10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: Toyota Symphonies For Youth dates:
Jan 25, Feb 1, Feb 22, Mar 1, Apr 5 & 12 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of my favorite concert venues ever! The architecture is truly frozen music music and the “vineyard” configuration spreads the audience out through the amazing acoustics generated by the unique baffle patterns and Douglas Fir. I am lucky to have attended over 10 “Symphonies For Schools” concerts hosted by the LA Phil’s Education Dept with my schools. I love when my kids pull up to WDCH get “wowed” by the “Wing On Wing” entrance and then get to experience a performance from a world-class orchestra in a one-of-a-kid, every seat sounds superb, concert hall. The looks on their faces is priceless!
This time I got to bring my most important kid…my daughter! We attended the LA Phil’s/Toyota Symphonies for Youth program to actually hear music that was composed about the construction and dream-come-true that is Walt Disney Concert Hall.
“The LA Phil’s pioneering Symphonies for Youth mix music with fun and fantasy for children ages 5-11. The first TSFY concert of the season explores the connection between music and architecture through Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Wing on Wing, which was inspired by Walt Disney Concert Hall and premiered as part of the Building Music festival that closed the inaugural season here.”
“Each TSFY concert is a dramatic presentation, conducted by a Dudamel Conducting Fellow and staged by theater artists.”
This was, no doubt, a very unique experience for my daughter. She had never seen the hall and was overwhelmed with its shape and then overpowered by the intensity of the sun’s reflection on the silver panels! We quickly moved inside and were able to participate in very kid-friendly interactive art workshops related to the theme of the program.
We built our own WDCH, pushed through a pulsing Movement Journey, completed some Architectural Scoring and then played our way though an Instrument Petting Zoo. It was an extremely engaging and creative way of integrating all of the arts into the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall.
The LA Phil’s performance was above and beyond your typical classical music program. Compsoer and former music director Esa-Pekka Salonen has composed a whole story around the notes, that was today, acted out by tremendous group of performers. One of them happened to be my daughter’s former dance teacher! Salonen states, “My composition Wing on Wing is, of course, not an attempt to translate architecture into music, which would be an impossible task anyway. Nor is it a musical portrait of Frank Gehry, but rather an homage to an extraordinary building by an extraordinary man. At the same time it celebrates the efforts of every man and woman whose dedication, skill, and faith made a fantastic vision into reality.”
My daughter was already captivated by the minimalist and strange, swirling music. This was not your familiar Mozart, Bach or Beethoven. This was music of water and wind! The music and the story get very intense and it was a little scary for some of the very young in the crowd. We held on pretty well and my daughter was able to follow the story as the music erupted and swelled back and forth with the performers moving all over the auditorium. It was joyful and surreal!
I really liked it when the LA Phil played the entire piece a second time-this time with no actors or dancers. It was a great way to “open” up the ears. We were able to meet all of the performers after the show and it was so cool to see my daughter feel comfortable enough talking to the whole cast since she was familiar with one of them!
I look forward to the chance to bring her again. For more info on LA Phil’s Symphonies for Youth, go to: LAPhil.com.
– That’s IT Dad Sean
* This is not a sponsored post. We attended the opening performance for review purposes.