Ballet Preljocaj at The Music Center

If you missed Ballet Preljocaj the last time they were here, and their stunning production of Snow White, you won’t want to miss their return engagement at The Music Center this June.  They’re coming back with a steamy, sultry and sensual retelling of the classic Arabian tales  A Thousand and One Nights.   Here’s a little preview of what’s to come…


With music by Natacha AtlasSamy Bishai and 79D and costumes by couture designer Azzedine Alaïa, Les Nuits promises to be an artistic feast for the senses!

Find out more and get your tickets to Ballet Preljocaj Les Nuits (The Nights) now!

Ballet Preljocaj


The Spotlight Awards 2014

The Music Center Spotlight Awards 2014 Finalists

The Spotlight Awards.  How can we possibly sum it up?  John Lithgow, the host of this year’s finalist performance, probably said it better than anyone –

“Watching these young people perform on stage restores my spirit.”

The feeling was mutual.

Each year The Music Center welcomes thousands of high school students to participate in our Spotlight program, which culminates with a final performance in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  These bright and talented students audition in categories of ballet, non-classical dance, jazz instrumental, classical instrumental, non-classical voice, classical voice, two-dimensional art and photography.  Everyone that auditions gets valuable written feedback from the judges for their discipline.

The process is more of a workshop, than a competition, offering students a chance to learn about the business of  having careers in the arts and hone their auditioning skills.  The judges then work to select a group of semi-finalists in each category, who participate in master classes with some of the best artists in their field.  Finally, after another round of auditions, two finalists are chosen in each category and, as you can imagine, they are all extremely talented young people!

This past Saturday marked the 26th Annual Spotlight Awards and it was just as inspiring and thrilling as ever!  The performance was free and open to the public, and anyone who was lucky enough to grab a seat in the packed house was treated to an extraordinary display of talent and promise.  Plus, it was clear to see that all the finalists were having the time of their lives on that stage!

Spotlight Awards Finalist Madeline Woo Spotlight Awards Finalist Ryan Roberts Spotlight Awards Finalist Nicole IshimaruSpotlight Awards Finalist Jamael Dean Spotlight Awards Finalist Erick Chong

The Spotlight Awards is just one of many programs The Music Center fosters to help bring the arts to young people everywhere, with the goal of not only helping talented students become successful artists, but  also successful people.  Many former Music Center Spotlight Awards finalists have gone on to have incredibly successful careers on and off the stage, but regardless of where their careers take them, they always have a special home at The Music Center as a Spotlight Alum.

Spotlight Awards Grant Grayson Bower Spotlight Awards Finalist Brett Schaffer Spotlight Awards Finalist Bella Porter Spotlight Awards Finalist Abbigail Roque Spotlight Awards Finalist Aaron Shaw Spotlight Awards Finalist Nora ClementeSpotlight Awards Finalist Amanda Anderson

2014 Finalists:

Grant Grayson Bower – Non Classical Voice Grand Prize Winner

Bella Porter – Non Classical Voice Runner Up

Ryan Roberts – Classical Instrumental Grand Prize Winner

Erick Chong – Classical Instrumental Runner Up

Nicole Ishimaru – Non-classical Dance Grand Prize Winner

Abbigail Roque – Non-classical Dance Runner Up

Aaron Shaw – Jazz Instrumental Grand Prize Winner

Jamael Dean – Jazz Instrumental Runner Up

Madeline Woo – Ballet Grand Prize Finalist

Nora Clemente – Ballet Runner Up

Brett Schaffer – Classical Voice Grand Prize Winner

Amanda Anderson – Classical Voice Runner Up

Dayeon Han – Two-Dimensional Art Grand Prize Winner

Steve Sung Eun Kim – Two-Dimensional Art Runner Up

Angela Francis – Photography Grand Prize Winner

Sophia Arriola-Gibson – Photography Runner Up


All Photos by Paul Antico

Perks of Practicing in Public

Public Practice is a program The Music Center puts on each year to give amateur musicians the chance to change up their routines and practice their instruments outside.  Specifically, in outside spaces around The Music Center and Grand Park.  Over the past two days we’ve had saxophonists playing in the Grand Park fountain, violinists on the plaza, trumpet players in the park…the list goes on and on.

The participants all applied to take part and each came from a different background and “day job.”  We had consultants, bloggers, accountants, retirees – all people who play music just for the fun of it.  And after talking to a few of them, being part of Public Practice made their musical hobbies even more fun.  Have a look…

Public Practice - Sax Public Practice - UKE Public Practice - TrumpetPublic Practice - Violin


8 Highlights of Earth Day LA

Yesterday, aka April 22nd,  aka Earth Day, The Music Center teamed up with Grand Park, the LA Department of Water & Power, Alternative Travel Project, Armstrong Gardens, Heal the Bay and a slew of other eco-conscious companies to celebrate Earth Day.  There were information booths, art-making activities, tutorials. performances, plants and food from The Music Center plaza all the way through the park to city hall.  It was green, it was educational, and it was all around great!

In case you missed out on the fun, here’s a quick recap in 8 easy doses…

1.  Busloads of school children hit the plaza for recyclable crafting and hanging their own pledges for eco-friendly living on our Earth Day tree.

