The Los Angeles Music Center is one of the largest performing arts centers in the US, and the west coast equivalent of New York’s Lincoln Center. It is home to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (opera house), the Ahmanson Theatre (Broadway-style proscenium arch theatre), the Mark Taper Forum (180-degree thrust stage), and the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
The original Music Center complex was designed by Welton Becket, who also designed Los Angeles’ Capitol Records Building, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, LA’s Cinerama Dome, and the Santa Monica Civic Auditorum. The Music Center complex was completed in 1967, although the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was open from 1964. The Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall was added to the complex in 2003.
- Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
- The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion – an opera house – was completed in December 1964 and is the largest venue of the complex with a seating capacity of 3,156. It largely replaced the 1906 Philharmonic Auditorium located at 5th and Olive. To achieve the highest degree of design integration everything inside and outside the building, from courtyard sculptures to interior light fittings and carpets, was specifically designed for the building by the architects.
- Originally home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic , who are now based at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the venue is now home to LA Opera . It is familiar to many throughout the world having hosted over 20 Academy Award (Oscars) presentations from 1969 through 1999.
- The three chandeliers that hang in the Founders Lobby of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion measure 17ft high by 10ft wide and weigh roughly 1.5 tons apiece. Each chandelier is comprised of approximately 27,500 individual glass pieces.
- The Founders Room at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, reserved for donors who have contributed generously to the Music Center, boasts two chandeliers that were originally designed for the movie “The Great Waltz” (1938) . Designer Tony Duquette determined that the room required three chandeliers and commissioned a third to match the existing two chandeliers.
- Ahmanson Theatre
- The Ahmanson was completed in April 1967 and, more recently, underwent a major redesign in 1994-1995 when the Balcony and Mezzanine levels were moved closer to the stage, the width of the auditorium reduced, and the acoustics improved.
- The theatre was designed with the ability to reconfigure the seating capacity from 2,103 to 1,700, and even down to 1,300, using acoustic dividers mid-Mezzanine and mid-Balcony.
- The Ahmanson is currently home to Center Theatre Group who present a wide range of productions throughout their season, including direct-from-Broadway one-time transfers.
- Mark Taper Forum
Mark Taper Forum
- The Mark Taper Forum was completed in April 1967 and is the smallest of the complex’s venues, with a seating capacity of 738 in a 180-degree semicircular amphitheatre arrangement around its thrust stage. The design is particularly successful at creating an intimate relationship between actor and audience
- The building’s exterior is the most stunning of the original Music Center complex, being a cylindrical drum wrapped in relief-sculpture concrete murals and surrounded by reflecting pools. The Taper underwent a major $30 million renovation, including all its technical systems, in 2007-2008.
- One of the most successful productions to be staged at the Taper was “Zoot Suit” in 1978, telling the story of the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial and the Zoot Suit Riots. The production went on to be the first Chicano production on Broadway and was made into a film. Center Theatre Group revived the play for their 50th anniversary in 2018, where it again played to sellout audiences at the Taper with its run being extended three times.
- Walt Disney Concert Hall
Walt Disney Concert Hall
- The Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall was completed and added to the Music Center complex in 2003, at which point the LA Philharmonic transferred their home here from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Seating capacity is 2,252 with seats on all four sides of the vast Douglas Fir-lined concert hall. Acoustics have been greatly praised and there is no bad seat in the house.
- The concert hall’s organ was designed by Manuel Rosales and nicknamed “Hurricane Mama”. It has a frontage designed by Gehry with 6,125 individual pipes ranging from a few inches to 32ft in length.
- The concert hall building also incorporates the 266-seat Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), the 300-seat William M. Keck Foundation Children’s Amphitheatre, and the 120-seat Nadine and Ed Carson Amphitheatre.
The venues are managed and programmed by L.A. Opera, the L.A. Philharmonic, and Center Theatre Group.
Reservations are not required unless groups sizes are 15 or over. Information correct as of March 2017.