September 1964 - Music Center Opens in Downtown L.A.

Construction of the Los Angeles Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 1962
Construction of the Los Angeles Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 1962. | Photo: Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive/UCLA Library, Digital Collections/Creative Commons License

On September 27, 1964, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the first phase of Los Angeles County's new Music Center complex along Grand Avenue in downtown L.A., was dedicated as the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in a ceremony hosted by Bob Hope.

In April 1955, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors named Dorothy Buffum Chandler -- whose family founded the Buffums department store chain and whose husband Norman was publisher of the L.A. Times - the head of a citizens' committee to establish a permanent home for the orchestra. Through her work, raising over $18 million in private donations, she expanded the project to include a performing arts complex. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors named the new concert hall after her.

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The County of Los Angeles, arranged for the site, adjacent to its Hall of Administration, and helped finance the remaining $14 million cost. Architect Welton Becket was signed on to design the complex, and construction began in March 1962.

The 3,197-seat Dorothy Chandler Pavilion had its premiere concert on December 6, 1964, featuring the L.A Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta, performing Joseph Strauss' Fanfare and Ludwig Van Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D Major.

On Christmas Eve of 1965, KCET, broadcasted live its first L.A. County Holiday Celebration, an annual free concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion featuring multicultural musical and dance performances. Three months later, in March 1966, KCET broadcasted a performance of the L.A. Philharmonic for the first time to a national television audience. .

In April 1967, the rest of the original Music Center complex opened: The 739-seat Mark Taper Forum, and the 1,000-plus capacity Ahmanson Theatre, both built primarily for theatrical productions.

In October 2003, The Music Center was expanded with the completion of the iconic Frank Gery-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

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