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Season 2 - EP1

The Carnival of the Animals

Pianists Yuja Wang and David Fung join the LA Phil to explore composer Saint-Saëns’ colorful creatures, featuring animations, stories from around the world, and Gustavo Dudamel with his son Martín.

Runtime - 30 mins

  • Performance
  • Program Notes
  • Behind the Music
  • Playlist
  • Gallery
  • Family Activity

About the episode

Every culture has its stories, and some of the earliest stories were folktales. Animals are featured prominently in folktales, some of which explain the natural world and others of which teach children how to live in it. Join Gustavo Dudamel and his son Martín for a new folkloric take on "The Carnival of the Animals" with stops in India, Brazil, Australia, and Denmark. 

  • Gustavo Dudamel

    Conductor

  • Los Angeles Philharmonic

    Orchestra

  • Yuja Wang

    David Fung

    Pianos

  • Martín Dudamel Maturén

    Co-host

Support for this episode is provided by Barbara and Jay Rasulo

Program

  • SAINT-SAËNS

    The Carnival of the Animals

    Romantic-era French composer Camille Saint-Saëns composed this piece as a laugh for his students but was adamant that it never see the light of day, at least while he lived—way too unserious for his reputation. But he did allow for it to be published posthumously, and it has become one of his most popular works. Each of the 14 movements describes different animals, from lions, elephants, and kangaroos to such fanciful creatures as fossils, “long-eared somethings” (did Saint-Saëns mean donkeys, music critics, or both?), and even piano students. The Carnival of the Animals is a showcase both for the piano soloists and the instruments of the orchestra.

    Composed: 1886

    Orchestration: flute (piccolo), clarinet, 2 percussion (xylophone, glockenspiel for glass harmonica), 2 solo pianos, strings (5 first violins, 5 second violins, 4 violas, 3 cellos, 2 basses)

With Gustavo Dudamel

Behind the Music

There are a lot of different pieces you could play for a young audience. Why did you choose The Carnival of the Animals?

It’s a piece that my son Martín, who co-hosted the episode with me, loves. I also loved it as a child. It’s a very playful piece that speaks to the imagination. The music invites listeners to create images and even narratives in their mind, which is a beautiful thing.

Martín narrates one of the stories in the episode. Can you tell us a little bit about the other featured narrators?

Yes! I am so proud to have children from YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) and other El Sistema-inspired programs in Brazil and the UK help us share these beautifully animated folktales. Even though they live far apart, these young musicians are all connected through their music and their imaginations. The same is true of the stories they’re telling. The folktales come from different cultures, but they reveal that we are all united in our impulse to create.

Do you think young people relate to music differently than adults do?

As a musician, of course, but also as a listener. The beauty of being a young person is that you live in a world where you are discovering everything. I try to keep that way of thinking alive in myself because, as adults, we think we know everything and can enter into situations with a type of prejudice. Music allows us to remember our childhoods when we were discovering things and creating our own visions and ideas.

There is a purity in the way a child interacts with the world, which plays into the imagination. It’s summed up by that beautiful word—innocence.

Listen Up

A Playlist by Martín Dudamel Maturén

For the first time, Gustavo Dudamel was joined by a co-host for an episode of Sound/Stage—his son Martín Dudamel Maturén. We asked Martín to put together a playlist of the music he loves the most, and the results were as far-reaching and exciting as you might expect from the child of a world-famous conductor known for embracing all types of musical expression. The nine-year-old musician’s playlist takes us from David Bowie to Le Sonora Matancera by way of half a dozen or so of his dad’s own recordings. Gustavo Dudamel has said that “music allows us to remember our childhoods when we were discovering things and creating our own visions,” and so, we invite you to listen like a child, as though it were for the very first time.

1/8
  • The Carnival of the Animals – Drawings by Ghost Animation

    Ghost Animation is a collective of animators, artists, and filmmakers based in Kolkata, India, brought together by their love of film, 2D animation, and creating new work. Led by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, the collective brought each folktale to life through a unique visual language and strong storytelling sensibility. The character designs featured here were created by Manashi Parikh and Saurabh Vashistha.

  • The Carnival of the Animals – Drawings by Ghost Animation

    Ghost Animation is a collective of animators, artists, and filmmakers based in Kolkata, India, brought together by their love of film, 2D animation, and creating new work. Led by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, the collective brought each folktale to life through a unique visual language and strong storytelling sensibility. The character designs featured here were created by Manashi Parikh and Saurabh Vashistha.

  • The Carnival of the Animals – Drawings by Ghost Animation

    Ghost Animation is a collective of animators, artists, and filmmakers based in Kolkata, India, brought together by their love of film, 2D animation, and creating new work. Led by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, the collective brought each folktale to life through a unique visual language and strong storytelling sensibility. The character designs featured here were created by Manashi Parikh and Saurabh Vashistha.

  • The Carnival of the Animals – Drawings by Ghost Animation

    Ghost Animation is a collective of animators, artists, and filmmakers based in Kolkata, India, brought together by their love of film, 2D animation, and creating new work. Led by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, the collective brought each folktale to life through a unique visual language and strong storytelling sensibility. The character designs featured here were created by Manashi Parikh and Saurabh Vashistha.

