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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pacific Symphony Announces 2018-19 Season Music Director Carl St.Clair Leads the Orchestra’s 40th Anniversary Season from September 2018 to June 2019

Orange County, CA — February 10, 2018

Highlights Include:

Season Opener featuring pianist Olga Kern on September 27

Leonard Bernstein centennial celebration led by Carl St.Clair, who was mentored by Bernstein

World premiere of Pacific Symphony commission from Michael Daugherty in celebration of 50 years since the moon landing; Jean-Marie Zeitouni conducts

Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in a semi-staged production by Eric Einhorn

Southern California premiere of Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín, a multimedia-enhanced performance of Verdi’s Requiem commemorating 75 years since Jewish prisoners performed the work at the Terezín concentration camp; Murry Sidlin conducts

Additional guest artists include violinists Augustin Hadelich, Paul Huang, and Philippe Quint; pianists Markus Groh, Gabriela Martinez, and Juho Pohjonen; cellist Leonard Elschenbroich; soprano Celena Shafer; guitarist Pablo Villegas; and conductors Rune Bergmann, David Danzmayr, Carlos Izcaray, and Christopher Warren-Green


Music Director Carl St.Clair and President John Forsyte today announced Pacific Symphony’s 2018-19 season, which celebrates the orchestra’s 40th anniversary. The season commences on Thursday, September 27 with a program featuring American composer Frank Ticheli’s Shooting Stars, commissioned for Pacific Symphony’s 25th anniversary and newly revised for this season’s celebration; Ravel’s Boléro highlighting musicians of Pacific Symphony as soloists on stage and in a specially commissioned anniversary film; and guest soloist Olga Kern in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

Comprising 16 programs, the 2018-19 classical season continues Pacific Symphony’s commitment to American music through performances of works by Leonard Bernstein in honor of his centennial and contemporary American works commissioned by the orchestra. The season also reflects the orchestra’s diverse repertoire—from core symphonic works to full-length operas—and penchant for re-interpreting the classics for the 21st century, through choreography, lighting, and other multidisciplinary elements.

“The 40th anniversary is a landmark season for Pacific Symphony,” said Carl St.Clair, who will lead the orchestra in his 29th season as Music Director. “It has been my pleasure to work with these brilliant musicians over the years, and I look forward to conducting the Symphony in repertoire that showcases their virtuosity and humanity. This will be a season of celebrations: from the Bernstein centennial concert in October, which is particularly meaningful to me because of my cherished experience studying with this great artist, to a concert in April marking the 50th anniversary of the moon landing that will feature a work we’ve commissioned from Michael Daugherty, one of the most widely performed American composers of his generation. We’ll be offering diverse programming throughout the year, including a holiday program in December on which we’ll present a Nutcracker Suite with arrangements by both Tchaikovsky and Duke Ellington. In February, we’ll return to the Italian operatic repertoire with Puccini’s Madame Butterfly for our annual semi-staged opera performances. And we conclude this celebratory season in June with Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, the so-called ‘Symphony of a Thousand,’ which is one of the largest scale works in the classical repertoire. It is sure to be a grand finale to a grand season.”

Additional season highlights include a collaboration with the Magic Circle Mime Company featuring works by Prokofiev and Ravel; performances conducted by Rune Bergmann, David Danzmayr and Jean-Marie Zeitouni, and in their Pacific Symphony debuts, Carlos Izcaray, Murry Sidlin and Christopher Warren-Green; and performances with cellist Leonard Elschenbroich, pianists Markus Groh, Olga Kern, Gabriela Martinez, and Juho Pohjonen, violinists Augustin Hadelich, Paul Huang, and Philippe Quint, and guitarist Pablo Villegas.

“With the 40th anniversary season, we’re building on the momentum generated during the 2017-18 season, which includes Pacific Symphony’s Carnegie Hall debut at the invitation of Philip Glass and a five-city tour of China, the orchestra’s first international tour since 2006,” said Pacific Symphony President John Forsyte. “All this provides a musical springboard that naturally unfolds into a season of celebrations as the orchestra enjoys growing national recognition while leading a cultural renaissance in the communities of Orange County.”

