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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Marketing & Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pacific Symphony announces a star-studded and electrifying 2013-14 Pops Season, led by Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman, celebrating the orchestra's 35th anniversary!

April 17, 2013

Pacific Symphony announces its exciting 2013-14 Pops series—celebrating the orchestra’s 35th anniversary season—in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. The stars come out for seven spectacular concerts showcasing big names, top talent and a plethora of awe-inspiring music! Led for the 23rd year by acclaimed Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman, the lighter side of the Symphony opens with the return of Broadway sensation Michael Cavanaugh, performing the iconic music of Elton John. Then, share the spirit of the holidays with two-time Grammy Award-winner LeAnn Rimes as she performs some of her biggest hits and music from her Christmas album. Renowned songwriter Burt Bacharach joins the Symphony for a very special Valentine’s Day; five-time Grammy Award-winner Michael McDonald rocks the house; and—back by popular demand—is Cirque de la Symphonie, to mesmerize audiences with astonishing acrobatics synched to live music by the orchestra. Finally, folk-rock stars from the legendary group America revisit musical favorites from the ’70s. The season also includes “Night at the Copa” —featuring guest artists TBA (due to contract restrictions).

Plus, the legend responsible for so many indelible movie tunes—John Williams—leads the orchestra in a rare one-night special benefit concert. Seven-concert subscriptions for Pops range from $231 to $1,050; single tickets are $35-$150 (on sale Aug. 18). For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit

“With every Pops season, our goal is to bring the highest quality and most exciting presentations to our audience,” says Maestro Kaufman, “and at the center of what we do are our amazing musicians. And we are thrilled to be welcoming a variety of incredible artists who will be joining the orchestra in concert. We know that our patrons invest both time and money when they choose to attend our Pops concerts—our passionate commitment is to honor that by offering a wide variety of world-class entertainers and to make each and every performance memorable. The Symphony’s 2013-14 Pops season will be just that!”

Named “the new voice of the American rock-and-roll songbook” by Billboard Magazine, Michael Cavanaugh returns to open the 2013-14 Pops Series in Michael Cavanaugh: Songs of Elton John & More. Made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway Musical “Movin’ Out,” Cavanaugh—and his remarkably canny ability to personify music icons—opened the Symphony’s 2009 summer season with a concert featuring the music of Billy Joel. The charismatic performer, musician and actor returns to woo Symphony audiences once again Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 7-9, at 8 p.m. Led by Kaufman, Cavanaugh comes loaded with a high-energy show highlighting the music of Sir Elton John—whom he embodies so completely, the audience may think it’s Elton himself—including favorites such as “Piano Man,” “Benny and the Jets,” “Rocket Man” and “Candle in the Wind.”

“Michael Cavanaugh brings not only superb musicianship to his performances, but also a uniquely personal style that creates a very special evening for both the audience and the orchestra,” says Kaufman. “His musical tribute to Billy Joel was terrific, and I know that his celebration of the music of Elton John will be equally as impressive.”

Discovered by his personal hero Billy Joel one fateful night at the New York, New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Cavanaugh and Joel moved to New York State in 2001 to shape the Broadway Musical that would be called “Movin’ Out.” Following the success of that project, Cavanaugh began touring in his own right, creating a show that reinterprets the modern pop/rock songbook, and has since been performing with orchestras worldwide and at events including the PGA Tour, the U.S. Open and the Indy 500.

It’s a heartwarming holiday celebration when the highly popular, two-time Grammy Award-winner—singer LeAnn Rimes—shares her inescapable charm and sensational voice with Symphony audiences for Christmas with LeAnn Rimes. This American country and pop artist brings her rich vocals to music from her 2004 holiday album “What a Wonderful World,” along with some of her best-known hits such as: “Blue,” “How Do I Live” and “Can’t Fight the Moonlight.” Rimes, accompanied by the Symphony led by Kaufman, performs on Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 19-21, at 8 p.m.

“I love celebrating the sounds and joy of Christmas on our concerts,” says Kaufman, “and LeAnn Rimes brings a youthful energy and terrific voice to this year’s festivities. There’s no doubt that with LeAnn and Pacific Symphony, it will be the most wonderful time of the year.”

Rising to stardom at age 13 with the release of her first single, “Blue,” originally written for Patsy Cline by Bill Mack in the 1960s, Rimes has since won many awards, including three American County Music awards, one Country Music Award, 12 Billboard Music awards and one American Music award. She has released 10 studio albums, three compilation albums and two greatest hits albums, and placed more than 40 singles on American and international charts since 1996. Rimes has sold over 37 million records worldwide, with 20.3 million album sales in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan. Billboard ranked her 17th artist of the 1990s decade.

Shhh, it’s a bit of a secret (for now)! After standing ovations and shouts of “Bravo!” during their last visit to Pacific Symphony, special guest artists are scheduled to join the orchestra again for “Night at the Copa” on January 23-25, 2014, at 8 p.m. These popular artists return with their dynamic, high-energy show. However, due to contract restrictions, the announcement is scheduled to take place later this summer. Stay tuned!

