Since the first official season of concerts in 1922, summer nights at the Hollywood Bowl continue make magical memories. The eclectic array of performers, musical styles, and special events makes narrowing down the choices a huge challenge. Benefitting the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s education programs, the annual Hall of Fame opening night on June 22 honors music legends Steven Tyler and Joe Perry with an evening of music and fireworks. If you can find a way to be at the Hollywood Bowl every night, go for it. For the rest of us who are thinking about a handful of memorable evenings under the stars, feasting on picnic baskets and sipping wine, these five shows offer up a star-studded way to enjoy the Bowl during this 2013 season.
She & Him in KCRW’s World Festival
One night after opening night, KCRW launches their World Festival with a show featuring Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward of She & Him with Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. The KCRW Festival continues throughout the summer with the kind of roster only KCRW could dream up. Series 2 includes Rodrigo v Gabriela, DeVotchKa and Lord Huron on July 14 and Goat Rodeo featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile on Aug. 25. KCRW World Festival Series 1 offers Reggae Night XII on June 30 with Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Stephen Marley, and Third World, as well as hometown favorite Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes with The Sun Ra Arkestra.
Pink Martini with the Los Angeles Philharmonic
The exuberant spirit, breathtaking musicianship, and musical versatility of Portland-based Pink Martini has earned them audiences of all ages. They are as likely to perform a song for a samba parade in Rio to a 1930s French cabaret to current original song by China Forbes, like her memorably hilarious “Hey Eugene!” For the first time ever, Forbes and Storm Large will share the stage and co-helm Pink Martini’s 12-piece band in performances for three nights with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Conductor Bramwell Tovey will preside over the fun.
In addition to being a beloved comic actor, Steve Martin has become known for his love of bluegrass and playing banjo. On Aug. 7, Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Madeleine Peyroux will take the Hollywood Bowl stage by storm. Martin and Brickell will be sharing tracks from their new album collaboration “Love Has Come For You” that includes the title song as well as “Get Along Stray Dog” and “Siamese Cat” and some fun surprises.
Gustavo Dudamel Conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Verdi’s Requiem
Watching conductor Gustavo Dudamel’s tour de force performances make audiences smile, gasp, and cheer. Dudamel will make several appearances at the Hollywood Bowl this summer as the site of his historic first celebratory concert as the Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In mid-August, he will take on Verdi. The show description offers this insight into Verdi’s Requiem: “The father of the modern Italian novel and a hero to 19th-century Italian nationalists, Alessandro Manzoni was venerated by Verdi for both his artistic talent and his moral force. When Manzoni died, Verdi could not bring himself to attend the funeral. But eventually he decided to honor Manzoni with a Requiem Mass, a monumental piece with all the dramatic power and expressive lyricism of Verdi’s operas.” Watching Dudamel conduct this emotional composition will wow classical music fans.
John Williams: Maestro of the Movies
John Williams returns to bring the magic of his movie music to the Hollywood Bowl. Williams will conduct some of his most popular hits, including “Harry Potter,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, and “Star Wars.” This summer, Julie Andrews joins Williams on stage to narrate a tribute to director Blake Edwards and composer Henry Mancini, celebrating their classics “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “The Pink Panther,” “Victor/Victoria” and more.
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Julie Wolfson (@juliewolfson) is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She covers travel, lifestyle, art, pop culture, cocktails and food for Cool Hunting and several other media outlets. Most days you’ll find her out and about in Southern California and around the world tracking down stories about talented people doing amazing things.