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Jean Oelrich
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(714) 876-2380
joelrich@pacificsymphony.org

Pacific Symphony and Music Director Carl St.Clair announce 2017-18 Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series and Special Events

Orange County, Calif. — February 20, 2017

Symphony to make its Carnegie Hall debut during milestone season with
program dedicated to leading composer Philip Glass

Grand Opening takes on giants of the repertoire—Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Selections from Wagner’s “Die Walküre” from “The Ring”

Special one-night-only event featuring classical music superstar Joshua Bell

Joining the orchestra are sizzling string players Pinchas Zukerman, Ray Chen, Anne Akiko Meyers, Anoushka Shankar (sitar); and keyboard wizards André Watts, Xiayin Yang, Garrick Ohlsson, Alexander Romanovsky, Boris Giltburg; plus, vocalists Greer Grimsley, Norbertine Fathers, Pacific Chorale

Prominent guest conductors include André Previn, James Newton Howard, Ben Gernon, Michael Francis and Anu Tali

Programming spotlights the piano with popular concertos including Rachmaninoff’s No. 2, Prokofiev’s No. 2, Mozart’s No. 9, Gershwin’s in F; and the violin with concertos by Beethoven, Sibelius, Bruch

Orchestra tackles monumental symphonies: Bruckner’s No. 8, Rachmaninoff’s No. 2, Elgar’s No. 1, Dvořák’s Nos. 7 and 9, Brahms’ No. 3 and Shostakovich’s No. 10

Vocal initiative enters eighth year with Mozart’s beloved opera, “The Magic Flute,” featuring world-class soloists and Pacific Chorale
 

Music Director Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony announce the 2017-18 Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series and special events. It’s a particularly significant “season of firsts,” beginning with the 39-year-old orchestra’s very exciting and much anticipated debut at Carnegie Hall—one of the most prestigious venues in the world—to perform a concert featuring one of today’s pre-eminent composers, Philip Glass.

The Symphony’s President John Forsyte commented, “This landmark achievement sets the precedent for this exceptional season spotlighting a number of extraordinary musicians making their debut with Pacific Symphony, while the orchestra tackles a number of important works for the very first time. It’s a rewarding time of momentum and accomplishment for the Symphony.”

Preparing the way for a season like no other is the Grand Opening concert offering monumental works by monumental masters: Beethoven’s almighty Fifth Symphony, selections from Wagner’s extraordinary “Die Walküre” from “The Ring,” and the late-Romantic tone poem “Don Juan” by Richard Strauss. Following on the heels of the opening will be a one-night-only spectacular, “An Evening with Joshua Bell,” when the superstar violinist performs Sibelius’ Violin Concerto.

The Symphony’s entire season is filled with the brightest luminaries performing giants of the repertoire that have stirred the souls of listeners for centuries. And, as rich and inventive as ever, the Symphony’s highly popular opera and vocal initiative that began in 2011-12—“Symphonic Voices”—continues with Mozart’s beloved “The Magic Flute.” Additionally, the season offers a spiritual side, when it brings back the Norbertine Fathers for another breathtaking “Cathedrals of Sound.” As with every season, 2017-18 has been carefully handcrafted by Maestro St.Clair to be steeped in music that is both meaningful and sublime, embracing and celebrating all that great music can mean to humankind.

With its first appearance at Carnegie, a move to its new summer home at the OC Fair in 2017 (previously announced), and a season highlighted by first-time performances by the most exciting classical music stars of today, as well as outstanding treasures of the repertoire both old and new, the Symphony gives truth to a statement by the Los Angeles Times: “Pacific Symphony moves into a new era…”

“The Maestro’s Series,” featuring all 12 classical concerts, is $300-$1,160 ($1,960, Box Circle). Four-concert Sunday Casual Connections subscriptions are $88-$299 ($339, Box Circle). Special events are priced separately. For more information or to purchase tickets call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org. See attached concert calendar at the bottom for specific details and performance dates.

 

BIG MOMENT: CARNEGIE HALL, HERE WE COME!

It’s a major step in the life of Pacific Symphony when, through a highly prized invitation from Carnegie Hall, the orchestra, with Maestro St.Clair conducting, makes its Carnegie Hall debut on April 21, 2018, as the finale to Carnegie’s yearlong celebration of Philip Glass’ 80th birthday. The program’s major work will be the New York premiere of Glass’ “The Passion of Ramakrishna,” commissioned and premiered by Pacific Symphony for the opening of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in 2006, and later recorded in 2011.