Spend a special Valentine’s Day with the legendary Burt Bacharach as the Song-writing genius serenades lovers with romantic hits from the past few decades, Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 13-15, 2014, at 8 p.m. One of the most accomplished popular composers of the 20th century, Bacharach is responsible for a remarkable 48 Top 10 hits, nine number one songs, more than 500 compositions and a landmark 50-plus-year run on the charts. Combining elements of jazz, pop, Brazilian music and rock, Bacharach created a unique new sound that proved popular. He has penned hits for Dionne Warwick, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Dusty Springfield, Bobbie Gentry, Neil Diamond, Jackie DeShannon and many others. For this romantic weekend, Bacharach joins the orchestra, led by Kaufman, to share his favorites including “What The World Needs Now is Love,” “This Guy’s In Love With You,” “Promises, Promises” and “Alfie.”

The Arizona Tribune says of Bacharach: “He is the greatest American composer since George Gershwin and the closest to Gershwin anyone born in the second half of the 20th century is ever going to see.”

“Music Royalty—that’s Burt Bacharach,” agrees Kaufman. “His songs are as relevant and amazing today as when they first became part of the great American song book. Burt’s style is beyond unique, and for me, both personally and professionally, having him with us is certain to be truly memorable. He is, without a doubt, legendary!”

Michael McDonald—whose career includes his days with Steely Dan, superstardom as a member of the Doobie Brothers and a successful solo career—visits Pacific Symphony, led by guest conductor Albert-George Schram, Thursday through Saturday, March 13-15, 2014, at 8 p.m. With his husky, soulful baritone, five-time Grammy winner McDonald is one of the most popular vocalists to emerge from the 1970s rock scene, gaining thousands of fans with hits like “What a Fool Believes,” “I Keep Forgettin’,” “On My Own” and “Sweet Freedom.” His distinct vocal style also made him one of the world’s most sought-after session singers. Beyond his hits with The Doobie Brothers, McDonald has lent his voice to records by an A-Z of artists, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Joni Mitchell and Vince Gill. During the ’80s and ’90s, his solo career zoomed from success to success on the wings of evergreen hits like “I Keep Forgettin’,” “On My Own” (a duet with Patti LaBelle) and the Grammy-winning duet with James Ingram, “Yah Mo B There.”

“It’s always exciting when an artist makes their Pacific Symphony debut!” says Kaufman. “This will definitely be the case when Michael McDonald brings his tremendous musicianship and very special vocal style to our series. We’re really looking forward to it.”

A feast for the eyes and ears! Cirque de la Symphonie is back for another round of jaw-dropping acrobatics on and above the stage as the orchestra performs live, led by Kaufman, on Thursday through Saturday, May 1-3, 2014, at 8 p.m. Aerial fliers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers and strongmen choreograph their routines to classical masterpieces and memorable contemporary music. The Cirque performers include world-record holders, Olympians and gold-medal winners of international competitions who rank among the most exceptional cirque artists in the world.

Now in its third visit to Orange County, Cirque de la Symphonie wowed audiences the first time during the Symphony’s Summer Festival 2010 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, when the Orange County Register reported: “The crowd was large and happy and ate it up and rightly so...every routine was a delight…a memorable, entertaining evening that, if repeated, will surely draw them in again.”

“Ventura Highway,” “A Horse With No Name” and “Tin Man” —all beautifully crafted songs that the folk-rock band America produced throughout its illustrious career—are backed by the lush sounds of the Symphony, led by Kaufman, Thursday through Saturday, June 12-14, 2014 at 8 p.m. Barely out of their teens, the hit group earned a Grammy in 1972 for best new musical artist and from there, the rest is history. During the ’70s, the group experienced extraordinary recording success and achieved three platinum and three gold albums, along with eight Top 40 hits. America has remained active and popular in the nostalgia concert circuit and in 2006, the band was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and on Feb. 6, 2012, the group was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Unwilling to step out of the spotlight, America released the album Back Pages in 2011 and as of 2009, performs over 100 shows per year.

“The sound of the group ‘America’ holds a special place in the hearts and minds of people who remember their terrific recordings,” says Kaufman. “It will be a pleasure to experience their one-of-a-kind sound as they join us for a night with the orchestra.”

For the first time in a decade, Maestro of the Movies John Williams conducts Pacific Symphony in a special benefit concert (in addition to the subscription series) for the orchestra’s education and community engagement programs, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, at 8 p.m. Responsible for creating the scores and themes for some of the most popular and recognizable films in history, Williams’ credits include “Star Wars,” “Jaws,” the “Indiana Jones” films, “E.T.,” “Home Alone,” “Hook,” “Jurassic Park,” “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “War Horse,” “Lincoln,” and the first three “Harry Potter” films, to name just a few in his vast repertoire.

In a career spanning more than six decades, Williams has had a long association with director Steven Spielberg, composing the music for all but two (“Duel” and “The Color Purple”) of Spielberg’s major feature films. Other notable works by Williams include theme music for four Olympic Games, NBC Sunday Night Football, NBC Nightly News, the Statue of Liberty’s rededication and the television series “Lost in Space” and “Land of the Giants.” He has won five Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards and 21 Grammy Awards. With 48 Academy Award nominations, Williams is the second most-nominated person, after Walt Disney. He was honored with the prestigious Richard Kirk award at the 1999 Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) Film and TV Awards. Williams was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in 2000, and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004.

The Symphony’s Pops series receives support from American Airlines, The Westin South Coast Plaza, K-Earth 101 and PBS SoCal.