Dan Brown’s “Wild Symphony” Introduces Kids to Symphonic Music  

VIDEO: Dan Brown and team members in a recording session for “Wild Symphony” with Zagreb Festival Orchestra.

International best-selling author Dan Brown released his first children’s book, “Wild Symphony,” last fall. The story follows Maestro Mouse as he recruits his musical friends to play in his orchestra. In true Dan Brown fashion, there is also an anagram on each page. Don’t forget to look out for the hidden letters that come together to spell out an instrument as you flip through. 

Primarily known for his novels “The Da Vinci Code” and “The Lost Symbol,” Dan Brown’s interest in music began as a kid. His parents were trained musicians and they didn’t have a TV so he started playing the piano. His interest in and passion for the art form grew from there. Music was his sanctuary and he still plays today.  

“Wild Symphony” features 21-tracks composed by Brown and performed by Zagreb Festival Orchestra based in Croatia. In addition to the book, there’s a free app that lets readers scan over the page to play the right song for the right character. You can also listen to the music separately. The book is illustrated by Susan Batori.  

Have you read “Wild Symphony” before? What did you think? What does music mean to you? Let us know in the comments below! You can learn more about the project here.  

Season Ahead: Sunday Matinees

Image Description: Photos of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (top left), Gustav Mahler (top right), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (bottom left) and Ludwig van Beethoven (bottom right).  

Weekends are a big part of our schedule here at Pacific Symphony. We know how important they are to you too. If you’re looking for new Sunday activities, we have 4 Sunday Matinee concerts this season for your consideration:  

  • Oct. 3: Tchaikovsky’s Fifth  
  • Jan. 9: Mahler’s Symphony No. 4  
  • May 22: Mozart’s Requiem  
  • Jun. 12: Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto  

Join us for an intimate and lively behind-the-scenes exploration of the classics! Concerts are 90 minutes long and include insightful comments from Maestro St.Clair. Doors open at 2 p.m. and the concert starts at 3. There will be no intermission for each show.  

To learn more about the series and get tickets, please click here.  

Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall 

 Pacific Symphony’s first rehearsal ahead of the inaugural concert in 2006. Photo by Jim Medvitz.  

Pacific Symphony has been fortunate enough to play in concert halls around the world, but there’s one special place we get to call home. For the past 15 years, we’ve been able to welcome millions of you to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. From our first concert on this day 15 years ago to our comeback with Pink Martini earlier this month, what a journey it has been.  

Recently, L.A. Times readers voted to include the concert hall as a popular regional pick in the 2021 Best of the Southland list for “Places to See a Concert”.  In addition to the concert hall, two of our SummerFest partner venues, The Pacific Amphitheatre and FivePoint Amphitheatre, were also awarded popular regional votes.  

Segerstrom Center for the Arts was awarded “Best Place to See a Play” in Orange County. It’s currently in the “Best of the Best” voting phase now. The voting period will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 10.    

Do you have a favorite memory at the concert hall? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear your story. We can’t wait to welcome you all back for the 2021-22 season soon.  

Arts & Culture Events To Enjoy In Orange County This Fall

Image Description: Pacific Symphony led by Maestro Carl St.Clair on the performance platform at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA.

Orange County’s arts and culture scene provides a lot to look forward to this fall and Voice of OC has a great run down of everything going on. There truly is something for everyone, and we hope you get a chance experience the best our community has to offer. You can take a look at the piece written by Richard Chang, Kristina Garcia, Timothy Mangan, Eric Marchcese, Anne Marie Panoringan and Kaitlin Wright here

Mentioned in the article is our classical season opener, “Emanuel Ax Plays Mozart,” from Sept. 30 – Oct. 2. The show starts at 8 p.m. each night and tickets are still available. To learn more about the event, please click here. 

What events are you looking forward to going to this season? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for the shout out, Voice of OC!  