“Appearing on the stage of Carnegie Hall is every orchestra’s dream,” says Maestro St.Clair. “Our orchestra has achieved dramatic artistic growth since our move into the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. We have earned this opportunity to join the rare environment of world-renowned ensembles, which have become part of Carnegie Hall’s storied history. I am also delighted that Pacific Chorale, with whom we have had so many wonderful collaborations, will be part of this pinnacle of accomplishment for Pacific Symphony and Orange County. It’s the cultural ‘Super Bowl,’ and I know we are going to make Orange County very proud while we celebrate one of America’s most celebrated composers.”

Glass’ famous collaborations with the Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar will be honored during this historic program that also features “Meetings Along the Edge” from “Passages,” a piece Glass recorded with Shankar, and Concerto No. 3 for Sitar and Orchestra by Shankar, which was written on commission from the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and premiered in 2009 by his daughter, Anoushka Shankar. She performs with the Symphony for the very first time during this South Asian odyssey.

Pacific Symphony fans have the opportunity to hear the orchestra perform this concert locally on April 12-14, 2018, as part of the classical season, and they are also welcome to join the Symphony for a special patron trip to New York. (For more details, sign up for the mailing list at: www.pacificsymphony.org/carnegiehall. Information will be sent later this spring.)

 

OPULENT OPENING

Pacific Symphony’s 39th season kicks off like a heaven-bound rocket, beginning with an Opening Night to remember, led by Maestro St.Clair and featuring two epic and exhilarating pieces—Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 with the most famous four notes in music history and—for the first time since 1988, the orchestra plays selections from Wagner’s “Die Walküre,” from the epic mythological wonder, the “Ring Cycle,” including the exhilarating “Ride of the Valkyries.” Featured in his first-ever appearance with the Symphony is international opera star, Greer Grimsley. Considered today’s leading interpreter of the god Wotan, his stunning bass-baritone brings the role dramatically to life. Opera News wrote, “Grimsley projected iron power with a sumptuously beautiful voice, smooth as silk, precise of text.” And, at the center of the program is Richard Strauss’ “Don Juan,” a musical retelling of the Spanish legend.

 

SPECIAL EVENT: AN EVENING WITH JOSHUA BELL

Reigning virtuoso of the violin, Joshua Bell, who enjoys a superstar status rarely afforded a classical musician, joins Pacific Symphony led by St.Clair for an extraordinary, one-night-only event on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, just after the start of the season. The concert exploits the heart-stopping beauty of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in the hands of this beloved master. Interview magazine once said Bell’s playing “does nothing less than tell human beings why they bother to live.”

Bell has collaborated with countless artists in and outside the classical arena and performed on television shows including the Grammy Awards, numerous “Live from Lincoln Center” specials, and on movie soundtracks including the Oscar-winning film, “The Red Violin.” Bell received his first violin at age 4 and at 14 performed with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra, followed by his Carnegie Hall debut at 17.

Like no other violinist of recent times, Bell has captured the imaginations of both critics and audiences alike, and is certain to be a major highlight of the Symphony’s stellar season. This exceptional concert is designed as a special opportunity for Symphony subscribers to have the highest priority for tickets to a concert that’s certain to sell out!

 

MARVELOUS, MEMORABLE MUSIC

This is a season committed to both the great masterworks and the new and the bold. Maestro St.Clair has designed a season that works as a whole, not just a series of single concerts, seeking to balance great traditions in orchestral music with new discoveries. In the realm of the tried and true is Rachmaninoff’s exhilarating and formidable Piano Concerto No. 2, one of the world’s best known, most popular and lyrical piano concertos, which takes on fresh dynamism in the capable hands of Boris Giltburg.

Beethoven gets ample attention this season and for good reason. In addition to his Fifth Symphony, the season features his beloved Fifth Concerto, the “Emperor,” a work prized for its serene and tender second movement. It stands as a testament to the composer’s emotional range. One of the world’s top pianists, André Watts, joins the orchestra to perform Beethoven’s last and, for many, his greatest piano concerto. Also taking its turn on center stage is Beethoven’s only Violin Concerto, which remains one of the most widely played and popular works for the instrument. Famous for its spirited final movement, the piece reveals the amazing melodic and technical range of the violin when played by Ray Chen. The season also includes a concerto by another famous German—Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 played by Pinchas Zukerman—which the great violinist Joseph Joachim described as “the richest, the most seductive” when compared to Beethoven, Brahms and Mendelssohn.

