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  • EGOT Winner John Legend Opened the Hollywood Bowl 2019 Season to a Full House
  • Jun. 15, 2019


     Special Thanks to Kaiser Permanente for its Generous Support of Opening Night

    (Los Angeles, CA – June 15, 2019) – Critically-acclaimed, multi-award-winning, platinum-selling singer-songwriter and Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame inductee John Legend kicked off the Hollywood Bowl’s 2019 Opening Night Concert, Saturday, June 15. The incomparable talent – one of only 15 artists to have won Emmy®, Grammy®, Oscar® and Tony® Awards – performed at the iconic venue to an audience of generous supporters of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Legend was accompanied by his band as well as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (HBO), led by Principal Conductor Thomas Wilkins, in an evening culminating in a spectacular fireworks display.

    The evening also included a special performance when, for three pieces, the HBO was joined by members of YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles), the LA Phil’s initiative to provide access to free, high quality instrumental and orchestral training to underserved youth in the area to promote youth development. The program is currently in its 12th year and recently broke ground at the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood – YOLA’s first permanent, purpose-built facility.

    The Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl benefit concert raised more than $1.7 million for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s many learning and community programs (including YOLA), which serve more than 150,000 youth, families, and teachers every year.

    The celebratory evening began with Wilkins leading the HBO in Rózsa’s Waltz from Madame Bovary, followed by a welcome to the audience by Wilkins.

    The first half of the program continued with the HBO performing Smetana’s “Dance of the Comedians” from The Bartered Bride, after which Wilkins introduced the LA Phil Opening Night Committee Kawanna Brown, Andrea Chao-Kharma, Jonathan and Monique Kagan, and Joseph Plascencia. Also introduced were Opening Night Title Sponsor Kaiser Permanente’s Group President Gregory Adams, and President, Southern California Region Julie Miller-Phipps.

    Following their introduction by Wilkins, 33 members of YOLA joined the HBO on stage, sitting side-by-side with the professional orchestra for Coleridge-Taylor’s “Danse nègre” from African Suite. Wilkins spoke briefly about the YOLA National programs that offer an ever-growing number of opportunities for young musicians, teaching artists, program administrators, and other stakeholders to learn from and create community with one another, before directing the audience’s attention to the Bowl’s big screens for a video showcasing YOLA National.

    The first half of the concert concluded with Wilkins leading the HBO and YOLA in Saint-Saëns’ “Bacchanale” from Samson et Dalila.

    The second half of the concert featured John Legend, accompanied by his band and the HBO, led by Wilkins. Legend is no stranger to the Bowl stage, having been inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in 2013 and performing in a tribute concert to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On album in 2014 with the late Sharon Jones and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The multi-talented artist’s set showcased his vast catalog of hits, including award winners “Tonight” from the soundtrack of the 2012 movie Think Like a Man, “Ordinary People,” cover of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” “You & I,” and “All of Me.” In a special moment he was joined onstage by his daughter Luna during another award-winning song, “Green Light.”  

    Legend’s set also featured some of his successful collaborations for which he is known, such as the intro to his 2019 release of “Higher” by DJ Khaled that featured the late Nipsey Hussle; “Used to Love You,” from his debut album Get Lifted, which he wrote and produced with Kanye West; Meghan Trainor’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”; and Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up,” which Legend recorded with Angélique Kidjo and featured Bono.

    In further testament to his range, Legend shared his transformative messaging with performances of hits such as his 2019 release “Preach” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.”

    For the encore, Academy Award- and Grammy-winning actor and musician Common joined Legend, YOLA, the HBO, and Wilkins for Academy- and Grammy Award-winning “Glory” from Selma accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl’s spectacular fireworks show.

    Several entertainers, as well as elected and other civic officials, were present to enjoy the benefit concert, including: Quincy Jones and Chrissy Teigen; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles County CEO Sachi Hamai, and Norma E. Garcia and John Wicker from the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. Also present were Los Angeles Philharmonic Chief Executive Officer Simon Woods, Los Angeles Philharmonic Executive Director Gail Samuel, and Los Angeles Philharmonic Chief Operating Officer Chad Smith.

