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Dudamel draws a stellar crowd to Disney Hall

October 8, 2009 | 10:05 pm



Nothing about the arrival of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's new music director, 28-year-old Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel, has been ordinary -- including the fact that the red-carpet scene outside Walt Disney Concert Hall for the wunderkind's inaugural concert at the hall featured a pink carpet. Magenta, if you want to split hairs.


Explained a Philharmonic spokeswoman: "It matches our promotional materials."

It also matched the one-off spirit of Dudamel, who chose to conduct his first concert as the Phil's music director as a free event at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday before the celebrity-studded first concert downtown.

And as the cameras stood ready at Disney Hall, ordinary folks were gathering across 1st Street for a, well, no-carpet event: a free, live broadcast on the Music Center Plaza of the concert.

Last week, when Dudamel began his first official round of rehearsals with the orchestra, it was time for the young conductor to mingle with musicians and other classical music cognoscenti. On Thursday night it was time for Hollywood to put in an appearance.

With flamenco guitarists setting the tone, the first arrivals were movie legends Anne Jeffries and Anne Rutherford, Rutherford in an explosion of diamonds and peach ruffles.


Other early arrivals were husband-and-wife actors Courtney B. Vance and Angela Bassett. "I think that as Tiger brought new eyes and interest to the golf world, Dudamel will do the same for the concert hall world," Bassett said.


Also on hand were Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, novelist Judith Krantz, Nancy Bloomingdale, Sony CEO Howard Stringer and music and film producer Quincy Jones, who arrived arm in arm with Ginny Mancini.

Jones said Dudamel will bring "a whole new perspective" to the Philharmonic. "Diversity first -- that's a key word," he said. "And he knows what he's doing. He doesn't use scores, like Simon Rattle."


Director Gary Marshall, former Paramount chief Sherry Lansing and actors Don Johnson, Andy Garcia, Dana Delany and Rachel Griffiths were also among the concert attendees. Said Delany, "I just love saying his name, Gustavo Dudamel!"




--Diane Haithman


Photo: The red carpet awaits the arrival of stars at Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles for a performance by the L.A. Philharmonic with its new music director, Gustavo Dudamel. Credit: Christina House / For The Times


Photos: Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Philharmonic

Red Carpet

Panorama: On the red carpet at Walt Disney Concert Hall


Panorama: Taking in the Dudamel concert from out of doors