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Classical Concerts

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

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

April 6 – 8, 2017, 8:00 p.m.

Peter Boyer's  Grammy-nominated “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” is a stirring work that celebrates the historic American immigrant experience with actors and projected images. The New Yorker’s critic Alex Ross described John Adams’ music as “present-tense American romanticism.” In celebration of the composer's 70th birthday, Pacific Symphony performs “The Dharma at Big Sur,” with Tracy Silverman, “the greatest living exponent of the electric violin” (BBC Radio). 

Be part of history! Join the audience on April 7-8 for the recording of the first-ever PBS “Great Performances” broadcast from Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Ellis Island: An American Dream

Ellis Island: An American Dream

April 9, 2017, 3:00 p.m.

Peter Boyer's “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” celebrates the historic American immigrant experience. In this Grammy-nominated, multimedia work, actors and projected images convey the hopes and fears of immigrants as they arrive at Ellis Island in search of the American dream.

 

Magic of Chopin

Magic of Chopin

April 27 – 29, 2017, 8:00 p.m.

Two of Canada’s brightest classical music stars perform a program that celebrates the spirit of France. Mozart composed his Symphony No. 31 specifically to please and impress Parisian audiences. Chopin called “The City of Lights” home for most of his adult life, and Debussy and Ravel are two of France’s greatest composers. BBC Music Magazine commented on Louis Lortie’s gifts as an interpreter of Chopin: “Lortie is a model Chopinist: eloquent but never sentimental, elegant, harmonically luminous, structurally immaculate—and surprising.”

Organ Recital: Monte Maxwell

Organ Recital: Monte Maxwell

April 30, 2017, 3:00 p.m.

The U.S. Naval Academy’s Chapel organist Monte Maxwell has played for diplomats and national leaders from around the world, and now he performs for you! Hear this outstanding virtuoso on a wide-ranging program from Baroque and beyond.

The Haydn Effect

The Haydn Effect

May 7, 2017, 3:00 p.m.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to “Papa Haydn,” who has been called the father of the string quartet because he was instrumental in the development of chamber music. For most of his career Haydn was not only considered the most celebrated composer in Europe, but he also guided and mentored two star pupils: Mozart and Beethoven!

Mozart & Don Quixote

Mozart & Don Quixote

May 18 – 20, 2017, 8:00 p.m.

The internationally celebrated pianist Orli Shaham, a “first-rate Mozartean” according to the Chicago Tribune, takes center stage in Mozart’s sunny Concerto No. 17, with the famous third movement theme inspired by the composer’s melodic pet starling. Ravel’s “Morning Song of the Jester,” incorporating Spanish musical themes, opens the program. Closing the evening is Strauss’ tone poem inspired by the Cervantes novel, with the solo cello—Pacific Symphony’s own Timothy Landauer—starring as the “ingenious gentleman,” Don Quixote de la Mancha.

Enjoy image magnification on our big screens throughout the concert for a closer look at the soloists, Music Director Carl St.Clair and the musicians of Pacific Symphony!

Resurrection!

Resurrection!

June 8 – 10, 2017, 8:00 p.m.

In Mahler’s Second Symphony, the composer ponders the question of life, death and transcendence and in so doing pens some of his most sublime music. Meditating on these questions required Mahler to compose the largest symphony ever known at that time—with massive instrumental and vocal forces, daring harmonic structure, and expansive length—all to astonishing effect. As the composer once said, "The term 'symphony' means creating a world with all the technical means available." This great masterpiece will be performed in celebration of John Alexander’s remarkable 45-year tenure as Artistic Director of Pacific Chorale.

Renewal & Redemption

Renewal & Redemption

June 11, 2017, 3:00 p.m.

Mahler’s Second is a monumental symphony on a grand scale and—reminiscent of Beethoven’s Ninth—it culminates in an exhilarating chorus that sings of man’s highest hopes and heavenly visions. The work takes you on incredible journey, from death and dissolution to renewal and redemption.

Music Director Carl St.Clair conducts Beethoven's Fifth

Beethoven's Fifth

September 14 – 16, 2017, 8:00 p.m.

What better way to kick off Pacific Symphony’s 39th season than by performing the most famous four notes in music history? Here’s what The Orange County Register had to say the last time this titanic symphony was programmed: “The Pacific Symphony dug in as requested, catching her fire. The strings played like linebackers and angels. The woodwinds shone brightly and warmly. Enthusiasm never lagged.”

Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven's Fifth Revealed

September 17, 2017, 3:00 p.m.

Rumored to be fate knocking at the door, the famous first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth give way to satisfying work that ends in ultimate victory. Music Director Carl St.Clair gives fresh perspective on this popular masterwork. Also, don’t miss this chance to hear the epic final scene from Wagner’s Die Walküre.

André Previn

Mozart & Rachmaninoff

October 19 – 21, 2017, 8:00 p.m.

Hailed by The Independent as a “big pianist with a calmly commanding presence,” Garrick Ohlsson joins Pacific Symphony with Mozart’s Ninth Piano Concerto — a work that legendary pianist Alfred Brendel has referenced as “one of the greatest wonders of the world.” Also featured on the program is the great André Previn conducting an original work by the composer himself along with Rachmaninoff’s formidable Second Symphony. 

Nobertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey

Cathedrals of Sound

November 9 – 11, 2017, 8:00 p.m.

Composer Hugo Wolf called Bruckner’s Eighth “the creation of a giant, surpassing in spiritual dimension and magnitude all the other symphonies of the master.” Featuring the spiritual voices of the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey to set the stage and stunning visuals from Clemens Prokopf, this monumental work will take you on a journey through symphonic space and time.

Anu Tali, guest conductor

Gershwin's Concerto

November 30 – December 2, 2017,  8:00 p.m.

“Many persons had thought that the Rhapsody in Blue was only a happy accident…Well, I went out, for one thing, to show them that there was plenty more where that had come from,” said George Gershwin himself. Widely considered Gershwin’s most classical piece, his Piano Concerto in F represents the perfect blend between the rhythmic liberties of jazz fused with classical roots.

Violinist Ray Chen

Beethoven's Violin Concerto

January 11 – 13, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

Beethoven’s only violin concerto remains one of the most widely played and popular works for the instrument. Famous for its spirited final movement, the work reveals the amazing melodic and technical range of the violin. Also featured is Edward Elgar’s regal Symphony No. 1, a work that was performed over 100 times within a year of its premier and was hailed by The Musical Times as an "immediate and phenomenal success."

Pianist Alexander Romanovsky

Brahms & Prokofiev

February 1 – 3, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

“Romanovsky is the latest pianist to be hailed as the true heir to the great Russian tradition,” read The Guardian. The formidable guest pianist performs Prokofiev’s second piano concerto, which has garnered a reputation for being one of the most technically demanding piano concertos in the repertoire.

Alexander Romanovsky

Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2

February 4, 2018, 3:00 p.m.

After Prokofiev performed his Second Piano Concerto, the score disappeared. Maestro St.Clair will reveal the mystery behind the long-lost concerto, which will be performed by one of today’s top Russian virtuosos.

The Magic Flute

The Magic Flute

February 22 – 27, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

One of Mozart’s most popular operas, The Magic Flute is a fairy tale about love telling the story of Tamino and Papageno, a prince and bird catcher tasked by the Queen of the Night to rescue her daughter Pamina from the confinements of a mysterious high priest. Prepare yourself for an evening filled with magic, comedy and some of opera’s greatest arias!

Violinist Pinchas Zukerman

Pinchas Zukerman

March 15 – 17, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

“Zukerman again seemed the forever-young virtuoso: expressively resourceful, infectiously musical, technically impeccable, effortless. As usual, it was a joy to be in his musical company,” said the Los Angeles Times about living legend Pinchas Zukerman. The violin master makes a return to Pacific Symphony with the profoundly virtuosic Bruch Violin Concerto. 

Pinchas Zukerman

Zukerman Plays Bruch

March 18, 2018, 3:00 p.m.

Living legend Pinchas Zukerman performs Bruch’s masterful Violin Concerto. Then, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition takes listeners on a musical stroll through an art gallery that holds colorful paintings, each with its own fascinating story.

Anoushka Shankar, sitar

Glass & Shankar

April 12 – 14, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

Through a highly prized invitation, Pacific Symphony makes its Carnegie Hall debut with this award-winning program during Carnegie’s yearlong celebration of Philip Glass’ 80th birthday. Originally commissioned, premiered and recorded by Pacific Symphony, “The Passion of Ramakrishna” is a work of quiet intensity and unforgettable power—scored for vocal soloists, chorus and large orchestra. Joining Pacific Symphony for this historic concert is sitar soloist Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Ravi Shankar.

Hear this landmark concert before Pacific Symphony presents it during its Carnegie Hall debut!

Pianist André Watts

Watts Plays Beethoven

May 3 – 5, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

Considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century and a perennial favorite guest of Pacific Symphony, André Watts returns to the stage with one of Beethoven’s most beloved works – the "Emperor Concerto." A work prized for its serene and tender second movement, Beethoven’s last piano concerto is a testament to the composer’s emotional range. Shostakovich complements the evening with his intense 10th Symphony. 

Pianist Boris Giltburg

Rach 2

May 31 – June 2, 2018,  8:00 p.m.

Gramophone places pianist Boris Giltburg “among the truly memorable Rachmaninoff interpreters, an elect including Moiseiwitsch, Horowitz, Kappel, Richter and Cliburn. Giltberg’s originality stems from a convergence of heart and mind, served by immaculate technique and motivated by a deep and abiding love for one of the 20th century’s greatest composer-pianists.” 

Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers

Sounds of Hollywood

June 14 – 16, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

Anne Akiko Meyers is one of today’s premier violinists and has been described by the Los Aangeles Times as a performer of “Vigorous mastery, unflinching technical skills and stylish elegance.” Joining her on the stage is Hollywood giant James Newton Howard, considered one of the most versatile and respected composers currently working in film. With an esteemed career spanning over 30 years, Howard is best known for his soundtracks for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, The Dark Knight and Blood Diamond.

Anne Akiko Meyers

Cinematic Violin

June 17, 2018, 3:00 p.m.

Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers plays a suite of film music by Hollywood composer James Newton Howard, who is known for writing such soundtracks as The Village, Defiance and more.