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Lantern Festival 2020

Lantern Festival 2020

February 22, 2020, 11:00 a.m.

Free Family event! Bring the entire family and join us for Pacific Symphony’s annual Lantern Festival, celebrating the Year of the Rat! The Lantern Festival, which can be traced back 2,000 years, takes place 15 days after the Lunar New Year—on the first full moon night in the lunar calendar—and marks the return of spring, representing the reunion of family. The act of lighting and appreciating lanterns is a way for people to let go of the burdens of their old selves and express their best wishes for themselves and their families for the future.

Augustin Hadelich

Hadelich Plays Paganini

February 27 – 29, 2020, 8:00 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.
Peter and the Wolf

Peter and the Wolf

February 29, 2020, 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

Join Peter and his brave animal friends on an adventure to outsmart the Big Bad Wolf! The Magic Circle Mime Co. and the colorful characters of the orchestra bring this timeless symphonic fairy tale to life!

A fun and fascinating 45-minute concert designed especially for children 5-11.

David Higgs

Organ Superstar David Higgs

March 1, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

David Higgs, one of America's leading concert organists, showcases the beauty and power of the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ. The chair of the Organ Department at the Eastman School of Music performs extensively throughout the United States and abroad, and has inaugurated many important new instruments. He will perform music of Dupré, Duruflé, Liszt and more.

Alan Chapman

The Art of Orchestration

March 1, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

Composers paint with the colors of the orchestra. Alan Chapman shows you how it’s done, with special attention to an elite group of masters of orchestral color. The presentation is illustrated with many vibrant visuals and musical examples.

This is part of the series Orchestra 101 with Alan Chapman.

Pink Martini

Pink Martini

March 13 – 14, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

After standing ovations and shouts of “Bravo!” during their last visit, Pacific Symphony has invited this popular band to return with their rollicking, around-the-world musical adventure. Pink Martini is part big band, part classical ensemble, part salsa troupe and all fun!

Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble

PSYWE Spring Concert: Scenes

March 16, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble continues its 2019-20 season with a special showcase concert featuring a unique collaboration with talented young wind musicians from around the SoCal region. The program will include a world premiere work by Steven Mahpar, as well as works of Whitacre, Mackey, Balmages and more.
Admission is free, but tickets are required. Seating is general admission.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven's Piano Concertos

March 19 – 21, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

What’s interesting about this concert:

  • This all-Beethoven weekend – in celebration of the iconic composer’s 250th birthday – features all five of his piano concertos, with a different program each night. 
  • Lavishly talented pianist, Alexander Romanovsky was praised by The New York Times as “a sensitive musician and lucid interpreter.”
  • Concertmaster Dennis Kim takes center stage Friday night in Beethoven’s Romances for Violin and Orchestra, two works of tender lyricism from the composer’s early period. 
  • Enjoy image magnification on the big screens for a closer look at the musicians!
Alexander Romanovsky

Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto

March 22, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

An all-Beethoven program – in celebration of the iconic composer’s 250th birthday – featuring his 4th and 5th piano concertos with the lavishly talented Alexander Romanovsky.

Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra

PSYO Spring Concert

March 23, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra dedicates its mid-season concert to two contrasting works: American composer Chris Rogerson’s Luminosity and Dmitri Shostakovich’s towering Symphony No. 5.
Admission is free, but tickets are required. Seating is general admission.

Nowruz - Iranian New Year

Nowruz - Iranian New Year

March 28, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

Pacific Symphony welcomes legendary singer Shahram Nazeri and his son, composer Hafez Nazeri, for a celebration of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. A traditional festival that marks the beginning of spring, Nowruz is a time to experience the “rebirth of nature” and wash away the past. Join us for a concert that unites cultures through the power of music.

The Texas Tenors

The Texas Tenors

April 3 – 4, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

Since their whirlwind debut on “America’s Got Talent,” The Texas Tenors have garnered a long list of accolades, including three Emmy Awards. From classical to country and pop to patriotic, the trio’s set list is as unrestrained and expansive as the Lone Star State.


Elissa Lee Koljonen

Sundays at Soka: Ticheli and Beethoven

April 5, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

Recognized as one of the most celebrated violinists of her generation, Elissa Lee Koljonen has thrilled audiences and critics throughout the world. The program includes Ticheli’s piece of fragile beauty and quiet dignity, and Beethoven’s only concerto for one of the most popular instruments of his day: the violin. 
Enjoy image magnification on our big screens throughout the concert for a closer look at the conductor and the musicians!

Carl Tanner


April 23 – 28, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

What’s interesting about this concert:

  • Love, betrayal and jealousy – all trademarks of great tragic opera – “Otello” embraces these themes to the fullest.
  • Verdi’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s tale takes you on a journey through a passionate romance destroyed by one of opera’s most loathsome villains.
  • The three leading roles are among Verdi's most demanding, both vocally and dramatically. They are inhabited here by a troika of world-class opera singers: Metropolitan Opera stars tenor Carl Tanner (Otello) and bass-baritone Greer Grimsley (Iago) along with Kelebogile Besong (Desdemona).
  • The South-African soprano is familiar to Orange County audiences from her starring role in Pacific Symphony’s 2017 production of “Aida”
Windborne’s The Music Of The Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards 1969

Windborne’s The Music Of The Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards 1969

May 1 – 2, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

Pacific Symphony and Richard Kaufman perform Windborne’s The Music Of The Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards 1969 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Rolling Stones iconic albums, “Beggar’s Banquet” and “Let It Bleed.”

The performance will feature tracks from these two albums including “Sympathy For The Devil,” “Street Fighting Man,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Midnight Rambler and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as well as other classic hits from their ABKCO years such as “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” “Brown Sugar,” “Ruby Tuesday” and more!

