Vibe and Atmosphere at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Disney Concert Hall is one of the greatest cultural gifts bestowed on LA, in my opinion--if at the very least for its sheer architectural presence. For decades, our sprawling city struggled with a 'second city' complex. Could it be more obvious, glancing at this elegant beast on the Downtown skyline, that this is no longer the case?
Step inside this design beacon and its heart, guts and soul match its phenomenal exterior. The first performance I attended at the Disney felt a bit like going to church--in the old majestic sense. The wooden curves looming above, and the beautiful acoustics of the music were beatific.
Add to all of this the fact that global classical sensation Gustavo Dudamel now presides over the Los Angeles Philharmonic (who call the Disney home), and you've got a stellar contribution to LA's long-term international cultural caché.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its world-renowned music director Gustavo Dudamel most of the year. During the summer months, the Phil moves to its temporary outdoor space at The Hollywood Bowl.
Architect Frank Gehry's Design of the Walt Disney Concert Hall
The glimmering, futuristic steel building that is the Disney Concert Hall, has become a visually identifiable LA landmark (much like the Opera House is to Sydney).
Many culture and architecture buffs note that its creator, Frank Gehry's mark is all over it. It's impossible to miss those curves of steel, curves that Gehry incorporated into his design of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, in Spain as well.
In 1988, the famed architect was selected from a major pool of potentials as part of a design competition. The prior year, a $50 million gift from the late Lillian Disney launched the decades long dream.
Although Gehry's ambitious and revolutionary design for the concert hall was unveiled in 1991, construction did not begin until late 1999.
Beyond its striking look, the structure also boasts state-of-the-art acoustics in a hardwood-paneled central auditorium.
- The Walt Disney Hall opened its doors in October 2003
- Prior to the Disney's opening, the Philharmonic's home was the nearby Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Los Angeles Music Center
- In 2003, Gustavo Dudamel took over Esa-Pekka Salonen's music directorship of the LA Philharmonic
Past and Present Performers
- Itzhak Perlman
- Michael Feinstein
- Herbie Hancock
- St. Petersburg Philharmonic
- Sir James Galway
- Cibo Matto
- Yellow Magic Orchestra
Getting to the Disney
By Metro Rail: Red Line Civic Center Metro stop at 101 S. Hill St.
By Car: From the 5 freeway North exit at Grand Ave. From the 5 freeway South exit on Hill St. From the 110 freeway North exit on 4th St. From the 110 freeway South exit on Hill St. From the 101 North exit on 4th St. From the 101 South exit on Temple. From the 10 freeway East exit on 4th St. From the 10 freeway West exit on Grand Ave.
Underground parking (beneath the actual building) is available for $9 starting at 4:30 p.m. for evening shows, two hours prior to weekday matinees, and all day on weekends. Parking garage entrances are located on 2nd Street and on Lower Grand Ave.
Valet parking is also available for $23 starting at 5 p.m. for evening shows, two hours prior to weekday matinees and all day on weekends. Enter from Hope St.
Reference: map of Downtown Los Angeles, North
Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(between 1st and 2nd)