Musicians Create Four Diverse and Innovative Programs for the Community as Part of a “Musician Innovation Grant”

MusiciansInspired by the creative minds and unique backgrounds of its musicians, Pacific Symphony awarded four orchestra members with a “Musician Innovation Grant” totaling $20,000 to fund new artistic projects. The purpose of the grant, funded by the James Irvine Foundation, is to give musicians the opportunity for original expression, creativity and experimentation, with the goal of serving new communities and developing new or deeper interest in classical music. These four chamber music performances explore such diverse themes as obsession, synesthesia, suppressed musical treasures of the 20th century, as well as classical and Broadway music. Taking place through next season, each of the events is free or low-cost to attend and features a chamber ensemble of Symphony musicians and outside artistic collaborators.

MusiciansThe inaugural event took place in June, when Principal Second Violinist Bridget Dolkas curated “Obsession,” an evening of passionate and emotionally charged music in partnership with Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) in Santa Ana.

“Music and art are often a reflection of the human condition,” said Dolkas. “Desire is a part of that condition and obsession is taking desire too far, pushing it to the extreme. My vision was to create an emotion-provoking performance to show that classical music can be relevant, exciting and attractive. I already had the theme of obsession in mind when I discovered OCCCA’s call for artwork for their exhibit ‘Moist.’ This performance was a thrilling combination of classical and contemporary music, DJ remixes and art in the gallery!”

MusiciansFirst Violinist Dana Freeman, who used music to invoke memories with a program of classical and Broadway tunes for the senior residential community of Laguna Woods, said: “I‘ve read many studies showing how valuable music is for brain development. Music enhances and optimizes the brain. Language and singing are closely related in the brain, and the music enhances rhythm, meter and the melodic shape of language. My friends who live in Laguna Woods are very active with numerous clubs and sports, and their grandchildren have a hard time keeping up with them. So I’ve known for many years that retired people can stay young in a community like that, where their needs are met without restricting their freedom. I was thrilled to be sharing Pacific Symphony with these residents.”

MusiciansComing up on July 18 and 19 at the Symphony in the Cities concerts in Mission Viejo and Irvine, Second Violinist MarlaJoy Weisshaar presents “Synesthesia,” a family-friendly program that illustrates the concept of experiencing multiple senses at once (see next story for details). In 2016, flute/piccolo Cynthia Ellis uncovers music from suppressed Jewish composers in “The Inextinguishable Project.”