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Press Release


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

Acclaimed Pianist Boris Giltburg Joins Pacific Symphony For A Night Of Russian Classical Music, Performing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2

Orange County, CA — May 15, 2018

Making his first appearance with Pacific Symphony, Moscow-born Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg brings fresh dynamism to one of the world’s best known, most popular and lyrical piano concertos—Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Giltburg’s talents are highlighted in the middle of this program of Russian symphonic music, led by guest conductor Ben Gernon. The evening begins with the massive and sonorous “Russian” Overture by Sergei Prokofiev, and ends with Stravinsky’s 1947 version of “Petrushka,” a piece driven by its innate theatricality.

 “Rach 2” takes place Thursday through Saturday, May 31 – June 2, at 8 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets are $35-$131. A preview talk with Alan Chapman begins at 7 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit

Giltburg is lauded across the globe as a deeply sensitive, insightful and compelling interpreter. Critics have praised his “singing line, variety of touch and broad dynamic palette capable of great surges of energy” (The Washington Post), as well as his impassioned, narrative-driven approach to performance: “the interplay of spiritual calm and emphatic engagement is gripping, and one could not wish for a more illuminating, lyrical or more richly phrased interpretation” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). At home in repertoire ranging from Beethoven to Shostakovich, in recent years he has been increasingly recognized as a leading interpreter of Rachmaninoff: “His originality stems from a convergence of heart and mind, served by immaculate technique and motivated by a deep and abiding love for one of the 20th century’s greatest composer-pianists” (Gramophone).

Starting the evening off is Prokofiev’s “Russian” Overture, with a palpable and exciting nationalism at the forefront of the orchestration. The Russian composer permanently returned to the USSR the same year he completed the Overture, which pulls much of its thematic content from Russian folkdance, salon songs and liturgical chant.

Written after the disappointing debut of his First Symphony, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 remains one of the most technically demanding in the repertoire, and solidified his status as a composer of the concerto. Like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, this concerto takes us from the dark of C-minor, to the light of C-major through a transformative musical journey.

“Petrushka” is one of Stravinsky’s most theatrical and colorful compositions, taking the form of a ballet burlesque which is sure to excite and delight listeners with it’s playful and triumphant orchestration. “Petrushka” tells the story of the loves and jealousies of three puppets, brought to life by the Charlatan during the 1830 Shrovetide Fair in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was premièred in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet in June, 1911, under the baton of Pierre Monteux.

A gifted young rising conductor, Ben Gernon took up his position of Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2017-18 season, and he is one of the youngest conductors to have held a titled position with a BBC orchestra. Gernon made his debut with the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia and returned to the LA Philharmonic to make his debut at the Hollywood Bowl following his season as Dudamel Fellow in 2013-14, and in the summer of 2017 he made his debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. These performances mark Gernon’s Pacific Symphony debut.