Another first for Symphony audiences is Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Originally destroyed in a fire during the Russian Revolution, the composer reconstructed his second concerto two years after finishing his third and declared it so completely rewritten that it might almost be considered [Concerto] No. 4. Today it has garnered a reputation for being one of the most technically formidable piano concertos in the repertoire, and played by Alexander Romanovsky, it is certain to shine. Another piano concerto not to be missed is Mozart’s Ninth, performed by Garrick Ohlsson, a work that legendary pianist Alfred Brendel has referenced as “one of the greatest wonders of the world.”

Among the mighty symphonies this season is Edward Elgar’s regal Symphony No. 1, a work that was performed over 100 times within a year of its premiere and was hailed by The Musical Times as an “immediate and phenomenal success.” This is the first opportunity for audiences to hear it played by Pacific Symphony.

The roster includes two works by Dvořák: Symphony No. 7 and his final and best-known symphony, No. 9, “From the New World,” with its famous Largo, one of classical music’s best-loved works. The Seventh, together with the Eighth and Ninth, represent Dvořák at his best, and they each reveal a somewhat different aspect of his personality. The Seventh is the most ambitious in structure and the most consciously international in its message. Dvořák specialist John Clapham writes that “without doubt” the Seventh “must surely be Dvořák’s greatest symphony,” although elsewhere he writes that the Ninth is the most popular worldwide.

Other gems this season include perennial favorite Mussorgsky/Ravel’s grand and majestic “Pictures at an Exhibition,” depicting a particularly vivid symphonic tour of an art collection based on 10 drawings and watercolors produced by Mussorgky’s deceased friend, the architect and artist Victor Hartmann; and Brahms’ Symphony No. 3, which interweaves passionate themes with reflective melodies that look back to his younger years. Not to be missed is Shostakovich’s intense 10th Symphony—48 minutes of tragedy, despair and ultimately, triumph!

Making a re-appearance this season is Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, given new life by Xiayin Wang. “Many persons had thought that the ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ was only a happy accident…,” George Gershwin once said. “Well, I went out, for one thing, to show them that there was plenty more where that had come from.” Widely considered Gershwin’s most classical piece, this work represents the perfect blend of rhythmic liberties of jazz fused with classical roots. On the lighter side, the Symphony also pays homage to “Symphonic Dances” from “West Side Story” in tribute to the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth.

“Cathedrals of Sound,” featuring the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey, returns to offer another evening of awe and inspiration, bathed in waves of sound. Along with stunning visuals from Clemens Prokop, the orchestra brings to life Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony—a tour de force of symphonic power, aptly nicknamed “The Apocalyptic.” Reminiscent of the unique spiritual journey taken by the Symphony in 2010 for Bruckner’s Ninth and in 2014 for Duruflé’s “Requiem,” the focus returns to Bruckner again, this time for his Eighth—performed for the very first time by the orchestra.

Composer Hugo Wolf called Bruckner’s Eighth, “the creation of a giant, surpassing in spiritual dimension and magnitude all the other symphonies of the master.” Bruckner himself said when he finished the work’s gigantic, revelatory finale: “Hallelujah! The Finale is the most significant movement of my life.”

In another evening of soulful awakening, Anne Akiko Meyers performs a stunning arrangement of Morten Lauridsen’s famous and spiritually riveting vocal work, “O Magnum Mysterium,” which the composer arranged for violin specifically for her. She also performs two pieces for violin and orchestra by well-respected film composer James Newton Howard, who incorporates themes from his films such as “The Village” and “Defiance.”

DAZZLING TALENT LIGHTS UP SEASON

Pacific Symphony promises great music played by some of today’s most thrilling and accomplished artists, many of whom make their debut with Pacific Symphony in 2017-18—among them, Xiayin Wang. Performing with the orchestra for the first time is this international sensation who joins the orchestra to give fresh, dynamic energy to Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F. Considered an artist of keen musicality and sweeping virtuosity, Wang has brought audiences to their feet with her playing.

The Washington Post called Wang’s finger work “precise and strong” and said her drive was “unrelenting and her concentration intense.” The Herald Scotland wrote of a performance by Wang: “I have seldom heard anything so attention-grabbing and commanding... It was like a banner headline, proclaiming not just the pianist’s own extraordinary technical prowess, but the character and quality of the work she was about to perform.”

