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Press Release


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

Roger that! a universe of fun is on tap for “Symphony In Space,” with spectacular otherworldly music from “Star Wars,” “The Planets” and more, plus real-life video footage from NASA!

Orange County, Calif. — February 17, 2016

Jumpin’ Jupiter! Fasten your seatbelts for blast-off as Pacific Symphony, navigated by Assistant Conductor Roger Kalia, takes the audience on a musical journey through the solar system for Family Musical Mornings, “Symphony in Space,” sponsored by Farmers & Merchants Bank. An astonishing experience for ears and eyes, this concert invites the audience to revel in thrilling selections from “Star Wars,” Gustav Holst’s epic “The Planets” and more, while watching actual footage from NASA projected onto the giant screen and enjoying a story about a boy who manages to get lost in space. Joining the orchestra are the gifted young musicians of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (PSYO) in a side-by-side performance for this awesome galactic experience. This event is sure to inspire awe in both the magnificence of the universe and the wonder of music.

“Symphony in Space” takes place on Saturday, March 12, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Forty-five minutes in length, the concert is designed especially for kids 5-11, but enjoyed by people of all ages. Children and their parents are invited to join in the fun at the interactive Musical Carnival, where they can test drive a musical instrument, meet the performers and enjoy musical arts and crafts activities themed to the morning’s concert. Activities begin at 9 a.m. for 10 a.m. concertgoers and 12:15 p.m. for 11:30 a.m. concertgoers. Concert tickets are $15-$40; for more information or to purchase tickets call (714) 755-5799 or visit

The tale behind this adventure in music (unfolding onstage throughout the concert) centers on a student named Max, who gets lost in an air and space museum. Along the way, Max crosses paths with an astronaut and before he realizes what is happening—he finds himself in outer space! As his journey continues, he encounters different planets, asteroids and even makes his way to the International Space Station. There are some suspenseful moments as well, especially when Max encounters a Black Hole for the very first time. Is it a dream or reality? That’s for the audience to determine!

“This concert will feature music that is associated with outer space in some way, both literally and figuratively,” explains Maestro Kalia. “Featured works include John Williams’ ‘Main Theme’ and ‘Imperial March’ from ‘Star Wars,’ Holst’s ‘Jupiter’ and ‘Mars’ from ‘The Planets,’ and other works by Bernstein, Saint-Saëns and Mussorgsky, among others. The audience will also learn about different planets and the solar system.”

As grand and shimmering as the stars above, the powerful music of Holst’s “The Planets” soars for this light-hearted presentation with stunning images of space to complement the composer’s sweeping music. Holst’s starting point for his music was the astrological character of each planet, though his interest in astrology did not run deep. In its entirety, “The Planets” is remarkable seven-movement work that uses mood and personality as the driving force behind its success and popularity. For this concert, “Jupiter” and “Mars” take center stage—from the pounding rhythms of “Mars, the Bringer of War” to the charming English folk tunes of “Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity,” each movement conveys the effects and emotions the planets have on people.

“Holst’s music is very similar to the music of John Williams, and many scholars have said that Holst influenced Williams while he was composing the music for ‘Star Wars,’ ” says Kalia. “There are a number of similarities in their styles, including their strong reliance on brass and percussion and rhythmic energy. The spotlight instruments for this concert are the brass family, which is very appropriate considering the amount of brass that is featured on the program. The audience will be able to learn all about the horns, trumpets and low brass in an engaging manner.”

Some of the most recognizable music for children comes from the “Star Wars” movies. The “Main Theme” featured in this concert is easily the best-known melody and is associated with the popular character Luke Skywalker, heroism and adventure. It is heard at the beginning of all the films and forms the basis of the end, as well. The theme is most prominent in the first film, “Star Wars,” in which strong brass treat it as a fanfare for Luke; throughout subsequent films, it is relied upon less frequently, though this restraint lends it a greater impact. “The Imperial March” is sometimes referred to simply as “Darth Vader’s Theme.” In the movies (except for the original “Star Wars”), the march is often played when Darth Vadar appears. It is also played during the character Palpatine’s arrival on the Death Star in “Return of the Jedi,” though it does segue into the Emperor’s own theme as he appears.

The program also includes Saint-Saëns’ “Bacchanale” from “Samson et Dalilá,” Mussorgsky’s “The Great Gate of Kiev” from “Pictures at an Exhibition,” Jean Sibelius’ “Finlandia,” and Bernstein’s “Somewhere” from “West Side Story.” Helping to bring this epic music to life are the young musicians of PSYO, who join Pacific Symphony on stage. Children are sure to relate to the younger musicians and take inspiration from their accomplished peers.

“I’m thrilled about this,” says Kalia. “This will be an unbelievable learning opportunity and inspiring experience for the PSYO musicians to play alongside seasoned professional musicians. Not only will they sit next to them but I have also encouraged the PSYO musicians to soak up as much as they can from this experience by asking questions and interacting with the Pacific Symphony musicians. Everyone is extremely excited, and I can’t wait to conduct such a large orchestra!”   

And don’t miss Family Musical Mornings when it concludes its season on April 30 with the enchanting, “The Firebird, Ballet for Kids.”