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Jean Oelrich
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Pacific Symphony's 2017-18 Pops Season Opens With The Incomparable, Multi-Award-Winning Music Icon David Foster, Whose Catalog Of Endless Hits Defines Popular Music

Orange County, Calif. — September 26, 2017

Pacific Symphony’s 2017-18 Pops season bursts out of the gate when the Symphony welcomes for the first time one of the most successful music producers/entertainers in history—16-time Grammy Award winner David Foster! This grand Pops Opening, led by Symphony favorite Albert-George Schram, features Foster performing hit songs, along with special hand-picked guests from his unparalleled catalog. Among his popular hits (written for artists that include Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, Barbra Streisand and many, many others) are “You’re the Inspiration,” “The Prayer,” “The Glory of Love” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.” In addition to his numerous Grammy Awards, which include three for Producer of the Year, plus 47 additional nominations, Foster has won an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe and garnered three Oscar nominations for “Best Original Song.”

“I have never had the opportunity to work with David Foster before, so I am eagerly looking forward to doing so,” says Maestro Schram. “He’s sort of the Big Cheese, the Grand Poobah, the Impresario, The Godfather to a few generations of musicians. He is truly respected and has coached and produced recordings and performances for more artists than God. He’s also a gifted pianist, raconteur and gracious host. And he will be opening Pacific Symphony’s Pops Season! What a coup! Plus, he will have some unexpected, impromptu guests who will perform with us—so it promises to be an exciting weekend, indeed!” 

The Symphony’s Pops Opening concert, “David Foster with Special Guests,” takes place Friday-Saturday, Oct. 13-14, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Seven-concert subscriptions for Pops range from $245-$1,099. Single tickets are $35-$159. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

“I was once again asked to have the orchestra strut its considerable stuff in the first half,” remarks Schram. “This excites me to no end, because Pacific Symphony is one of my favorite orchestras to work with! They are responsive, perform brilliantly and are adventuresome. If they like you as a conductor, they will follow you where they do not usually go. On occasion, they have even danced and sang with me. From my point of view—what’s not to love? These are wonderful people and great musicians.

“Since David Foster is such a ‘world’ musician,” Schram continues. “I picked first-half repertoire that celebrates songs and dances by the Viennese Johann Strauss to the very American Irving Berlin. It’s great fun music, which our audience will love. No better way to kick off a brand-new Pacific Symphony season!” There will also be music from England’s Percy Grainger and a Spanish piece by Manuel de Falla.

Born in Victoria, British Columbia, Foster began studying piano at age 4. His mother was dusting the family piano when she hit one of the keys and was shocked to hear David correctly call out, “That’s an E!” The boy had perfect pitch. The son of a maintenance yard superintendent and a homemaker, his chops came by way of a childhood devoted to jazz and classical music. He calls Puccini’s “Nessun dorma,” “the perfect pop song,” though he also says he fell to pieces when he first heard the Beatles’ “She Loves You,” as a young teen. He joined Chuck Berry’s band at age 16, and the rest is a whirlwind history of musical success.

But before Foster became one of the top record producers in history—creating albums that have collectively sold in the hundreds of millions—he received valuable advice from music impresario Quincy Jones: “He said to me, ‘If something isn’t exactly the way you think it should be, don’t put your name on it,’” Foster recalls. “His words of advice had a great impact on me, and since then I’ve always fought for my artistic vision. I don’t always win, but I know when an artist hires me, it’s my job to push them toward greatness, and to get something out of them they didn’t know was there. My personal motto has become, ‘compromise breeds mediocrity.’ ”

This philosophy shaped the way Foster approached everything in his more than four decades as a musician, songwriter, composer, arranger, producer and recording artist. It’s the reason why superstars like Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Olivia Newton-John, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder have trusted him with their careers. Few other songwriters and producers have had their fingerprints on more major moments in all of popular music. Foster estimates he’s written more than 800 commercially released songs—nearly 50 Top 20 hits—and sold half a billion records. 

He has created award-winning gold and platinum albums for a diverse array of artists including Earth, Wind & Fire, Natalie Cole, Michael Bolton, Seal, Chaka Khan, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Chicago, Hall & Oates, Brandy, ’N Sync, Boz Scaggs and Gloria Estefan; propelled singers who have straddled pop and classical styles, like Bocelli and Groban, into the mainstream; created culture-defining soundtracks for blockbuster films like “The Bodyguard,” “Urban Cowboy” and “St. Elmo’s Fire”; and crafted timeless holiday classics, including perennial best-sellers like Groban’s “Noel,”  Bublé’s “Christmas,” Dion’s “These Are Special Times,” Stewart’s “Merry Christmas Baby” and Bocelli’s “My Christmas.” 

He has also had a keen eye for discovering new talent, playing a key role in the career launches of Dion, Groban and Bublé. Bublé has called Foster “one of the most brilliant musical minds of our time.” Dion says, “David hears things no other person hears,” while Groban credits him with “single-handedly changing my life.”

In 2008 and 2011, Foster stepped out as performer and host of “Foster & Friends”—two star-studded concert events in Las Vegas celebrating the music from his unparalleled catalog. The shows were filmed for “Great Performances” and became PBS’ highest-rated pledge drive shows of the decade. In 2010, Foster was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and in 2013, he received a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. Next up, Orange County.

The Symphony’s Pops series receives support from The Westin South Coast Plaza, K-Earth 101 and PBS SoCal. The Saturday evening performance is generously sponsored by Ruth Ann Moriarty and Jean Moriarty.