2018-19 Season Highlights at a Glance

Bernstein @ 100

As a 1985 conducting fellow at Tanglewood, Carl St.Clair followed in the footsteps of other fellows, including Claudio Abbado, Zubin Mehta, and Seiji Ozawa. Influenced directly by Leonard Bernstein, Mr. St.Clair offers a unique perspective on the works of this great American master. The Bernstein @ 100 program (October 25-27) features the composer’s Prelude, Fugue and Riffs, which was dedicated to Benny Goodman and will be performed with Pacific Symphony’s principal clarinetist Joseph Morris; Chichester Psalms with the Pacific Chorale; the orchestra’s first performance of Serenade, (after Plato’s Symposium), featuring violinist Augustin Hadelich; and soprano Celena Shafer singing Broadway selections from Bernstein.

World Premiere of Pacific Symphony Commission from Michael Daugherty

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, Pacific Symphony has commissioned a new work from Grammy Award-winning composer Michael Daugherty. The work will be given its world premiere (April 11-13) under the baton of Jean-Marie Zeitouni. Mr. Daugherty is a former composer-in-residence with the orchestra (2010), and the new work marks his third Pacific Symphony commission and premiere. The program also includes Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra, a work popularly known from the Stanley Kubrick film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.  

Puccini’s Madame Butterfly

For its annual semi-staged opera performances (February 21, 23 & 26), Pacific Symphony presents Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, conducted by Carl St.Clair in a production by Eric Einhorn. Praised by Opera News for his “keen eye for detail and character insight,” Mr. Einhorn has directed previous Pacific Symphony opera productions, including Puccini’s Turandot and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. He has directed productions for Chicago Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera, and has been a member of the stage directing staff at the Metropolitan Opera since 2005. The cast will be announced at a later date.

Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable”

Composed in 1916 against the backdrop of the First World War, Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, nicknamed “The Inextinguishable,” is here programmed in remembrance of the armistice that ended the conflict on November 11, 1918. The performances (November 15-17) are led by Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann, music director of the Calgary Philharmonic and artistic director and chief conductor of Poland’s Szczecin Philharmonic.

Theatrical Performances of Prokofiev and Ravel

Pacific Symphony presents a double bill of Ravel’s L’Enfant et Les Sortilèges and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. For these performances (May 16-18), young artists associated with LA Opera will perform with the Symphony in Ravel’s one-act opera with a libretto by the French novelist Colette; and  Magic Circle Mime Company will join Pacific Symphony for innovative performances of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. The Mime Company’s visual theater includes costumes, as well as choreography that directly engages with the orchestra on stage. Carl St.Clair conducts.

Guest Soloists

Pacific Symphony guest soloists during the 2018-19 season include Olga Kern, Van Cliburn Gold Medalist and First Prize winner of the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition, performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (September 28-30); Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich performing the Bernstein Serenade (October 25-27); Philippe Quint performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (November 15-17); Markus Groh performing Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (December 6-8); Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Martinez,  performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (January 10-12); Paul Huang performing Bruch’s First Violin Concerto (March 21-23); and guitarist Pablo Villegas playing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez (May 2-4).

Soloists making their Pacific Symphony debuts are Leonard Elschenbroich, whose honors include the Leonard Bernstein Award and Borletti Buitoni Trust Award, performing Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 (January 31, February 1-2), and Juho Pohjonen, a leading Finnish pianist selected by Sir András Schiff to receive the Klavier Festival Ruhr Scholarship, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 (April 11-13).

Sunday Casual Connections

Carl St.Clair has devoted his tenure at Pacific Symphony to designing festivals and concert series that enable audiences to engage more deeply with both new music and standard orchestral repertoire. The four-concert Sunday matinee series Casual Connections was launched in 1995. Speaking from the stage, Mr. St.Clair offers the audience an intimate and lively exploration of the classics. These informal concerts are just 90 minutes long and provide a perfect introduction to classical music. (September 30, October 28, February 3 and June 9).

Additional Programming

Pacific Symphony presents four special concerts during the 2018-19 season. Conceived and created by American conductor and professor Murry Sidlin, the orchestra under Mr. Sidlin will present the Southern California premiere of The Defiant Requiem, a concert-drama that tells the story of courageous Jewish prisoners in the Theresienstadt concentration camp (in Terezín, Czechoslovakia) during World War II who performed their final performance of Verdi’s Requiem Mass 75 years ago. This multimedia performance (April 16) combines the music of Verdi with testimony from survivors of the original chorus, as well as footage from propaganda film.