Earth Day at The Music Center - Pledge Tree

2.  Valley Crest Landscaping handed out succulents.

Earth Day at The Music Center - Succulents

3.  Water conservation was brought to life with a musical performance from Theatre of Will.

Earth Day at The Music Center

Earth Day at The Music Center

Earth Day at The Music Center

4. We made planters out of recycled magazines.

5.  Composting is cool and now we know how to do it at home.

Earth Day at The Music Center

6.  Alternative Travel Project broke down the benefits of going car-less for 1 day (and many days after!)

7.  Apparently lava lamps count as e-waste…

Earth Day at The Music Center

8.  Dozens of trees found new homes at our tree-adoption on the Peace Fountain!

Earth Day at The Music Center

 All in all, a pretty successful day in honor of the earth!

Bringing the World to our City…

World City at The Music CenterWorld City at The Music CenterWorld City at The Music CenterWorld City at The Music CenterWorld City at The Music CenterWorld City at The Music CenterWorld City at The Music CenterWorld City at The Music Center

For the past eleven years, The Music Center has been bringing world music, dance and culture to Los Angeles through World City – A series of free concerts and events connecting world-class artists and their traditions with the many diverse communities of our own global city.  The shows take place on select Saturdays throughout the year, in the W.M. Keck Foundation Children’s Amphitheater  behind Walt Disney Concert Hall, and are always supplemented with a hands-on art project in the adjacent Blue Ribbon Garden that’s perfect for kids (and their adults!)

The photos above are from our most recent shows with Mongolian dancers Khukh Tenger & Tuvan throat-singers Huun-Huur Tu.  (Pretty amazing stuff!)

But World City is more than just world artists and music, it’s an incredible snapshot into different ways of life, different cultures, and captivating stories from around the globe.  Regardless of the style, or where the artists hail from, the shows never fail to delight!  And, much in a “It’s a Small World” kind of way, but with waaay better music, World City achieves a sense of inter-connectivity by demonstrating how the performing arts can transcend cultures and geographic boundaries with entertaining ease.

There’s only one more World City of the season (and it celebrates the history of our own American west)  so mark your calendars for May 17th to see  Daughters of the Purple Sage and genuine cowboy Wylie Gustafson.


All photos by Danielle Klebanow

Dance Talks

One of the best kept, unintentional secrets of The Music Center’s dance program is our Dance Talks.  These amazing lectures, conversations and Q& A’s before each of our performances are completely free (if you have a ticket) and feature some of LA’s brightest dance writers and our guest companys’ brightest stars.  Hear Gillian Murphy talk about playing Giselle, hear all about Paul Lightfoot’s creative process, get the inside scoop on legendary companies like American Ballet Theater & Paul Taylor Dance Company – All before seeing world renowned dancing at The Music Center.

The talks always begin an hour before the curtain goes up, but you can also listen to them via phone if you’re running late (we post the dial in’s on our Twitter and Facebook pages.)  Or if you’d rather indulge in some insider information after you see the performances, listen to our Dance Talks podcasts posted on The Music Center SoundCloud channel and take these inspiring talks with you on the go.

Paul Taylor Dance in the House!

You may have heard us mention a time or two that the Paul Taylor Dance Company is in town and will be treating LA audiences to a range of exciting repertoire at our own Dorothy Chandler Pavilion this weekend.  What can we say?  We’re excited!  Each of the three pieces being shown vary in style and tone, but all showcase the versatility and genius of legendary “dance-maker” Paul Taylor.

The program includes the elegant Airs, the thrilling Banquet of Vultures and the comical Gossamer Gallants.  A veritable  pu pu platter of subject matter and styles that’s sure to delight and inspire everyone in the house!

Banquet of Vultures Paul Taylor Dance Company

Banquet of Vultures. Photo by Paul Chinn

Gossamer Gallants Paul Taylor Dance Company

Gossamer Gallants. Photo by Joseph Schembri 2011

Airs Paul Taylor Dance Company

Airs. Photo by Paul B. Goode

Paul Taylor is known as one of the greatest pioneers of American modern dance, and his works have won public & critical acclaim, often tackling issues such as war, religion, and sexuality through beauty, grace, vibrancy and sometimes insects!

We’ve been having such a great time with the company since they arrived in LA earlier this week.  Not only have they been delighting students at our annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival all week, but they’ve also been teaching master classes to young dancers in the community…

Paul Taylor Master Class 1Paul Taylor Master Class 2Paul Taylor Master Class 3

So unless you happen to be out of town this weekend (Coachella? Puh!) you won’t want to miss this chance to see the work of a living legend at The Music Center!  Tickets are available online or at the box office.

If you already bought tickets, present them at our partnering restaurants Artisan House in downtown and Canele in Atwater Village to receive a special discount or complimentary glass of wine. Details here.

Also, come early and join us for our house scavenger hunt and/or pre-performance talk with dance journalist Sasha Anawalt. Or, at least enjoy a drink at our newly-remodeled Oval Bar! More info here.

See you all this weekend!