Music Mixology is what happens when a classical music group highjacks your local neighborhood bar trivia night. Winning participants get to pick the music performed from a menu of choices ranging from classical, rock, pop, soundtracks, folk, and more! This special edition takes place in the Huang Sculpture Garden at the Bowers Museum and features additional Chinese-themed fun to celebrate their Ancient Arts of China: A 5000 Year Legacy exhibit!
Tickets: $10 for Pacific Symphony fans, use promo code PACIFIC. Purchase online, in person at the Bowers or by phone at (714) 567-3677. Must be 18 & over.
As the sun sets on our final concert at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, Carl St.Clair will take us on a trip down memory lane, reminiscing on nearly three decades of concerts “in the meadows.” The program will be a Tchaikovsky hit parade featuring excerpts from the perennially popular ballets “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker,” and two beloved concertos. The curtain will fall on this chapter of Pacific Symphony history to the traditional sounds of the electrifying “1812 Overture”!
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Pokémon have been spotted on the grounds of Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre! In fact, the stage is a gym and there are two Pokéstops on site. Catch ‘em all and share your love of Pacific Symphony by participating in our Pokémon SOcial contest! Learn more.
An Evening with Renée Fleming
One of the great operatic sopranos of all time and America’s reigning diva for more than a decade, Renée Fleming makes a rare Orange County appearance in an exceptional concert with orchestra, performing Richard Strauss’s hauntingly beautiful Four Last Songs on a program that also holds popular favorites from the world of opera and Broadway stage.
Kern Plays Rachmaninoff
Prepare to be bewitched and bedazzled when Olga Kern performs Rachmaninoff’s diabolically delightful variations based on a virtuosic violin caprice by Paganini. This electrifying Van Cliburn competition-winning pianist has a special gift that captivates audiences the world over. As The Washington Post says: “Call it star quality—music loves Kern the way the camera liked Garbo.” The program includes a festive concert overture, an exciting world premiere and Respighi’s vivid musical postcard from “The Eternal City.”
Brahms & the Romantics
The towering genius of Brahms cast a long shadow that influenced many of his contemporaries, including Dvorák, a devoted friend he mentored. The program opens with a Brahms-inspired work by a young Israeli-American composer that Orli Shaham commissioned and recorded.
Six-time Grammy Award-winner Amy Grant has enjoyed a career spanning more than 30 years, stretching from her roots in gospel music to becoming a leading pop star, songwriter, television personality and philanthropist. Grant has produced numerous hits such as “Baby Baby,” “Every Heartbeat,” “That’s What Love is For,” “I Will Remember You,” “Lead Me On,” “El Shaddai” and more.
Tchaikovsky described his Fourth as "a reflection of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony." From the fateful thundering brass fanfare to the dramatic finish, this quintessentially romantic Russian music will sweep you away, evoking surging powerful emotions. This powerful work rounds out a program featuring an intriguing world premiere and Mozart’s most beloved violin concerto performed by award-winning French violinist Arnaud Sussmann, whose violin playing has been described as “reminiscent of Jascha Heifetz or Fritz Kreisler.”
The Magic & Music of "Harry Potter"
Attention all Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws and Slytherins! Grab your brooms and fly away with us as Pacific Symphony performs selections from the Harry Potter films and more, complete with presentations by a professional magician. Dress as your favorite wizard, sorcerer or other Halloween character for a Hogwarts Halloween.
Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Revealed
The spectacular finale of Tchaikovsky’s dramatic Fourth Symphony shares the program with Mozart’s most famous and beloved violin concerto and an intriguing world premiere starring the Symphony’s principal wind players in a virtuoso workout.
This hilarious and heart-warming comedy classic features John Williams’ charming and captivating score performed live by Pacific Symphony to a screening of the film. When 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (played by Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left behind after his family takes off on Christmas vacation, he needs to defend his home against two bungling burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern).
OC Can You Play With Us - Chamber Edition
Community musicians ages 22 and older from across Orange County will have the unique opportunity to play in the Samueli Theater in one of four chamber ensembles led by Pacific Symphony conductors and musicians. The event will include a chamber string orchestra led by cellist Ian McKinnell, a woodwind ensemble led by flutist Cindy Ellis, a brass choir led by Assistant Conductor Roger Kalia and a percussion ensemble led by Principal Percussionist Rob Slack.
Friends, fans, and interested observers are invited to attend this workshop-style event for FREE, but tickets are required. Seating is general admission.
Grieg's Piano Concerto
Zubin Mehta said of Spain’s pre-eminent pianist, “I have only heard this sound from Rubinstein,” while Sir Simon Rattle commented: “There is something special with Joaquín Achúcarro. Very few musicians can extract this kind of sound from the piano.” This not-to-be-missed debut is part of a program that includes Grieg’s ever popular Peer Gynt, musical fairy-tale ballet music by Stravinksy and a magical, mystical concerto from Finland that includes taped bird songs interacting with the orchestra.
