A leader at the cultural heart of Los Angeles County, The Music Center brings to life one of the world’s premier arts destinations by creating opportunities for arts participation, enabling compelling programming and providing first-class venues and services.
The Music Center is one of the largest and most highly regarded performing arts centers in the country, creating a cultural hub that is central to L.A.’s status as “the creative capital” of the world. Celebrated for its illustrious dance presentations and home to four world-class resident companies, The Music Center is the place to experience the most innovative and critically-acclaimed performing arts in the nation. Each year, over one million audience members delight in the excitement of live performances on The Music Center’s stages and enjoy free community arts events all year long across its outdoor campus. The Music Center is also on the forefront of arts education in Los Angeles, providing arts resources to students and teachers in schools and community centers throughout the region. Approximately 500 full-time, seasonal and part-time staff members are employees of The Center and contribute to its operation and success.
The Music Center was developed as an unprecedented public-private partnership with Los Angeles County. Through the support of the Board of Supervisors, the County of Los Angeles plays an invaluable role in the successful operation of The Music Center. This relationship has cemented the importance of the arts to the cultural fabric of Los Angeles.
History of The Music Center
The Music Center complex, designed by architect Welton Becket, was dedicated September 27, 1964 and opened December 6, 1964 as a public/private not-for-profit partnership with the County of Los Angeles. The Center was championed by Dorothy Buffum Chandler, who was named by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in April 1955 to head a citizens' committee to build a permanent home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She expanded the goal to include a performing arts center and raised $18.7 million in private donations at a total cost of $152,000.
The County provided the site and raised the remaining $14 million using mortgage revenue bonds. Construction on the original complex began March 12, 1962 and was completed in April 1967. The original complex was comprised of three venues: the 3,197-seat Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the 739-seat Mark Taper Forum, and Ahmanson Theatre (honoring Howard Ahmanson and the Ahmanson Foundation), which offers flexible seating for 1,600 to 2,000 as a result of its 1994 redesign by Ellerbe Becket Architects.
On October 23, 2003, The Music Center opened the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, expanding the campus to 11 acres. The 2,265-seat Concert Hall is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Walt Disney Concert Hall includes the 266-seat Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), the 300-seat William M. Keck Foundation Children's Amphitheatre, and the 120-seat Nadine and Ed Carson Amphitheatre. The Walt Disney Concert Hall was built at a total cost of $274 million.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the first and largest theater of The Music Center, was built in 1964 and designed by Welton Becket using a “Total Design” aesthetic. Everything from the building’s structure and engineering to its interior design—lighting fixtures, carpeting, typography, restaurant china and flatware—were designed by the firm for a unified and integrated look.
The interior of the theater is an elegant five-story space draped in honey-toned onyx and features 78 crystal light fixtures including three stunning chandeliers each made with 24,000 individual pieces of hand-polished crystal from Munich.
The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion has been the site of unparalleled performances by stunning music luminaries and virtuosos. It was the home of the LA Philharmonic for decades and host of The Academy Awards between 1969 and 1987. It is now the home of the LA Opera, sharing its stage with Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center.
For information on taking a tour of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, please