    Prior to the concert, Opening Night Patrons enjoyed a VIP cocktail reception in the Monique and Jonathan Kagan Hollywood Bowl Museum Patio. Last season’s Opening Night signature drink – a refreshing Frosé created with Winc Summer Water rosé – was so popular, it returned for guests to enjoy during the warm almost-summer evening.

    Following the reception, Opening Night patrons were served dinner on sustainable bamboo plating in their boxes. The table décor featured lavender and eggplant-hued linens with floral centerpieces featuring an array of deep purple and white orchids with lush greenery. Catering for the evening was provided by James Beard Award winners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne of Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine and began with a first course of broccoli kibbeh with chickpea purée, muhammara, black olives, and sumac lavash. The Southern California-themed menu continued with the main course of chicken paillard with kale, chickpeas, almonds, golden raisins, cucumber yogurt, and chermoula. Dessert was coconut flan with sauternes-poached apricots, raspberries, and rosemary malt crumble.

    Also available for concert attendees was the Cravings Picnic Box by Chrissy Teigen, which included from Teigen’s new cookbook: chicken wings with honey butter, Mexican corn salad, cheesy bacon jalapeño corn bread, and creamy potato salad.

    Wine for the evening was provided by Winc, Official Wines of the Hollywood Bowl.

    The Hollywood Bowl Opening Night Concert was chaired by Gala Co-Chairs Kawanna Brown, Andrea Chao-Kharma, Jonathan and Monique Kagan, and Joseph Plascencia. Kaiser Permanente was the Opening Night Title Sponsor. Additional sponsors were Premier Sponsor Live Nation/Ticketmaster, and Wine Sponsor Winc.

    About the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association
    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music Director & 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 extends from September through June at Walt Disney Concert Hall 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, learning, and community programs.

    About the Hollywood Bowl
    One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922 and plays host to the finest artists from all genres of music, offering something for everyone. It remains one of the best deals anywhere in Los Angeles; to this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many classical and jazz performances. The Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue 14 years in a row and was awarded the Top Amphitheater prize at the 2017 Billboard Touring Awards. For millions of music lovers across Southern California, the Hollywood Bowl is synonymous with summer.


    SATURDAY, JUNE 15, 2019, AT 8PM


    THOMAS WILKINS, conductor
    COMMON, special guest


    John Legend, piano / vocals
    Eugene “Man Man” Roberts, musical director / keyboards
    Benjamin O’Neill, guitars
    Kaveh Rastegar, bass
    Jimmy “Rashid” Williams, drums
    Dominique Thomas, percussion
    Chris Stevens, trumpet
    Korey Riker, saxophone / flute
    Aaron Goode, trombone
    Natalie Imani, background vocals
    Ayana George, background vocals
    Keri Lee, background vocals
    Lee Callet, baritone sax / bass clarinet


    RÓZSA, Waltz from Madame Bovary (HBO)
    SMETANA, “Dance of the Comedians” from The Bartered Bride (HBO)
    COLERIDGE-TAYLOR, “Danse nègre” from African Suite (HBO, members of YOLA )
    SAINT-SAËNS,  “Bacchanale” from Samson et Dalila (HBO, members of YOLA)


    John Legend Set
    Higher Intro (w/HBO)
    Penthouse Floor (w/HBO)
    Tonight (w/HBO)
    Love Me Now (w/HBO)
    Used to Love U (w/HBO)
    Again (w/HBO)
    Like I'm Gonna Lose You (w/HBO)
    Preach (w/HBO)
    What's Going On (w/HBO)
    Ordinary People (solo a cappella)
    God Only Knows (solo a cappella)
    You & I (w/HBO)
    Green Light (w/HBO)
    All My Love
    All of Me
    Move On Up (w/HBO)
    Glory (w/HBO, YOLA, Common, fireworks)

    Special Thanks to Kaiser Permanente for its Generous Support of Opening Night

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