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The Hollywood Bowl Is Back — And Celebrating Its 100th Anniversary (Check Out The Season Lineup Here)

The lighted white bandshell of the Hollywood Bowl against a dark blue night sky.
You know it's summer when the Hollywood Bowl is in full swing.
(Courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association)
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Today in L.A. history: On July 11, 1922, the L.A. Philharmonic held the the first of its now traditional summer concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. The conductor was Alfred Hertz and the bill for the evening included Wagner's Overture to Reinzi and a movement from Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5.

Fast forward a little less than 100 years andthis year's season kicked off in June with a combination that 1922 audience could hardly have imagined: singer Gwen Stefani performing alongside the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.

It marked the start of a busy season of celebration for the iconic venue, which delayed plans for a 100th anniversary celebration last year once it was clear the pandemic would curtail last summer’s season.

When it was clear they’d only be able to do half the season in 2021, it just made sense to wait, said L.A. Phil CEO Chad Smith.

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“We decided that the Hollywood Bowl deserved such an extraordinary celebration of its history and what it means to the community of Los Angeles and the community of music lovers around the world,” Smith told our newsroom’s public affairs showAirTalk.

“It's an epic season,” Smith said.

In honor of the season, the L.A. Phil published “Hollywood Bowl: The First 100 Years,” a coffee table-style book, which includes photos and notable historic moments.

“The Hollywood Bowl is such a fascinating place and there are so many reasons to love it, so that was really the guiding impotence for going into the research, is what makes this place so special,” said author Derek Traub, who has been a writer with the L.A. Phil for more than a decade.

Some History

At the turn of the 20th Century, what’s now known as the Hollywood Bowl was called the Daisy Dell. Smith described it as a "canyon that happened to have some extraordinary acoustic principles.”

Three women in long-sleeve blouses and skirts wear wide-brimmed hats and carry lunch pails.
A picnic in the Daisy Dell circa 1910s.
(Courtesy Los Angeles Philharmonic Archives)

“In the early part of the 20th century there were a group of really civic-minded, important women in L.A. who wanted to create a space, a democratic space within our community to put on performances,” Smith said, naming Christine Wetherill Stevenson and Artie Mason Carter. “They believed that Los Angeles needed a place where artists from many different backgrounds could come and perform and where audiences from across L. A. could gather.”

Carter was a music teacher who “believed firmly that music was the best tool to build community,” said Traub. “She and her cohorts went out into the Hollywood Hills and found this canyon with these magical acoustical properties.”

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Instead of the landmark bandshell, the first shows were held on a makeshift wooden stage with the audience on benches or even rugs on the canyon floor.

The current bandshell, built in 2004, is actually the fifth to house performances. Four previous shells were designed by notable architects, including Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright).

The modern bandshell at the Hollywood Bowl features a fan-like shell of concentric circles.
The current shell at the Hollywood Bowl, photgraphed here in 2014, has been in place since 2004.
(Kevin Winter
/
Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.)

Magical Nights At The Bowl

To celebrate opening day, listeners called into AirTalk and shared some of their best memories at the Bowl.

Andrea in San Pedro said:

"My first concert ever was 1965, The Beatles. My dad made me take my little sister. She was 12 years old. Only $3 for the ticket. There’s a huge crowd of teenage girls all running down the hill and I lost [my sister]. I ended up out in the parking lot waiting for her, and I see her coming across the parking lot sobbing. I thought she was crying because she was lost. She got caught up in the crowd and got pushed against the limo and was face-to-face with John Lennon."

Here’s what Jen in Beverly Hills had to say:

"I got engaged at the Bowl during ‘The Little Mermaid’ performance in 2016. My now-husband said, ‘Would you be a part of my world forever?’ It will always have a special place in my heart."

Mike in Long Beach said:

"Back in the 80s, I went to the Playboy Jazz Festival. On that show, David Sanborn was one of the headliners, and David was in the middle of a song and he was soloing when a woman jumped on stage and began dancing to his solo. There was a security guard who began to approach the woman but then backed off. It was a spontaneous magical moment I feel lucky to have seen."

