L.A. Cultural Icon Fleischmann Dies

Ernest Fleischmann, the cultural impresario who tirelessly promoted the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall, died June 13 at age 85 after a long illness.

As executive director, general director and artistic consultant to the Philharmonic from 1969 through 2000, Fleischmann helped bring classical “rock stars” including Zubin Mehta, Peter Sellars and Gustavo Dudamel to the Bowl to wield the baton, but also brought the Bowl to the people.

He popularized summer fireworks and picnics on the Bowl’s lawn, matched Mehta with Frank Zappa and championed architect Frank Gehry to design the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall.

He’s credited with saving the Bowl from dilapidation and turning it into a “cash cow,” according to the Los Angeles Times. A private service will be held, followed by a public memorial concert in the fall to be announced.