Listen to This: Nielsen’s Timpani Battle

We got together with Principals Robert Slack (percussion) and Todd Miller (timpani) to discuss Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable.” The fourth and final movement is a defining moment in the Symphony, as two timpanists go head-to-head trading percussive lines, leading to “The Inextinguishable’s” epic and emotional climax.

This symphony will be a part of “Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto,” featuring violinist Philippe Quint and guest conductor Rune Bergmann. Check out our website for concert information and tickets!

Arts Journalism is Making a Comeback

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In case you haven’t heard, Voice of OC started publishing Arts & Culture stories this fall!  With the decline in local arts coverage at The Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and OC Weekly, we are thrilled that there is a new player in town willing to take up the mantle.

Long-time Register theater critic Paul Hodgins and former Varsity Arts editor Heide Janssen have teamed up to produce arts stories worthy of Orange County. And they bring with them a stable of writers that you may recognize: Tim Mangan, Richard Chang, Eric Marchese, Kaitin Wright, Larry Christon, and Peter LeFevre. They will also be introducing new, diverse voices to help them cover the wide array of arts and culture found in communities throughout the county.

We love that they are able to produce high-quality stories by knowledgeable writers on a website that is advertising free!

Please join us in supporting their work by:

  1. Liking their Facebook page
  2. Subscribing to their free newsletter that will send all of the weeks arts headlines to your email
  3. Donating to their matching fund drive. Voice of OC is a non-profit news outlet. Every dollar donated by individuals up to $1000 between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 will be matched dollar-for dollar

Don’t Miss Sundays @ SOKA

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These 70-minute, informal concerts by Pacific Symphony have proved to be popular both for newcomers and longtime aficionados of classical music. An audience favorite (having sold out all three concerts last season), this series has become a wonderful tradition, showcasing Orange County’s own professional symphony orchestra in the acoustically brilliant Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo. This season will introduce Pacific Symphony’s new concertmaster and showcases works by Mozart, Schubert and Chopin. 

“Haydn & Mozart,” the first concert of the series takes place on November 18 at 3 p.m.
Principal Trumpeter Barry Perkins takes center stage in Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto. Then, Pacific Symphony’s new concertmaster, Dennis Kim, and Principal Violist Meredith Crawford are featured soloists in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. Considered “one of the most successful concertmasters in the world today,” (Royal Conservatory of Music) Kim was most recently concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic. 

Tickets start at $56 ($46 for students, seniors and active military families). Subscription packages are available at a 25% discount.

Buy Tickets

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Pacific Symphony Cellist Laszlo Mezo Performs Bartók’s “Romanian Folk Dances”

For your enjoyment, here is Symphony cellist Laszlo Mezo performing his favorite piece by Bartók: “Romanian Folk Dances,” arranged by Luigi Silva, Laszlo Mezo, Sr. (his father) and Laszlo Mezo, Jr.

Laszlo Mezo was born in Hungary to a family of musicians with over 200 years of musical history. His great-grandmother heard Franz Liszt performing live, and performed with Pablo Casals. His father, Laszlo Mezo, Sr., was an iconic cellist and soloist who personally knew Zoltán Kodály, and actually owns a few of Kodály’s manuscripts. Growing up, Laszlo spent a lot of time listening to concerts by his father’s quartet, the “Bartók String Quartet.” He also later performed regularly in the Bartóks’ house, now a museum.

The string quartets by Bartók and Beethoven are childhood favorites of his. He has performed all of the cello (and most of the chamber music) compositions of those masters.

Continuing the Gift of Music for All


Each year for the past 40 years, Pacific Symphony has brought season after season of outstanding concerts and enriching educational programs to roughly 50,000 aspiring musicians, classical aficionados and curious music lovers.

As we prepare for the season of Thanksgiving and end-of-year giving, the Symphony acknowledges all the generous individuals who have donated to the Symphony and the impact they have created through their time, talent and resources.

Donations are truly what make Pacific Symphony.

