Events | The Sound of San Remo Drive: A listening session with Alex Ross and Esa-Pekka Salonen

Los Angeles | February 3, 2020 | 7:00 PM

In February 1920, a fateful visit to a friend’s home introduced Thomas Mann to a device that played recordings of the Tannhäuser Overture, La Bohème, and the Aida finale. Mann soon developed a deep and lasting fascination for the gramophone, noting in his diary that it was "a mentally and purely epic find." Shortly thereafter, Mann acquired his own gramophone and dedicated a whole chapter to "electric gramophone music" in his novel The Magic Mountain.

During Thomas Mann’s exile from Germany, music continued to be an integral part of his intellectual and social life in Los Angeles. At his house on San Remo Drive, Mann listened to his large collection of records — from Beethoven to Wagner to Benjamin Britten — and would host his friend the conductor Bruno Walter for musical evenings. At the house or in other settings, Mann had in-depth exchanges with some of the most influential musical figures of the time: Arnold Schoenberg, Theodor W. Adorno, Hanns Eisler, Ernst Toch and many others.

Inspired by these evenings, Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, composer and conductor laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Music Director Designate of the San Francisco Symphony, will host a talk about Mann and his musical influences and contemporaries. The night will be complemented by listening to Ross and Salonen’s own collection of records from Mann’s time, which defined a new era of modern music.


Thomas Mann House
1550 N San Remo Drive
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

By invitation only.

Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.



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