Now in their 32nd season, Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings (PSSS) has become a premier youth string orchestra, recognized both regionally and nationally. Sponsored by The Orange County Chapter of the Suzuki Music Association of California/Los Angeles Branch, PSSS was founded by Lonie Bosserman and Margie Chan in 1991, and was known as the Santiago Strings Youth Orchestra before joining the Pacific Symphony family in 2007. Led by renowned educator Irene Kroesen from its inception through the 2021-22 season, PSSS welcomed its new music director, Dr. Johanna Gamboa-Kroesen in the fall of 2022. Dr. Kroesen is a member of the music faculty at UCLA and her tenure represents an exciting new chapter for the ensemble. Santiago Strings also benefits from the invaluable artistic guidance of Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair.
Representing over 30 schools in the SoCal region, PSSS provides an experience that nurtures the confidence, poise, and musical sensitivity of young musicians through the study and performance of outstanding string orchestra literature. PSSS serves instrumentalists in grades 6 through 9 and is one of four Youth Ensemble programs offered by Pacific Symphony. Each season, students enjoy an interaction with Maestro Carl St.Clair, as well as interactions with guest artists and professional musicians of Pacific Symphony. Students also engage in an annual weekend retreat and are offered free and discounted tickets to Pacific Symphony performances throughout the season.
Each season, PSSS presents a two-concert series, held at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. In its 25th anniversary year, PSSS was invited to participate in the National Orchestra Festival in Tampa, Florida as part of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) annual conference. In its 2017-18 season, and under the guidance of Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair, PSSS embarked on a musical and cultural exchange tour to Costa Rica, engaging in workshops and giving concerts in the cities of Cartago, San Ramón, and the capital city of San José.