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  • WDCH
  • The LA Phil and Dudamel Kicked Off the Centennial Season with the Opening Night Gala & Concert: California Soul
  • Sep. 27, 2018

    The Concert Also Featured The Doors’ Drummer John Densmore,
    Electric Violinist Tracy Silverman
    and the Unveiling of Refik Anadol’s Visual Art Installation
    WDCH Dreams 

     The 2018 LA Phil Opening Night Concert & Gala: California Soul,
    Was Made Possible with the Proud Support of Rolex,
    the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic

    Proceeds Support the LA Phil and its Education Programs,
    including YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA)

    The Musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Generously Donated their
    Services for this Concert

    Los Angeles, CA (September 27, 2018) The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel ushered in the orchestra’s Centennial season with a celebratory Opening Night Concert & Gala, California Soul, Thursday, September 27, 7 pm, at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The festive evening featured singers Chris Martin of Coldplay, who brought Dudamel and the LA Phil’s YOLA musicians to the 2016 Super Bowl, and Corinne Bailey Rae, who performed at the Hollywood Bowl earlier this year. Also performing were The Doors’ drummer John Densmore, electric violinist Tracy Silverman, speakers Shalita Grant and Bernard White, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, in a program dedicated to honoring Golden State creativity from John Adams to Frank Zappa. Elkhanah Pulitzer, who has had several major projects with the LA Phil, directed the program, spanning a spectrum of music that reflects the unique soul of California and has nurtured and inspired the LA Phil for a century.

    The night also included the unveiling of WDCH Dreams by Refik Anadol, a visual art installation projected onto the exterior of the Concert Hall, as well as a post-concert party with Pink Martini and KCRW DJ Jason Bentley.

    The LA Phil Opening Night Gala and Concert, California Soul, raised more than $3.4 million for the LA Phil’s many music education programs, which serve more than 150,000 youths, families, and teachers every year.

    The evening began with the arrivals of notable celebrities and VIPs: Debbie Allen and Norm Nixon, director Alberto Arvelo, Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance, China Forbes of Pink Martini, Herbie Hancock, Don and Kelley Johnson, musician Tony Kanal, Matthew Lillard, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, Moby, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, composer/conductor John Williams, and Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry, who walked the red carpet up Walt Disney Concert Hall’s grand staircase. Local officials in attendance included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, CEO of Los Angeles County Sachi Hamai, and Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts. They were joined by LA Phil Board Chair Jay Rasulo, LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel with Maria Valverde, LA Phil Gala Chairs David C. Bohnett, Mari L. Danihel, Jenny Miller Goff, Carol Colburn Grigor, Joan Hotchkis, Diane B. Paul, Jay and Barbara Rasulo and Ann Ronus, LA Phil CEO Simon Woods, and LA Phil Chief Operating Officer Chad Smith, along with more than 650 Gala patrons.

    The pre-concert cocktail reception was held on Grand Avenue, where guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a specialty vodka cocktail “California Dreamin’ Lemonade” mixed with Magic Color Changing Blue Ice, in a cool, California setting of modern white and chrome sofas, lounge chairs, with a hint of blue and silver linens.

    Among the many sights and sounds of the reception was a model of Kaiser Permanente’s Rose Parade float entry, a result of the collaboration between Kaiser Permanente and the LA Phil. The Kaiser Permanente float, titled Music Moves Us – Inspiring a Healthier World, features musicians from the LA Phil, YOLA, and Kaiser Permanente, and incorporates elements from the LA Phil’s two venues – Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. It will be seen around the world on New Year’s Day 2019 during the 130th Rose Parade®.

    As the reception came to a close, Gala guests and concert attendees moved into Walt Disney Concert Hall for the concert performed by the LA Phil and led by Dudamel, who welcomed the audience and spoke briefly of the California theme of the evening. The concert began with a nod to Hollywood’s undeniable influence on the orchestra’s work, with Jerry Goldsmith’s “Love Theme” from Chinatown.

    The program continued with “Wild Nights” from LA Phil Creative Chair John Adams’ groundbreaking Harmonium, featuring the Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC), then classic L.A. iconoclast Frank Zappa’s G-Spot Tornado.

    In keeping with the LA Phil’s commitment to nurturing emerging talent, the concert transitioned to the LA Phil-commissioned Underneath the Sheen by Julia Adolphe, an LA-based composer. This was followed by Corinne Bailey Rae performing You’re Gonna Hear from Me, by former LA Phil Music Director André Previn.

    Next was another classic California song, The Doors’ L.A. Woman, with Chris Martin and, fittingly, John Densmore, a founding member of The Doors, on drums.

    Martin remained on stage for Owl John’s “Los Angeles, Be Kind,” which was inspired by the artist’s move to Los Angeles.

    A second Adams work followed – “Sri Moonshine” from The Dharma at Big Sur, which was commissioned for the opening at Walt Disney Concert Hall, with Tracy Silverman, who performed the world premiere in 2003.

    California Soul, the 1967 Ashford & Simpson funk-soul tune, was performed by Rae and the LAMC, accompanied by gold California-shaped confetti drifting from the ceiling.

    Interspersed throughout the program, actors Shalita Grant and Bernard White read poems that evoked the spirit of the Golden State: California Dreamin by David Meltzer, The Breathing by Denise Levertov, Califa by Devreaux Baker, Ourselves by Juan Felipe Herrera, and Ode to Joy by Michael McClure.

