Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles

If you've ever been Downtown Los Angeles no doubt you've seen the big, shiny, crazy looking building at Grand Ave and 1st Street, Google Map.  Some call it the best thing in Downtown Los Angeles, others call it one big shiny building, still others don't know what to think.  

It went from idea to an actual project in the early 90's when the widow of Walt Disney decided to donate 50 million dollars to fund the project.  That same year an underground parking garage was dug out and constructed and was completed 4 years later in 1996 at the cost of whopping 110 million dollars.    In 1996 construction of the actual concert hall begun after they raised more money to fund the project along.   Things wrapped up in 2003 as more people chipped in including another 34.5 million and the Disney company itself donated 25 million bringing the total Disney contribution to 109.5 million bucks, no wonder it's called "Walt Disney Concert Hall."   

*  The total cost was around 240 million.

After it was completed, the Philharmonic was blown away by the buildings excellent acoustics while local businesses and residents complained about the extra shiny exterior of the hall.  It was made with sheets of shiny stainless steel (think of your butter knife surface) which sometimes blinded travelers.  Also, a few local condo owners noted the exterior acted like giant mirrors and lit up their condos by more than 30 extra degrees causing HUGE utility bills.  In 2005 they brushed down much of the surface to prevent such glare.

The concert hall seats 2,265 guests where shows and concerts take place on a weekly basis.   It currently serves as the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.  It's excellent sound quality is accomplished by walls and the ceiling that's finished with Douglas-fir while the floor is finished with oak.   In 2004, a special organ donated by the good folks over at Toyota, was installed.   German organ builder, Caspar Glatter-Götz, created this beauty with 72 stops, 109 ranks, and 6,125 pipes.   The pipes themselves range in size from that of a pencil to a pipe that's 32 feet long!  

Check out the hall when you're in Los Angeles, tickets, where most shows run $80 bucks and up, plus parking ($15).   Or check them out now online at:   About the Hall.   It's just one of the many places you really should visit if you find yourself in town as a tourist. 

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