Simone Porter Triumphs as Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Open Immortal Beethoven Festival at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Simone Porter

The opening of Gustavo Dudamel's Beethoven cycle at Walt Disney Concert Hall was dominated by Simone Porter, who wove the chains of musical enchantment in Beethoven's two Romances with such ferocious choreography that it might have been a dancer playing the fiddle instead of a violinist moving in time with the music. At times the music seemed to rival the greatest moments of Beethoven's mighty Violin Concerto in its intense, heard-rending beauty.
Dressed in a ruby red appropriate to the heavy overtones of the cycle's moniker, Immortal Beethoven, 18-year old Porter moved with a spontaneous sense of inner choreography that caught the musical pleasure she delivered with her creamy tone, passionate phrasing, and near perfect timing.
The energy in the hall was great, a few empty seats but lots of kids, and teenagers dating, and people really into the music. Sounding taught and smooth, the Philharmonic took Beethoven on a sumptuous, well-upholstered cruise which warmed up the WDCH's sometimes off putting brightness. The ushers were exceptionally cheerful and concerned with comfort and safety, and the whole ambience was young and exciting.