Girl in foreground stretching, with teammates stretching behind her | Still from "Born to Run", SoCal Connected
Happy Birthday, Hurricane Mama!

Happy Birthday, Hurricane Mama! L.A. Phil Celebrates 10th Birthday of its Organ

The Los Angeles Philharmonic is celebrating the 10th birthday of "Hurricane Mama," a stunning 6,134-piece pipe organ that has become Walt Disney Concert Hall's most prized possession.

The organ was designed by architect Frank Gehry and organ builder Manuel J. Rosales, and presented as a gift to the County of Los Angeles from the Toyota Motor Corporation. After meticulous fine tuning and a flawless design, the organ was finally unveiled and completed in 2004, a year after the opening of the hall.

The instrument is typically played during solo recitals or alongside the orchestra. It took approximately 45 different designs before Rosales finally agreed on a prototype that was both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

The organ's operational room is marked with hundreds of autographs from organists who have performed and churned out musical notes through the stroke of a keyboard and pipe.

The organ has a mind of its own. In fact, there's four floors filled with different pipes of all shapes and sizes, each corresponding to a specific keyboard note. The hall uses pipes that are comprised of malleable metal and wood pipes, says Rosales.

Tens of millions of people have toured the gorgeous interior of the hall. But only a handful of people get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the Organ Blower Room, the central housing location for thousands of pipes that mesmerize the audience with its electrifying sounds.

In this segment of "SoCal Connected," join Val Zavala as she gets an up close and personal look inside the Disney Concert Hall and the Organ Blower Room. For more about the intricacies and inner workings of the organ, Zavala chats with ambassador and conservator of the organ Philip Smith, organ designer Manuel Rosales, and musician Joanne Pearce Martin.

"It is an amazing instrument on all levels. The sheer size of it. The color palette, the dynamic range. It's so versatile. You can use it for the smallest, intimate sound to the biggest, grand sound," says Martin.

A series of organ concerts are scheduled for the remainder of the L.A. Phil's season.

Featuring Interviews With:

  • Philip Smith, organ conservator, L.A. Phil
  • Manuel Rosales, organ builder and curator, L.A. Phil
  • Joanne Pearce Martin, keyboardist, L.A. Phil

Get the free PBS App

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Born to Run

The Los Angeles Jets youth track and field club is one of the oldest and most established running teams in California. It was founded in South Los Angeles in 1973 by then West Vernon Elementary school teacher Ron Moore.  Five years later James Robertson and Booker Woods joined as coaches and the team became one of the largest co-ed running groups in the city.

  • 2019-11-20T21:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-11-21T03:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-21T04:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-11-21T13:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-23T04:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-23T11:02:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-12-03T12:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-12-03T16:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-12-04T21:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-12-05T13:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-12-07T04:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-12-07T11:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

Access Denied

An investigation reveals how the state and many cities have let developers get away for decades with not paying their fair share when they replace affordable lodging with luxury hotels up and down California’s coast.

  • 2019-11-26T12:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-11-26T16:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-11-27T21:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-11-28T03:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-28T13:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-30T04:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-30T11:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

Under Pressure

Parents are willing to spend thousands to get the competitive edge in the college admissions process, but at what cost? Socal Connected takes a revealing look at the high stakes world of the for-profit education consultant business.

  • 2019-12-10T12:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-12-10T16:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-12-11T21:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-12-12T13:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-12-14T04:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-12-14T11:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

Cannabis Country

State and local regulators are overwhelmed and outgunned when it comes to closing down California’s poisonous pot pipeline.

  • 2019-12-17T12:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-12-17T16:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-12-18T21:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-12-19T03:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-12-19T04:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-12-19T13:00:00-08:00
    KCETLINK