Carl St.Clair, conductor
Benjamin Pasternack, piano
Celena Shafer, soprano
Christopher Pfund, tenor
Hugh Russell, baritone
Pacific Chorale — Robert Istad, artistic director
BEETHOVEN: Egmont Overture
BEETHOVEN: “Choral” Fantasy
ORFF: Carmina Burana
Preview Talk with host Alan Chapman at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.
Carl kicks off his 30th with a program of explosive music! First, Beethoven’s dramatic Egmont Overture followed by the precursor to his Ninth Symphony, the “Choral” Fantasy featuring the accomplished Benjamin Pasternack. Then, fly through the flames of fortune with Orff’s breathtaking masterpiece, Carmina Burana.
Among the most experienced and versatile musicians today, the American pianist Benjamin Pasternack has performed as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician on four continents. His orchestral engagements have included appearances as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Pacific Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, the Orchestre National de France, the SWR Orchestra of Stuttgart, the Bamberg Symphony, and the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra. Among the many illustrious conductors with whom he has collaborated are Seiji Ozawa, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, Gunther Schuller, Leon Fleisher, and Carl St. Clair. He has performed as soloist with the Boston Symphony on more than a score of occasions, at concerts in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, in Athens, Salzburg, and Paris on their European tour of 1991, and in Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Caracas on their South American tour of 1992. He has been guest artist at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, the Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest, the Festival de Capuchos in Portugal, and the Festival de Menton in France, and has been featured as soloist twice on National Public Radio’s nationally syndicated show SymphonyCast. A native of Philadelphia, Benjamin Pasternack entered the Curtis Institute of Music at the age of thirteen, studying with Mieczyslaw Horszowski and Rudolf Serkin. He was the Grand Prize winner of the inaugural World Music Masters Piano Competition held in Paris and Nice in July 1989. Bestowed by the unanimous vote of a distinguished panel of judges, the honor carried with it a $30,000 award and engagements in Portugal, France, Canada, Switzerland, and the United States. An earlier competition victory came in August 1988 when he won the highest prize awarded at the Fortieth Busoni International Piano Competition. After fourteen years on the piano faculty of Boston University, he joined the piano faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in September 1997.
After two summers as an apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera, the career of Soprano Celena Shafer was launched to critical raves as Ismene in Mozart’s Mitridate, Re di Ponto. Anne Midgette in The New York Times wrote, “It takes the debutante Celena Shafer, an alumna of the apprentice program here, to show how it should be done, singing the Oriental princess Ismene with flair, vocal balance and great cadenzas.” Since that breakthrough debut, Ms. Shafer has garnered acclaim for her silvery voice, fearlessly committed acting and phenomenal technique. She spends much of her time on the concert stage where she appears regularly with orchestras in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and with leading conductors such as Christoph von Dohnányi, Alan Gilbert, Lorin Maazel, Bernard Labadie, Nicholas McGegan, Kent Nagano, Donald Runnicles, Michael Tilson Thomas, David Robertson and Sir Andrew Davis.
A celebrated artist in her home state of Utah, Ms. Shafer has long relationship with the Utah Symphony & Opera where during the 2014/2015 season she will be artist-in-residence. She will tour the "Mighty Five" state parks of Utah with the Symphony and Music Director Thierry Fischer during the summer, and throughout the season appears with them in Mahler's Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 4, as well as Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. These follow her highly acclaimed 2013-14 appearance with the Utah Opera as Constanze in Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio. Over the past decade with the USUO she has performed operatic roles including Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, GIlda in Rigoletto, Norina in Don Pasquale, Lisette in La Rondine, Tytania in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Adele in Die Fledermaus and orchestral works such as the Brahms German Requiem, the Bach Magnificat and wedding cantata Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen, Vivaldi Gloria, Poulenc Gloria and several concerts of chamber music with conductors such as Bernard Labadie, Raymond Leppard and Keith Lockhart.
Founded in 1968, Pacific Chorale is internationally recognized for exceptional artistic expression, stimulating American-focused programming, and influential education programs. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Istad, Pacific Chorale presents a substantial performance season of its own at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and is sought regularly to perform with the nation’s leading symphonies. Pacific Chorale is composed of 140 professional and volunteer singers. In addition to its longstanding partnership with Pacific Symphony, the Chorale has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Disney Hall on numerous occasions. Other noted collaborations include the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the National Symphony, and the Long Beach, Pasadena, Riverside and San Diego symphonies. John Alexander and the Chorale have toured extensively in Europe, South America and Asia, performing in London, Paris, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Hong Kong, and collaborating with the London Symphony, L’Orchestre Lamoureux of Paris, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the China National Symphony, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Estonian National Symphony, and the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Argentina.