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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Nights Crackle and Sparkle with Thrilling Beauty of Music and Colorful Fireworks for Pacific Symphony’s Grand Finale Summer Festival at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre

Orange County, Calif. — March 22, 2016

Lineup includes July 4 Spectacular with “The Music of Michael Jackson”; Beethoven’s magnificent Ninth; live music for “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” shown on the big screen; Sheena Easton singing Bond music; and annual favorite, “Tchaikovsky Spectacular”

Pacific Symphony announces a blockbuster Summer Festival 2016 designed to evoke the memories of the last 30 years with exhilarating and iconic music for the final season at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre before its scheduled closure. Warm pleasant evenings, picnic baskets flowing with delectable goodies, surrounded by family and friends, are only the cherry on the top—for those planning their summer around five exceptional musical experiences under the stars. The Symphony’s 2016 Summer Festival kicks off with a “July 4 Spectacular,” featuring a symphonic tribute to Michael Jackson’s music, culminating in a magnificent fireworks display! Then, Music Director Carl St.Clair leads an ode to joy with Beethoven’s famous Ninth Symphony, followed by a night at the movies with John Williams memorable score from one of the best-loved films, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Next up is Sheena Easton and “The Spy Who Loves Me,” featuring memorable music from James Bond movies and more; and finally, the Symphony’s summer goes out with a bang for the annual favorite, “Tchaikovsky Spectacular,” bursting with cannons and fireworks for the “1812” Overture!

“It’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost three decades that we’ve been performing in our summer home here in Irvine Meadows—bringing it alive with the sounds of Pacific Symphony’s Summer Festival,” says Maestro St.Clair. “As many may already know, this summer will be our last performing there—and while very exciting plans are taking shape for 2017—we hope everyone will come and be a part of our grand finale season. Each concert promises to bring to life the finest musical experiences by our remarkable orchestra.”

Subscriptions for Summer Festival 2016 range from $100-$485 with boxes and front-row packages also available. Single tickets go on sale May 22 and range from $25-$108. With the purchase of an adult subscription, one child under 14 comes free in select sections. And new this year: the award-winning caterer 24 carrots is on site to serve up an all-new menu of delicious gourmet options (from simple to elaborate!) for pre-concert dining. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit

“We have one more season under the stars in our summer home and it begins with an exciting 4th-of-July celebration of our great country,” says Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman. “Irvine Meadows has always been a place for families to gather to enjoy the beauty and excitement of great music, and this coming July 4th will once again offer a joyous celebration for all ages.”

A THRILLER! The summer gets off to a high-energy, celebratory start with a July 4 Spectacular—this year featuring The Music of Michael Jackson and showcasing the best-known hits of the legendary “King of Pop.” From The Jackson 5 to his final film, “This Is It!” the evening includes music from “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” “Bad,” “Blood on the Dance Floor” and much more. The seven-piece rock group Windborne, along with lead singer James Delisco, joins the Symphony to bring to life the genius of Michael Jackson’s legacy. The concert, taking place on Monday, July 4, at 8 p.m., is led by Maestro Kaufman, and includes the holiday traditions of a salute to the U.S. Armed Forces and patriotic favorites, before closing with a brilliant fireworks finale.

Crowned “The Entertainer” by Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton, on the E! Network’s reality TV series, Delisco has proved he is more than worthy of the title. An iconoclastic performer with extraordinary energy, Delisco conjures Michael Jackson before the audience’s eyes for this “thriller” of a concert. The group Windborne has traveled the world touring with orchestras in shows featuring not only the music of Michael Jackson, but Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Eagles, The Doors, Queen, The Who, U2, Whitney Houston, the Rolling Stones and Journey. They have proved to be popular with Pacific Symphony’s audiences during several memorable July 4 concerts where music legends returned to the stage for one awesome night!

EPIC JOY! Beethoven’s blockbuster Ninth Symphony—with a huge orchestra, full chorus and a spine-tingling vocal quartet of world-class singers—is the crown jewel of the final Summer Festival season at Irvine Meadows. Taking place Saturday, July 23, at 8 p.m., Maestro St.Clair is joined by a quartet of exceptional singers: Mary Wilson, soprano; Orange County’s favorite diva, Milena Kitic, mezzo-soprano; John Bellemer, tenor; Symphony-favorite Kevin Deas, bass; and the powerhouse voices of the Pacific Chorale (John Alexander, artistic director) for the stirring “Ode to Joy.” The words of the iconic fourth movement were taken from a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785 and reflect the composer’s hopes and dreams for a better world and its triumphant affirmation of universal brotherhood. This epic musical masterpiece must be heard live to be fully experienced.

“It’s sure to be an exciting and emotional summer, filled with music that enchants, inspires, elates and leaves a lasting impression,” says St.Clair. “Unforgettable melodies, fireworks and great fun under our perfect summer skies—we’ve got it all. And among the highlights is Beethoven’s masterpiece Ninth Symphony. No one will leave untouched by this experience, once they hear the message that all mankind must become brothers. This is a symphony that can’t be repeated often enough.”

