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LA Phil's Green Umbrella Concert Series: Music from Bang on a Can Composers

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The LA Phil's Green Umbrella series offers a different perspective on classical music. | Photo of Walt Disney Concert Hall interior by Federico Zignani


The LA Phil's Green Umbrella series offers a different perspective on classical music. | Photo of Walt Disney Concert Hall interior by Federico Zignani

- by Ellen Reid for LAist

Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Concert Series
--dedicated to innovative contemporary music--opened last week with a concert featuring music from Bang on a Can composers: Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. It seems fitting that Bang on a Can opened the series, because the collective is responsible for a lot of innovative contemporary music in the U.S.The concert featured five original pieces, one of which was a West Coast premiere. The opening piece, Weather 1, by Michael Gordon, and the final piece, Pierced, by David Lang harkened back to the minimal heritage that first influenced Bang on a Can members. These both were conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky, and featured the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group.

But the most compelling composition was Julia Wolfe’s Dark Full Ride. The stage was cleared of the orchestra, and all that remained on stage was not one, not two--but four drum sets. This piece was solely percussive, but the use of the different timbres of the cymbals, the pitches drums, the shape of the composition, and the location of the multiple drum sets created a striking musical experience.

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Other concerts in the 2010-11 Green Umbrella series include the music of George Crumb on Tuesday, Nov. 16; the music of Unsuk Chin and Anders Hillborg on Tuesday, March 15; the music of Thomas Adès and the late György Ligeti on Tuesday, April 5; and the music of Gabriel Kahane, Andrew Norman, Steven Mackey and Missy Mazzoli that will be conducted by John Adams on Tuesday, May 24.

Tickets for the Green Umbrella shows run $35-$53 bucks a pop, but there are significant student discounts, too. The series is a great way to dip your toes into new music from renowned contemporary composers.