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The story behind the series

The show must go on

About SOUND/STAGE and the LA Phil

Sound/Stage is a free online concert series produced by LA Phil Media, the media and digital initiatives arm of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Featuring an eclectic range of performing artists, the series brings the LA Phil’s musical offerings to your digital screen, along with interviews, playlists, and program notes that shed new light on each episode’s theme. Created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the series is filmed at the Hollywood Bowl, where our musicians can perform together while socially distanced.  

Under the direction of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil offers live performances, media initiatives, and learning programs that inspire and strengthen communities in Los Angeles and beyond. Performances are offered on three historic stages—Walt Disney Concert HallHollywood Bowl, and The Ford—as well as through a variety of media platforms.

Sound/Stage Season 3 Lineup

Episode details

EPISODE 1: OCT 1 Gabriela Ortiz

Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz joins Gustavo Dudamel for a conversation about their goals for the LA Phil’s Pan-American Music Initiative, which showcases the artistry of Latin American musicians. Plus, Dudamel leads the orchestra in Ortiz’s Arrecife, inspired by the hidden sound world of coral reefs.

Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor Featuring Gabriela Ortiz

Gabriela ORTIZ Arrecife

EPISODE 2: OCT 22 Billie Eilish with the LA Phil & YOLA

Billie Eilish comes to Sound/Stage to talk music with Gustavo Dudamel, visit YOLA musicians, and share a performance from her recent Disney+ concert film, Happier than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles, that features the GRAMMY® Award-winning singer with Dudamel and the LA Phil on stage at the Hollywood Bowl.

Billie Eilish Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor Featuring YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles)

EPISODE 3: NOV 19 Serioso

Gustavo Dudamel leads the LA Phil in Mahler’s arrangement of Beethoven’s deeply personal “Serioso” Quartet, which boldly channels the profound struggles of the composer’s life lightened by moments of hope and joy.

Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

BEETHOVEN (arr. MAHLER) String Quartet in F minor, Op 95

EPISODE 4: JAN 21 Ginastera

Gustavo Dudamel leads one of his favorite works, Alberto Ginastera’s Variaciones concertantes, an orchestral showpiece that shimmers with Argentinean character and soloist moments for members of the LA Phil.

Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

GINASTERA Variaciones concertantes EPISODE 5: FEB 18 Stravinsky’s Apollo

Dancers from Boston Ballet share the stage with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil for a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s Greek mythology-inspired Apollo, featuring George Balanchine’s choreography.

Boston Ballet Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

STRAVINSKY Apollo Choreography by George Balanchine

EPISODE 6: MAR 25 Gen X

An unplugged celebration of Gen X anthems.

EPISODE 7: APR 22 Father John Misty with the LA Phil Father John Misty, one of the preeminent songwriters of his generation, joins forces with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil for a special Sound/Stage performance.

Father John Misty Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

EPISODE 8: MAY 16 Power to the People! with Jessie Montgomery Composer Jessie Montgomery curates a program inspired by art’s role in advancing social change with Dudamel leading the LA Phil in music by Montgomery and Ellen Reid.

Los Angeles Philharmonic Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

Program to include: Ellen REID When the World As You’ve Known It Doesn’t Exist

EPISODE 9: JULY 8 John Williams

Marking his 90th birthday, the composer behind the musical heartbeat of countless films and a friend of the LA Phil joins Dudamel for a musical celebration.

How to Watch

You can watch Sound/Stage anytime, any place on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone through your web browser.

Watch on your TV via a streaming video player (i.e., smart TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation) through the YouTube app. You can also watch through your Chromecast device on a Chrome browser, screen-mirroring to your Apple TV, through the Facebook Watch, or using an HDMI or VGA cable. See here for detailed instructions on all the ways to watch.

A look behind-the-scenes

In the image gallery below, you can see the behind-the-scenes preparations required to welcome the orchestra back to the Hollywood Bowl stage and make Sound/Stage a reality. 

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  • Following scientific studies and industry best practices, all unmasked players were separated by at least 12 feet, were surrounded by plexiglass barriers to limit particle spread, and followed new guidelines for cleaning and clearing spit valves.

  • Producing SOUND/STAGE involved re-thinking how the orchestra performs to keep everyone safe. All performers and support staff were tested for COVID-19 in the days before filming with drive-thru tests given in the Hollywood Bowl parking lot.

  • New stage setups were designed to stay within County health guidelines for social distancing. All performers and support staff were given COVID-19 testing.

  • Boxes and hard lines on this plot for performers of Kamasi Washington’s BECOMING episode in season one represent plexiglass barriers that are built to separate wind players who can’t wear masks while performing.

  • The original plan was to use standard plexiglass drum shields for wind players, but COVID-19 has caused many plexiglass products to be on backorder. Due to that scarcity, these barriers were custom-built for SOUND/STAGE.

  • For season one's Dawn by Thomas Adès performance, the required orchestra was too large to fit on stage. The composer fully supported the idea of honoring the social distance requirement for this piece’s American premiere, and the brass section was placed in the front row of box seats.

  • To allow for the facial cues that are inherit to Gustavo Dudamel’s conducting style, he was placed further away from the front musicians closest to him to so he could remove his mask.

  • Performers were filmed by a total of six cameras that combined Steadicam operators among the musicians, a 50-foot crane, two newly made 10-foot towers in the audience, and one camera mounted on an aerial drone.

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