The Cat’s Meow! 8 Classical Selections Inspired by Feline Friends

031319_kitten_770x400Our friends over at Classic FM recently put together a playlist of feline-inspired classical pieces – some pleasant levity for your summer weekend! Below, we’ve included all of them as YouTube links, in case you don’t have Spotify Premium. Enjoy!

What animals have nine lives and are beloved by the internet and classical composers alike? Cats, cats, and — you guessed it — more cats. While kitties are favored in contemporary popular culture (memes, viral videos, #Instagram), they have also long dominated the hearts of humans throughout history and are reflected through past art and music.


Scarlatti: The Cat’s Fugue

Rossini: Cat’s Duet

Confrey: Kitten on the Keys

Prokofiev: The Cat (from “Peter and the Wolf”)

Fauré: Mi-A-Ou (from “Dolly”)

Anderson: The Waltzing Cat

Saint-Saëns: The Royal March of the Lion (from “Carnival of the Animals”)

Webber: Memories (from “Cats”)


Associate Conductor Roger Kalia Signs 3-Year Contract to Serve as OSM’s Music Director Through 2021-22 Season

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Associate conductor Roger Kalia recently shared some exciting personal news, in regards to his position as Music Director at Orchestra Santa Monica. The orchestra was founded back in 2012 by Dr. Allen Robert Gross, who served as the orchestra’s Music Director for six years. After Dr. Gross’ retirement in May 2018, Roger Kalia was selected as OSM’s new Music Director.

“My first season with OSM has been a true joy,” says Kalia. “I have enjoyed making music with our dedicated musicians, and working with our fantastic board of directors. We have such a wonderful orchestra, and I am extremely grateful to the Santa Monica community for your continued love and support. We have an amazing variety of music and guest artists planned for next season, and there is a great deal to look forward to. It is an honor to be your music director.”

OSM President Cindy Bandel shares Kalia’s excitement. “Roger is a true artist and our board, musicians, and audience members are all very enthusiastic about his leadership, talent, energy, and ideas. This three-year contract provides us with a good foundation for growth, both musically and organizationally, and we are all very happy to have a bright outlook for OSM!”

If you’d like to learn more about Orchestra Santa Monica, please check out their website!

SummerFest Kicks off with “A Salute to The Eagles,” July 4

Get set for summer! Celebrate the Fourth of July with great music in the great outdoors with Pacific Symphony at Pacific Amphitheatre (88 Fair Drive – Costa Mesa, CA 92626).

Tickets for this concert start at $25; tickets for children under 14 are half price in most sections. Call Pacific Symphony’s box office at (714) 755-5799 by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2 for best pricing and best seating or click here.

Remember: save your concert ticket for FREE entry to the OC Fair, July 12 – Aug. 11! With numerous venues, concerts, events, attractions and world-famous OC Fair concession stands, there’s something for everyone this summer!

Mythbusting the “Mozart Effect”

maxresdefault.jpgMany of us have heard of the “Mozart Effect” in some form or another—play classical music for your unborn or infant child and they’ll miraculously grow up to be intelligent. Admittedly, I know that even my own mother kept “Baby Mozart” and “Baby Beethoven” on constant loop at home and in the car when I was an infant.

This article from the Scientific American opens up with a statement that humorously sums up phenomenon that is the “Mozart Effect”:

The phrase “Mozart Effect” conjures an image of a pregnant woman who, sporting headphones over her belly, is convinced that playing classical music to her unborn child will improve the tyke’s intelligence.

Psychological researchers have been busting the “Mozart Effect” myth over the past two decades, but how about outside of the scientific community? It’s important that we ordinary people know what the original “Mozart Effect” study actually looked at.

A report from the Telegraph notes how Frances Rauscher’s original study found improvements in performance by college students who listened to a Mozart sonata before taking a test that measured spatial relationship skills; that spatial relationship skill tested if students could determine how a paper folded several times over and cut would look when unfolded—not quite the same as an academic test. There was no actual mention of IQ, or child development, in the study.

This isn’t to say that listening to classical music doesn’t have its benefits.

Exposure to classical music can inspire children to participate in its performance, which has shown improvements in general intelligence. A UCLA study found that among 25,000 students, those involved in musical extracurricular activities tested higher on SAT’s and reading proficiency exams. Music teaches discipline, which translates into better study habits, and learning to read music is like reading another language, on its own.

Regardless of fact or fiction, it’s important that we keep classical music alive throughout our own lives and the upbringing of our children, whether it be personal or educational.


Infographic via


This article was written by Alison Huh, one of Pacific Symphony’s Marketing & PR interns. Alison will be a sophomore at University of California, Berkeley, where she studies English. She was formerly a member of Pacific Symphony’s Youth Orchestra, playing flute.

A PSYO Success Story!

Below is a letter from a former-PSYO (Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra) member Daniel Smith’s parents. We’re very proud to acknowledge that Daniel has gone on to receive tenure as the Associate Principal Bass at the San Francisco Symphony! A huge thanks to his parents for sharing this touching letter.


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Daniel Smith, via San Francisco Symphony

“Has anyone ever told you that you look like Carl St.Clair?”

