A Message from Carl St.Clair

Music Director Carl St.Clair. Photo by Marco Borgreve.

Welcome to what will surely be another exciting Pacific Symphony season at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, a true acoustic gem we are proud to call our home. Once again, we are deeply indebted to the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family for their extraordinary support of the Classical series. Through their tremendous philanthropic commitment, the orchestra has been able to perform the greatest masterworks, engage leading artists, and commission new American works. They are the first family of classical music in Orange County, and the musicians, Board, and I are truly grateful to them.

For our special pre-season concert, we welcome back our dear friend Lang Lang. He is a brilliant artist, and he performs Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No 2 on an all-French program that features music of Satie and Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition. For this concert we will be projecting on the large screen above the orchestra stunning new visuals for Mussorgsky’s virtuoso showpiece in a unique collaboration with our gifted colleagues at Orange County Museum of Art.

With the 2022-23 season, Pacific Symphony is entering a new era of discovery, exploring new musical experiences to share with our audiences. We look forward to introducing you to exciting new voices and music from around the world. Opening night will present a work by Viet Cuong, our new composer-in-residence. I could also call him an artist-in-residence because he will be contributing to our musical lives in so many ways. And, as a Vietnamese American, he will help us to engage in new cultural conversations with Orange County’s Vietnamese community, the largest in the world outside of Vietnam itself.

Complementing our incredibly exciting season, we’ve created many new and exhilarating musical encounters for you to experience. We are pleased to share with you the music of women composers from around the world: Mexico’s Gabriela Ortiz, the United Kingdom’s Anna Clyne, and Brazil’s Clarice Assad. The international surprises continue all season long, including guitarist Miloš from Montenegro, who will perform the work that could be considered Spain’s greatest export, Rodrigo’s famous Concierto de Aranjuez. We’ll have an exciting piece from the Polish film composer Wojciech Kilar and even music from 1920s France.

I think of this season as a multicultural mosaic of music, and I know you will enjoy it.

Carl St.Clair
Music Director

SUMMER’S GRAND FINALE: TCHAIKOVSKY SPECTACULAR ON SEPT. 4

Pacific Symphony’s SummerFest 2022, presented by City of Hope Orange County, comes to a dazzling finish—complete with fireworks—when Music Director Carl St.Clair leads the orchestra in the Tchaikovsky Spectacular on Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. at FivePoint Amphitheatre (located in the heart of Orange County) in Irvine. This attractive venue offers ticket buyers an opportunity to sit at tables directly in front of the stage, along with grandstand seating for a panoramic view. Prior to concerts, gourmet food trucks with a diverse array of offerings are available for picnicking. 

“An evening under the stars at FivePoint Amphitheatre and a program of music by Dvorák and Tchaikovsky is the perfect combination for a special evening. And it’s a fitting close to this summer’s season,” says Carl St.Clair. “When thinking of Tchaikovsky’s most beautiful, unforgettable melodies, the dramatic excitement of his driving allegros—this magnificent music reflects Tchaikovsky’s genius and reminds us all of its importance and relevance in our lives. It’s as powerful today as it was the moment it was first heard.”

Tickets for Tchaikovsky Spectacular start at $39. Concessions are diverse and bountiful, including food trucks selling Mediterranean, Korean, and Mexican food, and a wide variety of wine, beer, and cocktails are available for purchase. Gates open at 6 p.m. for picnicking. For more information or to purchase tickets, call Pacific Symphony Patron Services at (714) 755-5799, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or go online to PacificSymphony.org.

The SummerFest 2022 Season is generously presented by City of Hope Orange County. Additional sponsors include PBS SoCal, K-Earth 101, KPCC 89.3 FM, and Classical California KUSC 91.5. Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa is the official hotel of Pacific Symphony.

The concert opens with Dvorák’s New World Symphony, a work inspired by the pioneering and innovative spirit of America. After intermission, Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto opens majestically with thunderous chords in the orchestra followed by the piano soloist’s musical entrance. This work happens to be the very concerto the 23-year-old American pianist Van Cliburn played to win the First International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958 at the height of the Cold War.

June 10, 2017. Daniel Hsu from the United States performs with conductor Leonard Slatkin and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra on Saturday in the Final Round of The Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Carolyn Cruz)

Daniel Hsu, the 2017 Van Cliburn International Competition Bronze Medalist makes his Pacific Symphony debut at this concert. Characterized by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “poet…[with] an expressive edge to his playing that charms, questions, and coaxes,” Hsu is increasingly recognized for his easy virtuosity and bold musicianship. The concert concludes with Tchaikovsky’s stirring 1812 Overture, complete with brilliant fireworks.

Orli Shaham’s New Release

Pianist Orli Shaham

Just in time for #NationalPianoMonth! Artistic Director of Pacific Symphony’s chamber series, Cafe Ludwig, and one of Opening Night’s soloists, concert pianist Orli Shaham has released two new recordings that are a part of her multi-year endeavor of recording all of Mozart’s piano sonatas.

In this two CD set, Orli Shaham performs the ever-popular Sonata K.331, including the Rondo Alla Turca; one of the most technically demanding piano works by Mozart—the Sonata in D Major, K.576; and the Sonata in A minor, K.310, a work with enormous emotional depth. Orli Shaham commented, “These sonatas give so many insights into Mozart’s mind, his personality, and his soul, and reveal fresh ideas about the music and its meaning with every hearing.” The complete list of sonatas on Volumes 2 and 3 is below.

Improvisation is a big part of Orli Shaham’s approach to this music. For months leading up to the recording sessions, she worked on sections that she felt Mozart left open to improvisation, experimenting with all kinds of ideas. The result is a great sense of spontaneity in each of the sonatas she recorded. “The act of improvisation allows you to feel some sense of what Mozart would have felt. He was a real flesh-and-bone human being, for all his genius, just like us,” she said. Critics call Shaham “an intelligent and sensitive guide” for this music. Look for her new releases on Amazon, Spotify, and at your local record store.

ORLI SHAHAM, PIANO

Mozart Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 and 3
K.282 ● K.283 ● K.310 ● K.331 ● K. 332 K.545 ● K.576

Volume 2
-Piano Sonata in A Minor, No. 9, K. 310
-Piano Sonata in F Major, No. 12, K. 332
-Piano Sonata in D Major, No. 18, K. 576

Volume 3
-Piano Sonata in C Major, “für Anfänger”, No. 16, K. 545
-Piano Sonata in E-flat Major, No. 4, K. 282
-Piano Sonata in G Major, No. 5, K. 283
-Piano Sonata in A Major, “Alla turca”, No. 11, K. 331


Star Wars Recap

Thank you to the 9,000 audience members who joined us for our Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert live-to-film event on Saturday, Aug. 20. Thank you to all our costuming groups and cosplayers for coming as well. Were you able to meet any of them? The Force was definitely with us. We hope you had a great time. Here’s a brief recap of what happened.

Don’t forget to join us on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. at FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA for our SummerFest finale. To learn more about our upcoming Tchaikovsky Spectacular concert, please click here: https://bit.ly/pstchaikovskyspectacular.