The Los Angeles Philharmonic was founded in 1919, and it has been dubbed the top performing arts establishment of the nation ever since. It is one of the world's greatest orchestras, now led by Esa Pekka Salonen, who began in 1992.
Every year, over one million people attend performances held by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The Walt Disney Concert Hall has a thirty-week subscription in the winter and, since 1922, the Hollywood Bowl holds a twelve-week festival.
The Philharmonic's presence can be felt all over Los Angeles, including in its schools, churches and centers for recreation. It was established by William Andrews Clark, Jr., when there were ninety-four members, with director Walter Henry Rothwell. A little over a week later, the orchestra had its debut at the Trinity Auditorium, with an audience of 2,400. A year later, they established a semi-permanent location called Philharmonic Auditorium. Over the years since, the Philharmonic's conductors have included Georg Schneevoigt, Artur Rodzinski, Otto Klemperer, Alfred Wallenstein, Eduard van Beinum, Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, Andre Previn, and now, Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Along with changes in conductors, the homes of the Philharmonic have changed repeatedly.In 1964, the Orchestra moved to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center of Los Angeles County, and then to the Walt Disney Concert hall in 2003.
The first venture outside LA was in 1956, with fifty-eight concerts through Asia, with conductor Alfred Wallenstein. A decade later, they played thirty-nine concerts in twenty-three cities worldwide. In 1974 they were the first American orchestra to play at the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Hall dedicated to the Queen's husband.
Mr. Salonen and the Orchestra have already made seven international tours, including the Salzburg Festival and Lucerne Easter Festival. They were awarded recognition for performances of Messiaen's St. FranÃ§ois d'Assise, which was conducted by Pierre Boulez and Mr. Salonen. They also visited Japan, Taiwan, six festivals in Europe, and Mexico City. In 1997 they performed at the Canary Islands Music Festival and in Spain. They took numerous trips back to Europe in 1998 and also gave two additional performances in Mexico City in 1999. The Philharmonic has not forgotten its roots, however, and continues to perform in LA and throughout the United States.