Born in Russia, Israeli classical pianist, Boris Giltburg makes his first appearance with the Symphony to perform Rachmaninoff’s behemoth Second Piano Concerto. Gramophone places Giltburg “among the truly memorable Rachmaninoff interpreters, an elect including Moiseiwitsch, Horowitz, Kappel, Richter and Cliburn. Giltberg’s 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.”

“Romanovsky is special, not just an extraordinary technician with a flair for color and fantasy, but also a sensitive musician and lucid interpreter,” wrote The New York Times.

Making another spectacular debut this season is Alexander Romanovsky, a dramatist and purveyor of lyrical charm, who pounces on one of the most technically daunting piano concertos in the repertoire, Prokofiev’s Second. Declared the latest pianist to be hailed as the true heir to the great Russian tradition by The Guardian, Romanovsky, according to Gramophone, can “produce the thunderous sound and sharp-edged, ringing bass that sends a tingle down the spine.”

Among those more familiar to the Symphony is a stunning pianist, of whom The Financial Times has written: “Garrick Ohlsson, playing without a score, dignified the piece with his phenomenal pianism—never self-servingly virtuosic—and equally phenomenal memory.” Hailed by The Independent as a “big pianist with a calmly commanding presence,” Ohlsson—who first performed with Pacific Symphony in 1993 and again in 2000—joins the Symphony 17 years later for a memorable interpretation of Mozart’s Ninth Piano Concerto.

The Huffington Post describes Ray Chen’s talent this way: “TO DIE FOR. He had the kind of liquid tone that carries with it emotional depth of great intimacy,” while The Washington Post declares, “Ray Chen can do pretty much anything he wants on the violin.”

After sharing a thrilling performance a few years ago with Taiwanese-Australian violinist Chen, the Symphony was compelled to invite him back. A critics’ favorite, The Strad wrote of Chen: “From the first notes there was no doubt of being in the presence of something special.” Jaws are sure to drop in awe when Chen—first prizewinner in the 2008 International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition and the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition—returns to dazzle with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. “Colors dance, moods swing, and Chen’s artistry blazes,” wrote The Times.

Among the celebrated artists who need no introduction is Pinchas Zukerman, Israeli violinist, violist and conductor, widely regarded as one of today’s greatest string players. One of the first to grace the halls of the then-new Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in 2006, Zukerman promises to knock the socks off the Symphony audience this season with Bruch’s Violin Concerto.

“The most distinctive aspect of Mr. Zukerman’s playing, something that struck the ear right away, was his remarkable tone production. He is a total hedonist at heart, and without pressing or forcing his instrument he generated a warm, liquid sound that effortlessly filled the hall,” said The New York Times.

Considered one of the best pianists of the 20th century and a perennial favorite guest of Pacific Symphony, André Watts returns for his seventh performance with the orchestra to perform one of Beethoven’s most beloved works, the “Emperor” Concerto. The Huffington Post wrote: “[Watts] plays unstintingly, every little passage crafted with love and attention. His tones are warm and gleam like burnished gold instead of cool stainless steel.” Having played before royalty in Europe and heads of government in nations all over the world, it’s hard to find a more accomplished pianist than Watts.

“Watts dug into the keyboard. All those speedy and acrobatic passages in the opening movement, which most pianists toss off with pearly nonchalance, were firmly directed note-missiles in the hands of Watts, gritty, intense and hot under the collar,” reviewed The Orange County Register.

Taking the audience on a journey through symphonic space and time are the spiritually mesmerizing voices of the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey. Expect to be moved and transformed as the Fathers fill the hall with their sonorous and worshipful voices for this all-new program, as they perform the Gregorian chants that inspired Bruckner’s symphonies.

Then, be prepared to be mesmerized when audience-favorite Anne Akiko Meyers—one of today’s premier violinists—returns to perform a stunning arrangement, never heard before by OC audiences, of Morten Lauridsen’s famous vocal work “O Magnum Mysterium,” which the composer arranged for violin specifically for her. An emotional, riveting piece, even in its original form it’s been known to reduce a listener to tears. The Los Angeles Times calls Akiko Meyers a performer of “vigorous mastery, unflinching technical skills and stylish elegance.”

 

GUEST CONDUCTORS

Among the guest conductors to grace the podium in 2017-18 is one of the most versatile musicians of the last century, the great André Previn who not only conducts Mozart’s Ninth Piano Concerto but also an original work of his own making—“Almost an Overture”—in its West Coast premiere. With an international career in classical music, Previn has also previously enjoyed success in movies, musicals, popular music and jazz. In 2014, he was the sole subject of Pacific Symphony’s critically acclaimed American Composers Festival (ACF). 

