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Press Release


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

Skies sizzle and crackle with fireworks and the magic of music as Pacific Symphony’s 2014 Summer Festival gets underway with five concerts at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Lineup includes “July 4th with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy,” “Gershwin Greats,” Disney “Fantasia,” Kenny G and annual favorite, “Tchaikovsky Spectacular”

March 14, 2014

Summer is just around the corner and families are already thinking about packing picnics and heading out to Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine for five music-infused evenings under the stars with Pacific Symphony. Presented by Mercedes-Benz, the Symphony’s 2014 Summer Festival explodes with the annual July 4th extravaganza, featuring Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and a brilliant fireworks finale. Then it’s on to classic Americana for “Gershwin Greats,” featuring guest pianist Jeffrey Biegel, soprano Angela Brown and bass Kevin Deas. Next, it’s the the magnificent repertoire of Disney “Fantasia”: Live in Concert from the original 1940 version and “Fantasia 2000,” performed live as Disney’s stunning footage is shown on the big screen. The fourth concert delivers the silky smooth sounds of saxophone superstar Kenny G, before the Symphony concludes the season with an OC tradition: “Tchaikovsky Spectacular,” which this year features guest pianist Jon Nakamatsu, and, of course, breathtaking cannons and fireworks during the “1812 Overture.”

“This year, the Symphony’s summer really delivers and is a perfect way to launch our 2014-15 season and my 25th anniversary with the orchestra,” says Music Director Carl St.Clair. “From Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to the best of Gershwin to a Disney classic to saxophone icon Kenny G. Plus, the season concludes on a traditional note, with our annual ‘Tchaikovsky Spectacular,’ which I will be conducting—there’s something for everyone. It’s sure to be an exciting summer filled with music that enchants, inspires and elates. Unforgettable melodies, fireworks and great fun under our perfect summer skies—we’ve got it all.”

Five-concert subscriptions range from $99-$480 with luxury season packages also available. Single tickets are $25-$105 and go on sale May 18. With the purchase of an adult subscription, kids under 14 come free in selected price levels. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit Summer Festival 2014 is made possible by supporting sponsor, Orange County Register, and media sponsors K-Earth 101, KPCC, KUSC and PBS SoCal.

 “The Pacific Symphony Summer Festival concerts at Verizon have always been among my favorite experiences conducting the orchestra,” says Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman. “It’s not only a musical experience, but also a chance to enjoy hearing incredible music under the stars in a truly beautiful outdoor environment. The musicians love the opportunity to make music in such an inspiring venue, and it always shows in the way they bring such excitement and passion to each summer performance.”

Get ready to swing with a contemporary twist! The Symphony, led by Kaufman, opens the summer season with a July 4th celebration featuring the swing revival band from Southern California—Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. America’s favorite big band joins Pacific Symphony to resurrect the high-energy swing rhythms of the 1940s and ’50s on Friday, July 4, at 8 p.m. Snapping fingers and tapping toes accompany the performance of hits from multi-platinum records including “Go Daddy-O” and “Mr. Pinstripe Suit.” Plus, Fourth-of-July traditions, including a salute to the U.S. Armed Forces and a brilliant fireworks finale kick off the summer festival.

“I’ve known about Big Bad Voodoo Daddy for many years, and I’m thrilled that they will bring their special brand of music and entertainment to our July 4th celebration,” says Maestro Kaufman. “Don’t let the name fool you! This group presents the sound of American music in an exciting and creative way that will have the whole audience singing along and dancing at their seats.”

I got rhythm! Summer patrons sway to some of the greatest works of George Gershwin, when Maestro St.Clair leads the Symphony for the first concert of his 25th anniversary season featuring guest pianist Jeffrey Biegel, soprano Angela Brown and bass Kevin Deas. Relax with this program of classic Americana, featuring some of the most popular and best-known Gershwin works ever written—from the jazz-filled melodies of “Rhapsody in Blue” to the timeless sounds of “An American in Paris” to the groundbreaking “Porgy and Bess.” This concert takes place Sunday, July 20, at 7:30 p.m.

Family night! The orchestra brings to life the music of DisneyFantasia”: Live in Concert from the original 1940 version and “Fantasia 2000,” performed live as Disney’s stunning footage is shown on the big screen—on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 8 p.m. The cherished musical moments of both films fill the amphitheater as scenes from the movies play on a big screen overhead, giving concertgoers a truly unique multimedia experience. The program includes “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” Suite. Maestro Kaufman leads this magical evening. This presentation is licensed by Disney Concert Library © Disney.

“Like many people, I heard some of my first classical music when I saw and heard ‘Fantasia,’” says Kaufman. “The combination of extraordinary animation and storytelling, along with some of the most wonderful orchestral music ever written, will make for a unique and magical night under the stars. Walt Disney was beyond innovative in his decades of creativity, and the idea of ‘Fantasia’ was one that remains iconic in both the film and music world. It’s a show for all ages, and a great way to introduce younger people to classical music while having a great time.”

Date night! Romantic saxophone sensation Kenny G returns to Pacific Symphony (debuting with the orchestra in February 2013) on Saturday, Aug. 23, at 8 p.m. With a recording career that spans almost three decades and 23 albums, the Grammy Award-winning saxophonist has sold more than 75 million records worldwide (45 million in the U.S. alone) and enjoyed more than a dozen climbs to the top of Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart. Grafting R&B, pop and Latin to a jazz foundation, Kenny G joins the Symphony, led by guest conductor Albert-George Schram (who last led the Symphony in March 2014), onstage to once again solidify his reputation as the premier artist in contemporary jazz.

Close out summer with a bang! The Summer Festival series concludes its season on Saturday, Aug. 30, at 8 p.m., with “Tchaikovsky Spectacular.” Filled with cannons, fireworks and heart-pounding rhythms in the “1812 Overture,” this concert is the epitome of summer celebrations and a wonderful way to bid farewell to the season. Led by St.Clair, the program opens with Tchaikovsky’s Polonaise and Waltz from “Eugene Onegin,” and is followed by guest pianist Jon Nakamatsu, winner of the 10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The evening also includes the orchestra tackling Mussorgsky’s famous “Pictures at an Exhibition.”