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Classical Concerts

Music that will move you. Your favorite masterpieces, from stirring symphonies to deeply emotional concertos.

Emanuel Ax

Emanuel Ax Plays Mozart

September 30 – October 2, 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

Celebrate a return to the concert hall during opening weekend with the unparalleled Emanuel Ax performing Mozart’s charming Piano Concerto No. 17.  Maestro St.Clair concludes the evening with Tchaikovsky’s moving Fifth Symphony.

Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky's Fifth

October 3, 2021, 3:00 p.m.

Pacific Symphony and Maestro Carl St.Clair make their return to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall with Tchaikovsky’s achingly beautiful fifth symphony. A reflection of the troubled composer’s self-doubt, the work serves as a landmark in the Romantic era filled with moments of melancholy but ends with a triumphant finale.

Beethoven

Beethoven's "Eroica"

October 14 – 16, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

Experience Beethoven’s thrilling “Eroica” symphony—a work so innovative and influential it changed the course of music history. And revel in the beauty and technical mastery of Tchaikovsky’s unofficial cello concerto, Variations on a Rococo Theme featuring cellist Gabriel Martins, winner of the 2020 Concert Artists Guild – Young Classical Artists Trust Grand Prize and the 2020 Sphinx Competition.

Orli Shaham

From Past to Present

October 24, 2021, 3:00 p.m.

Enjoy a return to the intimate Samueli Theater with chamber music from recognizable composers and some of today’s brilliant minds. Barber and Brahms treat you to heart wrenching melodies of the Romantic era, Ives brings a modernism ahead of his time and the music of Tanaka, Montgomery and Cuong showcase the best contemporary music of the present.

Rachel Barton Pine

Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto

November 11 – 13, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

New music meets established favorites. First, the music of Gabriela Lena Frank takes inspiration from her own Peruvian heritage and melds the British sounds of composer Benjamin Britten. Following is Mendelssohn’s indelible violin concerto featuring the striking and charismatic Rachel Barton Pine. On the second half, music from two Pulitzer Prize winners: Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte takes you in a time machine through music’s Baroque, Classical and Contemporary eras. And finally Aaron Copland’s joyous Appalachian Spring Suite captures the essence of the American sound and spirit.

Haochen Zhang

Zhang Plays Rach 2

December 2 – 4, 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 Second Piano Concerto.

Following are two pieces drawn from fantasy: first, Debussy sets the scene for fauns and nymphs in Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun; next, Stravinsky transports you to a world where an evil sorcerer collides with a magical firebird.

Holiday Organ Spectacular

Holiday Organ Spectacular

December 21, 2021, 7:30 p.m.

Celebrate the season with the king of instruments! Enjoy a magnitude of musical splendors with world-class organist Todd Wilson 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 4,322-pipe, $3.1 million William J. Gillespie Concert Organ.

 

Christina and Michelle Naughton

Mozart & Mahler

January 6 – 8, 2022, 8:00 p.m.

Awe is the only adjective to describe twin piano phenoms, Christina Naughton and Michelle Naughton; watch as they take Mozart’s rarely performed Concerto for Two Pianos to the stage. On the second half, Mahler’s popular Symphony No. 4 evokes memories of youthful innocence and rustic German countryside. 

Pacific Symphony

Mahler's Symphony No. 4

January 9, 2022, 3:00 p.m.

Inspired by a Bavarian folk poem and a song he wrote, Gustav Mahler’s fourth symphony is an exploration of the idea of heaven from the perspective of a child. Come experience the sunniest of all his symphonies as soprano Celena Shafer performs her role “with childlike, cheerful expression.”

Bomsori Kim

Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto

January 27 – 29, 2022, 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 and ever-popular violin concerto. Following is Brahms’ Second Symphony, a work touched by dark despair but countered by the beautiful light of serenity

Pacific Chorale

Cathedrals of Sound

February 17 – 19, 2022, 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.

Dennis Kim

Schubert's "Trout" Quintet

February 20, 2022, 3:00 p.m.

Inspired by the poetry of Nathaniel Bellows, Snider’s “The Currents” puts Shaham’s complete skills as a formidable pianist on display; it’s expressive, poetic and lyrical, telling a story of both innocence and coping with an unpredictable world. Next, experience a world premiere from Israeli composer Avner Dorman who draws on cultural and historical influences in his music. And finally, Schubert’s atypical chamber instrumentation for his “Trout” quintet; a work featuring beloved melodies from his song "Die Forelle" ("The Trout").

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

February 20, 2022, 3:00 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.

James Ehnes

Saint-Saëns‘ Organ Symphony

March 10 – 12, 2022, 8:00 p.m.

Hailed by The London Times as a “violinist in a class of his own,” James Ehnes joins legendary conductor Edo de Waart with Prokofiev’s Spanish-inspired second violin concerto; a work that perfectly blends drama with technical virtuosity. On the second half, 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.”

Carl Tanner

Verdi's Otello

April 7 – 12, 2022, 8:00 p.m.

Love, betrayal and jealousy – all trademarks of great tragic opera – Otello embraces these themes to the fullest. Written decades after going into retirement, 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.

Joyce Yang

Yang Plays Rachmaninoff

April 28 – 30, 2022, 8:00 p.m.
Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 is a work that leads you from gorgeous melodies to unforgettable themes, all without pause. Earlier in the evening, piano phenom Joyce Yang dazzles with Rachmaninoff’s tour-de-force of the keyboard, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
Organ Superstar Paul Jacobs

Organ Superstar Paul Jacobs

May 1, 2022, 7:00 p.m.

Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs, a Pacific Symphony favorite, returns to the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ to perform a program of virtuosic organ music.

Enjoy image magnification on our big screens during the concert for a closer look at the organist!

Debussy and Ravel

Debussy and Ravel

May 8, 2022, 3:00 p.m.

French Impressionism bookends this delightful afternoon: Debussy opens the program with the dreamy sounds that made him famous featuring the sounds of flute, viola and harp; concluding is Ravel’s colorful and climatic piano trio. Music by the Hungarian composer, Ernst von Dohnányi treats you to shifting chromatic tonality while Czech composer, Bohuslav Martinů, explores virtuosity between flute and viola. 

Mozart

The Mozart Project

May 19 – 21, 2022, 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.

Mozart

Mozart's Requiem

May 22, 2022, 3:00 p.m.

Maestro Carl St.Clair and David Ivers, actor and artistic director at South Coast Repertory, explore Mozart’s “Requiem” — one of the most enigmatic pieces ever composed, mainly due to the myths and controversies surrounding it. Mozart’s “Requiem,” which was left unfinished at the time of the composer’s death, now enjoys an elevated status as one of the most magnificent achievements in sacred music.

Alexander Romanovsky

Beethoven's Piano Concertos

June 9 – 11, 2022, 8:00 p.m.

An all-Beethoven weekend – in celebration of the iconic composer’s 251th birthday – featuring all five piano concertos with the lavishly talented Alexander Romanovsky.

Alexander Romanovsky

Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto

June 12, 2022, 3:00 p.m.

Pianist Alexander Romanovsky returns to the stage with one of Beethoven’s most beloved works—his Fifth Piano Concerto, “Emperor.” From sheer beauty to dazzling grandeur, the “Emperor” requires extreme virtuosity from its soloist, making it an ideal centerpiece in the hands of the talented Romanovsky.