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The French Connection

Orli Shaham and musicians of Pacific Symphony

October 14, 3:00 p.m.Samueli Theater

Orli Shaham, piano and host
Dennis Kim, violin
Benjamin Smolen, flute
Rose Corrigan, bassoon
Meredith Crawford, viola
Mindy Ball, harp


SAINT-SAËNS: Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, Op. 168
DEBUSSY: Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp
~ Intermission ~
FRANCK: Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major


There is no Preview Talk before this performance. Orli Shaham will introduce the music from the stage. Doors open at 2 p.m.

Immerse yourself in the sound and color of 19th-century French Romantic chamber works. Journey through a trio of sonatas as you experience a range of instrumental textures including violin, flute, harp and bassoon. Enjoy coffee, tea and pastries in the intimate coffee-house atmosphere of the Samueli Theater.

Orli Shaham

Guest Artist

Orli Shaham

A consummate musician recognized for her grace and vitality, Orli Shaham has established an impressive international reputation as one of today’s most gifted pianists. Hailed by critics on four continents, Shaham is in demand for her prodigious skills and admired for her interpretations of both standard and modern repertoire. The New York Times called her a "brilliant pianist," The Chicago Tribune recently referred to her as “a first-rate Mozartean” in a performance with the Chicago Symphony and London's Guardian said Shaham's playing at the Proms was "perfection."

Shaham has performed with nearly every major American orchestra, as well as many in Europe, Asia and Australia. A frequent guest at summer festivals, her appearances include Tanglewood, Ravinia, Verbier, Mostly Mozart, La Jolla, Music Academy of the West and Aspen. Shaham’s acclaimed 2015 recording, Brahms Inspired, is a collection of new compositions alongside works by Brahms and his compositional forefathers. Other recordings include John Adams' Grand Pianola Music with the pianist Marc-André Hamelin and the San Francisco Symphony, with the composer conducting, American Grace, a CD of piano music by John Adams and Steven Mackey with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, David Robertson conducting, and Nigunim - Hebrew Melodies, recorded with her brother, the violinist Gil Shaham.

Benjamin Smolen

Guest Artist

Benjamin Smolen

Benjamin Smolen was appointed principal flutist of Pacific Symphony in September 2011. Since beginning his studies at the age of 10 in Charlotte, North Carolina, he has won top prizes at the Haynes International Flute Competition, the James Pappoutsakis Memorial Flute Competition and the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition. He has also given solo performances with the Princeton University Orchestra, Charlotte Civic and Youth Orchestras, Gardner Webb Symphony Orchestra, and on National Public Radio’s From the Top with pianist Christopher O’Riley. His performances have been featured on NPR, WGBH-Boston, French National Radio, and the Naxos and Mode record labels.  

Smolen completed his undergraduate studies in the Music and Slavic departments at Princeton University, during which time he also completed a Performance Diploma at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.  He subsequently earned a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance at the New England Conservatory and a Performance Certificate from the University of Michigan.  

Rose Corrigan

Guest Artist

Rose Corrigan

Rose Corrigan started playing bassoon to escape from the flute section of her high school band. It was an act of rebellion, and perhaps a way to sit closer to boys. After her first lesson she brought the bassoon home, hoping to shock her parents with her act of bravery and independence, only to discover that her mother had played it herself in high school. This undermined her act of rebellion; however, she was already passionate about the instrument, loving it’s variety of tone color, richness and lyricism. Its tessitura was closer to that of her voice, and she discovered that she was drawn to the supporting role it often plays in the repertoire.

Currently Corrigan is principal bassoonist of Pacific Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Pasadena Symphony, and a former member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra. Corrigan is a graduate of the University of Southern California where she studied with Michael O’Donovan, a teacher whose pedagogy included exposure to great cinema, literature and restaurants. She returned to the university as an adjunct professor, teaching bassoon from 1993 until 2011.

Corrigan has played bassoon and contrabassoon on the soundtracks of over 500 motion pictures, working with composers such as Michael Giacchino, Patrick Doyle, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, John Powell, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, James Horner, Michel Legrand, Michael Kamen and William Ross. A few of the films that include her playing are Ice Age, Life of Pi, Bolt, Despicable Me, Dances with Wolves, A River Runs Through It, Aladdin, The Lion King, Cars, Enchanted, WALL-E and Pirates of the Caribbean. Her bassoon solos are prominent in March of the Penguins, one of the only movies to list a bassoonist in its closing credits. She has also performed on hundreds of records for stars like Paul McCartney, Tony Williams, Barbra Streisand and Natalie Cole.

