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Critic's Notebook: Mehta, Guilini, Previn and Salonen are still with us, via disc and page

October 9, 2010 |  8:40 am

Remember last season when a certain French flutist from the Chicago Symphony who, flirting with a position in the Los Angeles Philharmonic before decamping back to his old band, derided our lack of tradition in the playing? 

Well the Gustavo Dudamel music directorship in L.A. is now a year old, with his second season having begun Thursday. So maybe now is a good time to talk about tradition.

The Phil’s four previous music directors of the last half century -- Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, André Previn and Esa-Pekka Salonen –- were the molders of the band as we now know it. And all of them happen to be featured in new CDs, DVDs, documentaries and books.

L9own5nc Moreover, the three surviving former music directors (Giulini passed away at 91 five years ago in Milan), are ever making news. Just last week, for instance, Mehta conducted an outdoor concert in Argentina in front of thousands.  Salonen last month toured his L.A.-originated “Tristan Project” in Europe and Britain with the Philharmonia Orchestra. On Oct. 17, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players will give the world premere of Previn’s “Octet for Eleven.”

For this Sunday's survey of where to find the L.A. Phil old-timers in the newest media, look here. 

-- Mark Swed

Photos: Zubin Mehta conducting an outdoor concert in Buenos Aires on Oct. 2.  Credit: Martin Quintana / European Pressphoto Agency