Pacific Symphony logo

Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pacific Symphony Embraces Its Iranian-American Neighbors And Celebrates The Iranian New Year, Nowruz

Orange County, CA — March 14, 2019

Led by Music Director Carl St. Clair and presented in collaboration with Farhang Foundation, the program features prominent Iranian composers and performers

March 24 at 7 p.m., Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

Pacific Symphony, in its ongoing quest to present a broad array of musical genres for diverse audiences, will celebrate the Iranian New Year festival of Nowruz, which marks the arrival of spring and has been celebrated since ancient times. Presented in collaboration with the Farhang Foundation, this special concert led by Music Director Carl St.Clair will take place on March 24 at 7 p.m.

The program will feature works of Khachaturian, Dvorák and contemporary Iranian symphonic music performed by Pacific Symphony as well as traditional Persian music. Guest artists include acclaimed Iranian conductor and composer Shardad Rohani, the internationally celebrated vocalist Hamayoun Shajarian, along with instrumentalists Sohrab Pournazeri and Tahmoures Pournazeri. Pacific Symphony acknowledges the generous sponsorship of the Farhang Foundation in making this musical celebration possible. Tickets are extremely limited and the concert is expected to sell out. Call Pacific Symphony’s box office at (714) 755-5799 for availability.

Anoosheh Oskouian (CEO of Ship & Shore Environmental, Inc.), who serves as a trustee of the Farhang Foundation and as a board member of Pacific Symphony, commented “I am so pleased that the Farhang Foundation will partner with Pacific Symphony to celebrate Nowruz, which marks the arrival of spring and rebirth of nature.” She continued, “It has been my dream to bring this special Nowruz concert onstage to connect East and West musically.”

Maestro St.Clair commented: “For many years now Pacific Symphony has been striving to embrace Orange County’s rich and diverse communities through contextual programming. This is a way to connect on a more personal level and also reflects my own wish to enrich lives through the beauty and power of music. I greatly look forward to the collaboration between these extraordinary artists, members of Pacific Symphony and myself. We hope to build and deepen bridges between cultures through art and music.” 

As one of the most ancient and important festivals of Persian heritage, the Nowruz New Year celebration symbolizes the vitality of Persian culture and continues an exultant tradition that unites all those who participate. Nowruz has been celebrated for more than 3,000 years encompassing a broad range of Persian customs, and it is among the unique Persian (Iranian today) cultural events that are pertinent to the traditions of all Persian religious groups.



Sunday, March 24, 7 p.m.

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Costa Mesa



Carl St.Clair, conductor

Shardad Rohani, conductor and piano

Homayoun Shajarian, vocals

Tahmoures Pournazeri, tanbour

Sohrab Pournazeri, komancheh & tanbour

Navid  Kandelousi, violin

Pacific Symphony



DVOŘÁK: Carnival Overture


ROHANI: Dance of Spring


   Persian Garden for Violin and Orchestra

   Beauty of Love

   Medley in Isfahan Scale

~ Intermission ~

Traditional Persian music by Homayoun Shajarian, Tahmoures Pournazeri and Sohrab Pournazeri


About Farhang Foundation

Farhang Foundation is a nonreligious, nonpolitical and nonprofit foundation established in 2008 to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large. The foundation supports a broad range of academic and cultural activities in Southern California by funding university programs, diverse cultural programs such as the celebrations of Nowruz, Shab-e Yalda as well as musical performances, film screenings and festivals in Southern California. For more info visit


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 Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles and Class Act partnerships with Orange County elementary schools.

Mentored by Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood, 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 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 and principal guest conductor of the Radio Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart. In 2014 St.Clair became the music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Costa Rica and has recently been designated as  a Presidential Fellow of Chapman University.


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 more than a decade. Founded in 1978, the Symphony is the largest-budgeted orchestra formed in the U.S. in the last 50 years and is not only a fixture of musical life in Southern California, but is also recognized as an outstanding ensemble making strides on both the national and international scenes. In April 2018, Pacific Symphony made its debut at Carnegie Hall, where it was invited to perform as part of a yearlong celebration of composer Philip Glass’ 80th birthday. The following month, the Symphony toured five cities in China, and in June the orchestra’s performance of Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island” was broadcast nationally on PBS “Great Performances.” 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, St.Clair and the orchestra recorded Philip Glass’s “The Passion of Ramakrishna,” a Pacific Symphony commission that was featured 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.


Artists, programs, prices and dates are subject to change.

# # #