October 23, 2003, is the scheduled date for the opening of the new
home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Walt Disney Concert Hall. The
2,265-seat auditorium will be the latest addition to the 11-acre
campus of the Music Center of Los Angeles County.
In announcing the upcoming debut calendar, the Los Angeles
Philharmonic Association warned visitors to secure tickets as soon
as possible for what is projected to be a season of sold-out
performances. Season tickets are available at www.laphil.com, but
new subscribers will not be added until the orchestra’s longtime
patrons are seated.
Long in need of a performance venue worthy of a world-class
orchestra, the L.A. Philharmonic received an initial gift of $50
million from Lillian B. Disney, widow of Walt Disney. After an
intensive search and a six-architect competition, Los Angeles-area
resident Frank Gehry was chosen to create the new complex. The
3.6-acre site a full city block will house the main hall, a
250-seat multiuse theater, two outdoor amphitheaters, orchestra
offices, an urban park and a cafe and a restaurant headed by famed
chef Joachim Splichal.
The stainless-steel-clad main structure was designed to become a
Los Angeles landmark. Its undulating exterior (reminiscent of
Gehry’s famed Bilbao Museum in Spain) will be complemented by an
innovative interior, highlighted by a curved-wood ceiling of
Douglas fir. Audience members will surround the performance
platform in an intimate, interactive concert venue.
In addition to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Disney Hall will be
home to the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Master Chorale and will
accommodate world-class touring ensembles.
Los Angeles promoters are eagerly anticipating the opening of
the theater as an integral part of the renaissance occurring
downtown. Disney Hall will join the new Cathedral of Our Lady of
the Angels as powerful architectural statements in Los Angeles.
These monuments bookend a new pedestrian mall encompassing other
cultural sites Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theater,
Mark Taper Forum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Colburn
School of Performing Arts and Zipper Hall.
Visitors to the revamped downtown will find no shortage of
hotels. The historic Los Angeles Millennium Biltmore recently
completed a $3 million renovation. For clientele seeking trendier
accommodations, the hip Standard Hotel recently opened a downtown
hotel to complement its Sunset Strip location. Other favorites with
frequent visitors include the centrally located Bonaventure, the
refurbished Wilshire Grand and the elegant New Otani.
Promoters are also banking on the burgeoning cultural presence
to pump up the growing culinary scene. Many popular dining spots,
including Nick and Stef’s, Ciudad (by “Two Hot Tamales” famed chefs
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger), Water Grill, Pacific Dining
Car, Otto Rothschild’s and Windows offer free shuttle service to
and from downtown performance venues.
For tickets, call 323-850-2000. Web site: www.laphil.com or