Gustavo Dudamel
Gustavo Dudamel | Courtesy of the LA Phil

“Mahler Grooves,” read a bumper sticker created in the 1970s by the Mahler Society of Los Angeles. The adhesive-backed strips are now collector’s items, but the concept lives on at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which will present a three-week Mahler Grooves Festival as part of its newly announced 2024–2025 season.

Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel will conduct three programs of Gustav Mahler’s work during the festival, which will stretch from Feb. 20 to March 9, 2025. The first pairs the Adagio from the unfinished 10th Symphony with songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, sung by baritone Simon Keenlyside. The other two feature the Seventh and Fifth Symphonies, respectively; paired with the Fifth will be five songs by Alma Mahler, sung by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. A daylong “Mahler-thon” featuring musicians from the Colburn School and Youth Orchestra Los Angeles is also planned.

The season, Dudamel’s penultimate with the LA Phil, is typically innovative and wide-ranging, highlighting composers from Bach and Handel to contemporary masters like Gabriela Ortiz. Ortiz’s Cello Concerto will have its world premiere as part of the first set of subscription concerts, Oct. 3–4, with Alisa Weilerstein as soloist.

Carlos Simon
Carlos Simon’s Gospel Mass will get its premiere from the LA Phil in April 2025 | Courtesy of the LA Phil

Another highly anticipated world premiere will be Carlos Simon’s Gospel Mass, which Dudamel will conduct April 17–18, 2025. It is described as a 30-minute multimedia piece that is “an homage to the resilience of the Black community, drawing on the rich tapestry of gospel music, spirituals, and classical forms.”

Faith-inspired music from three centuries ago will be featured in the Handel Project, which will take place in March 2025. Renowned Baroque specialist Emmanuelle Haïm will begin her three-year term as the orchestra’s artist-collaborator. She will conduct her ensemble, Le Concert d’Astrée, in Handel’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day; his first oratorio, The Triumph of Time and Disillusion; and, with the LA Phil, his Dixit Dominus and Bach’s Magnificat.

A different era of choral music will be spotlighted in December, when the orchestra’s conductor emeritus, Zubin Mehta, conducts Arnold Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder to mark the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth. That month, Mehta will also lead an all-Brahms program featuring violinist Leonidas Kavakos. Another former music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, will lead the orchestra for two weeks in May 2025; his programs include music of Beethoven, Claude Debussy, Pierre Boulez, and Bryce Dessner.

Other guest conductors on the schedule are Teddy Abrams, Paavo Järvi, Philippe Jordan, Eun Sun Kim, Susanna Mälkki, Ludovic Morlot, Nathalie Stutzmann, Robin Ticciati, and — health issues permitting — Michael Tilson Thomas.

Gustavo Dudamel with John Williams
Gustavo Dudamel with John Williams, whose LA Phil retrospective continues this season | Courtesy of the LA Phil

The orchestra’s two-year retrospective of John Williams’s music will conclude with three programs: one titled “From Mexico to Hollywood: Golden Age Cinema,” another with soloist Yo-Yo Ma, and a third featuring music from all nine films in the Star Wars franchise.

The Julius Eastman renaissance will continue on March 4, 2025, when artists and choreographers Gerard & Kelly and new-music group Wild Up present the world-premiere staging of the composer’s 1974 work Femenine. Christopher Rountree conducts.

The season will conclude with the orchestra’s first-ever Seoul Festival, curated by the internationally acclaimed South Korean composer Unsuk Chin. It will feature two of Chin’s works (including a West Coast premiere), pieces by other Korean composers, and Korean soloists playing music of Brahms.

Season subscriptions are now on sale. “Create your own” packages will be available on April 23; single tickets go on sale Aug. 20. For more information, call 323-850-2000 or go to the LA Phil’s website.