Coming Soon: Giving Tuesday

Image Description: Giving Tuesday event logo.

Since its first year in 2012, Giving Tuesday has become an internationally recognized movement of generosity. This year, it falls on Nov. 30. Here in the United States, that’s the Tuesday after Thanksgiving weekend. 

November is a very special time here at Pacific Symphony. Not only are we welcoming the start of our 2021-22 Pops Season underwritten by The Sharon and Tom Malloy Family, we are also observing our annual Community Support Month. No matter how you engage with our community, thank you for your support. Just in case if you haven’t heard it in a while, it truly wouldn’t be the same without you.  

If you join us for an event this season, don’t forget to think about how far we’ve come. From our early days in the late 1970s to now, there is so much to be grateful for. We’ve been through a lot together.  

For those of you who stay connected with us online, don’t forget to stay tuned to our social media pages and email communication for ways on how we’re going to thank you. If you want to join us in the conversation online, we’ll be using #PacificSymphony #GivingTuesday in our posts.  

To learn how you can continue to support the Symphony, please click here. Have a safe holiday season, everyone! Until we meet again.  

Mixer Recap: Pianist Orli Shaham  

The Café Ludwig concert series has been an integral part of our programming since the 2005-06 season. If you haven’t been before, it’s a Sunday matinee filled with chamber music, coffee or tea and scrumptious desserts at the Samueli Theater. This year, we have three shows for you. One of which has recently happened. 

Did you know that pianist Orli Shaham has been hosting and curating the series since the 2008-09 season? In case you missed the virtual conversation she had with Assistant Conductor Dr. Jacob Sustaita last week, we’ve attached the video link for your reference above.  

Talking points during the Mixer include a conversation about Orli’s teaching experience as faculty at The Juilliard Schoolher Mozart project, work as a co-host at From the Top, the Café Ludwig series and more! Here are the links to the three videos that were shown during the Mixer in order of appearance.   

At the first Café Ludwig show last Sunday, Shaham was joined by four Pacific Symphony musicians: Concertmaster Dennis Kim, Assistant Principal Second Violinist Jennise Hwang, Principal Violist Meredith Crawford and Principal Cellist Warren Hagetry. They played a 6-piece set featuring works from composers such as Reena Esmail and Karen Tanaka (who was in the audience) to Charles Ives and Johannes Brahms. The show was recently featured on The Violin Channel’s Facebook and Instagram pages.  

If you would like to see her in-person at the Samueli Theater, our next Café Ludwig concerts are on Feb. 20 and May 8. Better hurry though! Tickets for these shows tend to go fast. Make sure to get them while you still can. Hope we can see you soon!  

Meet Rachel Barton Pine 

Image Description: Conductor Teddy Abrams (left) with Violinist Rachel Barton Pine (right).
Photo Credit: Sally Jubb Photography.

In both art and life, violinist Rachel Barton Pine has an extraordinary ability to connect with people. Celebrated as a leading interpreter of great classic and contemporary works, her performances combine her innate gift for emotional communication and her scholarly fascination with historical research. She plays with passion and conviction, thrilling audiences worldwide with her dazzling technique, lustrous tone and infectious joy in music-making.  

She makes her Pacific Symphony debut (Nov. 11-13) performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto under the baton of Teddy Abrams, who was recently named “Conductor of the Year” by Musical America. “Mendelssohn is one of the most enduringly popular violin concertos. We think of the Mendelssohn as one of the ‘easier’ concertos, because it doesn’t demand as much stamina or technical virtuosity as Tchaikovsky or other ‘more difficult’ works,” commented Rachel Barton Pine in her Mendelssohn Master Class article for The Strad. “But for a professional, it is extremely challenging: as with any popular piece, you have to make it feel fresh to an audience that has heard it a million times. Not only that, but you can spend a lifetime trying to capture the character, the sound, the phrases and exactly what you are trying to say in the moment.”  

Rachel explains further in the article, “I first played this concerto when I was nine with a Romantic interpretation, but in my teens I became aware of more specific Classical styles and started to think of Mendelssohn coming from Mozart rather than going towards Bruch. Finally in my twenties, I played it with flowing Classical tempos and free, Romantic rubato, and that’s how I’ve done it ever since.” She also talks about the perfect opening, recalling once spending her hour-long lesson with Almita Vamos on the bow distribution, emphasis and articulation in just the first three B-naturals that open the piece.  
The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto was one of 24 violin concertos Rachel covered during her popular 24 in 24: Concertos from the Inside with RBP, an Olympic-like streaming series available on-demand in which she performed the entire solo part of 24 different violin concertos, live and unaccompanied, over 24 weeks. You may watch or share the free, 20-minute public version of the Mendelssohn episode here
Rachel has been described by The Washington Post as a “boundary-defying performer” and has been featured on programs including PBS Newshour, NPR’s Tiny Desk, The Today Show, NBC Network News’ “Making a Difference,” and CBS Sunday Morning. Pine began violin studies at age three and made her professional debut at age seven. Today, she performs with major orchestras around the world under the baton of conductors including John Nelson, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Neeme Järvi and Marin Alsop. 
This past July, with just 3 1/2 hours notice, Rachel stepped in for Midori at Ravinia, to perform Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Marin Alsop conducting, when Midori pulled out at the last-minute citing illness.  
She was able to pull this off due to her good practice habits and because she had recently completed the concerto in her aforementioned 24 in 24: Concertos from the Inside series. 
Rachel began her Herculean #24in24 task during the pandemic because she missed performing these works, which she calls “my life-long companions and best friends.” She had a wonderful time sharing them with audiences in a new way and format. 