The Pacific Symphony also gives a holiday presentation of Handel’s Messiah (December 9) featuring the Pacific Chorale, led by Christopher Warren-Green; and two concerts that reflect the Orange County community including Chinese and Persian New Year celebrations led by Carl St.Clair (February 9 and March 24).

The previously announced SummerFest season at Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa includes three concerts beneath the stars. Programming still to be announced in coming months include the Pops series, Family Musical Mornings, Café Ludwig chamber music series, and the Pedals and Pipes organ series.

Subscription and Ticket Information

Subscription materials for Pacific Symphony’s 2018-19 season of classics are now available, offering a savings of up to 50% off regular single ticket prices on a wide variety of concert packages from four to 12 concerts each. Subscribers save 20% on additional tickets purchased throughout the year, and enjoy easy ticket exchange options and other subscriber-only benefits, including preferential discounts at nearby restaurants.

Tickets for special concerts are currently available for purchase only with subscriptions. Subscriptions may be purchased or renewed by any of four methods: online, by phone, by mail or in person at the box office. Pacific Symphony provides an easy payment plan option for subscribers: subscriptions purchases are eligible for the payment plan and will be automatically charged in installments.

For more information, call Pacific Symphony Patron Services at (714) 755-5799, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit Groups of 10 or more who are interested in subscribing to the 2018-19 season should call Pacific Symphony’s group sales department at (714) 876-2311.

Patrons may also visit to order tickets, learn about other nearby attractions and restaurants and make donations. The Symphony’s website provides background on the performances and the performers, along with Spotify playlists of works to be performed.

The Symphony’s blog, written by award-winning Writer-in-Residence Timothy Mangan, features engaging articles, audio and video to enhance patrons’ experience before and after performances. He also writes the Symphony’s monthly newsletter, Pacific Overtures.

Pacific Symphony performs in the heart of Southern California at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at 615 Town Center Drive on the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts campus in Costa Mesa.


All concerts at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts.

Programs, artists, and dates subject to change.


September 27-29, 2018 | 8 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Olga Kern, piano
Meredith Crawford, viola

Ticheli: Shooting Stars
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante
Ravel: Boléro



October 25-27, 2018 | 8 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin
Celena Shafer, soprano
Additional singers to be announced
Pacific Chorale
Robert Istad, artistic director

Bernstein: Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs
Bernstein: Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium)
Bernstein: Chichester Psalms
Bernstein: Broadway Hits and Highlights



November 15-17, 2018 | 8 p.m.

Rune Bergmann, conductor
Philippe Quint, violin

Mozart: Overture to Don Giovanni
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Nielsen: Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable”



December 6-8, 2018 | 8 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Markus Groh, piano

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2
Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Tchaikovsky/Ellington: Suite from The Nutcracker



January 10-12, 2019 | 8 p.m.

David Danzmayr, conductor
Gabriela Martinez, piano

Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 7



January 31, February 1-2, 2019 | 8 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Leonard Elschenbroich, cello

Bernstein: Slava! A Political Overture
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade



February 21, 23 & 26, 2019

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Eric Einhorn, stage director
Cameron Anderson, scenic designer
Pacific Chorale — Robert Istad, artistic director
Cast to be announced

Puccini: Madame Butterfly



March 21-23, 2019 | 8 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Paul Huang, violin

Beethoven: Adagio from String Quartet No. 16
Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4, “Italian”



April 11-13, 2019 | 8 p.m.

Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor
Juho Pohjonen, piano

Daugherty: World Premiere
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 23
Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra



May 2-4, 2019 | 8 p.m.

