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The story behind the series

The show must go on

About SOUND/STAGE and the LA Phil

SOUND/STAGE is a free online concert series produced by LA Phil Media, the media and digital initiatives arm of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Featuring classical, jazz, and popular artists, the series brings the LA Phil’s musical offerings to the screen, along with interviews, playlists, and program notes that shed new light on each episode’s theme. 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.  

Under the direction 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. Performances are offered on three historic stages—Walt Disney Concert HallHollywood Bowl, and The Ford—as well as through a variety of media platforms.

  • Following scientific studies and industry best practices, all unmasked players were separated by at least 12 feet, were surrounded by plexiglass barriers to limit particle spread, and followed new guidelines for cleaning and clearing spit valves.

  • Producing SOUND/STAGE involved re-thinking how the orchestra performs to keep everyone safe. All performers and support staff were tested for COVID-19 in the days before filming with drive-thru tests given in the Hollywood Bowl parking lot.

  • Boxes and hard lines on this plot for performers of Kamasi Washington’s BECOMING episode in season one represent plexiglass barriers that are built to separate wind players who can’t wear masks while performing.

  • New stage setups were designed to stay within County health guidelines for social distancing. All performers and support staff were given COVID-19 testing.

  • The original plan was to use standard plexiglass drum shields for wind players, but COVID-19 has caused many plexiglass products to be on backorder. Due to that scarcity, these barriers were custom built for SOUND/STAGE.

  • For Dawn by Thomas Adès, the required orchestra was too large to fit on stage. The composer fully supported the idea of honoring the social distance we are living with in this new piece’s American premiere, and the brass section was placed in the front row of box seats.

  • To allow for the facial cues that are inherit to Gustavo Dudamel’s conducting style, he was placed further away from the front musicians closest to him to so he could remove his mask.

  • Performers were filmed by a total of six cameras that combined Steadicam operators among the musicians, a 50-foot crane, two newly made 10-foot towers in the audience, and one camera mounted on an aerial drone.

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