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  • WDCH
  • Sep. 30, 2021

    The LA Phil’s Humanities programs are generously supported by Linda and David Shaheen.

    LOS ANGELES (September 30, 2021) - The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association today announced its 2021/22 Humanities projects and festival curators. The LA Phil Humanities program began in 2019/20 as an outgrowth and consolidation of the organization’s long-time commitment to curator-driven festivals, visual arts projects, publications and partnerships with area cultural institutions.

    Julia Ward, Humanities Director, said, “The LA Phil Humanities program takes the work on our stages as a starting point for a larger cultural conversation. By inviting a diverse range of guest curators, artists and partner organizations to reflect on the themes of our concert programming, our Humanities efforts seek to contextualize the LA Phil’s work in thought-provoking ways, delve deeply into subjects that matter in contemporary society and provide new points of entry into our art form. This season, we are joined by a collection of wildly creative and socially minded voices who will help us unpack subjects ranging from the necessity of imagination within social movements to the continued cultural impact of Generation X.” 

    Chad Smith, Los Angeles Philharmonic Chief Executive Officer, David C. Bohnett Chief Executive Officer Chair, said, “Whether it’s an original sound installation by Susan Philipsz based on the work of Weimar-era artists or jazz giants Dianne Reeves and Terri Lyne Carrington discussing gender equity in their field, the LA Phil has been inviting artists and thinkers representing a variety of disciplines into our work since the early 2000s. With the support of visionary donors like Linda and David Shaheen, we have been able to formalize these commitments into a Humanities program that seeks to provide new entry points into our work, invite a diverse range of voices to contextualize our efforts and illuminate the many meanings behind the music we present.” 

    Homecoming Projects

    In anticipation of the return of live music to Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil invited artists Chris Kallmyer and Kaneza Schaal to create pieces reflecting on this moment of homecoming for display in and around the venue. These installations—one physical and one virtual—join Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s Thought Experiments in F# Minor as visual art interactions with the iconic space.

    Song Cycle

    Created by artist Chris Kallmyer, Song Cycle is a series of speculative scores that explore the presence of music in our everyday lives. Part imagined, part remembered and part observed, the installation’s text is continually inscribed and reinscribed by a 256-character split-flap sign reminiscent of the arrival and departure boards found at airports and train stations in the 20th century. Harkening back to Fluxus innovator Alison Knowles’ The House of Dust, a computer-generated “poem in progress,” Song Cycle utilizes code-driven randomization to produce its never-ending song.

    Song Cycle will be on display in the Grand Avenue Lobby of Walt Disney Concert Hall from October 9 to December 31, 2021.


    Conceived of by director Kaneza Schaal and designed by Christopher Myers, EVERY VOICE is an augmented reality (AR) sculpture and accompanying musical composition that can be viewed at the corner of First Street and Grand Avenue, in front of Walt Disney Concert Hall’s main entrance, via viewers’ smartphones. Schaal wrote, “EVERY VOICE is an homage to Augusta Savage’s The Harp, a monumental work destroyed after its presentation at New York’s World Fair in 1939; it is a welcome back to audiences, an incantation of lost voices and a reminder to bring them with us.” The piece features musical contributions from Schaal, Kenita Miller, Justin Hicks, Camilla Ortiz and Ian Askew.

    EVERY VOICE will be on view outside the main entrance of Walt Disney Concert Hall at First and Grand for the duration of the LA Phil’s 2021/22 Walt Disney Concert Hall season, beginning on November 19, 2021. The piece will be accessible via a specially designed mobile app.

    Thought Experiments in F# Minor

    Using an iPad Mini and a pair of headphones, Thought Experiments in F# Minor leads its audiences along a route through Walt Disney Concert Hall, revealing an imagined world hiding in plain sight. Created by acclaimed multi-media artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller and featuring Los Angeles Philharmonic musicians, Thought Experiments asks viewers to follow a film recorded in the past along the same route they are traversing in the present. Made using binaural microphones, which create a three-dimensional sound experience, and edited to create a sense of continuous motion, the fictional world of the film blends seamlessly with the reality of the architecture and body in motion.

    This 32-minute video walk can be experienced during the same hours as the Music Center’s self-guided tour of Walt Disney Concert Hall. The video walk begins in the Grand Avenue Lobby of Walt Disney Concert Hall and is recommended for ages 10 and up.

    Access to all three projects will be free and further information can be found here.


    Gen X Festival

    The Gen X festival (April 18–May 10, 2022) examines the collective cultural impact of Generation X. The festival’s humanities programming will be curated by Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, hosts of the Waiting to X-hale podcast, a queer/woman-of-color-driven podcast exploring the pop culture and transformative social issues that defined Generation X.

