Pacific Symphony logo

Symphony in the Cities

Carl St.Clair instructs young conductors at Symphony in the Cities

It's the perfect way to end a lazy summer day:
Pacific Symphony's Symphony in the Cities

Pack a picnic, grab a lawn chair or blanket and gather the family for an evening of free music and outdoor summer fun! Now a long-standing summer tradition, Symphony in the Cities (SITC) brings thousands of people together for great music and entertainment in local parks each year. With a potpourri of popular classics, pop tunes and patriotic tunes, this year’s concert is led by Music Director Carl St.Clair. Classical KUSC’s radio host Alan Chapman serves as the emce, and the audience is invited to participate in a sing-along of patriotic favorites.

There are interactive and hands-on activities for children, including instrument making, a drum circle, an instrument petting zoo, and an opportunity to meet the musicians. And—back by popular demand—kids have the chance to learn how to conduct with Maestro St.Clair and later help lead the orchestra in Sousa’s “Hands Across the Sea” during the concert.


Flag and Fireworks

Virtual July 4 Spectacular

July 4, 2020, 6:00 p.m.

Available for online viewing through Aug. 16.

Join Pacific Symphony for a free Independence Day concert featuring patriotic favorites such as John Williams' "Midway March," "76 Trombones" from "The Music Man," "God Bless the USA" with Lee Greenwood, "Stars and Stripes Forever" and the finale from Peter Boyer's "Ellis Island: The Dream of America." 

Plus, the debut of a mosaic performance of "America the Beautiful" featuring Pacific Chorale and the American Feel Young Chorus, a musical salute to the armed forces and a virtual fireworks finale


Beethoven's Fifth

July 30, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

Available for online viewing through September 12. 

The most famous four notes in music, the duh-duh-duh-DUH opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony are rumored to be fate knocking at the door.  Eileen Jeanette, Pacific Symphony’s senior vice-president of artistic planning, opens the concert with an interview with Music Director Carl St.Clair. 

Aaron Diehl

KUSC Broadcast: Rhapsody in Blue

August 9, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

Journey through the minds of three prolific American composers:

  • George Gershwin, a composer whose music is synonymous with the sound of America
  • George Chadwick, the master from the New England Conservatory
  • His pupil Florence Price, the first African-American woman recognized as a symphonic composer.
Shaham Plays Mozart

Shaham Plays Mozart

August 13, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

The internationally celebrated pianist Orli Shaham, a “first-rate Mozartean” according to the Chicago Tribune, takes center stage in Mozart’s sunny Concerto No. 17, with the famous third movement theme inspired by the composer’s melodic pet starling. Eileen Jeanette, Pacific Symphony’s senior vice-president of artistic planning, opens the concert with an interview with Orli Shaham. This free, virtual performance will be available for viewing through Sept. 26.

Vadym Kholodenko

KUSC Broadcast Beethoven's Seventh

August 16, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

More than two centuries after its wildly successful premiere, Beethoven’s Seventh remains a work you simply must experience live. Also featured is another premiere: a tribute to Maestro St.Clair from Academy Award-winning composer, Elliot Goldenthal. And Vadym Kholodenko, winner of the prestigious Van Cliburn competition, joins with an electrifying performance of Prokofiev’s demanding Piano Concerto No. 3.

Clara-Jumi Kang

KUSC Broadcast: Beethoven's Violin Concerto

August 23, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

What’s interesting about this concert:

  • There’s a reason why Beethoven’s only violin concerto is so cherished. It’s lyrical, spirited, epic—truly Beethoven at his best, with one of the most famous endings in the violin repertoire.
  • If you ever wanted to tour the Bohemian countryside, we’ve got you covered (no 13.5-hour flight required). Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony, rich with the sounds of his Czech homeland, instantly transports you to a bucolic landscape filled with lush forests and beautiful rivers.
Hector Berlioz

Symphonie Fantastique

August 27, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

No single work transformed the sound of a symphony orchestra more than Berlioz’s revolutionary “Symphonie Fantastique” of 1830, with its massive orchestra, large percussion battery and powerful brass. Combining gracious ballroom dances with psychedelic depictions of a witches’ sabbath, the piece represents the composer’s obsessive love of a great Shakespearean actress. Eileen Jeanette, Pacific Symphony’s senior vice-president of artistic planning, opens the concert with an interview with Principal Bassoon Rose Corrigan.  This free, virtual performance will be available for viewing through Oct. 10.

