner. There are no fewer than eight concerts featuring works by Brahms, including all four symphonies (the fourth symphony will be performed twice); the Violin Concerto; the Second Piano Concerto; the Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra (the Double Concerto); the German Requiem; both overtures (the Academic Festival and Tragic); and the Variations on a Theme by Haydn. In addition, members of the LA Phil will present an evening of chamber music by the German master.

The Brahms extravaganza begins on Tuesday, March 22, when Yuri Temirkanov leads his ensemble, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, in Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. Also on the program is Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture and the 
Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 featuring Alisa Weilerstein on cello.

Just two days later, beginning on March 24, guest conductor Kurt Masur will present a weekend of concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic featuring Sarah Chang performing the 
Brahms Violin Concerto. Also on this all-Romantic program are the Hebrides Overture by Mendelssohn and the sparkling
 Dvorák Symphony No. 8 in G major.

One month later, beginning on April 21, 
Yefim Bronfman performs the 
Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with the LA Phil led by guest conductor
 Juraj Valcuha. Also on the program is the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 1, “Winter Daydreams.”

Gustavo Dudamel / Photo by Sylvia Lleli

Then, starting on Thursday, May 5, 
Gustavo Dudamel begins his month-long cycle of the Brahms symphonies. Every week for five weeks, Dudamel will conduct a Brahms symphony and the German Requiem. In addition to the Brahms-heavy fare, Dudamel will also include on each program a modern work, in many instances, either a West Coast or world premiere.

The performances May 5, 6, and 8 (there is no performance on Saturday, May 7) include the Symphony No. 1 in C minor, the Academic Festival Overture, and the world premiere of the LA Phil-commissioned Violin Concerto by the Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov with soloist
 Leonidas Kavakos.

On May 12, 13, 14, and 15, Dudamel conducts Brahms’ German Requiem featuring Leila Josefowicz on violin, Christine Schäfer, soprano,
 Matthias Goerne, baritone, and 
the Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by its music director, Grant Gershon. Juxtaposed with the German Requiem will be the West Coast premiere of Mackey’s Beautiful Passing.

On May 19, 20, 21, and 22, Dudamel will conduct the LA Phil in the Symphony No. 2 in D major. Also on the program are Brahms’ Tragic Overture and the Glorious Percussion (except Friday) by Russian composer Sophia Gubaidulina.

Then on May 26, 27, 28, and 29, Dudamel conducts Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F major. Also on the program are the Variations on a Theme by Haydn and another world premiere and LA Phil commission, this time of New York-born American composer Peter
Lieberson’s Percussion Concerto (except Friday) featuring Pedro Carneiro, percussion.

Finally, beginning on Thursday, June 2, Dudamel will round out his Brahms cycle with an all-Brahms program featuring the Double Concerto with Renaud Capuçon on violin and his brother, Gautier Capuçon, on cello. Both the concert and the season end with the mighty Symphony No. 4 in E minor.

Sandwiched between and around the music by Brahms are a variety of stellar concerts and solo recitals. Among the concerts are ones by the LA Phil and Dudamel performing music by Bernstein and Beethoven (Jan. 6-9), Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 (Jan. 13-15), Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 (March 3, 4, and 6), an all-Tchaikovsky program (March 10-13) featuring three Shakespearean tone poems (Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, and The Tempest) and a concert with Dudamel and Martha Argerich (March 17-20) performing works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Shostakovich.

In addition, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the 50th anniversary of Zubin Mehta’s conducting debut, the orchestra will stop in LA on a seven-city tour and will perform the Symphony No. 96 by Haydn and the Symphony No. 5 by Mahler.

Simon Trpčeski / photo © Simon Fowler - EMI Classics

Among the noteworthy solo recitals are those by violinist Itzhak Perlman (Jan. 25), pianist Simon Trpčeski (Feb. 22) performing works by Haydn, Chopin, and Prokofiev, and pianist Yefim Bronfman (March 9) performing works by Haydn, Salonen, and Schumann, as well as the complete Etudes by Chopin.

So buckle your seat belt and get ready to finish the 2010-2011 season with an exciting lineup of concerts by the world-class LA Phil and some of the world’s leading orchestras and soloists.

For more information, visit www.laphil.com.