What’s the secret behind Los Angeles’ burgeoning new-music scene?

Posted on: June 30, 2022

The Los Angeles Philharmonic performs the West Coast premiere of Ted Hearne’s Place at Walt Disney Concert Hall, June 7, 2022. Photo: Dustin Downing

“Since April Fools’ Day alone, the L.A. Phil has presented, by my casual count, works by 70 living composers, most of them premieres,” writes Mark Swed in Wednesday’s (6/29) Los Angeles Times. “In L.A. County … the number of works played during those 12 weeks by living composers may well approach 200…. This is an exceptional phenomenon. Thirty years ago, we might have hailed as rare and consequential any dozen weeks in which music by a mere handful of living composers was programmed as the regular course of a classical music season…. New music has become a way of life, be it, and in no particular order, at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Broad Stage, Zipper Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, REDCAT, Royce Hall, the Ford, the Wende Museum, the Wallis, First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica, 2220 Arts + Archives, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Hauser & Wirth and Descanso Gardens…. If you hope to put your finger on what makes L.A. a center of new music, you will only look foolish frenetically waving your hand in the air…. Is hospitality, maybe, the real secret for our new music success story? I’d like to think that an environment of acceptance has something to do with it.”