After ACF, The Orange County Register wrote: “André Previn, 86, is enjoying a kind of Indian summer as a composer, more prolific now as a creator of concert music and opera than at any time in his career... Previn’s new music suggests an ease and mastery that don’t have anything to prove.”

The orchestra also welcomes back conductor, music producer and prolific classical and film composer James Newton Howard, whose stunning career has included more than 100 film scores. Recipient of a Grammy Award, Emmy Award and eight Academy Award nominations, Howard’s violin concerto was the second new piece of his to make its world-premiere on the Symphony’s stage, following “I Would Plant a Tree” in 2009. In 2018, he premieres two new works with the orchestra, as well as conducts.

FilmMusic.Media wrote: “James Newton Howard has been one of my favorite composers for such a long time now and it is easy to see why. The man is simply a genius. Just look at his expansive credits... This man should be an inspiration to every composer and fan out there.”

Making her debut on the Symphony’s podium is the outstanding Estonian conductor Anu Tali, one of the most intriguing young conductors on the scene today. Tali, who belongs to a new generation of artists searching for fresh musical ideas in the classical music world, took on the position of music director of the Sarasota Orchestra in Florida in 2013. Additionally, she continues in her role as chief conductor at the Nordic Symphony Orchestra, which she founded with her sister Kadri Tali in 1997.

“The performances are outstanding: Anu Tali already has a very high reputation, and this beautifully recorded and produced disc is without doubt another jewel in her crown,” wrote International Record Review.

Also new to the Symphony and making a splash in the classical music world is Ben Gernon, who in the summer of 2013 was featured by BBC Music Magazine as its “Rising Star: Great Artist of Tomorrow.” That same year, he won the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductor’s Award and soon after became a Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Praised repeatedly for his drive and command of an orchestra, and a favorite already of many UK orchestras, in 2017, Gernon became the new principal guest conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, one of the youngest conductors to have held a titled position with a BBC orchestra.

Michael Francis has quickly established himself as an international conductor, forging collaborations with the world’s leading orchestras. Known for maintaining a diverse repertoire while paying particular homage to the composers of his native Britain, Francis has enjoyed an outstanding reception throughout North America, Europe and Far East Asia. He now adds Pacific Symphony to his list of orchestras.

“Under the clear and effective baton of Michael Francis, the [Radio Stuttgart Orchestra] achieved a sound of the highest clarity and transparency,” wrote Stuttgarter Zeitung.

 

ENCORE! OPERA GOES SYMPHONIC AGAIN!

Encouraged by sell-out crowds for the last six seasons and inspired by St.Clair’s stellar career as an opera conductor in Europe, Pacific Symphony once again presents semi-staged concert opera this season, featuring one of Mozart’s most popular operas, “The Magic Flute.” From the successful debut in 2011-12 of Puccini’s heartbreaking “La Bohème,” to Verdi’s “Aida” in 2017—the Symphony’s opera initiative in 2018 shines the spotlight on this jewel by Mozart to unveil a fairy tale about love through the story of Tamino and Papageno, a prince and bird catcher tasked by the Queen of the Night to rescue her daughter Pamina from the confinements of a mysterious high priest.

Mozart’s seductive and irresistible tunes bring this enchanting tale vividly to life, as the orchestra shares the stage with world-class opera stars and Pacific Chorale. Together they fill the concert hall with astonishing voices as Mozart’s dreamlike fantasy unfolds and the unforgettable score with its intoxicating melodies is highlighted by some of opera’s finest arias and best-loved moments. Prepare for an evening filled with magic, comedy and some of opera’s best music!

St.Clair was the former general music director and chief conductor of the German National Theater and Staatskapelle (GNTS) in Weimar, Germany, where he led Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” to great critical acclaim. During his tenure at the Komische Oper Berlin, St.Clair led acclaimed productions of not only “La Traviata,” but also the world premiere of Christian Jost’s “Hamlet” and the heralded production of “Lear” by Aribert Reimann, one of Germany’s most distinguished composers.  

