Here’s the thing about Gustavo Dudamel…

I've never particularly cared for the third movement of Dvořák's New World Symphony. I mean, there's nothing wrong with it, but for me it has only ever been the thing that happens in between the serene beauty of the slow movement and the Jaws-like introduction to the finale. The third movement is fine. I've just never loved it. … Continue reading Here’s the thing about Gustavo Dudamel…

Le “Sakura” du Printemps

Were it not for sakura in this world, our hearts and minds would not be so serene and peaceful. -Ariwara no Narihira (825-880 A.D.) It's the most wonderful time of the year in Tokyo right now. That fleeting moment that comes each spring when the cherry trees do their best cotton candy impersonation and the … Continue reading Le “Sakura” du Printemps

Familiar Digs; Family Forever

The LA Phil wrapped up its Asia tour with two concerts in Suntory Hall in Tokyo. The stunning hall is tucked away in a labyrinth of office buildings, hotels, and the U-S embassy in the Minato district of Tokyo. It was the first hall designed by Yasuhisa Toyota and it was this hall that sealed the … Continue reading Familiar Digs; Family Forever

After the Tsunami: They Left and They’re Not Coming Back

No one lives in Odaka City. More than 13,000 people used to. But after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and subsequent meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in 2011, everyone was forced to leave. After the earthquake, residents were given two hours to collect their most precious belongings and head for … Continue reading After the Tsunami: They Left and They’re Not Coming Back

YOLA in Japan: Tokyo –> Fukushima

It’s kind of a chaperone’s worst nightmare—Tokyo Station at morning rush hour. Three rail companies and 14 different lines converge on this central station hauling more than 400-thousand commuters through here every single day. And today, among the throngs: 15 young musicians of YOLA. I’m happy to report that no one got lost or separated … Continue reading YOLA in Japan: Tokyo –> Fukushima

YOLA in (Little) Tokyo

Today, 15 talented young musicians—ages 13 to 17—from the LA Phil’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) program will arrive in Tokyo, Japan. The students are traveling in conjunction with the LA Phil’s own Asian tour…and will be meeting up with their youth orchestra counterparts in El Sistema Japan to rehearse and perform together before playing … Continue reading YOLA in (Little) Tokyo

LA Phil 2015-16: By the Numbers

The LA Phil has announced its 2015-16 season--Gustavo Dudamel's seventh as music director--and there is a lot to be excited about. As has become my custom, I leave most of the punditry to others (All is Yar and Classical Life are always good places to start). I always like to run the numbers on each … Continue reading LA Phil 2015-16: By the Numbers

Coming to a Concert Hall Near You: A Zombie Apocalypse

'Tis the season for new season announcements from orchestras across the United States and already there's a trend: dead composers. Now, I listen to dead people as much as the next guy, but I also love new music. Part of what makes classical music so great is that the new stuff builds on, refines, and … Continue reading Coming to a Concert Hall Near You: A Zombie Apocalypse

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9…A Symphonic Revolution

What if there were only nine symphonies? That's the question CK Dexter Haven over at All is Yar asked himself over the holiday season, while on his way to Santa Barbara wine country. (Ah, the things we ponder while pursuing wine...) "Nine has been a magical number of sorts for symphonies ever since Beethoven wrote that … Continue reading Number 9, Number 9, Number 9…A Symphonic Revolution