|Location||135 North Grand Avenue|
Los Angeles, California
|Public transit||Civic Center/Grand Park|
|Owner||Los Angeles Music Center|
|Type||Performing arts center|
|Opened||September 27, 1964|
|Los Angeles Opera|
Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center
The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is one of the halls in the Los Angeles Music Center, which is one of the three largest performing arts centers in the United States. The Music Center's other halls include the Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre, and Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Since the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Los Angeles Master Chorale have moved to the newly constructed and adjacent Disney Hall which opened in October 2003, the Pavilion is home of the Los Angeles Opera and Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center.
The Pavilion has 3,156 seats spread over four tiers, with chandeliers, wide curving stairways and rich décor. The auditorium's sections are the Orchestra (divided in Premiere Orchestra, Center Orchestra, Main Orchestra and Orchestra Ring), Circle (divided in Grand Circle and Founders Circle), Loge (divide in Front Loge and Rear Loge), as well as Balcony (divided in Front Balcony and Rear Balcony).
Construction started on March 9, 1962, and it was dedicated September 27, 1964. The Pavilion was named for Dorothy Buffum Chandler who "led (the) effort to build a suitable home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and rejuvenate the performing arts in Los Angeles. The result was Mrs. Chandler's crowning achievement, the Music Center of Los Angeles County. Her tenacious nine-year campaign on behalf of the Music Center produced more than $19 million in private donations" noted Albert Greenstein in 1999. The building was designed by architect Welton Becket. The project was an example of his firm's approach of total design, in which he managed all aspects including design, construction, fixtures, and interior finishes to achieve a coherent whole.
In order to receive approval for construction from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Mrs. Chandler promised Kenneth Hahn that the building would be open free for the public for one day a year. The result was the Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration, a Christmas Eve tradition sponsored by the Board of Supervisors. The program is broadcast on KCET-TV and an edited version of the prior year's show is syndicated to public television stations via PBS.
The opening concert was held on December 6, 1964 with Zubin Mehta conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic with soloist Jascha Heifetz. The program included Fanfare by Richard Strauss, American Festival Overture by William Schuman, Roman Festivals by Ottorino Respighi, and Beethoven's Violin Concerto.
The Los Angeles Master Chorale, under Music Director Roger Wagner, was the other founding resident company at the Pavilion. Before creation of the Los Angeles Opera company, the New York City Opera came regularly on tour and performed in the Pavilion. One such tour, in 1967, consisted of two performances of Madama Butterfly, one of La Traviata, and two of Ginastera's Don Rodrigo, each with Plácido Domingo singing the main tenor role.
On December 16, 1970, the hall hosted the monumental 12-hour Beethoven Marathon for Beethoven's 200th birthday celebration. Admission was $1 and the finale running well past midnight was the 4th movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta.
The hall's acoustics were controversial during the period the Los Angeles Philharmonic made the pavilion its home. Problems varied depending on the listening location, with the orchestra sounding too loud in some places and too muffled in others. Abe Meltzer, chief consulting acoustician, stated in 1986 that the basic issue was that the Pavilion was a multi-purpose room, rather than one tailored to orchestral concerts.
The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is featured in the 2008 video game Midnight Club: Los Angeles.
Since 1964, a Christmas Eve tradition for the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is the annual free Holiday Celebration funded by Los Angeles County. It used to be six hours (from 3 pm to 9 pm) of music and dance by groups from all around Los Angeles county, However, due to financial cuts in the county budgets, the celebration was cut in half to three hours, limiting the performers to no more than two or three musical numbers each. Also, because of the overcrowds, the audience members have to arrive three hours earlier, where they have to wear colored wristbands in order to gain admission. The performances now last from 2pm to 5pm, without any intermissions. The performances are also broadcast on the KCET public television station with a one-hour version broadcast on PBS since 2002.