Learning to Hate: A Story Whose Relevance Reaches Beyond the West Side

At the climax of West Side Story, Maria brandishes the gun that killed her star-crossed lover, Tony, and declares that, "We all killed him," because of the unbroken cycle of violence and hate between the two rival gangs. "I can kill now," Maria screams, "Because I hate now too!" When they programmed a concert performance … Continue reading Learning to Hate: A Story Whose Relevance Reaches Beyond the West Side

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About the other night…

This is not a review of Gustavo Dudamel and LA Phil's performance of Verdi's Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl last Thursday night. Just a few thoughts about my experience: When the summer season was released, I was skeptical of hearing Verdi's Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl. When I arrived at the Bowl Thursday evening, I … Continue reading About the other night…

Gustavo is America and You Can Too

Like the best summer tomatoes, Thursday night's LA Philharmonic concert at the Hollywood Bowl was one to savor. Of the six performances conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at the Bowl this year, this was certainly the musician's concert of the bunch. No superstar soloists, like Yo-Yo Ma or Plácido Domingo, and a 12-tone piano concerto to … Continue reading Gustavo is America and You Can Too

A Gospel of Social Justice: The Premiere of John Adams’ “The Other Mary”

If it walks like a Passion and talks like a Passion, chances are it's a Passion. But composer John Adams chose not call his most recent work, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, a Passion. "I just avoided using the word 'Passion,'" Adams told me earlier this week in a conversation backstage at Walt … Continue reading A Gospel of Social Justice: The Premiere of John Adams’ “The Other Mary”

A Conversation with John Adams: “I’m not sure what art does.”

The world premiere of The Gospel According to the Other Mary, by John Adams, takes place tonight. Gustavo Dudamel conducting the LA Philharmonic, LA Master Chorale, and soloists in this evening-length oratorio (135 minutes, in two acts) about the final days of Jesus' life. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit down with John Adams, … Continue reading A Conversation with John Adams: “I’m not sure what art does.”

A Very Gehry Don Giovanni

Even before the overture started at last night's LA Philharmonic performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni, it was clear this wasn't going to be Gustavo Dudamel's Don Giovanni. The 31-year-old music director seemed quite pleased to be taking a back seat to Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry, who created the sets for the production, … Continue reading A Very Gehry Don Giovanni