A Message from Carl St. Clair
While February is the shortest month of the year, the concerts you’ll be hearing are long on satisfaction. I will be opening and closing the month with two contrasting concerts. My good friend Yefim Bronfman makes a welcome return to perform with us after a two-decade absence (Feb. 2, 3, and 4). He will be playing Schumann’s great Romantic piano concerto, which was written for—and premiered by—the composer’s wife Clara. The program also holds selections from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s great tragedy of the young, star-crossed lovers. The ballet is two-and-a-half hours long, and Prokofiev created three orchestra suites from the music. To my taste, none of the suites is quite satisfying so I compiled my own. The selections I’ve chosen preserve the narrative of the ballet, telling the moving story of profound love, contentious quarrels, deadly duels, and the famous balcony scene set to some of Prokofiev’s most attractive and enduring music. This is the suite that we took on tour in 2006 to nine European cities in three countries. Pacific Symphony played it superbly to brilliant reviews. I know you will enjoy hearing it at these concerts or as the sole work on the Feb. 5 matinee program.
At the end of February, which is also Black History Month, we will be premiering the exciting new violin concerto by African American composer John Wineglass, which we have commissioned (Feb. 23, 24, and 25). Symphony audiences first became acquainted with the work of this multiple Emmy® award-winning composer during the 2020-21 season when the orchestra streamed Alone Together, which was a Pacific Symphony co-commission.
Our Concertmaster Dennis Kim will be the soloist for the new concerto. Sharing that program will be Strauss’ Serenade for Winds and Tchaikovksy’s Fourth Symphony, which will be repeated at the Feb. 26 matinee. I am pleased to let you know that John Wineglass will also work with Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles and young composers initiative while he is in town.
The month also holds a nostalgic pops concerts, Valentine’s Day with The Righteous Brothers (Feb. 10 and 11) and a Café Ludwig program featuring works by composers who all share a connection with California (Feb. 12). We close out the Lunar New Year celebrations with the popular O.C. Lantern Festival, co-presented with the South Coast Chinese Cultural Center on Feb. 18.
All in all, there is much musical excitement this month, and I know you’ll enjoy being a part of it.
William J. Gillespie Music Director Chair