The musical vitality of Los Angeles takes center stage in a recent Los Angeles Times article by music critic Mark Swed, which juxtaposes the city’s artistic dynamism with that of the more established metropolis of Berlin. Surveying the German capital’s three major opera companies and the venerable Berlin Philharmonic, Swed drew parallels to several Los Angeles music institutions, including the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic (L.A. Phil), which has in recent years emerged as “not only the envy of the circumscribed symphony world but also an exemplary creative model for arts organizations everywhere.”
Swed pointed to several artists who have bridged the geographic and cultural divide between Los Angeles and Europe, including composer and USC Thornton alumnus Andrew Norman (’02, MM ’04), “a leading voice of his thirtysomething generation,” and Vocal Arts & Opera faculty member Rod Gilfry. Norman premiered a new children’s opera, “A Trip to the Moon,” with the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle last month, while Gilfry recently originated the role of Claudius in Brett Dean’s new operatic Hamlet at the Glyndebourne Festival in England.
Swed also praised the adventurousness with which Los Angeles institutions program and champion new music, making special mention of the groundbreaking Noon to Midnight event, in which many USC Thornton students, faculty members, and alumni took part.