Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta | Credit: Monika Rittershaus

Zubin Mehta made his Hollywood Bowl debut in 1961. The program of Hector Berlioz and Sergei Rachmaninoff that he conducted was a huge success — you can listen to a recording made by Armed Forces Radio — and the next year he became the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s music director.

He returned to the iconic outdoor venue many times over the years, making his final appearance nearly 30 years ago. But this summer, he will reappear for the first time since the 1990s, leading a July 23 concert that promises to be a highlight of the Bowl season.

The all-Mozart program, which features the Third Violin Concerto and the “Jupiter” Symphony, will also feature another legend: violinist Pinchas Zukerman. It’ll be a nostalgic night for many.

The 2024 Hollywood Bowl season will also feature nine LA Phil performances led by Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel; concerts featuring more world-class violinists, including Joshua Bell, Midori, Augustin Hadelich, and Ray Chen; and programs marking the centenaries of two giants of 20th-century pop culture, Henry Mancini and Sammy Davis Jr.

Hollywood Bowl
A 2011 concert at the Hollywood Bowl | Credit: Adam Latham

Dudamel’s concerts are bunched up toward the end of the season. They begin Aug. 29 with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, with Cliburn Competition winner Yunchan Lim as soloist. Dudamel will also lead the orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms on Sept. 10 and a program of operatic music featuring soprano Diana Damrau and tenor Jonas Kaufmann on Sept. 12.

Dudamel and the orchestra will also perform a couple of nonclassical concerts: one featuring music from the many Marvel superhero movies (Aug. 30–31) and another starring 18-time Latin Grammy winner Natalia Lafourcade (Sept. 6–7).

The season will kick off as usual with the Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival. The June 15–16 event will feature such greats as Charles Lloyd and Christian McBride. The official opening-night concert, June 23, will feature Thomas Wilkins leading the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in a 100th-birthday salute to Mancini, with guests Michael Bublé and Dave Koz.

Classical concerts begin July 9, when Augustin Hadelich is the soloist for Sergei Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto, Elim Chin also leading the LA Phil in Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. An all-George Gershwin program follows July 11, with Lionel Bringuier conducting Cuban Overture, Jean-Yves Thibaudet performing Rhapsody in Blue, and Isabel Leonard singing a selection of the composer’s timeless songs.

Ballet Folklórico de México
Ballet Folklórico de México performs July 18

Ballet Folklórico de México will join the LA Phil for a program of Latin American music on July 18. Carlos Miguel Prieto will conduct works by Silvestre Revueltas and Gabriela Ortiz, as well as Carlos Chavez’s Sinfonía india.

Tchaikovsky’s music will be featured prominently over the summer. Besides the aforementioned Dudamel concert, Ray Chen will perform the Violin Concerto on July 16, and Behzod Abduraimov will play the First Piano Concerto as part of the “Tchaikovsky Spectacular with Fireworks” (Aug. 2–3).

But the composer’s Russian compatriots are not being slighted. There’s a program of Igor Stravinsky and Aram Khachaturian on July 30, an all-Rachmaninoff concert on Aug. 13, and an Aug. 6 program featuring Prokofiev’s popular Third Piano Concerto with one of Dmitri Shostakovich’s greatest symphonies, the 10th. Ryan Bancroft conducts the LA Phil in that last concert, with pianist Denis Kozhukhin as soloist.

Joshua Bell will bring The Elements, a piece for violin and orchestra featuring movements by five contemporary American composers, to the Bowl on Aug. 15. An all-Antonín Dvořák program featuring Christian Reif conducting the Seventh Symphony and Midori playing the Violin Concerto follows on Aug. 20.

Jazz concerts of note include pianist Herbie Hancock reuniting with his 1973 Head Hunters band on Aug. 14 and a “Big Band Night” featuring the Maria Schneider and Count Basie Orchestras on July 17. The Sammy Davis Jr. tribute, featuring Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, will be Sept. 11.

New subscriptions, jazz festival tickets, and group sales for select concerts are now on sale. “Create your own” packages will go on sale March 19; single tickets will become available May 7. For more information, call 323-850-2000 or go to the Bowl’s website.