Pacific Symphony logo

Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pianist Gabriela Martinez To Perform Chopin's First Piano Concerto With Pacific Symphony Under The Baton Of Guest Conductor David Danzmayr, January 10-12, 2019

Orange County, CA — December 18, 2018

Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Martinez makes a welcome return to Costa Mesa to perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Pacific Symphony in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, January 10-12. Guest conductor David Danzmayr leads the orchestra in the program that contrasts Russian music of the 19th and 20th centuries by Mussorgsky and Prokofiev, respectively, with Chopin’s glorious Piano Concerto No. 1.

All concerts begin at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 6:45 p.m. for a preview talk hosted by Alan Chapman at 7 p.m. Tickets for “Chopin’s Piano Concerto” start at $30. For more information on this concert or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit the website, This concert is part of the Symphony’s 2018-19 Hal & Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series. Gabriela Martinez’s performance is generously sponsored by the Michelle F. Rohé Distinguished Pianists Fund. Conductor David Danzmayr’s appearance has been underwritten by a gift from Sam and Lyndie Ersan. The Thursday night concert is sponsored by Symphony 100.

Mussorgsky’s tone poem “Night on Bald Mountain” in an arrangement by Rimsky-Korsakov, opens the program. The work, which depicts witches’ Sabbath, was included in the famous Walt Disney film, “Fantasia.” The movie’s animation illustrates some of the spine-tingling aspects of this nightmare set to music. Music critic Paul Serotsky describes the witches’ brew as a “hatful of horrors.”

Composer Robert Schumann hailed a young Frédéric Chopin at the beginning of his musical career with the laudatory words, “Hats off, gentlemen—a genius!” It was a quality that imbued Chopin’s works, especially his piano compositions. At Chopin’s first performance in Paris, early in 1932, he played the first concerto to great acclaim with Liszt and Mendelssohn in attendance. The piano dominates the concerto from beginning to end and the overall effect is of spectacular virtuosity and beauty.

Rounding out the program will be Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 7. Written in the year before he died, this final symphony is filled with freshness and energy that is so characteristic of all Prokofiev scores. The melodious Seventh is written in a lyrical style that shines with narrative expressiveness, similar to his ballet works. Even before the Seventh Symphony was premiered Prokofiev’s colleagues praised the work. The composer Dmitri Kabalevsky called it “joyful, lyrical and delightful,” and the work has remained popular with critics and the public.

The artistry of Gabriela Martinez has been hailed by The New York Times as “elegant… incisive,” qualities that will serve her well as soloist in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Versatile, daring and insightful, Martinez is establishing a reputation on both the national and international stages for the lyricism of her playing, her compelling interpretations and her elegant stage presence. She was the First Prize winner of the Anton G. Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Dresden, and a semifinalist at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, where she also received the Jury Discretionary Award. She began her piano studies in Caracas with her mother, Alicia Gaggioni, and went on to study at The Juilliard School. She has played with orchestras of San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, New Jersey, Tucson and Fort Worth; Germany’s Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Nürnberger Philharmoniker; Canada’s Victoria Symphony Orchestra; the Costa Rica National Symphony; and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela.

David Danzmayr is the music director of ProMusica Chamber orchestra in Columbus and artistic advisor of Breckenridge Music Festival. He is also chief conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra. Described by ´The Herald´ as “extremely good, concise, clear, incisive and expressive” Danzmayr is widely regarded as one of the most talented and exciting European conductors of his generation. He has been a guest conductor internationally for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Mozarteum Orchester, Louisiana Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Salzburg Chamber Philharmonic, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. Danzmayr has won prizes at some of the world´s most prestigious conducting competitions including a second prize at the International Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition and prizes at the International Malko Conducting Competition. For his extraordinary success he has been awarded the Bernhard Paumgartner Medal by the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum.

# # #