L.A. Phil 2024-25 season lineup at Disney Hall: Dudamel’s penultimate

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When Gustavo Dudamel discovered that the Mahler Society of Los Angeles made bumper stickers in the 1970s reading “Mahler Grooves,” he was inspired to create a festival around the cult-favorite catchphrase. The result is part of the 2024-25 season lineup for Walt Disney Concert Hall, announced Tuesday by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

“Gustavo is always exploring connections between the core repertoire and our city,” Meghan Umber, L.A. Phil’s chief content officer wrote in an email, noting that Dudamel “has curated three orchestral programs that explore different sides of Mahler — including his relationship with his wife, composer Alma Mahler, his first and last symphonic works and, of course, some of the iconic songs and symphonies he is best known for.”

This is Dudamel’s penultimate season with the L.A. Phil before he departs for the New York Philharmonic in 2026, and Umber said he has, as always, taken great care in curating his programs. “What I know he really loves is the diversity of the offerings overall — there is something for everyone to come and enjoy, from Rachmaninoff with Lang Lang, Florence Price with Randall Goosby and a special program for Dia de los Muertos. There’s no end to his creativity and devotion to this orchestra and to Los Angeles. He can’t wait to share these fantastic musical moments with the L.A. audience.”

Other season highlights include a Seoul Festival, curated by Unsuk Chin, that celebrates modern Korean performers, composers and culture; the culmination of John Williams’ two-year collaboration with the orchestra, including “Star Wars in Concert” featuring music and film clips from the nine “Star Wars” movies, and also concerts with Dudamel, Yo-Yo Ma and Williams; the beginning of Baroque conductor Emmanuelle Haïm’s three-year tenure as artist-collaborator with the Handel Project; the continuation of Dudamel’s Pan-American Music Initiative, including a new Gabriela Ortiz commission; and the world premiere of Carlos Simon’s Gospel Mass conducted by Dudamel, with visuals by creative director Melina Matsoukas.

Two renowned former L.A. Phil music directors, Zubin Mehta and Esa-Pekka Salonen, will each return with special programming. Mehta will celebrate Schoenberg’s 150th birthday with the composer’s epic “Gurrelieder.” Umber noted that Mehta conducted the orchestra’s very first “Gurrelieder” performance more than 55 years ago in 1968. Salonen will conduct a new violin concerto from Bryce Dessner with violinist Pekka Kuusisto, and appear in another program with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard to pay tribute to French composer Pierre Boulez.

“This season is inspired by L.A., for Angelenos,” Umber said, noting that an offering she is particularly excited about is Dudamel conducting the world premiere of Ortiz’s Cello Concerto with soloist Alisa Weilerstein, and Mendelssohn’s complete incidental music to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“There is a remarkable creative partnership between Ortiz and Dudamel and the L.A. Phil,” Umber said. “[Ortiz] has written extraordinary new works for the orchestra over the past seasons, and this latest piece will be no exception. Gustavo has paired the Ortiz with the gorgeous Mendelssohn, with narration provided by the Spanish actress Maria Valverde. The whole program is a celebration of Hispanic artistry.”

The full 2024-25 season lineup can be found here.

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