Skip to page content
  • LAPA
  • Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in partnership with Deutsche Grammophon, present The World Premiere Recording of Andrew Norman’s Sustain, One of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize Finalists in Music
  • Aug. 23, 2019
  • Digital-Only Release: Friday, August 30, 2019

    (Los Angeles, CA) – August 23, 2019 – Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in partnership with Deutsche Grammophon, present the world premiere recording of Andrew Norman’s Sustain, one of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize Finalists in Music. The digital-only release will be available for purchase on Friday, August 30, 2019.

    Sustain was commissioned by the LA Phil to help celebrate its Centennial season and was premiered and recorded in October 2018 at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The piece was hailed as “a new American masterpiece” in The New Yorker, “sublime” by The New York Times, and “a near out-of-body acoustic experience that sounds like, and feels like, the future we want” in the Los Angeles Times.

    A member of the faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music and director of the LA Phil’s Barry and Nancy Sanders Composer Fellowship Program, Andrew Norman is deeply embedded in the L.A. creative music scene. The LA Phil first presented his music in 2010 and has since commissioned and given the world premieres of four major works by Norman. He was Musical America’s Composer of the Year in 2017 and won the Grawemeyer Award for 2013’s Play, the recording of which received a Grammy® nomination.

    Norman describes his artistic process in creating Sustain as follows:

       My first thought in writing Sustain was to imagine the audience that will sit in Walt Disney Concert Hall one hundred years from now, during the 200th season of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. What will it mean to gather as a community and listen to an orchestra in 2118? How will the ears and minds of those people be different from ours? How will they be the same? How will their notions of time and space and sound and history be shaped by the world around them, and what will that world outside the Hall look like? What place will the art of live symphonic performance have in such a society? 

       These are broad and bottomless questions that led me in many directions, but gradually they coalesced around a pair of subjects. The first is time. Perhaps, one hundred years from now, the act of sitting quietly and listening to a symphonic argument unfold over 45 minutes will mean even more than it does today. Perhaps, in a time when humans will be bombarded with increasingly atomized bits of information, when overstimulation, fragmentation, and isolation will be the given norms of experience and discourse, perhaps then communal listening to a single, long, unbroken musical thought will carry a kind of significance, sacrifice, and otherness we can’t yet really imagine.

       I realized, as I was trying to conceptualize Sustain as one long, unbroken musical thought, that I was attempting to access and understand spans of time that were much bigger than my own, that I was trying to move from times with which I was familiar — that of a tweet, or a work day, or a year — to things I could never personally experience, like the rise and fall of species, the movement of tectonic plates, the birth and death of stars. 

       And this thinking brought me around to what is perhaps at the heart this piece: the natural world. Midway through writing Sustain I discovered that I was really writing a piece about the earth, and my — and our — relationship to it. All the work I was doing with long spans of musical time and geologically unfolding sonic processes was in many ways my attempt to place us, the listeners in Walt Disney Concert Hall, in relation to things in nature, which are unfathomably bigger and longer than we are. And if there is a sense of sadness or loss that permeates this music, it comes from the knowledge that we, at this critical moment in our history, are not doing enough to sustain the planet that sustains us, that we are not preparing our home for those who will inhabit it in the next hundred, thousand, or million years.

    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
    Andrew NORMAN  Sustain (c. 33 minutes)
    World premiere, LA Phil commission, with generous support from Lenore S. and Bernard A. Greenberg
    Recorded live, October 2018, at Walt Disney Concert Hall
    Release Date: Friday, August 30, 2019

    Click Here (Please note that this link will go live on August 30th)

    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, learning, and community programs.

  • Contact:

    Sophie Jefferies,, 213 972 3422
    Laura Cohen,, 310 867 3897