A BRIEF HISTORY OF
MONDAY EVENING CONCERTS
WHERE MUSICAL HISTORY IS MADE. SINCE 1939.
“To my knowledge, MONDAY EVENING CONCERTS are the concerts best known in Europe for their work in the field of contemporary music and for their remarkable performances. Each year, we wait impatiently for the publication of their programs so as to be informed of their activity … I will always be delighted to follow the activities of this organization, and I am sure that it will always contribute an element of the great vitality to American musical life, and cast its light toward Europe like a star of special intensity.” -- PIERRE BOULEZ
Founded in 1939 by Peter Yates and Frances Mullen in their modest Rudolf Schindler-designed Silverlake home, Monday Evening Concerts (MEC) is the world's longest-running series devoted to contemporary music. Originally envisioned as a forum for displaced European emigrés and virtuoso Hollywood studio musicians to sink their teeth into the most challenging solo and chamber music of the day (such as the works of Charles Ives, Alexander Scriabin, Erik Satie, John Cage and Béla Bartók), MEC has blossomed its way to international acclaim for its presentation of demanding, uncompromising and poetically-charged music – whether new or ancient.
For eight decades, musical history has been made at MEC, whether it was the American conducting debut of Pierre Boulez, world premieres of compositions by Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg and Harold Budd, the early-career performances of future classical music icons such as Michael Tilson Thomas and Marilyn Horne, or the first Los Angeles appearances of artists like Marino Formenti, the Arditti and JACK Quartets and Steve Reich and Musicians.
Monday Evening Concerts is a seven-time national winner of the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming. The series is discussed in Susan Sontag's essay Pilgrimage: Tea with Thomas Mann, Eve Babitz's I Used to be Charming as well as Eve's Hollywood, and is the subject of a full-length book entitled Evenings On and Off the Roof: Pioneering Concerts in Los Angeles, 1939-1971 written by Dorothy Lamb Crawford.