Celebrate Opening Night, Sept. 30

Can you feel the excitement and anticipation building? The fall concert season is about to begin. Pacific Symphony has planned an exceptional opening concert you won’t want to miss. Music Director Carl St.Clair leads the orchestra in a program featuring the internationally renowned pianist Emanuel Ax, who is known for his “thoughtful, lyrical, lustrous pianism” (The Washington Post). He will perform Mozart’s charming Piano Concerto No. 17. Maestro St.Clair concludes the concert with Tchaikovsky’s moving Fifth Symphony. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

For an enhanced experience, reserve an Opening Night Celebration Table or Ticket for “A Notable Gathering.” Be part of this one-of-a-kind Orange County special event, featuring a pre-concert cocktail reception and sumptuous dinner on the plaza, an inspiring concert, intermission reception and festive after-party. All proceeds for this fundraising event benefit go towards Pacific Symphony’s artistic, community and education programs. All guests are asked to provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test result within 72 hours the event. For more information, please contact Pacific Symphony Special Events (714) 876-2364 or Events@PacificSymphony.org

Get ready for opening night by tuning in to Symphony Mixer on Weds., Sept. 22 at 5 p.m. to experience Emanual Ax in conversation with Jacob Sustaita, Pacific Symphony’s assistant conductor. Watch the Symphony’s Facebook page for more details.

September 11: A Remembrance

The final SummerFest concert falls on Sept. 11, this year the 20th anniversary of 9/11. In addition to presenting the traditional Tchaikovsky Spectacular program, the concert will open with musical homage to the bravery of so many Americans.

The Star-Spangled Banner, John Williams’ Liberty Fanfare, The Road Home by Stephen Paulus, Amazing Grace played on bagpipes and God Bless America will be followed by a moment of silence to remember the fallen. Pacific Symphony’s President John Forsyte provided the following note about the concert:

The first half of the Sept. 11 concert commemorates the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with works by American composers and a presentation by Brian Fennessy, Fire Chief of the Orange County Fire Authority. We honor and will never forget the 3,000 lives lost that terrible day. We honor the courage of those who put themselves in harm’s way to save people they never knew. We come together in gratitude for the strength that has fortified us across these 20 years and attempt to honor the legacy of those who were lost. 

We applaud the bravery of the region’s first responders, particularly as they grapple with the losses due to our fire season here and so many other challenges created by the pandemic.

We also salute the bravery of our women and men in uniform who, in the last few weeks, undertook the largest airlift in history under extremely dangerous conditions. We also offer condolences to the families of the service women and men and Afghan citizens who were lost during this valiant effort.

With the music of the Sept. 11 concert, we hope that you find joy, solace and a reminder of the power of gathering as a community to honor freedom, community and creativity.

John Forsyte

President, Pacific Symphony

For more information or to buy tickets for the Sept. 11 concert yet, go here.

Happy Classical Music Month!

“Classical music is a celebration of artistic excellence. Great art endures through the ages, and in the United States we have embraced that great music and incorporated it into the American experience.” –former President Bill Clinton

In Aug. 1994, former President Bill Clinton declared September Classical Music Month in the U.S. Since then, fans around the country have been trying to find different ways to celebrate it each year.  

Whether you’ve just started listening to classical music or are a seasoned pro, know that it’s never too late to get started or to deepen your knowledge of the art form.  

Here are some fun suggestions:  

  • Pick a composer you’ve never listened to and put together an introductory playlist. You can even keep track of what you think about it on a blog or social media. 
  • If you’re a musician, create a video series of some of your favorite compositions and classical artists.  
  • Don’t forget to thank your favorite music educators!  
  • Look for volunteer opportunities to support your local arts organizations. 
  • Attend a Pacific Symphony concert! 😉  
  • If you’re looking for a way to end the summer season, our Tchaikovsky Spectacular will take place on Saturday, Sept. 11th at the Pacific Amphitheatre.  

How would you celebrate Classical Music Month? How has music impacted your life? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear your story. Thank you for your continued support during this unprecedented time.  

ICYMI: Pacific Symphony and Other Major OC Arts Venues Announce New Vaccination & Masking Policies

In March 2020, after the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the entire performing arts industry experienced an unprecedented shutdown. After a year and a half of adjusting to conditions, Pacific Symphony and several major Orange County arts venues are getting ready to welcome patrons back to concert halls once more.  

While we’re excited to see you in-person again, the success in reopening live performing arts venues will rely on all of us to work together. In case you missed the initial announcement last week, here are some highlights:  

  • These updates are in effect for all indoor performances.  
  • Masks must be worn at all times.  
  • Fully vaccinated 14 days after the first or second dose of receiving a covid-19 vaccine. 
  • Anyone without proof of being fully vaccinated must provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to entering the theatre. 

As we continue to monitor industry and government guidelines, we will keep you updated as much as we can. Places where you’ll find reminders include (but are not limited to) our main website and social media and email communication channels.  

