PREVIEW: London Symphony comes to Disney Hall Tuesday

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Los Angeles Newspaper Group

Juja_Wang-WebThe London Symphony has been in the news lately for its announcement that Sir Simon Rattle will become the ensemble’s Music Director in September 2017 (LINK). Michael Tilson Thomas, one of orchestra’s former Principal Conductors (1988-1995), has continued his relationship with the orchestra as its Principal Guest Conductor, and brings the LSO to Walt Disney Concert Hall Tuesday night.

The concert, which is part of a cross-country U.S. tour that concludes Wednesday night in Santa Barbara, also celebrates Thomas’ 70th birthday. The Disney Hall program is Four Sea Interludes from Britten’s opera, Peter Grimes, Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 and Gershwin’s Concerto in F with pianist Yuja Wang (pictured right) as soloist. In Santa Barbara, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 replaces the Sibelius. Both are in the “don’t miss” category.

• L.A. concert information HERE.
• Santa Barbara concert information HERE.
• Read a New York Times review of a New York performance of the program to be played at Disney Hall HERE. David Allen, the reviewer, noted that Wang used in iPad instead of a paper score during her encore.

(c) Copyright 2015, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

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AROUND/MUSIC: SW Chamber opens Huntington season on another “clash Saturday”

By Robert D. Thomas
Music Critic
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News
This article was first published today in the above papers.

As if you couldn’t tell from last week’s heat wave, summer is really upon us and our burgeoning music season reflects the seasonal change.

Southwest Chamber Music begins its 20th season in the Loggia of the Huntington Library in San Marino next Saturday and Sunday. The music begins at 7:30 p.m. Preconcert, three-course dinners are available by prior reservation from the Huntington’s Tea Room or you can bring your own picnic and enjoy it on the lawn. As a bonus, sections of the library are open to ticketholders prior to the concert and at intermission.

This weekend’s programs include Hums and Songs of Winnie the Pooh by English composer Oliver Knussen, Stravinsky’s Octet for Winds and Mozart’s Serenade, K. 361. Other programs are July 27 and 28, August 10 and 11 and August 24 and 25. Information: 800/7236-7147;

Saturday is one of this summer’s “clash nights.” In addition to Southwest Chamber Music, both the Pasadena Pops and California Philharmonic are performing in their Arcadia locations (thus creating some traffic issues).

Michael Feinstein, the Pasadena Pops’ new principal conductor, returns to the Los Angeles County Arboretum to lead a program celebrating the musical legacy of MGM movies, including Singing in the Rain, Harvey Girls, Gigi, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Wizard of Oz and others. Vocalists Christine Ebersole and Ron Raines will join the festivities. Information: 626/793-7172;

Meanwhile, the Cal Phil returns to Santa Anita Racetrack on Saturday for one of Music Director Victor Vener’s perennial programming favorites: “Andrew Lloyd Webber Meets Puccini.” Singers Lori Stinson, Christine Campbell and Cedric Berry and the Cal Phil Chorale will join the orchestra for music by two of the world’s best-known composers. The program repeats July 14 at 2 p.m. indoors at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Information: 626/300-8200;

Although Hollywood Bowl has presented several pops concerts during the last month, the Los Angeles Philharmonic opens its 10-week classical season at the iconic Cahuenga Pass amphitheater Tuesday night. Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony, returns home to lead the Phil, Los Angeles Master Chorale and soloists Kiera Duffy and Sasha Cooke in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection).

On Thursday, Thomas leads the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Dubinushka, along with Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, with Gil Shaham as soloist.

Next week, Bramwell Tovey returns to the Bowl stage on July 16 to lead the Phil in a Britten-Elgar-Sibelius program. On July 18, Tovey conducts a program that concludes with Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.

Information: 323/850-2000;


(c) Copyright 2013, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.

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