Critic's Notebook: Why not make Walt Disney Concert Hall whole?
In spring 2008, when the Los Angeles Philharmonic had completed its fifth season in Walt Disney Concert Hall, I suggested that this landmark building -- a new symbol for Los Angeles -– needed a little TLC. Officials at the Music Center didn’t listen with a deaf ear, they listened with an angry ear.
Artists who had privately criticized to me the way the building was being maintained backtracked, not wanting to jeopardize their positions. Maybe I had been a little unreasonable. Maybe Disney -- already a great hall that was inspiring whole new approaches to the presentations and audience involvement with music -- was good enough. After all, it was motivating the Los Angeles Philharmonic to innovate to an unprecedented degree in the orchestra world.
Maybe that wasn’t the right time. Maybe the right time is now!
The L.A. Phil has just announced programming for next season that reflects what a visionary hall can make possible. Meanwhile, Frank Gehry’s new New World Center in Miami Beach is wowing just about everybody by being what Disney was supposed to be.
This, I argue here, in a critic’s notebook, should be our cue.
-- Mark Swed
Photo: The projection wall on the facade of the New World Center in Miami Beach. Credit: Carey Wagner/Sun Sentinel