 

MORE CELEBRATIONS, SPECIAL CONCERTS

Pacific Symphony presents three special events in 2017-18. In addition to Joshua Bell in September, two other concerts promise unique experiences. First, in December, many will shout: “Hallelujah! Handel is back!” when the grandeur and ebullience of Handel returns for the annual favorite, his glorious “Messiah.” This timeless masterwork transcends three centuries of ever-changing trends in music. Thrill once again to blazing trumpets, thundering timpani and the electrifying “Hallelujah” chorus at Orange County’s most popular rendition of this cherished holiday tradition. The orchestra is joined by the angelic voices of the Pacific Chorale for an afternoon that is always full of joy, reflection and renewal.

And in February 2018, the Symphony led by St.Clair celebrates the 2018 Chinese New Year with the Southern California community for a concert dedicated to the lunar holiday. This colorful presentation of Eastern and Western music and dance ushering in the “Year of the Dog,” (according to the Chinese zodiac), offers a very special performance for the second year in a row. St.Clair leads the orchestra as they are joined by an array of talented dancers and singers for a program that is both a visual and aural wonder. This performance is sure to sell out once again as audiences from across our communities come together to celebrate.

 

SUNDAY CASUAL CONNECTIONS

Sunday Casual Connections, including four Sunday matinees with repertoire from the Classical series led by Music Director Carl St.Clair, offers an intimate and informative experience. Audience members peer beneath the surface of the music to explore a world of fascinating history, intrigue and discovery. They are invited to experience great masterworks in a casual, Sunday afternoon performance featuring commentary from stage. To expose the next generation to great music, the Symphony offers children under 17 a free subscription to Sunday Casual Connections, when accompanied by a full-paying adult.

Sunday Casual Connections begins in September with the four most famous notes in history, as St.Clair dives into the complexity of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Then, bass-baritone Greer Grimsley sings the epic final scene from Wagner’s “Die Walküre,” in the role of Wotan. In February, pianist Alexander Romanovsky performs Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and the orchestra opens with “Wild Wood” by Japanese-American composer Paul Chihara. Two of the repertoire’s most popular pieces are the focus in March, when Pinchas Zukerman performs Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, and St.Clair dives into Mussorgsky/ Ravel’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” For the final concert in June, violinist Anne Akiko Meyers performs two new pieces by Hollywood composer James Newton Howard.

(See below for Concert Calendar.)

 

PACIFIC SYMPHONY 2017-18 CLASSICAL, SPECIALS AND SUNDAY CASUAL CONNECTIONS SERIES CALENDAR

Box Office: (714) 755-5799

www.PacificSymphony.org

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

615 Town Center Drive

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

 

SEPTEMBER 2017

2017-18 Opening Night

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH

Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 14-16, 8 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Greer Grimsley, bass-baritone (Wotan)

 

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5

STRAUSS: Don Juan

WAGNER: Selections from “Die Walküre”

 

What better way to kick off Pacific Symphony’s 39th season than by performing the most famous four notes in music history? Here’s what The Orange County Register had to say the last time this titanic symphony was programmed: “The Pacific Symphony dug in as requested, catching her fire. The strings played like linebackers and angels. The woodwinds shone brightly and warmly. Enthusiasm never lagged.”

 

Sunday Casual Connections

BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH REVEALED

Sunday, Sept. 17, at 3 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Greer Grimsley, bass baritone (Wotan)

 

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5

WAGNER: Final Scene from “Die Walküre”

 

Rumored to be fate knocking at the door, the famous first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth give way to satisfying work that ends in ultimate victory. Music Director Carl St.Clair gives fresh perspective on this popular masterwork. Also, don’t miss this chance to hear the epic final scene from Wagner’s “Die Walküre.”

 

Special One-Night-Only Concert

AN EVENING WITH JOSHUA BELL

Saturday, Sept. 23, 8 p.m.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Joshua Bell, violin

 

DVOŘÁK: Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”

SIBELIUS: Violin Concerto

 

Like no other violinist of recent times, Joshua Bell has captured the imaginations of both critics and audiences. Bell is a true classical music superstar, enjoying a successful concert career; famous chamber music collaborations; occasional partnerships with artists outside the classical arena, including Josh Groban, James Taylor and Sting; and performances as featured soloist in movie soundtracks, including famously, “The Red Violin.”

 

OCTOBER 2017

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

MOZART AND RACHMANINOFF

Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 19-21, 8 p.m.

