Walt Disney Concert Hall: A modern marvel of music and architecture

Walt Disney Concert Hall: A modern marvel of music and architecture

When Walt Disney died in 1966, he was widely praised for his pioneering animated films and his distinctive contribution to twentieth-century American culture.

But he did his homework in classical music, too – in the 1940 classic Fantasy, a brilliantly imaginative gallery of characters, images and animals transformed into the music of Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky and others. It literally brought classical music to a whole new audience.

Where is Walt Disney Concert Hall located?

Decades later, in 1987, Disney’s widow Lillian made an announcement that would expand Walt’s legacy to include classical music even more. Her plan was to “build a world-class performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney’s dedication to the arts,” and Lillian was donating $50 million to make it happen. The Disney family’s attorney requested “traditional touches and brass railings” in the building, suggesting that something somewhat conservative was expected.

Who designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall?

The wallet is far from what the family got. When the $274 million Walt Disney Concert Hall opened 16 years later at a cost of $274 million, it was hailed as a modern masterpiece and described as a “shiny scissor ship,” “like a wonderful cartoon,” and a “musical ship with silver sails dancing in bright blue.” California Skies.” The building, clad in a layer of seductive steel panels, was “so striking that it inspired sexual metaphors.”

The designer of this illustrious edifice was Frank Gehry, a Los Angeles native with a growing reputation as one of the most innovative architects in the United States. However, Jerry was a risky choice. One commentator noted that “no one had ever trusted him with a major public building or a major budget before.”

However, Gehry’s final structure was an almost unqualified victory. A symphony of elegant curvature in the otherwise generally undistinguished downtown area of ​​Los Angeles, it wowed concert-goers with its cozy Douglas fir and oak interiors. The 2,265-seat auditorium, located within the hall’s steel outer shield, aims to create an intimate, inclusive and warm impression. “No chandeliers, no red velvet seats, no private boxes for wealthy concertgoers,” one observer wrote. “There is no stage that acts as an invisible curtain between the audience and the performers.”

Crucially, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the primary occupants of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, loved what Gehry and sound engineer Yasuhisa Toyota had created. Players raved about how clearly they could hear each other, compared to the acoustic compromises at their previous home, The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. “I’m completely happy, and so is the orchestra,” said music director Esa-Pekka Salonen.

When did the Walt Disney Concert Hall open?

At the opening ceremony on October 24, 2003, Los Angeles Times A “crowd of the influential and socially prominent” was reported, with “a procession of stretch limousines and the kind of celebrity buzz that Los Angeles usually maintains on Oscar night.” A small group of demonstrators protested the vast social and economic disparities they felt the hall highlighted. “Do something about the people sleeping in cardboard boxes a few blocks from here,” one protester pointedly commented.

However, in the hall itself, there was growing anticipation when jazz singer Dianne Reeves opened the proceedings with an unaccompanied performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” This was followed by music by Bach, Ives, Gabrieli, Ligeti and Mozart, before the evening concluded with music by Stravinsky. Spring ritual – A nod of appreciation, no doubt, for the inclusion of the work at Disney Fantasy More than six decades ago.

It has been, The New York Times Recorded, it is a thrilling performance in which the sound “immerses you as it should but keeps the complexities audible.” Too bad Lillian Disney wasn’t on hand to hear it. She died at the age of 98, in 1997, six years before Geary’s memorial to her late husband was completed.

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