The distinctive qualities that make California a sympathetic refuge for creative renegades - from its unique landscapes that have inspired numerous masterpieces to the juxtaposed attitudes of the state's northern and southern regions - are all explored musically in the Los Angeles Philharmonic's West Coast, Left Coast festival. Curated by the LA Phil's new Creative Chair, John Adams, the unprecedented three-week multi-disciplinary series of events acknowledges the West Coast's, particularly California's, distinct musical culture and attempts to answer the questions - how did this come about and what does it all mean? In focusing on California as a land of possibility, the varied events that make up the festival provide attendees an opportunity to immerse themselves completely in music from many sources, as well as in symposia, film screenings and other events, all focusing on the West Coast philosophy.
"The West Coast, Left Coast festival is a celebration of music that is, in a sense, native born, arising from the curious and unique nature of the California sensibility," says Adams. "When it comes to music we are still a young culture, younger than the East Coast and younger for sure than Europe or the great traditions of the Orient and the Middle East. I am not even certain that there is a single ‘West Coast sensibility.' Part of the aim of the festival is to discover whether there is indeed such an identifying characteristic in what we do. Certainly what seems to set us apart as West Coast composers is a particular absence of orthodoxy and an openness to influences and stimuli that may come from any number of sources, whether it's John Cage listening to ambient sounds in the environment, or Harry Partch making microtonal instruments out of recycled junk, or BrIan Wilson singing his quintessential Southern California lyrics, or Lou Harrison creating an alchemy of Balinese gamelans and ancient Greek tuning modes, or Frank Zappa incorporating Varèsian sonorities and Stravinskian rhythms into his utterly individual music. As all of these pioneers and experimenters showed us, there is much to celebrate and to explore in our own backyard - both figuratively and literally! - and our festival is dedicated to that spirit."
The festival is comprised of a wide range of musical and other events woven together to present a solid framework of the diversity of California sound. West Coast, Left Coast begins with EUREKA! Festival Opening Event, Saturday, November 21, and features four diverse and remarkable California artists - ensemble-in-residence, San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet, minimalist composer/musician Terry Riley, electronic-experimental artists Matmos and Los Angeles-born multi-instrumentalist Mike Einziger - sharing the stage for solo performances and exclusive collaborations, drawing inspiration from each other as well as their West Coast roots. The festival's first classical subscription performance features LA Phil Music Director Gustavo Dudamel as he leads the Philharmonic in a program of former LA Phil Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen's LA Variations, Lou Harrison's Piano Concerto and Adams' City Noir, November 27 - 29. The festival continues with a Green Umbrella series program presenting Harry Partch's US Highball, and Adams conducting Ingram Marshall's Fog Tropes (for brass ensemble) and selections from Frank Zappa's The Yellow Shark, December 1. Adams also leads the LA Phil in his own The Dharma at Big Sur with soloist Leila Josefowicz, December 5 - 6. Guest conductor and Angeleno Leoard Slatkin leads the orchestra and the Kronos Quartet in the world premiere of a new work by Thomas Newman (of the Hollywood film-scoring Newman family dynasty), December 3 & 4. L.A.-based indie rock quintet The Airborne Toxic Event is accompanied by The Calder Quartet and other special guests for a one-of-a-kind evening, December 4; Legendary California icon BrIan Wilson performs in a special stripped-down setting, joined by other artists, including "King of California" Dave Alvin, as they share their West Coast-inspired and sun-soaked sounds in Songs of the Sun, December 6. And, an LA Phil Jazz series concert, A Night of the Beats, features the Charles Lloyd New Quartet, poet performer Michael McClure as well as Kurt Elling, Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman, LA Phil Creative Chair for Jazz Christian McBride, Peter Erskine, Alan Broadbent and others, who come together to relive the hip non-conformity of the Beat Generation's poetry and jazz, December 8.
West Coast, Left Coast offers other ancillary events including Marshall's Alcatraz, a sound/video installation in Walt Disney Concert Hall's BP Hall, and Deborah O'Grady's photo installation Dreaming Coyote, Dreaming the World, in the lobby throughout the festival. Parades & Changes, Replays, offers a reinterpretation of the celebrated collaboration between Anna Halprin and Morton Subotnick, at REDCAT, November 11 - 14. The Los AngeLes Children's Chorus performs A California Christmas at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, November 14, and is preceded by a pre-concert discussion featuring Los Angeles Times Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne. Jacaranda presents a program featuring two works by Adams, also at the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, November 14, Pauline Oliveros and Stuart Dempster present the transformative experience of Deep Listening® at the Getty Center, November 22, and Amy X Neuberg and the Cello ChiXtet offer The Secret Language of Subways, at Zipper Hall at the Colburn School, November 30. John Adams, Phil Lesh, Thomas Newman and Kevin Starr participate in the symposium, "The Art of the State," at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, December 5.
For tickets and a complete program schedule, call 213-972-7282 or visit LAMC.org.