Originally founded in 1945 as the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra (= HBO) by the legendary Leopold Stokowski, it disbanded two years later and was replaced for Bowl concerts by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. After 43 years, the orchestra was re-established in 1991, as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, under the direction of John Mauceri, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra performs in concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, on recordings for Philips Classics, and tours throughout the world.
The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and John Mauceri gave their first public performances on July 2, 3, and 4, 1991, at the Hollywood Bowl's Independence Day fireworks concerts, winning both critical and public acclaim. Since its inception, John Mauceri and the Orchestra have established a world-wide reputation for high-class, high-voltage music-making.
Over the past ten seasons, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra concerts have featured an incredible variety of distinguished artists from all genres of music and the world of entertainment.
From among John Mauceri and the Orchestra's more than 200 concerts, Kathleen Battle, Charlotte Church, Jane Eaglen, Marilyn Horne, Jennifer Larmore, Sylvia McNair, Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti and the San Francisco Ballet represent the illustrious talent from the worlds of opera, ballet and classical music that has graced the stage with the Orchestra. Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks (in his only performance with an orchestra) and the late John Denver brought to their performances the irrepressible optimism of Country-Western. Innumerably accomplished each, Carol Burnett, Patti LuPone, Lynn Redgrave, Peabo Bryson, Harry Connick, Jr., Alan Cumming, Davis Gaines, Joel Grey, Garrison Keillor, and Patrick Stewart have brought their inimitable gifts to the Bowl stage. Hosting Chicago, The Chieftains, Sergio Mendes, The Moody Blues, Tito Puente and the Latin Jazz Ensemble, and Royal Crown Revue, John Mauceri and the Orchestra anted-up to prove their chops fabulously in the world of pop and rock. Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, Ann Miller, Della Reese, Tony Bennett, Sir George Martin, and Peter, Paul & Mary are among the legendary artists with whom the Orchestra has been privileged to work. And, in the 1999 season, John Mauceri stepped aside to allow the mayor of Los Angeles, the Honorable Richard J. Riordan, to make his conducting debut at the Bowl with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.
John Mauceri and the Orchestra made their first recordings for Philips Classics in 1991 - Hollywood Dreams and The Gershwins in Hollywood, the latter featuring vocalists Patti Austin and Gregory Hines. Both releases quickly climbed to the top ten on Billboard magazine's crossover chart, and the Gershwin CD won Germany's highest award, the Deutsche Schallplatten Prize. In 1992, the third release, Opening Night, the Complete Overtures of Rodgers and Hammerstein, entered at the top of the crossover charts. The Orchestra's recording of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I hit No. 1 on the Billboard classical crossover chart in only its second week of release, and also received Billboard's 1993 Crossover CD of the Year award.
As with every Mauceri / Hollywood Bowl Orchestra project, The King and I has special attributes that set it apart from the ordinary, not the least of which is its all-star cast: Julie Andrews singing the role of Anna for the first time in her extraordinary career; Academy Award-winning actor Ben Kingsley appearing as the King; Lea Salonga (Broadway's Miss Saigon) as Tuptim; pop music star Peabo Bryson as Lun Tha; opera star Marilyn Horne as Lady Thiang; and film stars Roger Moore and Martin Sheen in special cameo appearances. This version is also noteworthy for being the first recording in 35 years to use the original orchestrations of the Academy Award-winning movie version. In 1993 a one-hour documentary, "The Making of The King and I," aired on PBS stations across the country and was nominated for an Emmy.
Also in 1993, Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra released American Classics and The Great Waltz, and in 1994 Songs of the Earth - Twenty-five Hours on the Planet and Hollywood Nightmares. Recent releases include Heat Wave: Patti LuPone Sings Irving Berlin, which pays tribute to Irving Berlin's lasting achievements and unparalleled range and versatility, and Prelude to a Kiss: The Duke Ellington Album, which pairs the lush vocals of Grammy Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater with works by one of our most treasured composers.
To (2006) date the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra has released a total of 13 recordings.
Television & Films
In the summer of 1993, Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra recorded their first motion picture soundtrack for MGM's "That's Entertainment III," for which composer Marc Shaiman arranged the music (released 1994). In January 1994, Shaiman conducted the Orchestra in a benefit performance at the Universal Amphitheatre for APLA's "Commitment to Life" featuring Whitney Houston, Liza Minnelli, Debbie Reynolds, Patti LuPone and others.
In September 1994 Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra appeared on UPN Channel 13 (KCOP Los Angeles) in a live telecast from the Hollywood Bowl performing the Fireworks Finale concert, "Around the World in 80 Minutes, " for which Mauceri won an Emmy in 1995. Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra also were featured in the station's "Live From the Hollywood Bowl" programs in 1997 and 1998. Both programs were nominated for Emmys, and Mauceri received an Emmy for the 1998 performance.
Since its inception, John Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra have been committed to restoring and performing lost or neglected film scores. Examples of the Orchestra's major restoration projects include Max Steiner's theme to Gone With the Wind, the "Dream Ballet" sequence from Oklahoma!, and the "Born in a Trunk" sequence from the 1954 release of A Star is Born.
Performing music often heard only in its recorded form, John Mauceri and the Orchestra have brought works from current film, television and Broadway to the concert stage. First performances on the Bowl stage include selections from Anastasia, Batman, Chicago, Evita, The Mask of Zorro, Ragtime, Titanic, Cabaret and many others. They have also popularized the annual "Movie Night" concerts, in which the Orchestra plays live accompaniment to film clips projected on the Bowl's big screen. Recent years have featured collaborations with motion picture studios: Twentieth-Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Universal Studios, in 1997, 1998 and 1999, respectively.
On December 29, 1991, John Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra departed on their inaugural tour - a New Year's visit to Japan that began with celebratory programs in Osaka, performed twice to coincide with the New Year as it arrived in Japan and, 17 hours later, in Los Angeles. Following the Osaka concerts, the Orchestra traveled to Tokyo for five concerts.
Subsequently, in December 1993, they made a triumphant return to Japan, playing six warmly received concerts in Osaka, Tokyo and Nagoya - just as they were awarded Billboard's 1993 Crossover Artist of the Year. They have returned for New Year's concerts in Osaka and Tokyo twice more since, in 1995 and 1997. Mr. Mauceri and the musicians continue to receive critical acclaim for their flair and finesse, and the response from the Japanese audiences is overwhelmingly enthusiastic, bringing them back on stage for encore after encore.
In November 1996, John Mauceri and the Orchestra performed two public concerts in Rio de Janeiro and Saõ Paulo, Brazil, as part of a tour sponsored by Philips do Brasil Ltda. This tour represented the first time an American orchestra was invited to Brazil specifically to perform the great of the American cinema. An immaculate stretch of Copacabana Beach, and the luscious setting of Ibirapuera Park in Saõ Paulo (despite the torrential rain), provided the setting for these standing room only and thrilling concerts. The tour culminated with a private performance for Philips at the recently renovated Estação Júlio Prestes, a beautifully converted train station.