 

André Previn, guest conductor

Garrick Ohlsson, piano

 

PREVIN: Almost an Overture (West Coast Premiere)

MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 9, K. 271

RACHMANINOFF: Symphony No. 2

 

Hailed by The Independent as a “big pianist with a calmly commanding presence,” Garrick Ohlsson joins Pacific Symphony with Mozart’s Ninth Piano Concerto—a work that legendary pianist Alfred Brendel has referenced as “one of the greatest wonders of the world.” Also featured on the program is the great André Previn conducting an original work by the composer himself along with Rachmaninoff’s formidable Second Symphony.

 

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

 

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

CATHEDRALS OF SOUND

Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 9-11, 8 p.m.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey

Clemens Prokop, visual design

 

BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 8

 

Composer Hugo Wolf called Bruckner’s Eighth “the creation of a giant, surpassing in spiritual dimension and magnitude all the other symphonies of the master.” Featuring the spiritual voices of the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey to set the stage and stunning visuals from Clemens Prokop, this monumental work will take you on a journey through symphonic space and time.

 

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

GERSHWIN’S CONCERTO

Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 8 p.m.

 

Anu Tali, guest conductor

Xiayin Wang, piano

 

SMETANA: The Moldau

GERSHWIN: Piano Concerto in F

DVOŘÁK: Symphony No. 7

 

“Many persons had thought that the Rhapsody in Blue was only a happy accident…Well, I went out, for one thing, to show them that there was plenty more where that had come from,” said George Gershwin himself. Widely considered Gershwin’s most classical piece, his Piano Concerto in F represents the perfect blend between the rhythmic liberties of jazz fused with classical roots.

 

 

Special One-Night-Only Concert

HANDEL’S GLORIOUS MESSIAH

Sunday, Dec. 3, 3 p.m.

 

John Alexander, guest conductor

Soloists to be announced

Pacific Chorale — Robert Istad, artistic director

 

A beloved holiday tradition, Handel’s celebrated oratorio—with its blazing trumpets, thundering timpani and spectacular “Hallelujah!” chorus—provides a moment during the busy season to experience reflection, renewal and joy.

 

JANUARY 2018

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

BEETHOVEN’S VIOLIN CONCERTO

Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 11-13, 2018, 8 p.m.

 

Michael Francis, guest conductor

Ray Chen, violin

 

BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto

ELGAR: Symphony No. 1

 

Beethoven’s only violin concerto remains one of the most widely played and popular works for the instrument. Famous for its spirited final movement, the work reveals the amazing melodic and technical range of the violin. Also featured is Edward Elgar’s regal Symphony No. 1, a work that was performed over 100 times within a year of its premiere and was hailed by The Musical Times as an “immediate and phenomenal success.”

 

FEBRUARY 2018

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

BRAHMS AND PROKOFIEV

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 1-3, 2018, 8 p.m.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Alexander Romanovsky, piano

 

BRAHMS: Symphony No. 3

CHIHARA: Wild Wood (West Coast premiere)

PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 2

 

“Romanovsky is the latest pianist to be hailed as the true heir to the great Russian tradition,” read The Guardian. The formidable guest pianist performs Prokofiev’s second piano concerto, which has garnered a reputation for being one of the most technically demanding piano concertos in the repertoire.

 

Sunday Casual Connections

PROKOFIEV’S PIANO CONCERTO NO. 2

Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, at 3 p.m.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Alexander Romanovsky, piano

 

CHIHARA: Wild Wood (West Coast premiere)
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 2

 

After Prokofiev performed his Second Piano Concerto, the score disappeared. Maestro St.Clair will reveal the mystery behind the long-lost concerto, which will be performed by one of today’s top Russian virtuosos.

 

 

Special One-Night-Only Concert

CHINESE NEW YEAR

Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, 8 p.m.

 

Join us for Pacific Symphony’s annual festivities honoring the Chinese New Year! Celebrating the Year of the Dog, this performance is sure to sell out once again as audiences from across our communities come together to feast on a colorful presentation of Eastern and Western music and dance.

 

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

THE MAGIC FLUTE

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, 8 p.m.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Pacific Chorale — Robert Istad, artistic director

Cast, soloists and stage director to be announced

 

MOZART: The Magic Flute

 

One of Mozart’s most popular operas, “The Magic Flute” is a fairy tale about love telling the story of Tamino and Papageno, a prince and bird catcher tasked by the Queen of the Night to rescue her daughter Pamina from the confinements of a mysterious high priest. Prepare yourself for an evening filled with magic, comedy and some of opera’s greatest arias!

