Author: Adam

The L.A. Phil and the L.A. Ballet

The L.A. Phil and the L.A. Ballet

L.A. Phil and Wild Up earn 2023 Grammy nominations on a bright day for California classical music

In the 1960s, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the American Ballet Theater—two of the country’s most esteemed orchestras—began exchanging musical gifts, each hoping that they could win the other’s patronage in their home towns. During the 1970s and 1980s, both orchestras were forced to give up a lot: they were being overtaxed in donations and subscription fees, and their music was being outmoded by a new breed of listeners who demanded more contemporary sounds. Even when the L.A. Phil had been given a new home, it often took the orchestra more than a decade to find the building, since it was often a site of multiple lawsuits and negotiations. These days, when it’s time for the Phil to make another donation or perform at a concert hall, it has a brand-new rehearsal studio. Meanwhile, the L.A. Ballet has been given a new home in the American Airlines Arena, one of the largest venues in the country. And though most of its regular audiences have been with the company for years, today’s audiences, many of whom have come of age in the L.A. Phil community, can’t resist its vibrant contemporary sound.

Both groups find themselves in uncharted territory, with each orchestras having its own way of reaching new audiences. At the L.A. Phil, the orchestra is looking to give the community a strong classical music presence in a market where most of its potential audience is young. At the L.A. Ballet, it is attempting to appeal to a broader audience, one that is more familiar with contemporary dance and its high-energy vibe. Although both companies are making their own way, they share an underlying impulse that has been in the air since the 1980s—a sense that classical music can still be relevant and welcome to people who live in big cities, even if its musical forms are changing.

“We’re both trying to put classical music in the service of the same people we used to serve, which is basically the same customers that we used to serve,” said L.A. Ballet Artistic Director Patrick Graney. “That was one of our early missions in this community was to make sure that we appealed

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