Alain Lefevre

KUSC Broadcast: Berlioz’s Fantastical Symphony

August 30, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

What’s interesting about this concert:

  • No single work transformed the sound of a symphony orchestra more than Berlioz’s revolutionary “Symphonie Fantastique” of 1830, with its massive orchestra, large percussion battery and powerful brass. Combining gracious ballroom dances with psychedelic depictions of a witches’ sabbath, the piece represents the composer’s obsessive love of a great Shakespearean actress. 
  • Berlioz’s influence undoubtedly affected another genius, Maurice Ravel, whose masterful orchestrations and jazz influences led to the creation of the brilliant G Major piano concerto.
Augustin Hadelich

KUSC Broadcast: Hadelich Plays Paganini

September 6, 2020, 5:00 p.m.

What’s interesting about this concert:

  • Where piano fans look to Rachmaninoff for keyboard virtuosity, violinists turn to Paganini.
  • An outrageously gifted musician and one of the first “rock stars” of classical music, Paganini was also an accomplished composer writing hundreds of pieces including six violin concertos.
  • Sparks will fly as violinist Augustin Hadelich takes the stage in the first concerto of this legendary composer, thought to have been in league with the devil.
  • Rachmaninoff’s expressive and quintessentially Russian Symphony No. 3 caps the evening.
Virtual Tchaikovsky Spectacular

Virtual Tchaikovsky Spectacular

September 10, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

No summer would be complete without Pacific Symphony performing Tchaikovsky’s thrilling “1812” overture, complete with live cannons and brilliant fireworks. Plus, enjoy Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" and the "Procession of the Nobles" by Rimsky-Korsakov. Eileen Jeanette, Pacific Symphony’s senior vice-president of artistic planning, opens the concert with an interview with Principal Trumpet Barry Perkins. This free, virtual performance will be available for viewing through Oct. 24.

Christina and Michelle Naughton

Tchaikovsky's Fifth

September 24 – 26, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

Celebrate opening weekend with twin piano phenoms, Christina Naughton and Michelle Naughton, as they take Mozart’s rarely performed Concerto for Two Pianos to the stage. Maestro St.Clair concludes the evening with Tchaikovsky’ s moving Fifth Symphony.


Inside Tchaikovsky's Fifth

September 27, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

Behind his beautifully melodic Fifth Symphony was Tchaikovsky — one of the most beloved of Romantic composers. Join Maestro St.Clair in an in-depth exploration of this great artist along with the symphonic world premiere of Wayne Oquin’s "Tower Ascending," a work with a serene opening that builds to a thrilling conclusion.

Lang Lang

Lang Lang Plays Beethoven

October 4, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

“The ebullient Lang Lang is maturing as an artist… his playing is refined, almost severe. He has an intelligent way of shaping phrases, controlling dynamics, varying articulations... a captivating performance, the kind that you remember as much for its quiet stretches as for its wow factor.” — The New Yorker

Tickets to “Lang Lang Plays Beethoven” are available exclusively to 2020-21 subscribers. Click here to explore season ticket options or call (714) 755-5799 and let us help you with your order.

Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson

Beethoven's "Eroica"

October 15 – 17, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

Experience Beethoven’s thrilling “Eroica” symphony—a work so innovative and influential it changed the course of music history. Longtime collaborators Jaimie Laredo and Sharon Robinson also join the evening with a West Coast premiere of Chris Brubeck’s jazz-infused double concerto.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

October 17, 2020, 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

Learn about the magical, mystical powers of the orchestra through the eyes of a wizard’s young assistant. You’ll hear selections from “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and music from “Harry Potter” movies. Don’t forget to wear your Halloween costume and be sure to check out the fun, magical activities in the lobby.


