Music uplifts us all. If you are able, please help the LA Phil continue to make programs like this one and impact lives through music education.
The story behind the series
SOUND/STAGE is an online concert film series produced by LA Phil Media, the media and digital initiatives arm of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. The series brings the LA Phil’s musical programs to the screen through collaborations with music video, documentary, and feature film directors. Each episode is organized around a single artist, ensemble, or theme that is explored through music as well as supporting essays, artwork, playlists, and interviews. Created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the series is filmed at the Hollywood Bowl, where musicians are able to perform together outside while socially distanced.
In more routine times, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, led by Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an array of live performances at three of L.A.’s iconic venues: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Bowl, and The Ford. Though live concerts are not possible at this time, the LA Phil continues to bring its performances and education programs to audiences through programs like SOUND/STAGE.
In the image gallery below, you can see the behind-the-scenes preparations required to welcome the orchestra back to the Hollywood Bowl stage and make SOUND/STAGE a reality.
About the episodes
EPISODE 1: SEPT 25 Love in the Time of COVID
With the help of J’Nai Bridges, Gustavo and the orchestra explore the many expressions of love – from the familial in George Walker’s elegy for his grandmother, to a musical love letter from Gustav Mahler, to Peter Lieberson’s setting of romantic poetry from Pablo Neruda.
Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor María Valverde, narrator J'Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
LIEBERSON Neruda Songs: “Amor mío, si muero y tú no mueras” WALKER Lyric for Strings MAHLER Adagietto from Symphony No. 5
Support for this episode is provided by Diane and David Paul.
EPISODE 2: OCT 2 Salón Los Ángeles
Featuring two composers who adapted popular dance music for the symphonic concert hall, this episode offers pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Rhapsody in Blue and Arturo Márquez and Gustavo Dudamel paying tribute to the history of Salón Los Ángeles, the oldest dance hall in Mexico City.
Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
Arturo MÁRQUEZ Danzon No. 1 GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue
EPISODE 3: OCT 9 Power to the People!
A continuation of the LA Phil’s Power to the People! festival that was cut short by COVID-19, this episode pays tribute to Black voices and excellence, ranging from William Grant Still’s expression of pride to Jessie Montgomery’s reimagining of the national anthem for a 21st century America to vocalist Andra Day’s “Rise Up,” which has become an unofficial anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor Andra Day, vocalist
Jessie MONTGOMERY Banner STILL “Sorrow” from Symphony No. 1, “Afro-American” “Rise Up” performed by Andra Day
EPISODE 4: OCT 16 Andra Day
Soul, jazz, and R&B singer Andra Day has been compared to Billie Holiday and Nina Simone – both among her musical heroes – for her ability to weave a narrative with masterful musicality and raw emotion. This set includes Day’s debut hit “Gold” and a rendition of Simone’s powerful protest anthem “Mississippi Goddam.”
EPISODE 5: OCT 23 Beethoven
Richard Wagner called Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony the “apotheosis of dance.” Gustavo Dudamel describes Beethoven as pure beauty and joy. Watch as the orchestra channels that spirit as it comes back together for one of the first times since the onset of the COVID crisis to perform this timeless and exuberant masterpiece.
Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7
Support for this episode is provided by Ann Ronus.
EPISODE 6: OCT 30 Original Score to BECOMING An intimate portrait of Michelle Obama by Kamasi Washington
One of the most inventive and respected voices in modern jazz, Los Angeles’ own Kamasi Washington comes to SOUND/STAGE to perform his original score to BECOMING: An intimate portrait of Michelle Obama – a new documentary based on the former First Lady’s bestselling memoir.
Support for this episode is provided by Lisa Field.
EPISODE 7: NOV 6 Solitude
While the physical toll of the global pandemic is measured in a mountain of data, the emotional impact of our separation from family, friends, and neighbors is not as obvious. In this episode, Dudamel explores the essence of solitude, from one of Duke Ellington’s classic songs to the U.S. premiere of a work by Thomas Adès – composed specifically for a socially distanced orchestra.
Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
Thomas ADÈS Dawn (U.S. Premiere) ELLINGTON Solitude
EPISODE 8: NOV 13 Chicano Batman
Since 2008, Chicano Batman has blended the many sounds of L.A. into a genre-bending mix that offers both societal critiques and an unabashed dance party. The band’s SOUND/STAGE set features songs from their latest album, Invisible People, which has been called “their funkiest political statement yet.”
EPISODE 9: NOV 20 Finales
Claude Debussy once wrote, “There is nothing more musical than a sunset.” Endings are crucial in music, but they are often one of the hardest elements for a composer to do well. The closing SOUND/STAGE episode offers three masterful finishes from Beethoven, Ravel, and Gabriela Ortiz and a conversation between Dudamel and Alejandro G. Iñárritu on the nature of finales.
Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor Alejandro G. Iñárritu, special guest
RAVEL Mother Goose: “The Fairy Garden” BEETHOVEN Finale from Symphony No. 7 Gabriela ORTIZ Corpórea: “Ritual Mind – Corporeous Pulse”