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Backstage with the Buzz on the LA Phil’s Gen X Festival

Thomas Adès both curates and conducts an evening featuring an international selection of Gen X composers, and violinist Pekka Kuusisto at the U.S. premiere of Adès’ Märchentänze Friday, April 22. (photo from


The Los Angeles Philharmonic announced details for the Gen X Festival a multidisciplinary, multi-genre exploration of Generation X – the slackers, hackers and latchkey kids who started off analog and became digital.

“Putting together this mini-festival, I quickly came to feel that if there was one big thing that united creative artists born between 1965 and 1980, it was that there is no one big thing,” said artistic curator Thomas Adès. “Certainty is out; being right or being wrong are equally unappealing. Maybe even that is saying too much? Who wants to be put in any kind of box, be it a ‘generation,’ or a start and end date?”

Included in the festival Gustavo Dudamel will conduct Adès’ “Dante,” a U.S. premiere, LA Phil commission.

With concerts curated by Thomas Adès and Liz Phair and special events by Waiting to X-hale podcasters Karen Tongson and Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, the festival combines orchestral concerts, popular presentations, and humanities events in a decidedly LA Phil-esque way.

Co-curators of the festival’s humanities programming Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh and Karen Tongson described their offerings as exploring “Gen X culture through a distinctly LA lens, revisiting so much of what we remember fondly about the era, along with what some of us have tried hard to forget.

“When I look across the festival’s programming and the incredible collection of artists, thinkers and cultural partners who’ve come to the party, I see a complex portrait of Gen X expression emerge that is thoroughly postmodern. It mixes high and low, skips through history, and brings identity and irony to the fore in ways that continue to reverberate in our culture today,” said Julia Ward, the LA Phil’s Director of Humanities.

The Gen X festival runs from April 22 to May 14, 2022 with concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall and humanities events across LA many of which are free with RSVP. Please visit for tickets and more information.


Backstage with the Buzz is written by Sheila Tepper, Producer Cultural Programming. Sheila has lived in the Larchmont area for fifty years, among her passions have been passing legislation for children with disabilities and interviewing outstanding artists appearing in the Los Angeles area.

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