Music that will move you. Your favorite masterpieces, from stirring symphonies to deeply emotional concertos.
Rach 3 & Boléro
Opening Night! The brilliant Olga Kern returns to Orange County with the “Mount Everest” of piano concertos, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. And be amazed by the artistry of solo Pacific Symphony musicians as they sweep you away with Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante and Ravel's intoxicating "Boléro." The concert opens with "Shooting Stars" by Frank Ticheli, originally commissioned for Pacific Symphony's 25th anniversary and now extended in celebration of the orchestra's 40th anniversary.
The brilliant Olga Kern returns to Orange County with the “Mount Everest” of piano concertos, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. And be amazed by Ravel’s hypnotic Boléro.
The French Connection
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.
Bernstein @ 100
Feel the joy and emotion of one of the greatest 20th-century composers — an American treasure and mentor of Music Director Carl St.Clair — through works like Chichester Psalms, combining Broadway-inspired melodies with sacred texts for chorus and orchestra and Serenade, a symbolic, lyrical work scored for solo violin, strings, harp and percussion.
Dvořák’s New World Symphony
Carl St.Clair uses Dvořák’s popular symphony to explore three historic links between the United States and the Czech people. First, Dvořák’s remarkable journey to the United States helped to identity a unique American voice. Some 25 years later, America played a central role in the creation of a democratic Czechoslovakia. Today, a new Orange County institution, Pangea World, explores and expands the wealth of knowledge between nations.
Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto
Danish composer Carl Nielsen described his Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable,” as a metaphor for “the fundamental life-force of music.” Dive into this dynamic tour de force that features an explosive introduction and a dueling timpani finale. Violinist Philippe Quint returns with Tchaikovsky’s delightful Violin Concerto and the overture to one of the most famous operas, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, opens this immersive program.
A dazzling reimagining of the traditional Tchaikovsky classic, Duke Ellington’s interpretation of The Nutcracker will jazz up your holiday! Enjoy reinvented favorites like “Sugar Rum Cherry” and “Dance of the Floreadors,” along with selections from Tchaikovsky's original ballet. German pianist Markus Groh returns with Brahms’ dramatic Second Piano Concerto and Vaughan Williams’ sacred Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis introduce this festive program.
Holiday Organ Spectacular
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.
Chopin's Piano Concerto
Technically his second piano concerto (he wrote two in one year during his late teens), Chopin’s Concerto in E minor is a work that takes what the melodic composer did best – compose deeply expressive melodies – and puts it in the hands of a virtuoso soloist and orchestra. Prokofiev’s last symphony and Mussorgsky’s macabre Night on Bald Mountain accompany this unforgettable program.
Inspired by the legendary folk stories of “A Thousand and One Nights, “Scheherazade” tells the story of a beautiful young bride who must use her charm as a storyteller to save herself from the wrath of a jealous sultan. Also featured are Bernstein’s “Slava!” and Shostakovich’s high voltage Cello Concerto No. 1 — both written for legendary cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.
Part violin concerto, part symphonic poem, “Scheherazade” tells the story of a beautiful young bride who must use her charm as a storyteller to save herself from the wrath of a jealous sultan. Come and be immersed in the mythical sounds of this sweeping masterpiece.
Puccini’s Madame Butterfly tells the story of a young naïve Japanese geisha who believes that her love for a handsome American naval officer is eternal. With its lush score and heartbreaking arias, it is a timeless tale that will stir your emotions.
Bach’s serene Goldberg Variations has been described as both a beautiful keyboard work and a “Rubik’s Cube of invention and architecture.” There are over 300 recordings of the work, many in unusual arrangements. Conductor David Robertson’s striking arrangement for string quartet and piano receives its world premiere at this performance! Enjoy coffee, tea and pastries in the intimate coffee-house atmosphere of the Samueli Theater.
Phantom of the Opera
Organist and internationally renowned silent-film accompanist Dennis James provides a chilling soundtrack to the classic 1925 silent film "The Phantom of the Opera," starring Lon Chaney, Sr. as the dreaded Phantom who terrorizes the Paris Opera House in an attempt to make the woman he is infatuated with a celebrity. See this extraordinary film on the big screen while experiencing the overwhelming sounds from the 4,322-pipe organ.
Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony
Inspired by his travels to Venice, Rome, Bologna and Florence, Mendelssohn’s symphony evokes imagery of Mediterranean sunshine, famous architecture and the rustic landscapes that make Italy so iconic. And be inspired by an arrangement of the slow movement from Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 16 and Bruch’s profoundly virtuosic Violin Concerto.
A Space Odyssey
Famous as part of the soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra elicits wonder about our vast universe. Former Composer-in- Residence Michael Daugherty offers a suitable prelude — a new work celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Mozart’s cheerful Piano Concerto No. 23, with Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen, is the sublime centerpiece.
Villegas: Master of Guitar
Be swept away by the romantic charm of the guitar as Pacific Symphony embarks on a special celebration of this popular instrument. A festival curated by the “master of guitar” Pablo Villegas takes you on a journey to Spain with Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, inspired by the real-life royal Spanish palace.
Organ Superstar: Hector Olivera
One of today’s most sought-after concert organists, Juilliard-trained Hector Olivera is a passionate musician, whose interpretations of both classical and popular music have amazed and delighted audiences around the world. The Times Reporter describes an evening with Hector Olivera as “an event, a happening, a joyful celebration of the sheer power and pressure that a true virtuoso like Olivera can unleash in a concert hall.” Experience the might of this organ master as he performs a wide-ranging program of the most virtuosic repertoire.
Ravel & Prokofiev
Considered one of Maurice Ravel’s masterpieces, The Child and the Magic Spells (L’enfant et les sortilèges) takes the perspective of a young boy who encounters magical forces. Opening the program is Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, a symphonic fairy tale for children that illustrates the characterful sounds of the orchestra and features unique visual performers, the Magic Circle Mime Company.
To Tell a Story
Enjoy this unique theatrical program featuring Alan Ridout’s “Ferdinand the Bull,” a musical narration of Munro Leaf’s enchanting picture book and Igor Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale,” a parable about a solider who deals with the devil. A lyrical work by Brahms and a poetic Pohádka by Janácek complete this delightful program. Enjoy coffee, tea and pastries in the intimate coffee-house atmosphere of the Samueli Theater.
Symphony of a Thousand
A tidal wave of sound, Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” is a deeply immersive work that pushes the sonic boundaries of the orchestra and choir. Written as an expression of confidence in the eternal human spirit, Mahler’s Eighth Symphony is an exhilarating experience you cannot miss.
“On the threshold of my old workshop, the Spiritus Creator took hold of me and shook me and drove me on for the next eight weeks until my greatest work was done," said Gustav Mahler about his “Symphony of a Thousand.”
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