Dennis Kim

Guest Artist

Dennis Kim

Dennis Kim is the new concertmaster of Pacific Symphony. A citizen of the world, Mr. Kim was born in Korea, raised in Canada and educated in the United States. He has spent more than a decade leading orchestras in the United States, Europe and Asia. Most recently, he was concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in New York. He was first appointed concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra at the age of 22. He then served as the youngest concertmaster in the history of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, before going on to lead the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra in Finland.

As guest concertmaster, Mr. Kim has performed on four continents, leading the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, KBS Symphony Orchestra, Montpelier Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Western Australia Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra of Navarra. He served as guest concertmaster with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra on their 10-city tour of the United Kingdom and led the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra in their BBC Proms debut in 2014.

After making his solo debut at the age of 14 with the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, Mr. Kim has gone on to perform as a soloist with many of the most important orchestras in China and Korea. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and Yale School of Music, Mr. Kim's teachers include Jaime Laredo, Aaron Rosand, Peter Oundjian, Paul Kantor, Victor Danchenko and Yumi Ninomiya Scott. He plays the 1701 ex-Dushkin Stradivarius, on permanent loan from a generous donor.

Meredith Crawford

Guest Artist

Meredith Crawford

Violist Meredith Crawford, a Maine native, studied under the tutelage of Professor Peter Slowik at Oberlin College and Conservatory. She graduated in 2009 after completing Oberlin’s double-degree program with both a B.M. in Viola Performance and a B.A. in English Literature. After being inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda honor society, she received the prestigious Prize for Musicianship, awarded to students judged to be “the most outstanding of those elected to Pi Kappa Lambda.” Crawford was the first-prize winner of the Ohio Viola Society’s annual competition in 2007, the 2009 Skokie Valley Symphony Annual Young Artist Competition and the 2009-10 Oberlin Conservatory Competition—the first win for a violist in over a decade.

At the age of 22—before the completion of her senior year at Oberlin Conservatory—she won her first orchestral audition and a seat with Pacific Symphony. In September 2012, she was awarded the position of assistant principal viola and five years later, she won her current position with the orchestra as principal viola, Catherine and James Emmi Chair. Additionally, she has been performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic since April 2010, and more recently with the Riverside Philharmonic (as principal viola), the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Irvine’s Mozart Classical Orchestra. Crawford is also an active chamber musician, performing frequently with the L.A.-based Salastina Music Society, the Historic Portsmouth Chamber Music Series in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and the High Desert Chamber Music series in Bend, Ore. Crawford is also on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, where she is assistant principal viola of the faculty orchestra under the baton of Gerard Schwarz. She currently resides in beautiful Belmont Shore (where her neighbors include Pacific Symphony’s principal flutist Benjamin Smolen and principal oboist Jessica Pearlman) with her two cats, Twinkie and Rahula.

Mindy Ball

Guest Artist

Mindy Ball

Mindy Ball began playing the harp at age 12, studying with Marjorie Call-Salzedo and receiving her degree in harp performance from Chapman University with honors. She also trained with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute Orchestra under distinguished American conductor Leonard Bernstein. Currently celebrating her 39th year as principal harp with Pacific Symphony, she is also principal harp with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and has held principal positions with Opera Pacific and Pittsburgh Opera under John Mauceri.

Ball performs regularly for major and international touring ballet companies and has recorded for film and television including PBS specials for Barry Manilow, American Ballet Theater, NBC Movies of the Week, Superman and Batman cartoons, Diablo 3 and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Other performances have included groups such as Aerosmith, Journey, Eagles, Cheryl Crow, B-52's, Pink Martini, Paul McCartney and Johnny Mathis.

The Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register have described her performances as "expressive," "vigorous and assertive" and "virtuosic." Ball has toured to Europe, China and New York with Pacific Symphony and to Japan and Brazil with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. For 12 years she performed for the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach and the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera.

In addition, she has played for political dignitaries such as former presidents George H. W. Bush and Richard Nixon, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. In 1993, Ball founded the Pacific Harp Ensemble and serves as director and current conductor. Along with keeping a busy freelance career, she teaches harp at Biola, Chapman, Cal State Fullerton, Vanguard and Concordia universities, as well as limited private instruction. She is founding and past President of the Orange County chapter of the American Harp Society and was awarded Chapter of the Year in 2008.