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October 2014
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A Last-Minute Concerto Hits Home

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall

LA Philharmonic, Wednesday at 8:00 pm

On Wednesday evening, hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic play the piece that was written in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. According to reports, the piece was a last-minute substitution for what had been intended to be a new piece by Oliver Knussen. As the concert drew near, Mr. Knussen acknowledged he would be unable to complete his commission in time. Magnus Lindberg was offered a separate commission for a cello concerto, his second, which he turned around in just a few months.

Funding for the Linderg piece came out of the Esa-Pekka Salonen Commissions Fund, which was set aside to honor the Finnish maestro (in part, according to reports, to keep him coming back) when he stepped down from the orchestra after serving as its music director for 17 seasons. That the commission should be awarded to Magnus Lindberg was no surprise to the Philharmonic musicians; Lindberg’s music was played a lot during the Salonen tenure, and not unenthusiastically. According to Mark Swed’s review of the concert in the Los Angeles Times: “The playing was superb. The audience was large and acutely enthusiastic. A sense of well-being seemed to pervade the hall. Anyone wanting to understand why Disney has been such a success and the L.A. Phil appears an unusually happy orchestra…could find out why with this program.”

Magnus Lindberg and Anssi Karttunen

The soloist, Anssi Karttunen, happens to be best friends with the composer (sometimes they perform together as a cello and piano duo called Dos Coyotes).

Magnus Lindberg served as composer-in-residence to the New York Philharmonic between 2009-2012, and is now in residence with the London Philharmonic; though it’s Esa-Pekka Salonen who seems to be his unflagging champion. Throughout his professional life, Mr. Salonen has taken Lindberg’s compositions to orchestras across the globe.

The Disney Concert Hall was designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry and bears a family resemblance to Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion, also by Frank Gehry. The Disney Concert Hall opened in October of 2003.

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