At a season preview party at the Hollywood Bowl Tuesday evening, Los Angeles Philharmonic President Deborah Borda welcomed guests and sponsors to what she called L.A.'s "truly populist yet world-class venue."
"On what other stage in the world can you say Yo-yo Ma, Gustavo Dudamel and Lady Gaga" have performed, Borda asked.
Drinking designer cocktails and eating a range of fare from sushi to sliders and barbecue ribs, the crowd mingled on the very stage that attracted the likes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Tom & Jerry and the Beatles.
The Fab Four, coincidentally, will be on everyone's mind this season, the 50th anniversary of the group's appearance at the Bowl.
Bob Eubanks, the game-show host and radio personality who produced the group's concerts in 1964, was on hand to celebrate, happily reminiscing about the time he had to hock his apartment to afford the hefty $25,000 fee the Beatles demanded.
"I couldn't get the Bowl without the Beatles, and I couldn't get the Beatles without the Bowl," said Eubanks with a sardonic smile.
"I didn't get much money the first time, but I got real smart the second and third time," he added with a chuckle.
Three-term Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district includes the Bowl, was asked his favorite Bowl event. "I love the 'Grease' singalongs," he said.
Dudamel marveled at his five years with the Philharmonic, saying it felt "like one month we have been together."
He almost shyly discussed his film composition debut for the Alberto Alvero-helmed Simon Bolivar biopic "Libertador," warning the audience "not to expect anything special" and describing his foray into the world of soundtracks as "a great experience that I don't know if I will do again."
The Phil will play a suite from the film on the July 31.
He enthusiastically pointed to what he thinks are highlights of the season, such as the concert-style opera double bill "Cavalleria Rusticana" and "Pagliacci," as well as the return of "some old friends" such as Yuja Wang, the brothers Capucon and Los Angeles' own John Williams.
Dudamel said he was also excited about a piece that, by his own admission, he had conducted thousands of times but only now felt ready to do with the Phil, "the premiere of the 5th Symphony of this new composer, with a lot of future."
The composer? Ludwig van Beethoven, whose mighty 5th Symphony will be played by Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the first time on July 22 and 24.