California

Gustavo Dudamel at Walt Disney Concert Hall

I’ve been living in Southern California all my life, and am a frequent patron of live performances.  I used to have season tickets to the Ahmanson, Pantages, and even the old Shubert… yet never set foot at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, until this Memorial Weekend.

Built in 2003, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is home to the LA Philharmonic and in 2009, Gustavo Dudamel (aka “The Dude”) became the LA Phil’s Music Director.


My first experience attending a live, classical performance was in Berlin, where we saw Sir Simon Rattle conduct the Berlin Philharmonic.  We had seats in the front, and all I saw was the side and back of the conductor.

When I purchased tickets to see “The Dude”, I made sure to get an elevated seat, to the side in Orchestra West, so we can see the facial expression of the conductor.  The tickets were not cheap.  Ticketmaster charged me $136.50 + $12.50 service fee … almost $150 per ticket.  It was cheaper to go to Berlin.. yikes!

We arrived 2 hours early, parked in their underground (entrance located across from The Broad museum) for $9.00.  We walked across the street to Kendall’s Brasserie for brunch, and arrived at the WDCH a little after 1:00 (for a 2:00 performance).

Our seat location was right by the Garden exit, so we went outside to check it out before the show. At the garden was a piece of art called “A Rose for Lilly”, dedicated to Lillian Disney.


Our seats were fantastic, and we could see the orchestra and the conductor.  We chatted with our neighbors who were season ticket holders, and they told us they love their seats. It almost made me want to buy a season!

The performance time was prompt. Acoustically, the sound was crisp and flawless. I was glad to have selected these seats. Excellent choice!

During the third piece, second movement, the fire alarm went off.  A few patrons scurried out the exit door (every man and woman for themselves!) and even a 2nd string violinist ran off the stage, only to come back red faced to her seat.  The security people came out, and asked us to remain calm.  They kept us informed that nothing unusual happened, and that it was a false alarm.  We continued with the program, and it ended quite well.

At the end of the performance, I was able to take a quick photo of the orchestra, and The Dude.

Overall a good venue for classical music.  I would recommend my elevated orchestra seats for a better view of the stage.  You can really see the performers get into their music, and even follow the facial expression of the conductor.