LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC GETS AN IDEA MAN

The orchestra manager who three years ago ruffled critics nationwide by declaring the symphony orchestra is dead, has named one of the world's most sought-after theater directors as creative consultant. ``We're sending a little message to the musical world that we mean business by looking forward to the next 50 years, rather than backward to the last 250,''aid Ernest Fleischmann, executive vice-president of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The consultant is Peter Sellars, the iconoclastic and avant-garde wunderkind whose extravagant theatrical and operatic productions have been labeled everything from visionary to renegade. He will help the orchestra devise special events, festivals,and community-oriented projects. Mr. Sellars spoke of strategies whereby a wider public comes to listen, and of breaking the orchestra into ensembles of various sizes and shapes to give the Philharmonic a physical presence in a range of neighborhoods that have never had access to it.

Sellars spoke also of his ideas for many video productions both live and on recording. He said there is a large symphonic repertoire that could call for staging. There are a number of ways of experiencing music in space, he told a gathering of reporters at his appointment.

``We very clearly have come to the historical situation where we have to rethink some aspects of the symphony orchestra and create an ideology for the next millenium,'' said Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonic's music director designate who will work closely with Sellars. Audiences for Mr. Salonen's first concerts with the orchestra this year have been far less than capacity.

``We need the kind of fresh thinking that a man of Sellar's vital imagination ... can bring to us.''

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