Carlos Izcaray, conductor
Pablo Villegas, guitar and curator

Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole
Rodrigo:  Concierto de Aranjuez
Trio of Pieces for Guitar and Orchestra
De Abreu: Tico Tico no Fubá
Piazzolla: Libertango
Anonymous: Romance (jeux interdits)
Piazzolla: Sinfonía Buenos Aires



May 16-18, 2019 | 8 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Magic Circle Mime Company
Vocal Soloists and Stage Director to be announced

Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
Ravel: L'enfant et les sortilèges
  The Child and The Magic Spells: A Lyric Fantasy in Two Parts | Libretto by Colette



June 6-8, 2019 | 8 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Vocal Soloists to be announced
Pacific Chorale — Robert Istad, artistic director
Southern California Children's Chorus — Lori Loftus, founding director
Additional Choruses to be announced

Mahler: Symphony No. 8, “Symphony of a Thousand”




September 30 | 3 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Olga Kern, piano

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3
Ravel: Boléro



October 28 | 3 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor

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


1,001 NIGHTS

February 3, 2019 | 3 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade



June 9, 2019 | 3 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Vocal Soloists to be announced
Pacific Chorale — Robert Istad, artistic director
Southern California Children's Chorus — Lori Loftus, founding director
Additional Choruses to be announced

Mahler: Symphony No. 8, “Symphony of a Thousand”




December 9 | 3 p.m.

Christopher Warren-Green, conductor
Pacific Chorale — Robert Istad, artistic director
Soloists to be announced

Handel: Messiah



February 9, 2019 | 8 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Soloists to be announced

Program to include:

Works celebrating the “Year of the Pig”



March 24, 2019 | 7 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Homayoun Shajarian, vocalist
Sohrab Pournazeri, komancheh and tanbour
Tahmoures Pournazeri, tanbour

Program to include:
Readings of works by the Persian poet, Rumi
Classical and Folk Selections of Persian music



April 16, 2019 | 7 p.m.

Murry Sidlin, creator and conductor
Pacific Chorale — Robert Istad, artistic director
Vocal soloists and chorus to be announced

Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin


About Pacific Symphony

Pacific Symphony, led by Music Director Carl St.Clair since 1990, has been the resident orchestra of Orange County’s Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall for over a decade. Founded in 1978, the Symphony is the largest orchestra formed in the U.S. in the last 50 years and is not only a fixture of musical life in Southern California, but also is recognized as an outstanding ensemble making strides on both the national and international scenes. In April 2018, Pacific Symphony will make its debut at Carnegie Hall, where it has been invited to perform as part of a yearlong celebration of composer Philip Glass's 80th birthday. In Orange County, the orchestra presents more than 100 concerts and events each year and a rich array of education and community engagement programs, reaching more than 300,000 residents of all ages.

Pacific Symphony’s discography comprises 15 recordings, mostly of 20th- and 21st-century music by such American composers as William Bolcom, John Corigliano and Richard Danielpour. In 2012 for Naxos, Mr. St.Clair and the orchestra recorded Philip Glass’s The Passion of Ramakrishna, a Pacific Symphony commission that will appear on the Carnegie Hall program. The Symphony has also recorded for Harmonia Mundi, Koch International Classics, Reference Recordings, and Sony Classical, among other labels.

The Symphony has been recognized with multiple ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming and included among the country’s five most innovative orchestras by the League of American Orchestras. The Symphony’s education and community engagement activities have also been recognized by the League, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts.


About Music Director Carl St.Clair

Over the course of his nearly three decades as music director, Carl St.Clair, has transformed Pacific Symphony into a major American orchestra renowned for its musical excellence, innovative programming and outreach throughout Orange County. As one of America’s longest tenured conductors, he has led the Symphony with a steady vision and unwavering commitment that have been key to the orchestra’s rapid artistic development.

Highlights of his tenure include launching the American Composers Festival, which explores a different aspect of American music each year, and the annual Symphonic Voices performance of an opera in concert. He has also emphasized the regular commissioning and recording of new works, particularly by American composers, and has been a strong advocate for music education, spearheading such programs as the Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles and Class Act partnerships with Orange County elementary schools.

Mentored by Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood, Mr. St.Clair became a close colleague of the conductor/composer in his later years, and led the premiere of Arias and Barcarolles on Bernstein’s last concert. In addition to leading the Pacific Symphony, he has conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra (where he served as assistant conductor under Seiji Ozawa), Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and the Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Montreal, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver symphonies, among others.

He conducts internationally for several months each year and has served as general music director for the Komische Oper in Berlin, general music director and chief conductor of the German National Theater and Staatskapelle in Weimar, music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Costa Rica and principal guest conductor of the Radio Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart.

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Press contacts:

Shuman Associates | Lisa Jaehnig | (212) 315-1300

Pacific Symphony | Jean Oelrich, Director of Marketing and Communications | (714) 876-2380