The LA Phil was supposed to mark another 100 this year: the centenary of The Ford, the storied Los Angeles County venue, newly under the orchestra’s management. But the pandemic put the 100th anniversary celebrations on hold, and the LA Phil has yet to oversee The Ford’s summer season proper. Still, the orchestra is keeping the spirit of The Ford alive with an online season, drawing on the venue’s past and looking ahead to its future.
Director of The Ford Cynthia Fuentes has been fashioning a programming vision since taking the job in December 2019, and she brings the same vision and values to the adapted online season. Four digital series, free to stream, this month through December, dig into the performance archives and forge new collaborations with diverse artists from across L.A.
From the Ford offers past performances, from local dance companies to music from the Angel City Jazz Festival to an annual night of spoken-word poetry. These archival videos, filmed for TV channel LA36’s Ford Theatres Live series, premiere every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. PT, on The Ford’s Facebook page. Check out episodes from earlier in the series — the drummers from TAIKOPROJECT, dancers from Viver Brasil — on Facebook and The Ford’s website.
LA Phil musicians collaborate with singer/songwriter Omar Apollo and others in a world-premiere performance later this month, the first installment in Ford Digital Festivals. Each mini-festival, four in total, centers on a contemporary theme; Apollo leads fellow Latinx musicians in “Solidarity for Sanctuary,” and later programs focus on holistic health and California indigenous artists.
LA Soundscapes is Saturday morning programming with a family angle, combining an online performance with a dance lesson and optional craft workshop. And State of LA! caps off The Ford’s virtual season, diving into conversations with performers on the leading edge of L.A.’s arts scene.
For a full calendar of events, and to register for select programs, visit The Ford’s website.