Edgerton Foundation Brings Mehta's Brahms To Life

In support of the LA Phil 100: Centennial Campaign, the Edgerton Foundation has made a generous multi-year grant to support special projects and festivals at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Their generosity has helped Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel realize extraordinary programs delving deeply into canonical composers like Mozart, Schumann, and Mahler.

This season, the Foundation will help underwrite the return of one of the most significant figures in LA Phil history: Zubin Mehta. Mehta returns to Los Angeles (nearly six decades after his first appearance here) to conduct a complete Brahms symphony cycle, and the Foundation has sponsored his performances of Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 this January. 

Mehta and Brahms are an apt pairing. Despite being born more than a century and a continent apart, each initially learned music from his father, then landed as a young man in the musical capital of Vienna. There each began to make his mark as a master of the traditional and yet also as a musical innovator. Mehta’s passionate interpretations bring out the best of Brahms’ music — particularly its expressiveness and the lyrical flow of his melodies — perhaps explaining why he is one of the world’s most widely recorded and acclaimed Brahms conductors.

During this centennial season, the LA Phil is recognizing and honoring how the orchestra grew into the renowned institution it is today. As music director from 1962 to 1978, Mehta had an enormous hand in that evolution. In addition to appointing 86 musicians, he worked hard to instill a Viennese sound. The orchestra also shaped him: Just 25 when appointed, Mehta said in an interview, “I learned my repertoire here, between here and Montreal. Nearly all the programs I did here was for the first time.”

His tenure in Los Angeles included bold forward steps, including the 12-hour Beethoven Marathon concert for the composer’s 200th birthday, multiple international tours, and the opening of Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Mehta's Brahms is just the latest achievement in the long history of collaborations between the LA Phil and the venerated maestro.

We thank the Edgerton Foundation for the significant role it has played in bringing this program — and so many others — to life.  

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