And here I was, in a "state of the art" concert hall which presents a facility one would never dreamed of until recently. With the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion completed, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra needed a real home and it was Lillian Disney who sought to provide this as a tribute to Walt. It only took sixteen years and lots of help from many friends. Lillian had input into the selection of Frank Gehry's architectural firm and had participated in many of the plans but did not live to see the completed project.
What an amazing building it is. The artists are treated very well, as are the patrons. There is luxurious space for changing, practicing, snacking and contemplating. The walls are lined with stills from Fantasia. One picture in particular shows the conductor and his orchestra. It is ironic that the stage depicted in the film, looks just like the stage of the concert hall.
Although the Concert Hall Auditorium is the core of the building and its reason for being, there are so many other aspects, one could almost skip this and many tours do. However, the design provides visual and aural intimacy for performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. In the fall of 2004, the 6,125 pipe organ will make its debut. To read about the debut of the organ go to our story Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ Finally Ready
The Walt Disney Concert Hall Community Park was underwritten by the State of California. Its centerpiece is a hand-sculpted fountain in the form of a giant rose made of Delft China pieces, designed by Frank Gehry in honor of Lillian Disney as a gift from her grand and great-grandchildren.
As a student in Los Angeles and as an orchestra member, I was able to attend Los Angeles Philharmonic Concerts free and if I were a student today I may have been one of the 3,000 children who were able to preview the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It would have been a thrill.