LA Phil Blog


Party On, Dudamel!

Gustavo cake
Save me a corner piece!

Wednesday, January 26 was a big day for the LA Phil and its Music Director, Gustavo Dudamel. Not only did he lead the orchestra in its fifth performance of the 2011 European Tour -- in Cologne, Germany -- but he also turned 30 years old!

Clearly, a celebration was in order. And that's just what the LA Phil did, cutting loose during a "Crazy Hats"-themed birthday bash at a venue called Alter Wartesaal, near the famous Cologne Cathedral and the Kölner Philharmonie, the hall where the LA Phil performed. Spanish singer Pasión Vega provided the entertainment and, as seen in the gallery below, a great time was had by all.

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When In Köln…

In the context of orchestral trumpet playing, "rotary" refers to a specific style and design of trumpet. Rotary trumpets (named for a particular type of valve construction) are typically used in German and Austrian orchestras rather than the piston trumpets we use in the U.S. They look and are played a little differently than "normal" piston trumpets. In fact, audience members often ask us why we're holding our instruments sideways.

Chris Still, of the LA Phil trumpet section, shows off a rotary trumpet, which is normally used in German and Austrian orchestras and thus was the perfect instrument to bring along on this tour.

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Happy Birthday, Gustavo!

I'm writing this just a few moments before the musicians will be taking the stage for our first concert in Cologne, this ancient city on the Rhine blessed with a marvelous concert hall.

Deborah Borda
LA Phil President and CEO Deborah Borda, hard at work on this blog post.

The performances in Lisbon and Madrid found the Beethoven and the Mahler 9 already in stunning shape and growing every night. I find the intensity at times almost overwhelming. Audiences are wonderfully receptive with standing ovations every night.

Our concert in Madrid was a gallery of Angelenos and international friends including Zubin Mehta, James Conlon and the First Lady of Spain. It was quite the scene backstage!

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