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Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings season concludes with “Beethoven Lives Upstairs,” the internationally-acclaimed production from Classical Kids Live
Orange County, Calif. — March 30, 2015
Pacific Symphony invites its Family Musical Mornings audience to imagine what it would be like to live next door to one of the most-famous composers of all time during “Beethoven Lives Upstairs,” the award-winning production by Classical Kids Live. Weaving masterful music and true stories from Beethoven’s life into a dramatic tale, the concert tells the story of a young boy from Vienna named Christoph (Will J. Green), whose new neighbor is the one-and-only Beethoven. Through a lively exchange of letters with his uncle (Thad Avery), where their subject is the “madman” who lives upstairs, Christoph comes to understand Beethoven’s gift, the beauty of his music and the torment of his deafness. With more than 20 excerpts packed into a 50-minute concert, the performance sweeps kids away with Beethoven’s beautiful music. Led by Assistant Conductor Alejandro Gutiérrez, the Symphony performs favorites including “Moonlight Sonata,” “Für Elise” and the world-famous Symphony No. 5 with the “da-da-da-dun” theme. Directed by Paul Pement, the adaptation of Barbara Nichol’s acclaimed novel leaves the audience appreciating the genius of Beethoven and the diversity of his music from the big dramatic sounds to the sweet romantic melodies.
Presented by Farmers and Merchants Bank, the concert is designed especially for kids ages 5-11, and takes place Saturday, April 18, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets are $19-39; for more information or to purchase tickets call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.
“Beethoven’s music is still fresh to our ears today because it is full of beautiful melodies, rich harmonic turns and incredible musical architecture,” says Maestro Gutiérrez. “Beethoven’s personal and psychological background strongly affected his creativity during his life, which you can hear throughout his music.”
A special and inspiring addition to the Symphony’s production is that Gutiérrez has invited pianist Valerie Narumi and violinist Danielle Liu from Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra to be the featured soloists. Narumi performs all of the piano sonata and concerto excerpts in the concert, and Liu is featured on the ‘Spring’ Sonata and the Romance for Violin and Orchestra.
“In our concert, we will enjoy the vast range of Beethoven’s music and emotions. For example, we will hear the beauty expressed in sorrow in his funeral march from the Symphony No. 7 and experience Beethoven’s internal drama in his Fifth Symphony. We will also enjoy the beauty of his sentimental Piano Sonata in E Major, the playfulness in his Symphonies Nos. 1 and 8, the gorgeous second movement of his ‘Pathétique’ Piano Sonata and the angelical sound of the second movement of his Symphony No. 4. We will experience Beethoven’s love for nature in his Symphony No. 6, ‘The Pastoral,’ the incredible crafting of his Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 5, and Beethoven’s hope for brotherhood and love for the entire world through his amazing ‘Ode of Joy’ from his Symphony No. 9.”
Beethoven is considered one of the greatest musical geniuses who ever lived. He was born in Bonn, Germany in 1770 and like Mozart, was a child prodigy first taught by his father who arranged for performances on piano. In his early 20s, he traveled to Vienna to study with Joseph Haydn and Johann Georg Albrechtsberger. Although he gradually became deaf, he went on to compose the majority of his works, including his nine symphonies, between 1799 and 1824.
Beethoven’s music is full of contrasts. It ranges from dramatic undertones to soft melodies to themes of hope and heroism. Beethoven himself said that there is nature in his music with peaceful sounds of a forest, singing chirps of birds and the furious chaos of a thunderstorm.
“Children and families will enjoy hearing a variety of short excerpts changing and moving quickly from one to another,” says Gutierrez. “It is challenging to prepare and perform so many pieces in such a short time, especially music of Beethoven, which is technically and stylistically very demanding, but it is also very fun! It is important to introduce such a wealth of creativity and artistry to children not only for them to learn to appreciate music of the highest artistic quality, but also for the positive effects that such exposure has on the brain and psychological development of children.”
Also, as a part of the experience, a Musical Carnival takes place at 9 a.m. (for the 10 a.m. concert) and 12:15 p.m. (for the 11:30 a.m. concert). For the Musical Carnival, children may participate in a variety of hands-on activities including meeting musicians from the orchestra and the Youth Ensembles, the opportunity to compose a short symphony (just like Beethoven!) and learn the science of vibrations, as well as display their creativity with arts and crafts. The carnival features performances from Santa Ana Strings and South Pointe Middle School Ensembles. The concert spotlights one of the most popular instruments in Western culture, the piano.
Family Musical Mornings returns for the 2015-16 season on Oct. 24. A Halloween spectacular unites the orchestra and visual theater for “Phantoms of the Orchestra” when the Magic Circle Mime Company returns to tell the story of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” with spooky classics. Selling out every season, the annual “Nutcracker for Kids” featuring Festival Ballet Theatre takes place Dec. 5. This year’s opera for kids is the swashbuckling “Pirates of Penzance,” taking place on Feb. 6, 2016 and featuring talented singers including students and alumni from Chapman University. On March 12, 2016, blast off for “Symphony in Space” as the orchestra performs Holst’s “The Planets” and selections from “Star Wars” along with real footage from NASA. Concluding the season is “The Firebird, Ballet for Kids!’ featuring Orange County Ballet Theater on April 30, 2016. Season subscriptions are available now for $60-140.
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