Laurie in Huntington Beach shared her parents’ memory:

"They’re 92 years old now, and they met at the Hollywood Bowl when they were 15 or 16. They both worked there. Next week, they will celebrate their 74th wedding anniversary."

10 Nights Of Dudamel Conducting

L.A. Phil maestro Gustavo Dudamel will conduct 10 concerts this season, including a run of five nights in July that features the third act of Wagner's Valkyrie and the Paris Opera Ballet.

“For Gustavo, the Hollywood Bowl represents everything that he loves about performing and being a performing musician,” Smith said. “It is a venue that celebrates all sorts of genres.”

Traditions Return

Yes, Sound of Music and Star Wars are happening again.

“In 1977, when Star Wars came out, the L.A. Phil presented six months after the launch of the film, the first ever Star Wars concert with an orchestra,” Smith said, noting John Williams, who turns 90 this year, will be back again to conduct. “And there were lasers that were shooting all over the Hollywood Bowl and now of course we know that Star Wars concerts have become fixtures around the world, but it happened first at the Hollywood Bowl in 1977.”

“So we really think about how we can use this venue to continue to shine a light on the extraordinary music-making that the film industry puts out year after year,” he said.

Smith said this year’s schedule, with a wide-range of genres, reflects those early goals for the venue to “democratize music and culture in our city.”

From the earliest days, Smith said the Bowl presented artists and musicians from across many backgrounds.

“It was an early platform for Mariachi music within our community in the 1920s and 30s,” he said. “There was a very, very famous and important gathering of nearly 50 tribal nations performers who did a four-day pageant of their music and traditions on the Bowl stage. And that was in the mid 1920s.”

FULL SCHEDULE

June

101 Festival
Saturday, June 11 | 5 p.m.

101 Festival
Sunday, June 12 | 5 p.m.

Andrea Bocelli – In Concert
Thursday, June 16 | 8 p.m.

Halsey (Wolf Alice, Abby Roberts)
Tuesday, June 21 | 7 p.m.

Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival
Saturday, June 25| 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 26 | 3:30 p.m.

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsPart 1 In Concert
Thursday, June 30 | 8 p.m.

July

July 4th Fireworks Spectacular with Steve Martin & Martin Short
Saturday, July 2 | 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 3 | 7:30 p.m.
Monday, July 4 | 7:30 p.m.

Kinky Boots
Friday, July 8 | 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 9 | 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 10 | 7:30 p.m.

The Music of Leonard Bernstein
Tuesday, July 12 | 8 p.m.
Thursday, July 14 | 8 p.m.

Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina — Sittin’ In 2022
Friday, July 15 | 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 16 | 8 p.m.

The Valkyries
Sunday, July 17 | 7:30 p.m.

Dudamel and Paris Opera Ballet
Wednesday, July 20 | 8 p.m.
Thursday, July 21 | 8 p.m.

Ricky Martin with the LA Phil
Friday, July 22 | 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 23 | 8 p.m

A.R. Rahman
Sunday, July 24 | 7 p.m.

Beethoven's Fifths
Tuesday, July 26 | 8 p.m.

Tribute to Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra
(with special guests Billie Eilish, Debbie Harry, Dianne Reeves, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and more)
Wednesday, July 27 | 8 p.m.

Carmina Buranawith Dudamel
Thursday, July 28 | 8 p.m.

Boyz II Men and TLC
Friday, FRI, July 29 | 8 p.m.

John Fogerty
Saturday, July 30 | 8 p.m.

a-ha with Orchestra
Sunday, July 31 | 7:30 p.m.

August

Musical Encounters
Tuesday, Aug. 2 | 8 p.m.

Sheryl Crow and Keb' Mo'
Wednesday, Aug. 3 | 8 p.m.

The Splendor of Saint-Saëns
Thursday, Aug. 4 | 8 p.m.

