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Friday, November 12, 2010

Frank Gehry's Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall

Designed by architect Frank Gehry, Walt Disney Concert Hall, new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is designed to be one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world, providing both visual and aural intimacy for an unparalleled musical experience. Through the vision and generosity of Lillian Disney, the Disney family, and many other individual and corporate donors, the city will enjoy one of the finest concert halls in the world, as well as an internationally recognized architectural landmark. From the stainless steel curves of its striking exterior to the state-of-the-art acoustics of the hardwood-paneled main auditorium, the 3.6-acre complex embodies the unique energy and creative spirit of the city of Los Angeles and its orchestra. This iconic piece of architecture is classic signature Gehry.

The project was launched in 1992, when Lillian Disney, widow of Walt Disney, donated $50 million. Frank Gehry delivered completed designs in 1991. Construction of the underground parking garage began in 1992 and was completed in 1996. The garage cost had been $110 million, and was paid for by Los Angeles County, which sold bonds to provide the garage under the site of the planned hall.[2] Construction of the concert hall itself stalled from 1994 to 1996 due to lack of fundraising. Additional funds were required since the construction cost of the final project far exceeded the original budget. Plans were revised, and in a cost saving move the originally designed stone exterior was replaced with a less costly metal skin. The needed fundraising restarted in earnest in 1996—after the real estate depression passed—headed up by Eli Broad and then-mayor Richard Riordan and groundbreaking for the hall was held in December 1999. Delay in the project completion caused many financial problems for the county of LA. The city expected to repay the garage debts by revenue coming from the Disney Hall parking users.

Upon completion in 2003, the project had cost an estimated $274 million, including the parking garage which had solely cost $110 million. The remainder of the total cost was paid by private donations, of which the Disney family's contribution was estimated to $84.5 million with another $25 million from The Walt Disney Company. By comparison, the three existing halls of the Music Center cost $35 million in the 1960s (about $190 million in today's dollars)

The Concert Hall now broadcasts to theatres internationally.

This week, one of the world’s top orchestras – the LA Philharmonic – announced a unique opportunity for classical music lovers in Salt Lake City to enjoy them, with no airline ticket required.

To make world-class orchestral performances accessible to all, the LA Phil is embarking on an innovative program called "LA Phil LIVE," modeled after the Metropolitan Opera's HD broadcasts in area theaters.

By teaming with NCM Fathom (the same group that produces the Met series), the LA Phil will simulcast live in high-definition three programs led by the dynamic conductor Gustavo Dudamel (above) from iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles to movie theatres nationwide.

Each broadcast will also include an insider’s look at the LA Phil including never-seen-before footage including exclusive interviews with Gustavo, world-renowned guest soloists, and the orchestra's musicians. The "LA Phil LIVE" experience will be shared in local movie theaters through multiple HD cameras and in 5.1 surround sound.

Here’s a quick look at the inaugural 2011 in-theatre series:

January 9, 2011: Dudamel Conducts Beethoven
March 13, 2011: Dudamel Conducts Tchaikovsky
June 5, 2011: Dudamel Conducts Brahms

Visit to access more information.