Disney Hall A Step in Restructuring L.A.

El Vaquero Staff Writer

On May 22 GCC held the final lecture in a weeklong series of Humanity/Social Science presentations. A representative of the LA Philharmonic Orchestra, David Van Iderstine, gave the final lecture on the soon to be new home of the world famous music ensemble: The Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The new concert hall which is to open sometime this fall was first envisioned and set under way in 1987 by a 50 million dollar donation from Lillian Disney, the wife of the late entertainment genius Walt Disney, on behalf of her husbands memory.

Since then the design has swelled into 16 year, $274 million, monumental project. The task at hand called for the best talent in both architectural design and acoustic treatment. Immediately the multiple award-winning architect Frank Gehry was called in to fashion a new theater that would both be wildly imaginative and internationally recognizable.

Upon completion of the design the new arts center was to include a 3.5-acre site, a 293,000 square feet concert hall with a 2,265-person capacity in the main auditorium, and a parking complex fit to hold 2,188 vehicles.

The final product will be constructed of over 42 miles of structured steel and 9,000 panels of polished steel to cover the eclectic exterior shell of the impressive building.

The site will also be surrounded by lavish gardens while holding host to several smaller amphitheaters, a choral hall, reading rooms, rehearsal studios, restaurants and a cafÇ.

This project is meant to compliment the pre existing Music Center/Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County by freeing up some of the scheduling demands on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Ahmanson Theatre; which were initially what put Los Angeles on the map as a cultural hub in 1964.

The concert hall along with the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is to be the first step in an attempt to restructure L.A. into a cultural jewel and draw millions of visitors into the city’s core.
The city’s evolution is planned to grow along a north-south spine, with new facilities for entertainment, convention, and sports activities in the south north side arts district.

This arts district will include the Music Center of Los Angeles County, The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles Central Library, the Geffen Contemporary, the Japanese American National Museum, the Los Angeles Theater Center, the Latino Heritage Museum, the Colburn School of Performing Arts, and a host of restaurants and other amenities.

These new additions will entice tourists and locals alike while generating a much needed flow of revenue through the city again.
The performing arts as an American industry is now an economic powerhouse like never before.

They comprise 6 percent of the nation’s industrial sector, larger than agriculture or construction. They also comprise 2.7 percent of the national work force, equivalent to the defense industry.

They generate $5.4 billion in annual taxes, far more than the government grants they receive.

They sell $5 billion in tickets annually, 40 percent more than sports events. Los Angeles County views this industry as a beautiful way to address growing concerns for the direction of the region, while at the same time celebrating the incredible racial and cultural diversity of area.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic will play their final farewell symphony at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on May 25.

The orchestra will be on short hiatus and move to their home at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, at 111 S. Grand Ave.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is scheduled to open in the fall of this year.