Back to the Futurewith the LA Phil
Friday, Aug. 5 | 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 6 | 8 p.m.

Polo and Pan and Parcels
Sunday, Aug. 7 | 7 p.m.

New World Symphony
Tuesday, Aug. 9 | 8 p.m.

Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown
(Trombone Shorty, Tank and the Bangas, Big Freedia, Cyril Neville: The Uptown Ruler, George Porter Jr and Dumpstaphunk, The Soul Rebels)
Wednesday, Aug. 10 | 8 p.m.

Scheherazade
Thursday, Aug. 11 | 8 p.m.

Tchaikovsky Spectacular with Fireworks
Friday, Aug. 12 | 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 13 | 8 p.m.

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
(Durand Jones & the Indications, Celisse)
Sunday. Aug. 14 | 7 p.m.

An Evening of Rachmaninoff
Tuesday, Aug. 16 | 8 p.m.

All-American
Thursday, Aug. 18 | 8 p.m.

The Gipsy Kings
(Featuring Nicolas Reyes)
Friday, Aug. 19 | 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 20 | 8 p.m

Flying Lotus and Hiatus Kaiyote with Orchestra
Sunday, Aug. 21 | 7 p.m.

AmadeusLIVE in Concert
Tu2sday, Aug. 23 | 8 p.m.

Black Movie Soundtrack IV with Orchestra
Wednesday, Aug. 24 | 8 p.m.

Clara Schumann and Dvořák
Thursday, Aug. 25 | 8 p.m.

Diana Ross
Friday. Aug. 26 | 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 27 | 8 p.m.

Smooth Summer Jazz
(George Benson • Boney James, Lalah Hathaway)
Sunday, Aug. 28 | 6:30 p.m.

Beethoven's Ninth
Tuesday, Aug. 30 | 8 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 1 | 8 p.m.

September

Beethoven's Ninth
Thursday, Sept. 1 | 8 p.m.

Maestro of the Movies
Celebrating John Williams at 90
Friday, Sept. 2 | 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 3 | 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 4 | 7:30 p.m.

Mozart Under the Stars
Tuesday, Sept. 6 | 8 p.m.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Wednesday, Sept. 7 | 8 p.m.

Wynton Marsalis’All Rise
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with the LA Phil
Thursday, Sept. 8 | 8 p.m.

Duran Duran: FUTURE PAST WEEKEND
Friday, Sept. 9 | 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 10 | 8 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 11 | 7:30 p.m.

(Rescheduled) Ben Platt
Monday, Sept. 12 | 7:30 p.m.

Itzhak Perlman leads Tchaikovsky
Tuesday, Sept. 13 | 8 p.m.

Pink Martini
Wednesday, Sept. 14 | 8 p.m.

Lang Lang – the Animated Piano
Thursday, Sept. 15 | 8 p.m.

Sing-A-LongSound of Music
Saturday, Sept. 17 | 7:30 p.m.

Reggae Night XX
UB40 • The Original Wailers feat Al Anderson • Maxi Priest • Big Mountain
Sunday, Sept. 18 | 7 p.m.

Dave Matthews Band
Monday, Sept. 19 | 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 20 | 7:30 p.m.

Chucho Valdés “The Creation”
(with the Yoruban Orchestra, Hilario Durán & John Beasley, Musical Directors Cimafunk)
Wednesday, Sept. 21 | 8 p.m.

ABBA The Concert
Saturday, Sept. 14 | 8 p.m.

Grace Jones • CHVRCHES
Sunday, Sept. 15 | 7 p.m.

Herbie Hancock
Wednesday, Sept. 28 | 8 p.m.

Pentatonix
Thursday, Sept. 29 | 8 p.m.

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Updated July 11, 2022 at 2:42 PM PDT
This story was updated to mark the 100th anniversary of the first L.A. Phil concert at the venue.
Updated June 3, 2022 at 4:40 PM PDT
This story was originally published on Feb. 15, 2022 at 8 a.m. It was updated to include the interview with author Derek Traub and stories from Airtalk listeners.