Researchers and experts have long touted the benefits of learning about and listening to classical music. By being exposed to this art form, you can reap a wide host of benefits – for your health, your brain, your well-being, and more. And, of course, classical music is just a sheer joy to listen to!
However, if you want to start listening to classical music and are not familiar with the particular music scene in Los Angeles, maybe you’re not sure where to start looking. Fortunately, your city is home to a huge variety of opportunities for classical music lovers of all ages and levels. From world-renowned concert halls and prestigious universities to private lesson studios and radio stations, residents of Los Angeles can enjoy a virtually endless array of offerings for the seasoned or burgeoning classical music listener.
Those not in the know will be delighted to learn that Los Angeles is home to one of the world’s elite orchestras. Currently led by international conducting superstar Gustavo Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic ranks among the most highly lauded musical ensembles in the world. The orchestra was founded in 1919, and every year more than one million listeners enjoy its classical music concerts in Los Angeles. Audiences can enjoy performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra in one of two iconic and state-of-the-art concert venues: the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Designed by celebrated architect Frank Gehry, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at First Street and Grand Avenue and was built in 2003. It is hailed as one of the most acoustically sophisticated performance halls in the world, providing any concertgoer with a feast for the eyes and the ears. View the season calendar for the Walt Disney Concert Hall to experience its pristine acoustics for yourself.
In addition to their regular concert season offerings, the orchestra is highly involved in community outreach, especially in music education for children. One of its most wide-ranging initiatives for classical music education is Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA). At the core of YOLA is the goal of building community and youth orchestras throughout the Los Angeles region. By doing this, the orchestra aims to extend the reach and beauty of classical music, as well as foster the next generation of classical music lovers.
Another wonderful opportunity for attending live classical music concerts in Los Angeles is the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. This ensemble features elite performers playing a repertoire of classical masterpieces and modern works by contemporary composers. The pieces played by this chamber orchestra are typically from the Baroque and Classical eras, and are ideal for listeners who are interested in listening to more intimate, small-scoped works.
For a preview of the next generation of professional classical musicians, check out the performance calendar for the many universities in Los Angeles. The University of Southern California and UCLA are two of the leading universities in the nation and they also happen to have two highly respected music training programs. The students studying music at these educational institutions are incredibly talented and are well on their way to becoming future professional musicians. As such, the schools offer a full calendar of solo recitals, chamber music performances, and band and orchestra concerts throughout the year. Best of all: these performances are often free to the public!
USC is home to the prestigious Thornton School of Music. This elite training program features a world-class faculty of music performers and researchers, drawing in gifted students from around the world. The school opened in 1884 and is the oldest continuous-operating cultural institution in LA. Music students who graduate from USC have moved on to positions with professional orchestras, ensembles, studios, and industry firms, performing on stages throughout the world. The school frequently partners with professional groups such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the LA Opera, The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, The Recording Academy, and the GRAMMY Foundation.
Don’t let the fact that they are students dissuade you from attending their concerts! The ensembles perform at an extremely high level and are often on par with professional groups. A calendar of performance events at the Thornton School can be found here.
UCLA is home to the Herb Alpert School of Music. Students training in music at UCLA have a wide array of opportunities for performing throughout the year, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy classical concerts in Los Angeles for little to no cost. Again, these concerts are a very high caliber and every bit a world-class listening experience for the classical music lover. The UCLA School of Music has more than 20 ensembles; in addition, performance majors also present a full schedule of solo recitals year-round. Performances both by students and the renowned faculty take place most often in Schoenberg Auditorium, Jan Popper Theater, and other locations on campus. For a relaxed mid-day musical experience, also check out the Music at the Med Noon Concert Series.
Visiting these music school buildings can open a wealth of additional listening opportunities. As budding professionals, the performance majors in both of these music programs frequently advertise their off-campus performance ventures on fliers and posters around the school, so you can easily find information about additional performances at area churches, coffee shops, bars, and other LA venues.
Perhaps the most convenient method of listening to classical music in Los Angeles is to tune into the classical music radio stations in the area. There are two stations that offer continuous classical music programming. KUSC 91.5 broadcasts from the campus of USC and is a public radio station featuring art music programming. Be sure to also check out KMZT 105.1 FM for another classical music listening opportunity.
Freelancers and Private Teachers
Last but not least, if you’re looking for opportunities to attend classical music concerts in Los Angeles, those taking private music lessons can attend recitals and performances put on by your instructor. Los Angeles is an epicenter for musicians looking for opportunities to perform, and that means a vast network of freelance musicians, teachers, and their students offering various concerts and recitals throughout the community.
Finding classical concerts in Los Angeles doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you know where to look! LA is such a hub for musicians, artists, and entertainers from the student level to the highest echelons of professional achievement, and music fans can easily find opportunities to attend performances of all types. Get out there and enjoy some classical concerts in Los Angeles!
Photo by Roman Königshofer