Pacific Symphony’s President Recommends

dsc0601-original-2.jpgNext week is a great concert to bring guests and introduce them to the Symphony! It’s a busy time of year, but this program is perfect for the season.

It’s a glorious program of British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (based on 16th-century hymns for string orchestra), the monumental Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 (performed by Markus Groh, the brilliant German pianist who stepped in for an ailing André Watts more than 15 years ago and helped select the beautiful Hamburg Steinways we use), and a brilliant re-imagining of “The Nutcracker.”

Here is a well-written preview specifically about the Ellington/Strayhorn version of “The Nutcracker.” Also, we expect this will be an emotional return for Principal Cellist Tim Landauer, who has been absent from the concert stage for a number of months. His duet with the piano soloist in the Brahms is one of the most beautiful solos in the orchestral literature.

—John Forsyte, Pacific Symphony President


Check out “A ‘Nutcracker’ Like You’ve Never Heard” in Voice of O.C.



Lower Your Taxes with the New Tax Law

New this year!

For smart taxpayers, the new law provides easy opportunities to lower taxes even more.

Congress doubled the standard deduction to: $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married filers. Whether you typically itemize or take the standard deduction, there are some strategies you can use to receive new tax savings as well as other non‑tax benefits.

The most significant opportunity for you is probably the standard deduction.

It can be used instead of itemizing your deductions, where in the past you might have claimed a deduction for mortgage interest, state and local taxes and charitable giving.

Muffin Man Musical Storytime

Make an outright gift of an appreciated asset to charity.  This strategy allows you to support the causes that matter most to you while generating a charitable tax deduction and potentially capital gains tax savings. This strategy provides tax benefits to itemizers and non‑itemizers.

Give from your pre‑tax assets by making an IRA rollover gift. If you are 70½ or older, this strategy allows you to give up to $100,000 directly from your IRA rather than take the required distribution from your IRA. This strategy does not result in a charitable deduction but will help you avoid tax on the distribution. This strategy works for both itemizers and non‑itemizers.

Fund a charitable gift annuity. Provides you with annual income, a charitable income tax deduction and potentially favorable capital gains treatment while allowing you to support the causes that matter most to you. Your specific benefits will be affected based on whether you itemize or take the standard deduction.

Elizabeth Kurila, Pacific Symphony’s planned giving expert, can help you take advantage of the new law to its fullest. You can reach her at, or (714) 876-2374.

“Holiday Classics – Nutcracker Sweet” Playlist

The holidays just got a little bit jazzier!

This season Pacific Symphony will play selections from the original Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky and from the rendition from American jazz band leader Duke Ellington for the Holiday Classics: Nutcracker Sweet Concert on Dec. 6-8 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are still available to purchase. But for now, please enjoy a preview of the set list below.

1. The Nutcracker: Overture by Tchaikovsky:

2. “Overture” by Ellington/Strayhorn:

3. “March of The Toy Soldiers” by Tchaikovsky:

4. “Sugar Rum Cherry” by Ellington/Strayhorn:

5. Trepak (Russian Dances) by Tchaikovsky:

6. “The Volga Voulty” by Ellington/Strayhorn:

7. Coffee (Arabian Dances) by Tchaikovsky:

8. Tea (Chinese Dances) by Tchaikovsky:

9. “Toot Toot Tootie Toot” by Ellington/Strayhorn:

10.”Dance of the Reed Flutes” by Tchaikovsky:

11. “The Waltz of the Flowers” by Tchaikovsky:

12. “Dance of the Floreadors” by Ellington/Strayhorn:


Have a Jazzy Holiday from Pacific Symphony!


Carl St.Clair conducts Markus Groh!

“Holiday Classics – Nutcracker Sweet” isn’t the first time Carl St.Clair and renowned German pianist Markus Groh have collaborated before, and hopefully, it won’t be their last.

Last year, Carl St.Clair conducted a concert with Costa Rica’s Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional, a familiar event since becoming their Principal Conductor last year. Markus Groh joined the program with Brahms’ First Piano Concerto, and epic and beautiful work performed exquisitely by Groh. You can find the entire video below!

Make sure to catch Markus Groh and Carl St.Clair on stage together again in our first classical concert of the holiday season. Grab your tickets for “Holiday Classics – Nutcracker Sweet” here today!

Shop for a Cause and Support Pacific Symphony!


With Black Friday and Cyber Monday arriving soon, the holiday season is finally upon us!

Amid all of the shopping, festivities, and family get-togethers, the holiday season is also an important time for charitable organizations: close to a quarter of annual donations are made in the last two months of the year. Now is the time to help support your Pacific Symphony by registering with AmazonSmile. When you shop with AmazonSmile, 0.5% of your purchases on Amazon are given to the charitable organization of your choice—and you help us meet our fundraising goals. At AmazonSmile, you’ll be prompted to sign into your Amazon account (or to create one, if you don’t have one already). Once this step is complete, you are set to shop for the holidays and beyond and have Amazon contribute 0.5% of your purchases to the League of American Orchestras on your behalf!

Charitable donations are crucial to the work the Symphony does, allowing us to invest in the future of orchestras throughout the country. The Symphony’s wide portfolio of programs and community engagement initiatives cannot be sustained by subscriptions and single tickets alone. We hope you will consider making Pacific Symphony your dedicated AmazonSmile charitable organization!

Have a wonderful and happy holidays!


Concert Highlight: Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable”

We recently made a video featuring Symphony Principal Timpanist and Percussionist Todd Miller and Robert Slack, respectively, on the great timpani battle at the end of the fourth movement of Nielsen’s evocative and emotional Symphony No. 4, dubbed “The Inextinguishable” after its inspiration, what Nielsen referred to as “the will to live” in his writings about the piece.

Check out this concert highlight from that same movement, from last weekend’s “Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto” concert!

Alan Chapman’s Preview Talk: “Holiday Classics – Nutcracker Sweet”

The first of several holiday concerts from the Symphony, “Holidays Classics – Nutcracker Sweet” (pun very much intended) comes to the Segerstrom Concert Hall Dec. 6 – 8 at 8 p.m.

KUSC radio personality Alan Chapman introduces the music on Pacific Symphony’s Dec. 6-8, 2018 concert: Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” Suite, alternating with Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s dazzling reimagining of favorites like “Sugar Rum Cherry” and “Dance of the Floreadors.”

Make sure to subscribe to our profile on SoundCloud! For more concert information and tickets, please visit its concert page.