  • The Carnival of the Animals – Drawings by Ghost Animation

    Ghost Animation is a collective of animators, artists, and filmmakers based in Kolkata, India, brought together by their love of film, 2D animation, and creating new work. Led by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, the collective brought each folktale to life through a unique visual language and strong storytelling sensibility. The character designs featured here were created by Manashi Parikh and Saurabh Vashistha.

  • The Carnival of the Animals – Drawings by Ghost Animation

    Ghost Animation is a collective of animators, artists, and filmmakers based in Kolkata, India, brought together by their love of film, 2D animation, and creating new work. Led by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, the collective brought each folktale to life through a unique visual language and strong storytelling sensibility. The character designs featured here were created by Manashi Parikh and Saurabh Vashistha.

  • The Carnival of the Animals – Drawings by Ghost Animation

    Ghost Animation is a collective of animators, artists, and filmmakers based in Kolkata, India, brought together by their love of film, 2D animation, and creating new work. Led by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, the collective brought each folktale to life through a unique visual language and strong storytelling sensibility. The character designs featured here were created by Manashi Parikh and Saurabh Vashistha.

  • The Carnival of the Animals – Drawings by Ghost Animation

    Ghost Animation is a collective of animators, artists, and filmmakers based in Kolkata, India, brought together by their love of film, 2D animation, and creating new work. Led by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, the collective brought each folktale to life through a unique visual language and strong storytelling sensibility. The character designs featured here were created by Manashi Parikh and Saurabh Vashistha.

FAMILY ACTIVITY

NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE, EVERYONE HAS A STORY TO TELL

Enjoy these activities you can do at home.

Activity 1, The Carnival of the Animals Character Cut-Outs: Camille Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals is a humorous 14-movement work. Each movement illustrates an animal or several animals, like the Royal March of the Lion or the Aquarium. Woven throughout this version, you will also see four folktales narrated by young musicians from around the world.

Read the folktales below, then join us in storytelling fun by building your own puppets.

Download activity here

Activity 2, Crossword Puzzle: Camille Saint-Saëns was a renowned French composer who was also known for his vast knowledge outside of music. He was fascinated by botany, mathematics, and travel. Test your knowledge with this The Carnival of the Animals Crossword Puzzle.

Download activity here

Share your creations with your friends, family, and us! With the help of an adult, email a photo of your work to learning@laphil.org or tag us at @laphil on Instagram.

About LA Phil Learning Programs - The LA Phil is committed to learning alongside our community, and to enabling and supporting the next generation of musicians, whether they’re picking up an instrument for the first time or penning their own compositions. Learn more here.

  • Credits

    An LA Phil Media Production LA Phil Media is supported by the David C. Bohnett Discovery and Innovation Fund

    Gustavo Dudamel Music & Artistic Director

    Directed by Alberto Arvelo and Camila Martins FEATURING Yuja Wang, piano (appearance courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon) David Fung, piano Martín Dudamel Maturén, co-host Maya Bratosin, narrator Afra Garcia, narrator Arão Estevan Oliveira da Rocha, narrator LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC LA PHIL STAFF Support for this episode is provided by Barbara and Jay Rasulo ANIMATIONS Ghost Animation Animation Director: Upamanyu Bhattacharyya Art Director: Manasi Parikh Character Design: Manasi Parikh, Saurabh Vashistha Turtle Story Animated by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya Background Art: Manasi Parikh Compositing: Kalp Sanghvi Lion Story Animated by Kalp Sanghvi Background Art: Manasi Parikh, Upamanyu Bhattacharyya Compositing: Kalp Sanghvi Duckling Story Animated by Anwaar Alam Background Art: Manasi Parikh Compositing: Kalp Sanghvi Kangaroo Story Animated by Isha Mangalmurti Background Art: Manasi Parikh Compositing: Kalp Sanghvi

    SOUND DESIGN Audio Producers: Dmitriy Lipay, Alexander Lipay Recording and Mastering Engineers: Dmitriy Lipay, Alexander Lipay LIGHTING DESIGN Robin Gray Tyler Lambert-Perkins Academy Lighting Consultants

    IATSE LOCAL 33 Kevin Brown, Master Carpenter Andy Kassan, Master Electrician Donald Quick, Property Master Michael Sheppard, Master Audio-Visual/Union Steward Kevin Wapner, Assistant Audio-Visual The stage crew is represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada, Local 33

    CANNONBALL PRODUCTIONS Directors: Alberto Arvelo & Camila Martins Executive Producer: Andrea Struble Producer: Caroline Olivera Phelan Production Supervisor: Nick Batchelder Commercial Coordinator: Marla Ovledo Director of Photography: Andrew Shankweiler POST-PRODUCTION Editor: Jarrah Gurrie Sound Mix: Yu-Ting Su Color Correction: Nice Shoes Post Maria Carretero Sal Mafitano Producer: Katie Hinsen WEBSITE ToyFight