Gustavo Dudamel
Gustavo Dudamel with the LA Phil | Credit: Sam Comen

2022 will be jam-packed with projects and productions for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The orchestra hasn’t even gotten going with the big undertakings in its current season — programs this spring that include a semistaged opera, multiweek festivals, and the first installment of a yearslong initiative from Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel.

But the LA Phil is forging ahead with its 2022–2023 plans at Walt Disney Concert Hall, announced today and dovetailing nicely with those ambitious performances already on the schedule.

Dudamel’s ongoing project, the Pan-American Music Initiative, opens the upcoming season. It’s programming that gives a name to the conductor’s signature vision — classical music that embraces all the Americas. Concerts in September and October feature Aaron Copland’s Third Symphony, choral music from Venezuela to Brazil, and a set of LA Phil-commissioned works by Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz.

Julia Bullock
Julia Bullock | Credit: Allison Michael Orenstein

Another festival follows that fall. Soprano Julia Bullock curates Rock My Soul, taking inspiration from the musical friendship between composers Florence Price and Margaret Bonds. Bullock puts the model into practice by collaborating with other Black women artists for the series, from a night headlined by Chaka Khan (Oct. 30) to a performance by Rhiannon Giddens and the Resistance Revival Chorus (Nov. 12) to her own original program, History’s Persistent Voice (Nov. 11).

“The festivals are really testaments to the power of creative communities,” explained Julia Ward, the orchestra’s humanities director. “Artists — whether they be historical compatriots like Price and Bonds or contemporary peers like Dudamel and Ortiz — have lifted one another to greater and greater heights.”

The LA Phil has built up its own musical community, and regular collaborators shape much of the upcoming season. Composer John Adams continues to chair the Green Umbrella series, the all-contemporary concerts at Disney Hall that bring younger musicians into the fold. He also conducts the local premiere of his 2017 opera, Girls of the Golden West, in the revised version, with Bullock back leading the cast (Jan. 27 and 29, 2023).

That’s just one of the operas on the calendar. The orchestra returns to Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde in December, in performances that break up the three acts over consecutive evenings. Dudamel, who now does double duty as music director of the Paris Opera, conducts, and tenor Michael Weinius and soprano Miina-Liisa Värelä take the title roles.

Expect more familiar faces on the podium in 2023. Michael Tilson Thomas leads his annual two weekends of concerts in January (first Debussy and Messiaen, then Mahler’s Ninth Symphony). Conductor emeritus Zubin Mehta has a pair of programs too, more Mahler (the Third Symphony, March 2–5, 2023), along with a billing of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children (March 10–12, 2023).

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts
Michael Tilson Thomas conducts his annual two weekends of concerts | Credit: Kristin Loken

Principal guest conductor Susanna Mälkki handles the world premiere of Felipe Lara’s Double Concerto, with flutist Claire Chase and bassist Esperanza Spalding soloing (March 23–25, 2023). And of course, Esa-Pekka Salonen is back with an echt-modernist program: Stravinsky’s Petrushka, Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin Suite, and the U.S. premiere of Salonen’s own Organ Concerto (May 18–21, 2023).

Many of the season’s soloists are likewise regular presences at Disney Hall. Yuja Wang makes a huge statement playing the four Rachmaninoff piano concertos, plus the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, in February. The only pianist who could rival that, Lang Lang, is in town the next week for Grieg’s Piano Concerto (one performance only, Feb. 23, 2023). The Colburn Celebrity Series brings more big names to the venue, from Renée Fleming and Jean-Yves Thibaudet in recital (Oct. 16) to Seong-Jin Cho with solo piano works (Jan. 8, 2023) to Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma playing Beethoven trios (Jan. 28, 2023).

The season’s opening gala sets the tone when it comes to star power. Dudamel leads the orchestra in the movie music of John Williams, who celebrated his 90th birthday last month, and Anne-Sophie Mutter plays the film composer’s Violin Concerto No. 2, with Williams himself conducting (Sept. 27).

It’s a splashy start that the LA Phil balances out at the season’s end. Under Dudamel’s baton, the orchestra premieres a pair of serious, reflective works, Ellen Reid’s West Coast Sky Eternal and Gabriella Smith’s Lost Coast (May 25–27, 2023). The next week is all Mozart, with pianist Mitsuko Uchida bringing polish to the plain but expert program (June 1–4, 2023).

For the complete 2022–2023 season schedule, plus subscription tickets on sale now, visit the LA Phil’s website.

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