January 09, 2012

Émigrés and Experimentalists: Music in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 1940s

Participants include Maestro James Conlon and Los Angeles Times’ Mark Swed

Part 1: Saturday, January 21, 2012, 10:30 a.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Part 2: Sunday, January 29, 10:30 a.m., Getty Center


MEDIA CONTACT:                 
Alexandria Sivak
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6473  

LOS ANGELES—The Getty Museum and LA Opera will spotlight the musical culture of Los Angeles during the interwar years in Émigrés and Experimentalists: Music in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 1940s, a two-part course held January 21, 2012 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and January 29, 2012 at the Getty Center.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Austrian and German composers took up residence in Los Angeles, mentoring young experimentalists like John Cage. This course explores the musical culture of this time through a live recital of opera, as well as a roundtable discussion.

“This is an opportunity for lovers of opera and art to celebrate the vibrant and shifting cultural landscape of Los Angeles during this time,” said Clare Kunny, education manager at the J. Paul Getty Museum. “The 30s and 40s are the springboard for Pacific Standard Time programming, and this collaboration provides an additional context to explore innovation in the visual and performing arts at this time.”

Day one takes place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where conductor James Conlon, the Richard Seaver Music Director of LA Opera, will discuss the generation of Austrian and German composers who fled to Los Angeles and Mitchell Morris will talk about their impact as teachers and mentors at several local schools. The discussion is followed by a recital of musical selections reflecting the period.

“With the rise of the Third Reich, a great number of important composers fled Central Europe, and many of them settled in Southern California,” said Mr. Conlon. “The astonishing diversity and quality of their work made Los Angeles one of the greatest—and least appreciated—musical centers of the early 20th century. I look forward to examining the powerful influence that these composers continue to exert on our musical landscape to this day. ”

In day two, Nancy Perloff, curator of Modern and Contemporary collections, Getty Research Institute, moderates a roundtable discussion that explores the significance of Los Angeles’ émigré culture for young American composers, providing another perspective on the visual arts celebrated in Pacific Standard Time. Panelists include Katharina Schulenberg-Leduc, film producer; Bryan R. Simms, professor of musicology, USC Thornton School of Music; and Mark Swed, music critic, Los Angeles Times.

Course fee is $35; $30 for students and LA Opera members. Seats are limited. To purchase tickets, click here.

IMAGE AT TOP: Excerpt from Solo for Piano from John Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra. Copyright © 1960 by Henmar Press Inc. Used by kind permission of C.F. Peters Corp. All rights reserved.

Course Schedule

Part I: Saturday, January 21
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Rehearsal Room 4

10:30–1 p.m. Discussion with James Conlon and Mitchell Morris, followed by recital.

Part II: Sunday, January 29
Getty Research Institute Lecture Hall and galleries, Getty Center

10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. A roundtable discussion moderated by Nancy Perloff with panelists:
- Katharina Schulenberg-Leduc, film producer
- Bryan R. Simms, professor of musicology, USC Thornton School of Music
- Mark Swed, music critic, Los Angeles Times

12:00–1:00 p.m. Viewing of Pacific Standard Time exhibitions with Lilit Sadoyan and Audrey Chan, educators, the J. Paul Getty Museums.

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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations:  the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

About LA Opera
In just 25 years of existence, LA Opera has become one of America’s most ambitious opera companies, under the leadership of Eli and Edythe Broad General Director Plácido Domingo. Highlights of recent seasons have included the company’s first complete performances of Wagner’s epic Ring cycle, conducted by Richard Seaver Music Director James Conlon, followed by the highly acclaimed world premiere of Daniel Catán’s Il Postino, starring Mr. Domingo in the leading role of Pablo Neruda. LA Opera is recognized as the only opera company in the United States that regularly programs the works of composers suppressed by the Third Reich. Presenting benchmark productions of standard repertoire as well as new and rarely-staged operas, LA Opera brings together world-renowned singers, designers, directors and conductors to create opera that attracts the attention of international audiences and critics. For more information, please visit

About Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945–1980
Pacific Standard Time is a collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together for six months beginning in October 2011 to tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene and how it became a major new force in the art world. Each institution will make its own contribution to this grand-scale story of artistic innovation and social change, told through a multitude of simultaneous exhibitions and programs. Exploring and celebrating the significance of the crucial years after World War II through the tumultuous period of the 1960s and 70s, Pacific Standard Time encompasses developments from L.A. Pop to post-minimalism; from modernist architecture and design to multi-media installations; from the films of the African-American L.A. Rebellion to the feminist activities of the Woman’s Building; from ceramics to Chicano performance art; and from Japanese-American design to the pioneering work of artists’ collectives. Initiated through $10 million in grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time involves cultural institutions of every size and character across Southern California, from Greater Los Angeles to San Diego and Santa Barbara to Palm Springs. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

Visiting the Getty Center
The Getty Center is open Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Monday and major holidays. Admission to the Getty Center is always free.  Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 5pm on Saturdays and for evening events throughout the week. No reservation is required for parking or general admission. Reservations are required for event seating and groups of 15 or more. Please call 310-440-7300 (English or Spanish) for reservations and information. The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is 310-440-7305.  The Getty Center is at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California

Additional information is available at
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