Soka: Beethoven Piano Concertos 1 & 4
Praised for her “bountiful gifts and passionate immersion into the music she touches” (The Plain Dealer), Chinese pianist Fei-Fei Dong was a finalist at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. She continues to charm audiences with her “winning stage presence” (Dallas Morning News).
This tribute to the charming Viennese waltz—featuring music by Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss—is sure to sweep you off your feet! In the 1800s, Vienna was the glittering cultural jewel at the heart of Europe and Brahms spent his entire life there. Performing his First Piano Concerto will be Jeremy Denk, the winner of many celebrated awards, including the coveted MacArthur ‘Genius” Fellowship.
Nutcracker for Kids
Visions of sugarplums and beautiful ballerinas will dance in your head after seeing Tchaikovsky’s delightful Christmas ballet, performed in a condensed 45-minute version created just for kids. This annual favorite finishes with a grand finale sing-along and a jolly visit from Santa himself!
Handel's Glorious Messiah
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.
The Ten Tenors: "Home for the Holidays"
“Home for the Holidays” is a magical experience for the whole family that will dazzle, delight and captivate audiences. Join Australia’s rockstars of the opera as they amaze and enthrall with their unique selection of traditional and contemporary seasonal favorites. With soaring versions of “Joy to the World,” “Sleigh Ride,” “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland” and many more, “Home for the Holidays” is the perfect way to celebrate the spirit of the season.
Holiday Organ Spectacular
Celebrate the season with the king of instruments! Enjoy a magnitude of musical splendors with a world-class organist and members of Pacific Symphony performing a delightful mix of sacred and holiday music. Favorite Christmas carols share the bill with traditional organ works that highlight the $3.1 million William J. Gillespie Concert Organ.
Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto
One of Tchaikovsky’s best known works and among the most famous in all of classical music, the First Piano Concerto is a deeply expressive and romantic tour de force. Gold Medal winner of the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition, Haochen Zhang performs this great masterwork. Prokofiev’s Fifth is one of the great orchestral works of the 20th century. Written during the dark days of World War II, Prokofiev intended his Fifth to be "a hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit."
Hansel & Gretel, Opera for Kids!
This fairytale adventure tells the story of two hungry children lost in an enchanted forest, an inviting gingerbread house and a wicked witch. This kid-friendly production features spoken narration, as well as the most charming and catchy tunes from the original opera, sung by talented opera singers, including students from Chapman University, who are joined by The All-American Boys Chorus.
Prokofiev described his Fifth as “the culminating point of my creative life. I imagine the Symphony as the expression of the grandeur of the human spirit.” Experience one of the great orchestral works of the 20th century.
Former assistant conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, David Danzmayr makes his Pacific Symphony debut conducting a program that presents three different musical perspectives evoking the wild Romantic landscapes of Scotland. Well known are Max Bruch’s fantasy on Scottish folk melodies for violin and Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony inspired by a walking tour of the ruins of Edinburgh’s Holyrood Palace. Less known is romantic Scottish composer Hamish MacCunn’s “charming Scotch overture that carries you over the hills and far away,” as George Bernard Shaw once described it.
Soka: Beethoven Piano Concertos 2 & 3
Hailed as a charismatic rising star with “an exceptional ability to connect with an audience combined with an easy virtuosity” (Huffington Post), 27-year-old American pianist Sean Chen was the third prize winner at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, in addition to other awards.
Get ready for a romantic and unforgettable evening with this multi- Grammy Award-winning singer/ songwriter, who has sold more than 55 million albums and singles worldwide. Known for his soulful voice and poignant lyrics, Michael Bolton will perform a concert featuring blockbuster hits, soulful classics and such favorite pop songs as “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You,” “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “How Can We Be Lovers, ” “That’s What Love is All About,” “Time, Love and Tenderness,” “Stand By Me” and many more.
Our semi-staged concert opera productions have been extremely popular and always sell out. Continuing in that tradition, we present Verdi’s most popular opera. “Aida” tells the story of a doomed love triangle involving the Pharaoh’s daughter, the enslaved Nubian princess Aida and the ambitious soldier they both love. Aida reflects Verdi’s great musical genius at its most voluptuous. Thrill to some of opera’s greatest arias, most powerful choruses and the stirring Triumphal March.
Brazil’s greatest composer, Villa-Lobos mined the rich exotic sound world of his native country’s folk music. Argentina’s Ginastera followed suit and also inspired a young Piazzolla, who played the tango accordion (bandoneón) to follow his muse as the father of “new tango.” Come early for tango dancing in the lobby!
The Beach Boys
In the pantheon of pop, few groups have enjoyed the success of The Beach Boys. Their close vocal harmonies and “Good Vibrations” conjure timeless memories of surf, sun and endless summers. Known for such irresistible chart-topping hits as “Surfin’,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “I Get Around,” “Kokomo,” “Help Me Rhonda” and “California Girls,” these Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have performed more concerts than any major rock band in history.
Fritz Lang's Metropolis
Fritz Lang’s sci-fi masterpiece influenced such films as “Star Wars” and “Blade Runner.” Experience this cinematic tour de force projected on the big screen while organ virtuoso Peter Richard Conte performs the unforgettable soundtrack live.
Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto
Pianist Zhang Zuo makes her Pacific Symphony debut performing Beethoven’s mighty Third Piano Concerto. The Los Angeles Times described the gifted young pianist (affectionately nicknamed “Zee Zee”) as “a powerful, passionate and compelling representation of pure artistry.” The concert opens with a captivating “Folk Song Suite” by Chinese-American composer Huang Ruo. Elgar’s intriguing “Enigma Variations” closes the program.
King Arthur and the Legend of the Dragon's Lair
Camelot, gallant knights in shining armor and fair damsels in distress. With advice from the old wizard Merlin, King Arthur hunts the dragon in a dangerous quest that is the stuff of legend. Will he slay the dragon and save the magic kingdom? You’ll have to see the concert to find out! Featuring the gifted young musicians of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra in our annual side-by-side concert and including adventurous music from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and Rossini’s “William Tell Overture.”
The New Yorker’s critic Alex Ross described John Adams’ music as “present-tense American romanticism.” In celebration of this new-music luminary’s 70th birthday, Pacific Symphony performs “The Dharma at Big Sur,” with Tracy Silverman, “the greatest living exponent of the electric violin” (BBC Radio). The Grammy-nominated “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” is a stirring work that celebrates the hopes and fears of immigrants who arrive at Ellis Island in search of a utopian dream.
This concert is part of Pacific Symphony's American Composers Festival 2017.
Ellis Island: An American Dream
Peter Boyer’s compelling work celebrates the hopes and fears of immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island in search of a utopian dream.
This concert is part of Pacific Symphony's American Composers Festival 2017.
Long before becoming world renowned as the quirky and neurotic George Costanza on “Seinfeld,” Jason Alexander was a Tony Award-winning Broadway song-and-dance man. His evening with Pacific Symphony brings a hilarious re-telling of his journey to and on the Broadway stage, which features a program of great music from the theater along with comedy and audience interaction. It’s a much heralded night of music, laughter and fun.
Magic of Chopin
Two of Canada’s brightest classical music stars perform a program that celebrates the spirit of France. Mozart composed his Symphony No. 31 specifically to please and impress Parisian audiences. Chopin called “The City of Lights” home for most of his adult life, and Debussy and Ravel are two of France’s greatest composers. BBC Music Magazine commented on Louis Lortie’s gifts as an interpreter of Chopin: “Lortie is a model Chopinist: eloquent but never sentimental, elegant, harmonically luminous, structurally immaculate—and surprising.”
Carnival of the Animals
Pacific Symphony brings a zoo to musical life with the Bob Brown Puppets and a narrator to tell the story. Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals” features each animal in its own descriptive song, from the royal march of the stately lions, to hippity-hopping kangaroos, lumbering elephants, a gracefully swimming swan and more.
Soka: Beethoven's "Emperor"
Van Cliburn International Piano Competition silver medalist and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, Joyce Yang, captivates audiences with her virtuosity, lyricism and interpretive sensitivity. “Her attention to detail and clarity is as impressive as her agility, balance and velocity” (Washington Post).
Organ Recital: Monte Maxwell
The U.S. Naval Academy’s Chapel organist Monte Maxwell has played for diplomats and national leaders from around the world, and now he performs for you! Hear this outstanding virtuoso on a wide-ranging program from Baroque and beyond.
The Haydn Effect
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to “Papa Haydn,” who has been called the father of the string quartet because he was instrumental in the development of chamber music. For most of his career Haydn was not only considered the most celebrated composer in Europe, but he also guided and mentored two star pupils: Mozart and Beethoven!
Mozart & Don Quixote
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. Ravel’s “Morning Song of the Jester,” incorporating Spanish musical themes, opens the program. Closing the evening is Strauss’ tone poem inspired by the Cervantes novel, with the solo cello—Pacific Symphony’s own Timothy Landauer—starring as the “ingenious gentleman,” Don Quixote de la Mancha.
Salute to John Williams
Academy and Grammy Award-winner John Williams has made cinematic history as the composer of some of Hollywood’s most popular and recognizable film scores including “Jaws,” “Star Wars,” “Superman,” “Indiana Jones,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Jurassic Park,” and the first three “Harry Potter” films. Maestro Kaufman pays tribute to the genius of John Williams on the occasion of his 85th birthday.
In Mahler’s Second Symphony, the composer ponders the question of life, death and transcendence and in so doing pens some of his most sublime music. Meditating on these questions required Mahler to compose the largest symphony ever known at that time—with massive instrumental and vocal forces, daring harmonic structure, and expansive length—all to astonishing effect. As the composer once said, "The term 'symphony' means creating a world with all the technical means available." This great masterpiece will be performed in celebration of John Alexander’s remarkable 45-year tenure as Artistic Director of Pacific Chorale.
Renewal & Redemption
Mahler’s Second is a monumental symphony on a grand scale and—reminiscent of Beethoven’s Ninth—it culminates in an exhilarating chorus that sings of man’s highest hopes and heavenly visions. The work takes you on incredible journey, from death and dissolution to renewal and redemption.
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