Cresting over the international cultural landscape are the openings of two much-anticipated centers for the performing arts, by architects known for their path-breaking design: Santiago Calatrava and Frank Gehry. The Auditorio de Tenerife (34-922/239-901;, Calatrava's kinetic building of white concrete inlaid with broken ceramic tile, looks like a tidal wave about to crash onto Santa Cruz, the seaside capital of the Canary Islands. Its towering concrete wing shelters a 428-seat hall for chamber music and a 1,660-seat theater, in an unconventional conical shape, for stage and concert performances (it's the new hall of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra). The inaugural season includes the Opera Festival of Tenerife (October 14-18, October 25, and December 4-6, with performances of Mozart's Magic Flute, Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet, and the Rossini rarity L'Equivoco Stravagante) and the XX Festival de Música de Canarias (performances by the TSO, Victor Pablo Pérez, music director, plus a starry roster of guest orchestras and artists, January 10-February 12, 2004).

Another set of curves—the gleaming stainless-steel swirls of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall (151 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles; 323/850-2000;—makes its debut on October 23 in downtown Los Angeles. The billowing metal skin and tawny limestone base of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's $274 million home, 16 years in the making, will inevitably invite comparisons with Gehry's Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which the architect designed after Disney Hall, but which opened five years ago. Disney Hall comprises two outdoor amphitheaters and a 2,265-seat main auditorium, in a variation on the traditional shoebox style, which is crowned with an unusual curved ceiling made from Douglas fir. With seating around the entire orchestra platform, and a 6,125-pipe organ—a collaboration between Gehry and organ designer Manuel Rosales—installed at the rear of the stage, the hall's resonant chamber promises the latest in "surround sound."

Esa-Pekka Salonen, music director of the L.A. Philharmonic, will be there to lead his orchestra October 23-25 in three gala programs ranging from Haydn to John Williams. Series throughout the debut season will include jazz, world music, and commissioned works.
—Raul Barreneche