In fact, donations provide the essential funding for the Symphony’s acclaimed education programs such as Arts-x-press, a five-day summer program that immerses students in the arts; Heartstrings, a community-wide program that brings music to those affected by challenging circumstances; OC Can You Play With Us, a program that allows amateur adult musicians to play alongside Pacific Symphony musicians; and Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles, comprised of three ensembles that provides pre-professional experiences to youth musicians.

Pacific Symphony performing at the Great Park.

And additionally donations help community performances, such as Symphony in the Cities, an annual summer concert series that brings free music to surrounding communities, and Family Musical Mornings, a five-concert series that provides an entertaining approach of orchestra fundamentals for the entire family, through continued support.

Pacific Symphony performing at the Great Park.

Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair leads children in a conducting workshop at an annual Symphony in the Cities concert

This year, through Dec. 31, the Symphony’s Board Chair, Joann Leatherby, her husband, Greg Bates, and other longtime donors will match all donations to continue these education programs and to share the gift of music for all to enjoy, years to come.

To donate, please visit our Community Support Month page, or to learn more about how to support Pacific Symphony here.


The Wonderful Music of Oz: an interview with Kelli Rabke

No matter the version, L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” finds new fans with each generation.

Just what makes this story still so appealing and compelling after nearly 120 years?

“As many incarnations as that story has had, it is, at its very heart, about wanting the basic, simple things of life — [it’s] about human values and relationships, and wanting to be home, to be with family,” Rabke said. “Dorothy is on a search, she and her three friends all are, but they’ve had what they’re looking for all along.”

“There’s something in this show for everyone, whatever your musical tastes,” Rabke said. “There’s that ’30s, ’40s Hollywood sound of the original Harold Arlen-Yip Harburg classic film; the funky, Motown sound of ‘The Wiz;’ the modern, pop-influenced Broadway sound of Schwartz’ ‘Wicked.’

“I’m just so happy to be singing, especially when the music is Oz.”


You can read the full article, from the Daily Pilot, here.

Critics are Raving About Our New Series with KUSC


Post-concert party-goers enjoyed a unique experience, with games like corn-hole and life-size checkers, as well as a jazz band and cake pops!

We recently debuted a new series, called “Classical KUSC @ Pacific Symphony.” Over the past weekend, we had some great coverage of this new series – check out some excerpts, and links to the full articles, below!

Cocktails, cake pops and no intermission. This wasn’t your typical night at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall but an entirely new format geared toward wooing non-traditional audiences.

The 90-minute Vegas-length concert came with onstage program notes by radio personality Alan Chapman and Maestro Carl St.Clair.

It wasn’t your typical scene, i.e. squares need not apply. Concert black was ditched for casual wear and that wasn’t to one couple’s taste, “Can you believe what they’re wearing?!,” the outraged woman said.

via the Orange County Register


As an L.A. resident who also attends concerts in the OC and environs, I have been time and again impressed by the scrupulous care and thoughtfulness from the OC concert presenters – something that the LA Phil, for example, is sorely lacking.  A case in point – at last week’s all-Bernstein concert, the Pacific Symphony celebrated Bernstein’s centennial year with music inside and an afterparty outside in the plaza.  The Segerstrom Concert Hall lobby became an impromptu Bernstein exhibit with display boards and a pianist playing show tunes of West Side Story and Rodgers & Hart.  It was all very festive, immersive and fun!

via Classical Voice


Friday, however, happened to be one of those less formal nights orchestras sometimes offer, with less music and more chitchat, no intermission and post-concert festivities.

The jazzy “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs” featuring principal clarinetist Joseph Morris was almost too hot to handle. “Chichester Psalms,” with the Pacific Chorale and boy soprano Angel Garcia, was startlingly bright. Soprano Celena Shafer sang “Glitter and Be Gay” brilliantly, though overacted. The performances were such that Bernstein, along with baseball, became a theme of the weekend, since all the other programs had works he was known for conducting.

via Daily Pilot


A jazz pianist plays Bernstein’s lesser-known works for in the lobby before the show.