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Press Release


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

Free concerts! Astounding and inspiring young musicians of Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles present Season Finales

Orange County, Calif. — April 24, 2015

Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings shows the audience just “How Suite It Is” with music by Handel, Debussy, Barber and more, May 9 at 3 p.m.

Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble explores a colorful, innovative array of “Collaborations,” May 10 at 1 p.m.

Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra spotlights four Concerto Competition winners and concludes with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, May 10 at 7 p.m.


A festival of awe-inspiring musical performances awaits as the dedicated students of Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles (PSYE) present three season finale performances after an enriching season of musical growth. Bursting with youthful energy and stimulating music, the weekend kicks off at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, with Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings (PSSS), as it invites the audience to experience “How Suite It Is,” an artistic celebration of the orchestral suite and its adaptations over time. On Sunday, May 10 at 1 p.m., Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble (PSYWE) dives into works old and new during “Collaborations,” which includes Bach’s Fantasia in G Major, Katoh’s “Madrid Inspiration” featuring guest saxophonist Kenneth Tse, and the world premiere of “The Rising Tide” by Pacific Symphony Composer-in-Residence Narong Prangcharoen. At 7 p.m. on May 10, Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (PSYO) shines the spotlight on the four winners of this season’s concerto competition and concludes with a musical journey through Soviet Russia by performing Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5

All PSYE concerts are free this season, thanks to the generosity of sponsors, and take place at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. For more information or to reserve tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit


Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings

The talented middle-school string ensemble PSSS opens the musical weekend with a selection of suites. The program begins with Handel’s soothing Suite III in G Major, “Water Music,” followed by Debussy’s Ballet from “Petite Suite.” The beautiful and emotional Adagio for Strings by Barber continues the concert, which concludes with the joyful rhythms of Rutter’s Suite for Strings, which is based on popular British folk songs.

“The members of Santiago Strings have grown in their understanding of the differences of performing music from different periods; its musical nuances, phrases and level of dynamics,” comments Music Director Irene Kroesen. “Performing Barber’s Adagio for Strings demands high-level skills, strong musicianship and musical sophistication. It is a showcase and a benchmark of achievement that these 6th - 9th grade string players can perform this challenging and moving musical classic.”


Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble

On Sunday, PSYWE performs a colorful array of vibrant, innovative “Collaborations.” Recalling the wind ensemble’s roots, Bach’s Fantasia in G Major, originally written for organ, showcases the brilliant sound of a modern wind orchestra—today’s “living organ,” according to Music Director Gregory X. Whitmore. Next, the ensemble explores a work by Japanese composer Masanori Katoh, whose “Madrid Inspiration” is a collection of rousing Spanish folk music. The ensemble collaborates with saxophonist Kenneth Tse, professor at the University of Iowa, in painting a portrait of traditional Spain in a modern soundscape. Concluding the program is Ticheli’s “Blue Shades,” a contemporary wind ensemble standard infused with the rhythmic nuance of 20th-century jazz.

In addition, PSYWE presents the world premiere of “The Rising Tide” by Symphony Composer-in-Residence Narong Prangcharoen, which explores the vastness and vivacity of the ocean through the sounds of the wind ensemble.

“The process of working with Narong has been fantastic!” comments Maestro Whitmore. “Our work together began in earnest this past fall, when Narong was first introduced to the ensemble, and sought insights from the group about the commission. We heard our first sample of the work at the annual retreat, where he brought 65 measures for us to read. It was stunning! Narong has done a fantastic job in incorporating the student input, as well as keeping his own compositional voice throughout the work. For many of the students in the ensemble, this is their first opportunity to work on a commission with a living composer. It is so rewarding for them to actually have the person who composed the work in the room with them as we prepare the piece!”


Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra

Finally, PSYO brings the season to a close by highlighting the four winners of the annual concerto competition. Each performing selections from great masterworks, the soloists featured include Jake Platt playing Bottesini’s Tarantella for Double Bass, Hanae Yoshida performing the first movement of Ferdinand David’s Trombone Concertino, Danielle Liu playing the third movement of Saint Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3 and Emma Lee performing the third movement of Dvorák’s Cello Concerto. PSYO concludes with a grand finale: Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, of which the students have been studying not only the technical aspects, but also the political and social context within which Shostakovich composed this piece.

“Each of the four winners offered a wonderful audition this past January,” says Pacific Symphony Assistant Conductor Alejandro Gutiérrez, who is enjoying his final season as music director of PSYO. “Their command of their instrument, knowledge of the piece, level of musicianship and artistry were superb. Jake Platt makes the double bass look like a small and easily manageable instrument with his flawless technique. Hanae Yoshida uses the trombone to sing and share her beautiful sound and phrasing. If you close your eyes to hear Danielle Liu playing her violin, you won’t believe that she is just a high school freshman. Her musicality and control of the instrument is just amazing. Antonin Dvorák’s Cello Concerto is one of the masterpieces of the entire solo repertory with orchestra and one of the most difficult. Emma Lee just makes it hers. The cello is just an extension of her heart and body. It is pure expression and high artistry.”

Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles (PSYE) is a premier performance program, nurturing and inspiring young artists in grades 6 through 12. More than 430 students auditioned for places in the three PSYE this year, breaking another record. PSYE provides members with a high-quality and innovative artistic experience and strives to encourage musical and personal growth through the art of performance. The Youth Ensembles include three performing ensembles: PSYO, PSYWE and PSSS. All three benefit from the artistic vision of Music Director Carl St.Clair, who acts as the artistic advisor for all activities. Representing 72 schools in and beyond Orange County, PSYE performs in the world-class Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, as well as at other venues in Orange County. Students enjoy a variety of interactions with Pacific Symphony musicians including sectional coaching, master classes and side-by-side performances.