Skip to content. Skip to departments. Skip to most popular. Skip to footer.


Curtain Up: Playing Disney


By Andriana Trang '12

Published Apr 1, 2011 8:00 AM


Photo courtesy of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

It's a rare opportunity for any musician to perform at L.A.'s prestigious Walt Disney Concert Hall. It's even more exceptional when the performance is given by student musicians playing in a university orchestra. But on April 16, Bruins will make history both ways when the UCLA Philharmonia performs at the Hall by invitation of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

As the flagship orchestra for the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the 75-year-old UCLA Philharmonia is composed primarily of music majors interested in a career in musical performance. Each year, these student musicians perform a full spectrum of symphonic, operatic and music-theater repertoire.

Founded in 1936, Philharmonia's music directors have included Lukas Foss, Richard Dufallo, Mehli Mehta, Samuel Krachmalnick, Alexander Treger and Jon Robertson. This year marks the sixth season under dynamic music director and conductor Neal Stulberg.

Also director of orchestral studies, Stulberg observes that Philharmonia has emerged "as one of the finest training ensembles in Southern California."

Before the honor of playing Disney Hall, the orchestra had performed at high-profile venues such as Royce Hall, the Getty Center's Harold Williams Auditorium and the L.A. County Museum of Art's Bing Theater. Since 2005, the Philharmonia has also accompanied staged UCLA Opera productions, including Falstaff, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Threepenny Opera and Carousel.

UCLA Philharmonia: Sounds About Town
Saturday, April 16 at 8 p.m. Walt Disney Concert Hall. Tickets: $36, $31, $27, $15 @ UCLA Central Ticket Office. Visit the School of Music website for more information.

As Part One of a concert series titled "Sounds About Town," the orchestra's performance celebrates the 50th anniversary of UCLA's Ethnomusicology Department. The cross-cultural presentation will notably feature Danzón No. 4, one of several works inspired by the dancing of Mexico's Veracruz region, composed by Regents' Lecturer Arturo Márquez. The performance will journey around the world to include Middle Eastern, Chinese and American jazz pieces.

While the program's main purpose is to showcase the Ethnomusicology Department, Stulberg also emphasizes its significance to the musicians.

"The orchestra has risen to every challenge I've put before them, including concerts with world-class, internationally renowned conductors and performances in remarkable off-campus venues like the Getty Center," he says. "But playing a concert at Disney Hall represents an even higher pinnacle of achievement."