It is a real challenge for anything that is awaited with great anticipation to actually live up to the excitement. After the thrill of performing in the new Disney Hall, I can only say that for me, it has surpassed all my expectations. In the most exhilarating way, it inspires awe without forcing us to be reverent.
The sound of the hall seems very clear and beautiful to me, but I have always thought that my ear is also very influenced by my eyes; Disney Hall is truly astonishingly beautiful. There is something about those silver petals that just makes you want to be inside them, and the inside is every bit as exciting.
The stage is close to being in the middle of the hall, so that the performers are surrounded by the listeners. I love that feeling, both as performer AND listener – I feel that we are all experiencing the music together, instead of being separated by the footlights. Maybe this design is what gives the Disney such a feeling of friendliness.
I have been coming to Los Angeles since 1975 to perform, and well remember when Disney Hall was just an idea – more of a dream than a project. It is so exciting to see it really there, a wonderful combination of science and spirit, for all of us to marvel at and to enjoy. It is also wonderful to see how happy all my friends in the LA Philharmonic are in their new home. I know we wish them and all of us lucky listeners many hours of pleasure and revelation in their new home.