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Arts and Entertainment

Gustavo Dudamel Blows Away Crowds at 1st Season Concert in Disney Hall

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It was an amazing night for Los Angeles. The Dodgers won, the Angels won and Gustavo Dudamel with the LA Philharmonic dominated Walt Disney Concert Hall, winning over audiences and signaling the start of an amazing season for classical music.

No less than a millisecond after the last piece, Mahler's 1st Symphony, ended the audience was on their feet, hooting, hollering, and cheering for Gustavo. 10 minutes of non-stop clapping brought the new 28-year-old conductor of the Phil out on stage at least 6 times (maybe 7), each time with a short crescendo in excited screaming. After bowing enough, Dudamel finally gave the international "let's drink" gesture and the crowds quickly dissipated to a beautifully decorated Grand Street, where drinks and dinner were served for patrons.

The concert had such a spine-tingling electricity to it. Much of that thanks to an aggressive presentation of Mahler's symphony, which followed California composer John Adam's world premiere of City Noir, a grand yet complicated and complex piece. There's a lot to listen to at times (and a lot to re-listen to when the album comes out).

During intermission, there were mixed feelings about Adam's work. It was challenging for both the audience and performers, moving from jazzy syncopations and Hollywood screen moments to contemporary classical notions foreign to someone looking for a catchy tune. All in all, a delicious work, and no less inspired by Los Angels itself (although a darker version, think 1940s, 50s).

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It was Dudamel's first time conducting Adams, who sat in the audience as he usually does. The most amazing moment came when the two men hugged and embraced each other--Adams, it felt, was truly thankful and amazed.

And amazement was the theme of the night and likely a theme of this year for the LA Phil. The concert will be broadcast by PBS on October 21. Be sure to catch it or, hey, make sure you see them perform at some point this year.