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Classical Concerts

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

Leonard Bernstein

Bernstein @ 100

October 25 – 27, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

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. The Friday night performance, hosted by Alan Chapman, is part of our new series, Classical KUSC at Pacific Symphony.

Dvorak

Dvořák’s New World Symphony

October 28, 2018, 3:00 p.m.

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia

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 identify 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.

Philippe Quint

Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto

November 15 – 17, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

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.

Markus Groh

Tchaikovsky Fantasy

December 6 – 8, 2018, 8:00 p.m.

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

Holiday Organ Spectacular

December 18, 2018, 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.

Gabriela Martinez

Chopin's Piano Concerto

January 10 – 12, 2019, 8:00 p.m.

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. 

 

Leonard Elschenbroich

Scheherazade

January 31 – February 2, 2019,  8:00 p.m.

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.

Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony

1,001 Nights

February 3, 2019, 3:00 p.m.

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.

Madame Butterfly

Madame Butterfly

February 21 – 26, 2019, 8:00 p.m.

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. 

Johann Sebastian Bach

Bachanalia

February 24, 2019, 3:00 p.m.

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

Phantom of the Opera

March 17, 2019, 3:00 p.m.

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.

Paul Huang

Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony

March 21 – 23, 2019, 8:00 p.m.

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.

Juho Pohjonen

A Space Odyssey

April 11 – 13, 2019, 8:00 p.m.

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.

Pablo Villegas

Villegas: Master of Guitar

May 2 – 4, 2019, 8:00 p.m.

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

Organ Superstar: Hector Olivera

May 5, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

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.

Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony

Ravel & Prokofiev

May 16 – 18, 2019, 8:00 p.m.

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.

Timothy Landauer

To Tell a Story

May 19, 2019, 3:00 p.m.

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.

Pacific Symphony

Mozart & Mahler

June 6 – 8, 2019, 8:00 p.m.

Principal Symphony musicans display their artistry in Mozart's charming Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds. Then, the 40th anniversary season concludes with Mahler's monumental Symphony No. 1.

Pacific Symphony

Mahler's First

June 9, 2019, 3:00 p.m.

Pacific Symphony concludes its 40th anniversary season with Mahler's epic Symphony No. 1. Mahler expanded conventional symphonic form in this dramatic work with which the orchestra inaugurated the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in 2006.