On a quiet afternoon, I’m standing in line behind a bespectacled gentleman at the grocery store,
who reminds me of the Orange County maestro that I always see dressed in a tuxedo. He responded to my question with a smile and said “Just my mother!”

After we both laughed, he offered me a warm handshake and introduced himself. I told Carl, “Thank you so much for the wonderful experience that our son Daniel had when he was in the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra!” Carl asked what Daniel was doing now, and I proudly told him that Daniel had just won tenure with the San Francisco Symphony as the Associate Principal of the Bass section. Carl asked if I would share his story on the Pacific Symphony Orchestra website.

Daniel was very excited as an 8th grader to be accepted in the PSYO, and he learned so much from playing in this excellent group as well as taking lessons from the Pacific Symphony Assistant Principal Bassist, Doug Basye. After three years with PSYO, he began playing with the American Youth Symphony, and was accepted in the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston. After graduating in 2013, Daniel’s professional career was launched. He was accepted on a music scholarship at Music Academy of the West, and later became the Principal Bass of the Santa Barbara Symphony. He also played with the San Diego Symphony for two years, and occasionally as a substitute bassist with various groups including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Chamber Orchestra and New World Symphony. In 2017, Daniel won the Associate Principal Bass position in the San Francisco Symphony, and in April 2019 received tenure.

At the request of my new friend, Carl St.Clair, I gladly submit this story of Daniel G. Smith and the start of his music career as a member of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra. My wife and I offer a resounding and heartfelt “Thank-you!!” to Carl and Pacific Symphony for the wonderful and career launching experience Daniel enjoyed as a member of PSYO!


Most gratefully yours,

Kevin and Karen Smith

Review: Mahler’s Titan (via LA Opus)

Our season finale has come and gone, and not without notice. Although we’re starting our summer season shortly—check out our SummerFest offerings here—a review of our last concert, Mahler’s Titan, has arrived via David J. Brown’s thoughtful LA Opus.

The concert began with Mozart’s 1778 Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major for Flute, Oboe, Horn and Bassoon.


[The] solo quartet were well matched (by and large the melodic materials are shared out pretty evenly, with all four getting solo moments in the sun and every combination of duet explored), and each player seized the opportunities for heartfelt eloquence in the Adagio’s melodic writing.

After a relatively short first-half and intermission, it was time for the behemoth Mahler work, his First Symphony.


I am old enough to remember when—at least in London in the ‘60s—Mahler symphonies in the concert hall were rare enough to be sought out and relished. Now, with Mahlerdolatory past the saturation point, one’s first reaction on seeing one programmed tends to be “again?… really?” And yet, a first-rate account of one of these behemoths still has the power to get under the skin and thrill and inspire an audience, and this was just what Maestro St. Clair and the PSO at beyond-full strength gave to theirs.


[The] symphony’s start—a sustained ppp A on all the strings over seven octaves—has a uniquely vernal and premonitory magic, and it was a tribute both to Maestro St. Clair’s balancing of forces and the Segerstrom Hall’s acoustic …

There was much detail to be relished: a chunky, feet-stomping Scherzo; just the right degree of glissando from the violins at the start of the Trio; the ear-tickling clarity of section leader Steven Edelman’s muted piano solo double-bass at the beginning of the slow movement; a perfect sharp-intake-of-breath pause before Maestro St. Clair unleashed the storm at the beginning of the finale.


Make sure to read the full review on LA Opus!


Reflecting On iTunes’ Past And Future In The Classical Sphere


A screenshot from the first-ever iteration of iTunes in 2001.

Gone are the days when our listening loyalties were limited to repertoire we already knew, whether it be local symphony recordings or famed performances like Jacqueline du Pré’s iconic Elgar Cello Concerto.

With Apple’s macOS update ending iTunes’ reign and the giving rise to streaming giants like Spotify or Apple Music, we classical-music listeners can look back on how iTunes helped make our favorite symphonies and musicians come to life at home, while also looking forward to where music streaming will take us.

This interesting article reflects on the evolution of iTunes over the past couple decades:

“In the beginning, and for many years after, there was only music, because music was the only option given the technology of the time… [Then] Apple began to pile on early; it added audiobooks support in 2002, then TV shows, music videos, and podcasts in 2005.”

This “pile” that Barrett refers to as a “toxic hellstew of technical cruft,” however, opened doors for a new concert-going experience, allowing us to watch our favorite performances by the Berlin, New York or Vienna Philharmonics with nothing more than a computer or iPod at home. Even the convenience of having all our media collected onto a single device—rather than various discs—was revolutionary at one point!

But what does iTunes’ demise mean for classical music’s future?


One of Spotify’s numerous Classical playlists.

Discovery—with the prominence of streaming services emphasizing exploration, we have more access than ever to discover new composers, different ensembles, rising soloists and more music in general. There also comes greater sharing capability with their open-access platforms and social media connectivity. More importantly, it welcomes younger generations of listeners that are growing up with these services. Who knows—someday, they may unknowingly stumble upon those same, familiar recordings you once treasured and see it as something new.


This article was written by Alison Huh, one of Pacific Symphony’s Marketing & PR interns. Alison will be a sophomore at University of California, Berkeley, where she studies English. She was formerly a member of Pacific Symphony’s Youth Orchestra, playing flute.