A relatively young city that is constantly recreating itself, Los Angeles seldom dwells on its past. So it’s a bit startling to discover that this summer will mark the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 100th summer season at the Hollywood Bowl.
How to mark the occasion? The orchestra has decided on a dual approach, presenting some concerts with a nostalgic bent, while others feature young performers and/or new music.
“We want to both recognize and honor our incredible past while continuing to look forward,” said Chief Content and Engagement Officer Renae Williams Niles. “We have to keep continually asking ourselves, ‘What’s next?’”
The summer will kick off June 11 and 12 with a free two-day festival at the Bowl and the nearby Ford Amphitheater (which, Niles noted, turned 100 in 2020). Subsequent evenings will feature a series of superstars, including Diana Ross, Steve Martin, Ricky Martin, Herbie Hancock, Joshua Bell, and Lang Lang. Billie Eilish and Debbie Harry will be among a group of artists saluting Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra on July 27.
The music of Wagner was on the Philharmonic’s very first Bowl concert in July 1922, when Alfred Hertz conducted the overture to Reinzi. One hundred years later, Music Director Gustavo Dudamel is following suit: On July 17, he will present a semi-staged version of the third act of Die Walküre, directed by the innovative Yuval Sharon and featuring some of today’s most acclaimed Wagnerians, including Christine Goerke and Matthias Goerne.
Later that week, on July 20 and 21, Dudamel will bring dance into the mix, conducting two programs that feature members of the Paris Opera Ballet. Altogether, Dudamel will conduct 10 evenings over the course of the summer, including a July 12 and 14 Philharmonic concert devoted to music of Leonard Bernstein (who memorably conducted at the Bowl) and an Aug. 2 concert where he will lead his two young-musician ensembles — the Encuentros Orchestra and members of Youth Orchestra Los Angeles.
Artists of color are prominently represented at the Bowl this summer. Violinist Randall Goosby will join violinist/conductor Itzhak Perlman in the Bach Concerto for Two Violins on Sept. 13. Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason will perform Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto Aug. 25. Perhaps most interestingly, on Aug. 18 bass-baritone Davóne Tines will give the world premiere of Concerto No. 2: Anthem, a song cycle commissioned by the LA Phil and created by Tines, featuring music by Michael Schachter, Caroline Shaw, Tyshawn Sorey, and Carlos Simon.
The Violin Concerto of Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason, a piece that premiered at the Bowl in 2017, will return to its place of birth on Aug. 9, when Dalia Stasevska conducts the Philharmonic in a program also featuring Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony. Other warhorses will include Carmina Burana, which Dudamel will conduct July 28, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which will be performed Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 with Finnish conductor Eva Ollikainen on the podium.
The Roots will headline the annual Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival June 25 and 26. The LA Phil and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will join forces to perform Wynton Marsalis’s evening-length work All Rise Sept. 8. This year’s Broadway musical, Cindy Lauper’s Kinky Boots, will be performed July 8, 9, and 10, with Jerry Mitchell — who directed and choreographed the original Broadway production, winning a Tony Award for his work — leading the creative team.
Subscriptions are now on sale; single tickets go on sale May 3. For more information, call (323) 850-2000, or go to hollywoodbowl.com.