The premiere of Beethoven’s Ninth in 1824 was a remarkable moment in history. Although he could not hear a note, Beethoven conducted the orchestra, and the audience responded with five standing ovations. George Grove, author of “Beethoven and his Nine Symphonies,” described the moment as “a volcanic explosion of sympathy and admiration.” A musician at the premiere wrote, “He moved as if he wanted to play all of the instruments himself and sing for the whole chorus.” The final complete symphony by Beethoven, the Ninth has become one of the best-known works of the Western classical repertoire and is considered to be one of the greatest musical compositions ever written. It’s also the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony.

EDGE-OF-YOUR-SEAT! Next, the film that gave the world one of its greatest movie heroes—Indiana Jones—is back and better than ever before! Relive the magic on the silver screen with the original great adventure, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” with John Williams’ thrilling score performed live to the full-length film by the Symphony, led by international guest conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos, music director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra and general director of Chatham Opera. Kitsopoulos, who conducts in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Royal Albert Hall, and for musical theater, where he can be found leading orchestras on Broadway, joins Pacific Symphony for this special 35th anniversary celebration screening with the soundtrack performed live. The action-packed blockbuster takes place Saturday, Aug. 13, 8 p.m.

For those who need a reminder, the movie features Harrison Ford as an intrepid and renowned archaeologist and expert in the occult, who is hired by the U.S. Government to find the Ark of the Covenant, which is believed to still hold the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, agents of Hitler are also after the Ark. Indy, and his ex-flame, Marion, escape from various close scrapes in adventures from Nepal to Egypt on a quest to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. Relive the breathtaking experience all over again!

ICONIC! For the second to last concert of the festival—you’re sure to hear these words ringing in your ear: The name is Bond…James Bond. Dashing and debonair, Bond’s movie themes are instantly recognizable, evoking international intrigue, glamour and suspense. Two-time Grammy Award-winner Sheena Easton, with more than 20 million records worldwide and the featured singer on the James Bond soundtrack, “For Your Eyes Only,” seduces the audience into the world of “Goldfinger,” “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Skyfall,” plus “spy” songs from “Mission Impossible,” “Austin Powers” and more. The Spy Who Loved Me takes place Sunday, Aug. 21, at 7:30 p.m., and is led by Symphony favorite, guest conductor Albert-George Schram (who leads the orchestra twice on the 2015-16 pops series).

With a charming and disarming stage presence, Schram is equally adept at conducting classical and pops programs and has led a wide variety of repertoire for numerous orchestras in the U.S. and abroad, including Pacific Symphony, where he is always popular with audiences. Currently conductor of the Columbus (Ohio) and Charlotte symphony orchestras, he has also served as music director of the Lubbock Symphony (Texas) and the Lynn Philharmonia (Florida). Most recently, Schram concluded his tenure as resident conductor of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Previously he has held positions with the Louisville Philharmonic and Florida Philharmonic orchestras.

CELEBRATE AND COMMEMORATE! Labor Day weekend never sounded so good. The Symphony’s final concert at Irvine Meadows is rife with booming cannons, dazzling fireworks and extraordinary music. What more fitting conclusion to this incredible era in the Symphony’s history than to end on a triumphant note with “Tchaikovsky Spectacular,” featuring the outstanding young talent of violinist Paul Huang and pianist Natasha Paremski. Maestro St.Clair returns for this special evening to take the audience on a trip down memory lane, reminiscing on nearly three decades of concerts “in the meadows.” The program is a Tchaikovsky hit parade featuring excerpts from the perennially popular ballets “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker,” and two beloved concertos. The curtain falls on this chapter of the Symphony’s history to the traditional sounds of the electrifying “1812 Overture” on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 8 p.m.

Recipient of the prestigious 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Taiwanese-American violinist Huang is already recognized for his intensely expressive music making, distinctive sound and effortless virtuosity. Following his Kennedy Center debut, The Washington Post proclaimed: “Huang is definitely an artist with the goods for a significant career.” In 2013, The New York Times praised his “masterly account of Barber’s Violin Concerto” with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Alice Tully Hall. 

With her consistently striking and dynamic performances, pianist Paremski reveals astounding virtuosity and voracious interpretive abilities with her flawless technique. Born in Moscow, she moved to the United States at the age of 8, becoming a U.S. citizen shortly thereafter. The Chicago Tribune noted of her performance: “She roared through the thickets of notes in the outer movements (including the leonine cadenzas) as if their formidable technical difficulties didn’t exist, her fingers a blur, yet articulating rhythms and spinning long lyrical lines with deep idiomatic feeling.” The pianist was awarded several prestigious artist prizes at a very young age, including the Gilmore Young Artists prize in 2006 at the age of 18, the Prix Montblanc in 2007 and the Orpheum Stiftung Prize in Switzerland. In September 2010, she was awarded the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year.

Summer Festival 2016 is made possible by supporting sponsor, Orange County Register, Avenue of the Arts Hotel and media sponsors PBS SoCal, K-Earth 101, KPCC and KUSC.