 

MARCH 2018

 

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

PINCHAS ZUKERMAN

Thursday-Saturday, March 15-17, 2018, 8 p.m.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Pinchas Zukerman, violin

 

BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 1

MUSSORGSKY/RAVEL: Pictures at an Exhibition

 

“Zukerman again seemed the forever young virtuoso: expressively resourceful, infectiously musical, technically impeccable, effortless. As usual, it was a joy to be in his musical company.” said the Los Angeles Times about living legend Pinchas Zukerman. The violin master makes a return to Pacific Symphony with the profoundly virtuosic Bruch Violin Concerto.

 

 

Sunday Casual Connections

ZUKERMAN PLAYS BRUCH

Sunday, March 18, 2018, at 3 p.m.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Pinchas Zukerman, violin

 

BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 1

MUSSORGSKY/RAVEL: Pictures at an Exhibition

 

Living legend Pinchas Zukerman performs Bruch’s masterful Violin Concerto. Then, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition takes listeners on a musical stroll through an art gallery that holds colorful paintings, each with its own fascinating story.

 

APRIL 2018

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

Carnegie Hall Preview: GLASS AND SHANKAR

Thursday-Saturday, April 12, 13, 14, 2018, 8 p.m.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Anoushka Shankar, sitar

Pacific Chorale — Robert Istad, artistic director

Elissa Johnston, Sarada Devi

Christòpheren Nomura, “M”

Donovan Singletary, Dr. Sarkar

I-Chin Feinblatt, First Devotee

Nicholas Preston, Second Devotee

 

GLASS: Meetings Along the Edge from “Passages” (based on a theme by Ravi Shankar)

SHANKAR: Sitar Concerto No. 3

GLASS: The Passion of Ramakrishna

 

Through a highly prized invitation, Pacific Symphony makes its Carnegie Hall debut with this award-winning program during Carnegie’s yearlong celebration of Philip Glass’ 80th birthday. Originally commissioned, premiered and recorded by Pacific Symphony, “The Passion of Ramakrishna” is a work of quiet intensity and unforgettable power—scored for vocal soloists, chorus and large orchestra. Joining Pacific Symphony for this historic concert is sitar soloist Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Ravi Shankar.

 

Hear this landmark concert before Pacific Symphony presents it during its Carnegie Hall debut!

 

MAY/JUNE 2018

 

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

WATTS PLAYS BEETHOVEN

Thursday-Saturday, May 3-5, 2018, 8 p.m.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

André Watts, piano

 

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”

SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 10

 

Considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century and a perennial favorite guest of Pacific Symphony, André Watts returns to the stage with one of Beethoven’s most beloved works—the “Emperor” Concerto. A work prized for its serene and tender second movement, Beethoven’s last piano concerto is a testament to the composer’s emotional range. Shostakovich complements the evening when St.Clair conducts his intense 10th Symphony.

 

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

RACH 2

Thursday-Saturday, May 31-June 2, 2018, 8 p.m.

 

Ben Gernon, guest conductor

Boris Giltburg, piano

 

PROKOFIEV: Russian Overture Op. 72

RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 2

STRAVINSKY: Petrushka (1947 version)

 

Gramophone places pianist Boris Giltburg “among the truly memorable Rachmaninoff interpreters, an elect including Moiseiwitsch, Horowitz, Kappel, Richter and Cliburn. Giltberg’s 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.”

 

Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series

SOUNDS OF HOLLYWOOD

Thursday-Saturday, June 14-16, 2018, 8 p.m.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

James Newton Howard, composer and guest conductor

Anne Akiko Meyers, violin

 

 

HOWARD: Two Concert Pieces for Violin

LAURIDSEN: O Magnum Mysterium

BERNSTEIN: Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story”

 

Anne Akiko Meyers is one of today’s premier violinists and has been described by the Los Angeles Times as a performer of “vigorous mastery, unflinching technical skills and stylish elegance.” Joining her on the stage is Hollywood giant James Newton Howard, considered one of the most versatile and respected composers currently working in film. With an esteemed career spanning over 30 years, Howard is best known for his soundtracks for “The Hunger Games,” “The Dark Knight” and “Blood Diamond.”

 

Sunday Casual Connections

CINEMATIC VIOLIN

Sunday, June 17, 2018, at 3 p.m.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

James Newton Howard, composer

Anne Akiko Meyers, violin

 

HOWARD: Two Concert Pieces for Violin

 

Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers plays a suite of film music by Hollywood composer James Newton Howard, who is known for writing such soundtracks as “The Village,” “Defiance” and more.

 

 

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