Rachel’s unique interpretations continue to distinguish her from her peers. She does a staggering amount of research to prepare any piece and says that this baseline of knowledge frees her up to connect to and communicate the emotional truth of what she is performing. She examines the work within its larger context: studying the composer’s life, the historical and music context of the composition, as well as works by that composer outside of the violin repertoire. She jokes that her bedtime reading is often doctoral dissertations. 
“I’m always working to find an effective balance between intellectual validity and instinct — good ideas won’t be effective if you don’t feel them inside, but what you feel needs to be backed up by something more meaningful than ‘I like it that way.’ Basically, every performance needs to be a true collaboration between the performer and the composer, even if the composer has long passed away,” she says. 

You won’t want to miss Rachel Barton Pine’s exciting first appearance with Pacific Symphony. To learn more about Rachel, please visit To purchase tickets for her upcoming debut with us, please click here

November is Community Support Month

November is Pacific Symphony’s annual Community Support Month in which we showcase the many ways we bring our orchestra to Southern California communities and vice versa. Without your financial and volunteer support, our community programs simply wouldn’t exist.

Whether you enjoy the Symphony as an audience member, streaming online, as a donor or perhaps as all three, you are a significant part of our Symphony family.

Your investment impacts numerous communities throughout our region. From free performances such as Symphony in the Cities and our Kohl Family Symphony on the Go! mobile stage to service programs like Santa Ana Strings and Class Act, only YOUR support can generate this level of community impact.

This month, please consider the role music plays in your life and donate as generously as you are able to support your Pacific Symphony. Your gift allows us to not only sustain these community programs but also expand and fortify them for our more evolved and diverse future. We thank you for your generosity!

Only together can we truly impact hearts across Orange County and bring the joy of music to all. Please visit us at our website to discover the many ways you can make a gift.

Pacific Symphony League Receives California Senate Resolution of Recognition  

State Senator Dave Min (SD-37) presented the California Senate Resolution of Recognition to the Pacific Symphony League at a luncheon on Monday, Sept. 27. Photo by Stan Sholik.  

The Pacific Symphony League has been the orchestra’s premier support group since 1990. Volunteers serve as ambassadors and provide operational and financial support for our education, community and engagement programs. As of October 2021, they have a total of 84 members. 

2020 was a milestone year for the League. At a luncheon last month, State Senator Dave Min presented the California Senate Resolution of Recognition in honor of their 30th anniversary. In addition to the Resolution of Recognition, they also received other recognition documents from United States Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Katie Porter. Pacific Symphony staff members President and CEO John Forstye and Assistant Conductor Dr. Jacob Sustaita were onsite as well.  

One of the best things about being a part of this unique group is being around like-minded music lovers who enjoy the Symphony just as much as you do. If you’ve ever been to one of our concerts or events before, you’ve most likely interacted with one of their members. They’re an incredibly important part of our community.  

From helping behind the scenes to enjoying member-only events, there’s a way for everyone to get involved. If you’re interested in joining, upcoming events include a Happy Hour at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel before the Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto concert on Nov. 11 and a luncheon at Center Club Orange County on Dec. 13. Volunteer perks include concert vouchers and a member pin among others.  

To learn more about the League and/or join, please click here. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Thank you for everything you all do to help keep the arts going. 

Voice of OC Features Symphony on the Go!

Symphony on the Go! concert at Diamond Jamboree Shopping Center in July 2021. Photo by Eric Simonson.  

Since June 2021, we’ve had the honor of bringing light chamber music to cities across Orange County. From the South Coast Chinese Cultural Center in June to San Juan Capistrano this month, it has been an incredibly fun road trip.  

Recently, Symphony on the Go! was featured in the Voice of OC. To see the full article written by Richard Chang, please click here. Thank you for the mention!  

What is a Symphony on the Go! concert? A Symphony on the Go! concert is a free outdoor event that typically features a string quartet or a woodwind or brass quintet on a pop-up mobile stage. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. Our mobile stage is a special gift from philanthropists and Pacific Symphony-lovers Jerry and Terri Kohl. All concerts are weather permitting.  

If this is something you’d still like experience, there are a few more concerts left before the season comes to an end. You can learn more about upcoming events here. Craving more concerts? You can learn more about our 2021-22 season here.  

Thank you for joining us this season, everyone!  

Composer Frank Ticheli’s “All the World’s a Stage” Receives World Premiere Oct. 14 – 16  

Composer Frank Ticheli at the piano.

Specially commissioned for Carl St.Clair’s 30th anniversary career milestone as Pacific Symphony’s Music Director, Frank Ticheli’s All the World’s a Stage will receive its world premiere next week.  

A gift for orchestra and audience, this unique piece will encourage everyone in the concert hall to participate. From making air sounds to playing whirlies and even singing, the tasks will add an interactive element to the evening. Something like this hasn’t been done at the concert hall before.  

For those of you who may be wary, don’t worry, Carl St.Clair will teach you everything you need to know beforehand. You’ll only be joining the Symphony at the beginning and end of the piece. No prior music training required. Carl St.Clair will cue you when it’s time for you to join the orchestra.  

Formerly Pacific Symphony’s Composer-in-Residence from 1991–1998, Ticheli has a decades-long friendship with our community and also teaches composition at USC’s Thornton School of Music. Named after one of Shakespeare’s famous lines from the play As You Like It, Ticheli’s 10-minute piece is sure to be a memorable experience for all of us.  

We don’t want to give too much away, but if you would like to get a sneak peek and hear from the composer, don’t forget to catch this conversation with our Assistant Conductor Jacob Sustaita and Frank Ticheli below. We can’t wait to see everyone in action soon.  

A virtual conversation with Assistant Conductor Jacob Sustaita and Composer Frank Ticheli.

To learn more about our Beethoven’s “Eroica” concerts, please click here.