Much has already been written about the LA Phil’s new 2013-14 season, just announced yesterday at Walt Disney Concert Hall. (In my estimation, the most insightful summations come from Mr. CK Dexter Haven at All is Yar and Timothy Mangan at Classical Life.)
As orchestras around the country hemorrhage audiences, money, and relevance, a few–like the LA Phil, St. Louis, and San Francisco Symphony–are thriving. Why? It has to do with the idea that an orchestra cannot survive simply as a museum for great music of the past. It has to be a living, breathing organism that connects audiences to the music of now.
That has been the philosophy and tradition of the LA Phil since the Ernest Fleischmann days. It has been advanced by Esa-Pekka Salonen, institutionalized by Deborah Borda, and continued by Gustavo Dudamel.
So when the LA Phil announced its new season yesterday, I was curious to run the numbers. And while I’m no math whiz, my calculations, I think, show how the LA Phil is living up to its commitment to today’s music in some very exciting ways.
- 13 commissions, 11 world premieres, 4 U.S. premieres, 3 West Coast premieres. This is a record amount of new music for the orchestra.
- In 2013-14, the LA Phil will play music by six Baroque composers; three Classical-era composers; 15 Romantics; and 41 20th-21st century composers.
- That’s 9% Baroque, 5% Classical, 23% Romantic, and 63% Modern
- Of the 65 composers on their 2013-14 season, 26 are alive. That’s an astonishing 40%.
- 129 total works on the 2013-14 season: 24 Baroque, 7 Classical, 49 Romantic, and 49 from the 20th-21st Century.
- That’s 18% Baroque, 5% Classical, 38% Romantic, and 38% Modern
- Remove the Tchaikovsky-Fest works and those stats change to 35 Romantic works comprising 27% of the repertoire.
- Of the seven Classical-era works, five are by Mozart and one is by Haydn.
- Of the Romantics: no Bizet, Borodin, Bruch, Elgar, Faure, Franck, Grieg, Lalo, Mendelssohn, Mussorgsky, Rossini, Saint-Saëns, Smetana, Verdi, or Weber.
- The LA Phil will be 95 years old, Walt Disney Concert Hall will be 10, and it will be Gustavo Dudamel’s 5th season as music director.