    Karen Tongson is the author of Why Karen Carpenter Matters and Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries. In 2019, she received Lambda Literary’s Jeanne Córdova Award for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction for her body of writing. She is Chair of the Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies and Professor of gender & sexuality studies, English and American studies & ethnicity at USC.

    Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh is a content strategist, writer and podcaster. Through her company Pablo Jobs, she has contributed her decades’ worth of journalism and social media experience to campaigns and strategies for well-known brands, celebrities and influencers.

    Tongson and Mitchell-Rohrbaugh described their approach to the Gen X festival’s humanities programming: “Waiting to X-hale’s programming will explore Gen X culture through a distinctly LA lens, revisiting so much of what we remember fondly about the era, along with what some of us have tried hard to forget. Too often what stands in for both Los Angeles and Gen X culture has been filtered through male fantasies about the mastery of pop culture and its range of references, with little regard for the disparate scenes, subcultures, sensibilities and sites throughout our sprawling metropolis. Our curatorial approach to the Gen X fest will be in keeping with an expansive but also whimsical view of LA and its role in Gen X pop culture, while honoring our podcast’s queer/woman-of-color focus on the era, as we amplify the artists, activists, creators and communities whose points of view have been pushed to the peripheries in the story of Los Angeles.”

    Event details will be announced in March 2022.

    Power to the People! Festival

    The Power to the People! festival (May 30–June 12, 2022) celebrates the role artists have played and continue to play in advancing social change, civil rights and humanitarian causes. Poet, musician, actor and filmmaker Saul Williams will act as the festival’s Humanities curator, helping to shape the LA Phil’s exploration of the spoken word’s role in helping us find liberation and inspiration.

    After gaining global fame for his poetry and writings at the turn of the century, Williams has performed in over 30 countries and read at over 300 universities, with invitations that have spanned from the White House, the Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, the Louvre, the Getty Center and Queen Elizabeth Hall to countless villages, townships, community centers and prisons across the world. Williams has published five books of poetry, which have been translated into several languages. His writing and lesson plans surrounding his work have been added to the curriculum of schools and universities around the world.

    The festival’s humanities activities will culminate on Sunday, June 5, 2022, in a conversation with acclaimed scholar and activist Dr. Angela Davis at Walt Disney Concert Hall, addressing the essential role of art and the imagination in our understanding of what a socially just world could be. Tickets for this event go on sale today; further details are available here.

    Power to the People! is presented in collaboration with the California African American Museum.

    Further event details will be announced in April 2022.

    Hollywood Bowl: The First 100 Years

    In conjunction with the Hollywood Bowl’s centennial celebration in 2022, the LA Phil will publish Hollywood Bowl: The First 100 Years, written by Derek Traub with a foreword by Gustavo Dudamel and designed by the award-winning Content/Object studio. Traub uses many lensesfrom the musical to the politicalto reveal the history of the Bowl, while positioning those who love the venue as a continuation of the story. 

    Hollywood Bowl: The First 100 Years will be available in June 2022.

    Other Activities 

    Throughout the year, the LA Phil Humanities program will feature conversations with visiting guest artists and scholars both as part of the Upbeat Live pre-concert series at Walt Disney Concert Hall and as off-site events with partner organizations. Artists participating include Christine Sun Kim, who in conjunction with the LA Phil and Deaf West Theatre’s production of Fidelio will speak about her practice as an artist who was born deaf and is invested in the exploration of sound and music, and Kris Bowers, who, as part of the Reel Change festival, will share his perspective on contemporary film scoring and pathways into the industry, particularly for emerging artists of color and those from non-orchestral fields. Additional speakers to be announced.



    Ticket Information and COVID Protocols

    To enable the safest possible reopening for indoor events, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association will require proof of full vaccination for all audience members, staff and artists at LA Phil-presented concerts and events at Walt Disney Concert Hall beginning October 9, 2021. This policy will only be limited as required by law. The LA Phil will also follow the guidelines of the LA County Department of Public Health, which currently requires all persons to wear masks indoors.

    Current ticket holders who will not be fully vaccinated by the date of their planned visit may receive a credit to their account or request a full refund of the cost of their tickets. Subscribers who choose not to renew their tickets this season will have their seat locations retained and the opportunity to renew them for the 2022/23 season.

    For more information, please visit here.


    About the LA Phil
    Under the leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil offers live performances, media initiatives and learning programs that inspire and strengthen communities in Los Angeles and beyond. The Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra is the foundation of the LA Phil’s offerings, which also include a multi-genre, multidisciplinary presenting program and such youth development programs as YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles). Performances are offered on three historic stages—Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and The Ford—as well as through a variety of media platforms. In all its endeavors, the LA Phil seeks to enrich the lives of individuals and communities through musical, artistic and learning experiences that resonate in our world today.
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