Rain may be inundating Southern California, but it’s all sunshine at the Hollywood Bowl as the Los Angeles Philharmonic announces the venue’s 2024 summer lineup featuring the world premiere of the Marvel Studios Infinity Saga Concert Experience, plenty of Gustavo Dudamel and the West Coast’s first-ever Roots Picnic, featuring Queen Latifah, Common, Digable Planets and more.
“The Hollywood Bowl is L.A.’s venue. It’s L.A.’s backyard,” says Meghan Umber , L.A. Phil’s chief content officer. “And we want it to feel like when you open the [programming] brochure, there’s immediately something that stands out to you.”
Movie fans may rejoice, but classical fans won’t be disappointed either. Dudamel, the L.A. Phil’s beloved music and artistic director isn’t decamping for the New York Philharmonic for another two years, and the Bowl intends to take full advantage of his commanding presence. During what will be his 15th Bowl season, Dudamel will conduct nine L.A. Phil performances alongside wunderkind South Korean pianist Yunchan Lim.
Lim made his debut last summer at the Hollywood Bowl, notes Umber, “and it was earth shattering.” Putting Dudamel and Lim together with a program of Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, she adds, “is a mixture for extreme success.”
Dudamel will also appear for two nights with 18-time Latin Grammy winner Natalia Lafourcade, in addition to many other concerts.
In other classical news, former L.A. Phil music director and legendary conductor Zubin Mehta will return to the Hollywood Bowl stage for the first time in three decades (he’ll be 88 in April) to lead “Mozart Under the Stars” (a Bowl tradition he originated) featuring violinist Pinchas Zukerman.
Film remains a huge draw for the Tinsel Town venue, which turns moviegoing fun into full-blown immersive experiences. Dudamel is set to conduct the L.A. Phil orchestra on a journey through the Marvel Cinematic Universe of 23 films in 11 years for the Infinity Saga. John Williams will, of course, return with his ever-popular Maestro of the Movies event. The classic 1952 musical “Singin’ in the Rain” will also get the Bowl treatment.
The Roots crew will host its first-ever West Coast Roots Picnic celebrating 50 years of hip-hop; and Harry Connick Jr. will serenade crowds for the July 4th Fireworks Spectacular. Other notable performers and artists include Beck, Patti LaBelle, Herbie Hancock, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Sylvan Esso, Chaka Khan, the Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes, George Benson, Gary Clark Jr., Toto, Christopher Cross, Trombone Shorty, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Vance Joy, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra and Mt. Joy.
Since the unprecedented pandemic shutdown four years ago, the Bowl is again thriving, says Umber. Audiences are back and the venue remains a citywide favorite.
“We continue to work on making the park-and-ride more robust, and the shuttles, just making it easier to get there,” says Umber. “There’s always some fun new food options and you can still bring your own picnic.”
We can all toast to that.