Discover Beethoven's "Eroica"

October 18, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

Maestro St. Clair leads you on a discovery as to why Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony was a work so innovative and influential that it changed the course of music history.

Beethoven, Britten & Brahms

Beethoven, Britten & Brahms

November 1, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

The Beethoven celebration continues with a sparkling showpiece of a trio written by the 15-year-old Ludwig, which wasn’t discovered until after his death. Britten composed his cello sonata for the legendary Mstislav Rostropovich, at the cellist’s request. Topping off the program is the work often described as “the crown of Brahms’ chamber music.” Enjoy coffee, tea and pastries in the intimate Samueli Theater as host and pianist Orli Shaham guides you through the program.

David Foster

An Intimate Evening with David Foster | Hitman Tour

November 6 – 7, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

Back by popular demand, 16-time Grammy Award winner David Foster returns to Pacific Symphony to perform songs from his unparalleled catalog. Popular hits — written for artists including Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, Olivia Newton-John, Barbra Streisand and many others — include “You’re the Inspiration,” “The Prayer,” “The Glory of Love” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.”


Bomsori Kim

Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto

November 12 – 14, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

Bomsori Kim, “internationally recognized as one of the most dynamic and exciting violinists of today” (NDR), joins Pacific Symphony with Tchaikovsky’s delightful Violin Concerto. Completing the evening is Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, a masterpiece showcasing each section of the orchestra.

Andrey Gugnin

Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2

December 3 – 5, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

Moscow-born concert pianist Andrey Gugnin visits Orange County with Rachmaninoff’s luxuriant Piano Concerto No. 2. Meanwhile, guest conductor Markus Stenz guides listeners through a gallery of musical styles: from the French-Baroque color of Rebel, a journey into the romantic dream-like world of Debussy and Scriabin’s cosmically charged “Poem of Ecstasy.”

Nutcracker for Kids!

Nutcracker for Kids!

December 5, 2020, 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

Visions of sugarplums and beautiful ballerinas will dance in your head after seeing Tchaikovsky’s delightful Christmas ballet, performed in a condensed version created just for kids. This annual favorite finishes with a festive finale holiday sing-along and a jolly visit from Santa Claus himself!

Handel's Glorious Messiah

Handel's Glorious Messiah

December 6, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

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.

Midtown Men

Midtown Men Holiday

December 18 – 19, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

From The Four Seasons to the Holiday Season! The Midtown Men, reuniting stars from the Broadway smash hit "Jersey Boys," deck the hall with festive cheer, timeless tunes, top-shelf choreography and incredible vocal performances! Featuring iconic yuletide classics such as "Winter Wonderland," "Let It Snow" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," as well as their signature renditions of the greatest rock-and-roll hits of the 1960s.

Emanuel Ax

Emanuel Ax Plays Mozart

January 14 – 16, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

"His greatness, his overwhelming authority as musician, technician and probing intellect emerges quickly as he plays. Within minutes, we are totally captured by his intensity and pianistic achievement." —Los Angeles Times

Cinderella - Opera for Kids

Cinderella - Opera for Kids

January 16, 2021, 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

This enchanting rags-to-riches fairy-tale opera adapts Rossini’s sparkling work especially for young audiences. From start to finish, you’ll be swept away by show-stopping vocal fireworks, toe-tapping tunes, high-spirited comedy and colorful costumes — all leading up to a happily-ever-after grand finale! As a bonus, there will be live vocal performances to enjoy in the lobby.

Sunday in the Samueli with Debussy & Ravel

Sunday in the Samueli with Debussy & Ravel

January 24, 2021, 3:00 p.m.

Three trios by three great composers: French master impressionists Debussy and Ravel evoke magical dreamscapes both melancholy and joyful in contrast to Shostakovich’s dramatic intensity. Enjoy coffee, tea and pastries in the intimate Samueli Theater as host and pianist Orli Shaham guides you through the program.