Pacific Symphony will pay tribute to The World’s Greatest Rock ‘n Roll Band with vocalist Mick Adams and a full rock band.

Joyce Yang

Yang Plays Rachmaninoff

May 7 – 9, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

What’s interesting about this concert:

  • Like his fellow countryman Gustavo Dudamel, José Luis Gómez spent formative years in El Sistema, where he performed the concert’s opening work by Carreño over 100 times. You’ll smell the sea air and feel the rhythms of Margarita, the captivating Caribbean island off the Venezuelan coast where the composer was born.
  • The Van Cliburn medalist and Grammy-nominated pianist Joyce Yang will show off her justly praised “dazzling fingerwork” in the daredevil variations on a theme by Paganini. It’s such a difficult work that it drove Rachmaninoff to drink: before playing the world premiere, he broke his usual rule against drinking before concerts and had a glass of crème de menthe to steady his nerves!
  • Schumann’s lush Fourth Symphony takes you on a musical journey through one gorgeous melody after another, all without pause.
  • Enjoy image magnification on the big screens for a closer look at the musicians!
Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings

PSSS Season Finale: Story Time

May 9, 2020, 1:00 p.m.

Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings wraps up their 2019-20 season with a program of rousing and engaging works, both old and new! From the ethereal beauty of Ravel’s "Mother Goose Suite" to the brilliance and drama of Rimsky-Korsakov’s "Scheherazade," this musical adventure is sure to provide new and exciting musical vistas for all to enjoy!
Admission is free, but tickets are required. Seating is general admission.

Beethoven's "Razumovsky" Quartet

Beethoven's "Razumovsky" Quartet

May 10, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

The first in a series of three string quartets commissioned by the Russian ambassador in Vienna, Count Razumovsky, Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 7 is notorious for its technical demands. The concert opens with Leshnoff’s “Radiance” for Piano Quintet and Beethoven’s Trio for Piano, Flute and Bassoon. Enjoy coffee, tea and pastries in the intimate Samueli Theater as host and Orli Shaham guides you through the program.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

May 10, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

Organist Dennis James provides a chilling soundtrack for the silent-film classic, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." The 1923 film, based on Victor Hugo's 1831 novel of the same name, is known for the grand sets that recall 15th century Paris as well as for Lon Chaney's performance and make-up as the tortured hunchback Quasimodo, the deaf, half-blind, hunchbacked bell-ringer of the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble

PSYWE Season Finale: Perspectives

May 11, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

Wrapping up their 2019-20 season, Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble will present a program of both rousing military themes and soaring sacred and regional themes, including works of Holst, Sousa, Gounod and Boyer.
Admission is free, but tickets are required. Seating is general admission.

Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra

PSYO Season Finale

May 12, 2020, 7:00 p.m.

Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra wraps up its 2019-20 season with one of the 20th century’s most thrilling works, Ottorino Respighi’s "Pines of Rome." The concert will also feature a performance by the 1st place winner(s) of PSYO’s annual concerto auditions, a much anticipated and truly thrilling event!
Admission is free, but tickets are required. Seating is general admission.

Conrad Tao

Tao Plays Mozart

May 28 – 30, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

What’s interesting about this concert:

  • Frank Ticheli has written a new piece that uses the audience as an instrument. Ticheli was Pacific Symphony’s composer-in-residence from 1991 to 1998. 
  • Mozart’s popular piano concerto is dramatic and impassioned — hinting, as did Beethoven’s music, at the changes that would come to music during the Romantic era.
  • Filled with nods to Bach and Beethoven, Brahms’ Fourth Symphony is gripping and energetic. Musicologist Donald Francis Tovey says the end of the first movement “bears comparison with the greatest climaxes in classical music, not excluding Beethoven.”
  • Enjoy image magnification on the big screens for a closer look at the musicians!
John Williams: Maestro of the Movies

John Williams: Maestro of the Movies

May 30, 2020, 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m.

Lights, camera, action! Celebrate the treasured film music of John Williams in an exhilarating performance featuring your favorite themes from “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars,” “Jurassic Park,” and more!

A fun and fascinating 45-minute concert designed especially for children 5-11.

Pacific Symphony

Brahms' Symphony No. 4

May 31, 2020, 3:00 p.m.

Filled with deep emotion, profound complexity and beautiful melancholy, Brahms’ 4th symphony finishes with a finale that will leave you speechless. The concert opens with a new work by former composer-in-residence Frank Ticheli in honor of Carl's 30th anniversary.

Star Wars vs Star Trek

Star Wars vs Star Trek

June 5 – 6, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

William Shatner narrates an intergalactic musical showdown featuring the acclaimed and unforgettable music of your favorite films. From John Williams’ iconic “Star Wars” main theme and “Imperial March” to music from “The Wrath of Khan” to the newest “Star Trek” films.

Symphony of a Thousand

Symphony of a Thousand

June 11 – 13, 2020, 8:00 p.m.

What’s interesting about this concert:

  • Because of the huge number of musicians and vocalists required, vastly more than were needed for any other symphony to that time, Mahler’s Eighth earned the nickname “Symphony of a Thousand” (though there will be only about 350 people on stage).
  • The Symphony has been compared to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for its soaring blend of voices and orchestra, and for its spirit of optimism and humanity.
  • The second part of the symphony follows the journey of Faust’s soul, rescued from the clutches of Mephistopheles, on its final ascent to heaven.
  • Grand and celebratory, this symphony serves as a fitting, triumphal finale to Music Director Carl St.Clair’s 30th anniversary season.
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.

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.

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.”

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.

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

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.

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.

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.



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.”


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

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.


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.