    The concert closed with Martin, Rae, Densmore, Silverman, and the LAMC joining together for the evening’s encore, the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations. Dudamel and Martin joked around, pretending to switch roles and encouraging the audience to sing along. The classic beach anthem was accompanied by the second confetti drop of the evening, blue surfboards, in keeping with the California-centric theme and setting the tone for the upbeat night.

    The festivities moved from inside to the future site of the Frank Gehry-designed Grand Avenue Project across from Walt Disney Concert Hall, where Gala guests enjoyed dinner and dancing under the stars with Walt Disney Concert Hall as their backdrop, adorned with California landscape-inspired centerpieces.

    The menu, created by Patina Chef Joachim Splichal, started with a first course of Peach and Cream, featuring end-of-summer peaches, house-made ricotta, purple kalettes, brown butter brioche croutons, toasted farro, California almonds, wild flower honey, and unfiltered Adams Ranch olive oil. The entrée – Turf and Turf – included carved sea-salt-roasted eye of ribeye, braised ribeye cap pot-pie, creamy horseradish Yukon potato, and farmers market summer squash in a red wine reduction.

    Wines were provided by Winc. Beer was provided by Los Angeles Ale Works, who commemorated the Centennial Celebration with the LA Phil 100 Brut IPA, a beer that spotlights the dynamic aromas of Los Angeles and is aptly named Centennial.

    Gala patrons were entertained by the sounds of the after-party down below on Grand Avenue, featuring Pink Martini and KCRW DJ Jason Bentley.

    Another highlight in an evening full of highlights came after the dinner service when Dudamel, LA Phil Board Chair Jay Rasulo, and LA Phil CEO Simon Woods introduced the unveiling of WDCH Dreams. Created by award-winning media artist Refik Anadol, WDCH Dreams is a data-driven art installation utilizing 100 years of the LA Phil’s digital archives – thousands of photos, videos and audio recordings. Working with the Artists and Machine Intelligence program at Google Arts and Culture, Anadol applied machine intelligence to the organization’s archive turning millions of data points into brightly-colored displays that were projected onto the steel shell of the concert hall. WDCH Dreams will be available for public viewing daily from 7:30 – 11:30 pm, until October 6. A companion installation will be housed in Walt Disney Concert Hall’s Ira Gershwin Gallery until June 1, 2019.

    Following the awe-inspiring spectacle of WDCH Dreams, Gala patrons partied into the night to the sounds of Pink Martini and DJ Jason Bentley at the Grand Avenue after-party, where dessert stations with a plethora of post-dinner sweets were available.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Gala Committee included Gala Co-Chairs David C. Bohnett, Mari L. Danihel, Jenny Miller Goff, Carol Colburn Grigor, Joan Hotchkis, Diane B. Paul, Jay and Barbara Rasulo and Ann Ronus; and Committee members Gregory A. Adams, Julie Andrews, Judy and Tom Beckmen, Lynn A. Booth, Edythe and Eli Broad, California Community Foundation, Andrea Chao-Kharma, Jerrold Eberhardt, Jane B. Eisner, Lisa Field, Kiki and David Gindler, Leonore S. Greenberg, Andrew and Jacinta Hewitt, Sarah Ketterer, Beth and Bob Lowe, Soraya Nazarian, Shelby Notkin and Teresita Tinajero, Bill Silva, Christian Stracke, Eva and Marc Stern, Sue Tsao, Alyce de Roulet Williamson, and Marilyn Ziering.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Concert & Gala California Soul party was created by Sequoia and the LA Phil’s Special Events Team.

    All Gala proceeds support the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its education and community programs, including YOLA, the signature program of Gustavo Dudamel. The Gala concert was made possible with the proud support of Rolex, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.


    About the Los Angeles Philharmonic
    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres – orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop – at two of L.A.'s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall ( and the Hollywood Bowl ( The LA Phil’s season at Walt Disney Concert Hall extends from September through May, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.

    About Rolex
    Rolex, a Swiss watch manufacture headquartered in Geneva, is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products. Its Oyster and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Through philanthropic programmes and a broad palette of sponsorship activities, Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports and exploration, and encourages the spirit of enterprise, as well as the conservation of natural environments.

    HURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2018, AT 7 PM

    Walt Disney Concert Hall,
    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles


    GUSTAVO DUDAMEL, conductor
    CHRIS MARTIN, vocalist
    CORINNE BAILEY RAE, vocalist
    JOHN DENSMORE, drummer
    TRACY SILVERMAN, electric violin
    SHALITA GRANT, speaker
    BERNARD WHITE, speaker
    MIKKI KUNTTU, lighting designer
    BEN ZAMORA, lighting installation
    Grant Gershon, Artistic Director

    POST-CONCERT PARTY featuring

    GOLDSMITH                      “Love Theme” from Chinatown
    John ADAMS                      Harmonium: “Wild Nights”
    ZAPPA                                G-Spot Tornado
    Julia ADOLPHE                 Underneath the Sheen (world premiere, LA Phil commission)
    André PREVIN                    “You're Gonna Hear from Me”
    MORRISON                          “L.A. Woman”
    OWL JOHN                         “Los Angeles, Be Kind”
    John ADAMS                      “Sri Moonshine” from the The Dharma at Big Sur
    ASHFORD/SIMPSON         “California Soul”
    BEACH BOYS                      “Good Vibrations”

    The 2018 Opening Night Gala and Concert was made possible with the proud support of Rolex, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    Proceeds support the LA Phil and its education programs, including YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA). The musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel generously donated their services for this concert.


  • Contact:
    Sophie Jefferies,, 213 972 3422 
    Lisa White,, 213 972 3408 
    Photos: 213 972 3034