Edo de Waart

Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony

February 4 – 6, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

Revel in the majestic power of the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ in Saint-Saëns‘ most popular symphony featuring a melody that was later adapted for film and the 1977 hit song “If I Had Words.” And delight in Mozart’s charming Clarinet Concerto as Principal Clarinetist Joseph Morris puts his skills on full display.

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year

February 13, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

Join us for Pacific Symphony’s annual festivities honoring the Lunar New Year! Celebrating the Year of the Ox, 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.

Katherine Jenkins

An Evening with Katherine Jenkins

February 19 – 20, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

Treat your date to an evening with Britain’s exciting crossover pop star, Katherine Jenkins. She has performed all over the world — for the pope, for presidents and for the Royal Family. Featured on “Dancing with the Stars,” she has also embarked upon numerous sold-out tours and duetted with such names as Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo and many more.

James Ehnes

James Ehnes Plays Sibelius

February 25 – 27, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

Hailed by The Times as a “violinist in a class of his own,” James Ehnes returns to Pacific Symphony with Sibelius’ only violin concerto; a work that perfectly blends drama with technical virtuosity. Brahms’ pastoral second symphony transports you away from the darkness and into the Austrian countryside.



February 27, 2021, 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

You won’t want to miss the continuing adventures of Captain Symphony! Pacific Symphony is joined by special guests, the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra for this side-by-side concert of music celebrating inspiring superheroes from Marvel and DC comic book movies including “Superman.” Come dressed up as your favorite superhero!

Boz Scaggs

Boz Scaggs

March 5 – 6, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

In an acclaimed career spanning nearly five decades, singer, songwriter and guitarist Boz Scaggs has explored the realms of soft rock, blues, R&B and jazz to produce instantly recognizable hits such as “Lowdown,” “Lido Shuffle” and “Look What You’ve Done to Me.”

Pacific Chorale

Cathedrals of Sound

March 18 – 20, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

The New York Times calls Scottish composer Sir James MacMillan as “ceaselessly inventive, evocative and penetrating.” He joins Pacific Symphony on a spiritual journey with his major commission Fiat Lux (“Let There Be Light”); a perfect pairing to Strauss’ eternal tone poem Death and Transfiguration.

Nowruz dancers

Nowruz: Iranian New Year

March 27, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

Celebrate Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, with Pacific Symphony! A traditional festival that marks the beginning of spring, Nowruz is a time to celebrate the “rebirth of nature” and wash away the past.

Cirque de la Symphonie

Cirque de la Symphonie

April 9 – 10, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

Beauty, thrills and majesty! This popular troupe returns with a show featuring a jaw-dropping fusion of fliers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers and strongmen who perform their cirque acts while Pacific Symphony provides a soundtrack of classical masterpieces and contemporary favorites.

Cirque for Kids!

Cirque for Kids!

April 10, 2021, 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

Symphony + Circus = a spectacular show, created especially for kids! Experience a jaw-dropping fusion of fliers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers and strongmen who perform their cirque acts while Pacific Symphony provides a soundtrack of classical masterpieces and contemporary favorites.




April 15 – 20, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

Verdi’s immortal story about naïve love, betrayal and a vengeance gone horribly wrong features some of opera’s greatest arias including the instantly recognizable “La donna è mobile” and the beautiful “Caro nome.”


Bach to Schubert

Bach to Schubert

April 25, 2021, 3:00 p.m.

For Bach lovers who enjoy the spirit of the dance, the final French Suite for solo keyboard delights with its wide range of dancing rhythms. An exciting new commission by an award-winning young composer receives its world premiere. And the famous “Trout” Quintet represents Schubert at his most natural, unaffected and carefree. Enjoy coffee, tea and pastries in the intimate Samueli Theater as host and pianist Orli Shaham guides you through the program.

