(Year Round) As the nascent movie industry grew by leaps and bounds in the first decades of the 20th century, so did Los Angeles, with a population of nearly 50,000 by 1920, and a distinct cultural identity. The Hollywood Bowl came into being around that time, first as the name given to the Daisy Dell area of Bolton Canyon, where natural acoustics favored outdoor musical and theatrical performances.
In its early days, the venue was little more than a crude assemblage of seating and a temporary stage. The Bowl’s first major events included the Women’s World Peace Concert on Armistice Day, Hollywood High School’s production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and a historical pageant The Landing of the Pilgrims. The first official Hollywood Bowl season began in 1922, with Alfred Hertz conducting the newly formed Los Angeles Philharmonic. The Bowl gained its characteristic arches (built by Allied Architects) in 1929, after two attempts by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright went awry in the two preceding seasons.
The Hollywood Bowl’s activities have continued almost uninterrupted since 1922, with the exception of the 1951 season when financial troubles caused the Bowl to close a week into the season. It has continued to serve as the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its inaugural season, and the year-round home of its own Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, established in 1991.
In addition to symphonic music, the Bowl features opera, jazz, rock and pop, as well as performances of dance and theatre. Major milestone performances have included Sergei Rachmaninoff performing his own 2nd Piano Concerto in 1942, Igor Stravinsky’s 80th birthday celebration in 1962, and the Beatles in concert on their legendary 1964 U.S. tour.
Many of the world’s finest artists in all disciplines and genres of music have served as musical directors at the Hollywood Bowl; the present and future of the Bowl remain in good hands, with jazz legend Herbie Hancock and composer John Adams serving as creative chairs of the jazz program and L.A. Philharmonic, respectively.
Hollywood Bowl (Hollywood, CA) Information
- Public Transportation: Good (Park ‘n’ Ride shuttles are available from over a dozen locations for $5 roundtrip)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: 14 weeks of concerts from June to September. Performance schedule varies; generally Tuesday through Sunday, with some Mondays
- Ticket Prices: Ticket prices range from $5 to $125. Join the Email Club on the website to find out about special offers
- Group Discounts: Group discounts available for parties of 10 or more for most performances
- Subscriptions: Numerous subscriptions available from $100 to $1,140. Subscriber benefits include priority upgrades, 20% discounts on additional tickets, dining, purchases at the Bowl Store, lost-ticket replacement, and ticket exchanges (with $4 fee)
- Educational/Community Outreach: Educational programs include professional development training for musicians and teachers, initiatives for young musicians, and free pre-concert talks with artists and musicologists.