We know it has been a very challenging time but we want to take this moment to thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we move forward with upcoming 2021-22 concert season.   

Please save this link for future reference: https://bit.ly/PSVaccinationMaskUpdate.  

Superstar Soprano Renée Fleming Launches “Healing Breath” Initiative with Google Arts & Culture 

A picture of soprano and arts/health advocate Renée Fleming.
Soprano and arts/health advocate Renée Fleming.

Have you ever tried to hold a note or go through a phrase without taking a breath during a song before giving in? Looking at you if you’ve sung along to anything from Pavarotti or “No One Mourns the Wicked” before, for example. Whether you’re a seasoned performer or someone who just loves singing around the house, healthy breathing is essential to anyone who wants to prolong their tenure as a singer.  

Last week, world-renowned soprano and arts/health advocate Renée Fleming launched a program in partnership with Google Arts & Culture, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Louis Armstrong Department of Music Therapy at Mount Sinai Union Square. Dubbed “Healing Breath”, these breathing exercises were designed with health and wellness in mind. Particularly during the era of COVID-19, where shortness of breath is also a symptom. 

“Healing Breath: Breathing Exercises for Better Breath” Trailer.

In addition to Fleming’s videos, there are also videos from stars like Christine Baranski, Jamie Barton, Angel Blue, Lawrence Brownlee, Kristin Chenoweth, Kurt Elling, Denyce Graves, Angelique Kidjo, Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara and Vanessa Williams.

As always with these kinds of sessions, please don’t forget to consult your health care team before proceeding.You can go through the entire The Kennedy Center YouTube playlist here or check out the full Google page here. Most of the videos you’ll go through vary in length but can go up to 10 – 11 minutes long. Oh! And you may need straw. That’s all we’ll say for now. 

With discussions about mental and physical health happening across the industry, it’s so important to know where you are and what you need to do to take care of yourself. Especially if your in-person performance schedule is picking up again after more than a year or so off due to the pandemic. It’s not selfish—it’s self-care!

What does your routine look like? Is there a video you’re looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments below! 

Symphony in the Cities Returns to Orange County: Mission Viejo, Irvine and Orange

Pack a picnic, grab a lawn chair or blanket and gather the family for an evening of free music and outdoor summer fun! Now a long-standing summer tradition, Symphony in the Cities (SITC) brings thousands of people together for great music and entertainment in local parks each year. With a potpourri of popular classics, pop tunes and patriotic tunes, this year’s concert is led by Music Director Carl St.Clair and the audience is invited to participate in a sing-along of patriotic favorites.

And—back by popular demand—kids have the chance to learn how to conduct with Maestro St.Clair and later help lead the orchestra in Sousa’s “Hands Across the Sea” during the concert.


2021 Symphony in the Cities Dates and Locations

Mission Viejo • Saturday • August 14, 2021
“Prelude in the Park” begins at 4 p.m.
Pacific Symphony concert starts at 7 p.m.
Oso Viejo Community Park on the Village Green and
Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center
24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA

Irvine • Sunday • Aug. 15, 2021
Pacific Symphony concert starts at 7 p.m.
Mike Ward Community Park Woodbridge
20 Lake Road, Irvine, CA

Orange • Sunday • Aug. 22, 2021
Pacific Symphony concert starts at 7 p.m.
Aitken Arts Plaza at Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University
One University Drive, Orange, CA


Artists
Carl St.Clair, conductor
Rich Capparela, host
Fiona Shea, violin
John Buffett, baritone
Pacific Symphony

Program
Giochina Rossini: Finale from Overture to William Tell
Georges Bizet: Farandole from L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2
Max Bruch: Concerto No. 1 in G Minor for Violin & Orchestra III. Allegro energico
Arturo Márquez: Danzón No. 2
Ennio Morricone / Arr. Robert Longfield: Gabriel’s Oboe from The Mission
Alberto Ginastera: Danza Finale from Estancia, Op.8a
John Philip Sousa: Hands Across the Sea March
Aaron Copland: Selections from Old American Songs
Various / Arr. Bob Lowden: Armed Forces Salute
Samuel Ward / Arr. Greg Prechel: “America the Beautiful”
Irving Berlina / Arr. Bruce Healey: “God Bless America”
John Philip Sousa: The Stars and Stripes Forever