Rachel Barton Pine

Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto

May 6 – 8, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

“Prodigious talent with obvious personality and a clear-eyed vision, her technical skills can make the jaw drop. [Rachel Barton Pine] has a full, singing sweet tone and plays with a confidence and elan that make an audience’s heart soar.” — Chicago Sun-Times

The Music of ABBA

The Music of ABBA

May 14 – 15, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

The world’s top ABBA tribute joins Pacific Symphony to perform some of the most iconic songs ever written: “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” “Waterloo,” “S.O.S.,” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” and so many more will have you dancing in the aisles and singing along. With hundreds of performances over the past two decades, The Music of ABBA has audiences all in agreement: This is the closest to ABBA you’ll ever get!

Haochen Zhang

Haochen Zhang Plays Rachmaninoff

May 20 – 22, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

An evening of greatness begins with world-class pianist Haochen Zhang who has been described by The Washington Post as having an “imagination that keeps you on the edge of your seat and breathless to hear what comes next”—a worthy challenger to Rachmaninoff’s intense Rhapsody. Following is Schubert’s ninth symphony nicknamed “The Great” for its pure grand majesty and awe-inspiring scale.

Franz Schubert

Schubert's "The Great"

May 23, 2021, 3:00 p.m.

Be amazed by Schubert’s Ninth Symphony nicknamed “The Great” for its pure grand majesty and awe-inspiring scale.

Blockbuster Broadway!

Blockbuster Broadway!

June 4 – 5, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

It’s a show-tune song and dance extravaganza! Celebrate “Hamilton,” “Wicked,” “The Lion King,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Jersey Boys” and more in one thrilling crowd-pleasing performance. The only thing better than spending an evening at a hit Broadway show is spending an evening with ALL of them.


The Mozart Project

June 10 – 12, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

Wolfgang comes to life in this all-Mozart evening!  Maestro St.Clair conducts the legendary composer’s charming overture to Don Giovanni and the gloriously dark and transcendent Requiem, interspersed with a portrayal of his greatest rival, Antonio Salieri, performed by SCR Artistic Director David Ivers.


Mozart's Requiem

June 13, 2021, 3:00 p.m.

In this all-Mozart program, Maestro St.Clair forges an artistic partnership with South Coast Repertory’s artistic director David Ivers. Together, they bring this legendary composer to life with some of his most well-known works including the gloriously dark and transcendent Requiem.
Presented in collaboration with South Coast Repertory.

Craig A Meyer

July 4 Spectacular: The Elton John Tribute

July 4, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

“Your Song.” “Rocket Man.” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” The hit singles of mega pop star Elton John are endless. Starring Craig A. Meyer as “Almost Elton John,” this spectacular musical journey celebrates the decades of chart-topping hits of Sir Elton John.

Plus, enjoy patriotic favorites, our traditional salute to the U.S. armed forces and a brilliant fireworks finale!

Frankie Valli

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

July 15, 2021, 8:15 p.m.

Spend a special evening with the original Jersey Boy, backed by the Hollywood sound of Pacific Symphony. Frankie Valli, who came to fame in 1962 as the lead singer of the Four Seasons, is hotter than ever in the 21st century. Thanks to the volcanic success of the Tony-winning musical Jersey Boys, which chronicles the life and times of Frankie and his legendary group, such classic songs as “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” are all the rage all over again. 

Toy Story in Concert

Toy Story in Concert

August 21, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

World Premiere Live-to-Film Event!

Two rival toys — a lanky, likable cowboy named Woody and Buzz Lightyear, the fearless space ranger — vie for a place in the heart of their owner, Andy. The toys plot against each other, but when they’re separated from their human, they find a way to work together as friends to be reunited with Andy again. Considered by many to be one of the best animated films ever made, Toy Story received three Academy Award nominations, including one for “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman.
Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts. © All rights reserved.


Tchaikovsky Spectacular

September 4, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

No SummerFest is complete without Pacific Symphony performing Tchaikovsky’s thrilling “1812” Overture, complete with live cannons and brilliant fireworks. Enjoy the spectacle as you also listen to the greatest hits of some of Russia’s greatest Romantic composers.