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Ellis Island

Ellis Island

April 6 — April 8, 8:00 p.m.Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Tracy Silverman, electric violin

TICHELI: Blue Shades
ADAMS: The Dharma at Big Sur
BOYER: Ellis Island: The Dream of America

Preview Talk with host Alan Chapman at 7 p.m.


This concert is part of Pacific Symphony's American Composers Festival 2017.





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.


Golden Dreams - Interplay 2017

Chapman University and Pacific Symphony join forces again to present the annual INTERPLAY festival of music, culture and ideas. With many events free and open to the public, this boundary-breaking partnership engages the Chapman community and Symphony musicians and staff in a wide array of collaborative events, including performances, lectures, art exhibitions, and student projects. This year we celebrate California's rich, diverse human landscape and its role as a unique cultural crossroads, a meeting point for our state's indigenous people and immigrants from across the nation and around the world.  "Golden Dreams" will honor and explore the history, heritage, and ideas of those who were here, those who came here — and how their interactions changed the world.

For more information please visit

Tracy Silverman

Guest Artist

Tracy Silverman

Lauded by the BBC Radio as “the greatest living exponent of the electric violin,” Tracy Silverman’s groundbreaking work with the 6-string electric violin defies musical boundaries. Formerly first violinist with the innovative Turtle Island String Quartet, Silverman was named one of 100 distinguished alumni by The Juilliard School. The world’s foremost concert electric violinist, Silverman has contributed significantly to the repertoire and development of the 6-string electric violin and the non-classical stylistic approach he calls “21st-century violin playing,” inspiring several major concertos composed specifically for him, including Pulitzer Prize winner John Adams’ “The Dharma at Big Sur,” premiered with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the gala opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003 and recorded with the BBC Symphony on Nonesuch Records with Adams conducting. He has also premiered the legendary “Father of Minimalism” Terry Riley’s “The Palmian Chord Ryddle” with the Nashville Symphony in Carnegie Hall in 2012 and recorded by Naxos Records, and Kenji Bunch’s “Embrace” concerto, co-commissioned by nine orchestras and premiered by Silverman in 2013.

Shortly after graduating in 1980, Silverman built one of the first-ever 6-string electric violins and set his own course as a musical pioneer, designing and performing on an instrument that did not previously exist. Silverman’s eclectic career has spanned work with the world’s premier symphonies and conductors, including the Detroit Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Adelaide Festival Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival, conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Marin Alsop, Neeme Jarvi among many others, as well as recording with the rock band Guster, contemporary music’s Paul Dresher Ensemble, jazz legend Billy Taylor and most recently on his new Delos/Naxos CD, “Between the Kiss and the Chaos.” with the acclaimed Calder Quartet.

Silverman has appeared on numerous national TV and radio programs, including NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, Performance Today, St. Paul Sunday and A Prairie Home Companion, and has been profiled on CBS News Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. A busy composer, 2015-16 included performances of Silverman’s 2nd electric violin concerto, a return to Carnegie Hall to premier Nico Muhly’s “Seeing Is Believing” with the American Symphony, as well as the publication of his instructional method “Strum Bowing,” already in use throughout the world. A long-standing advocate for music education, Silverman is an in-demand clinician and on faculty at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.