Review: “Chopin’s Piano Concerto”


The Pacific Symphony’s intelligently planned first concert of 2019—Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, Chopin’s First Piano Concerto, and Prokofiev’s Seventh Symphony—was the perfect cleanser for any lingering holiday staleness. It was vividly played, insightfully conducted by guest David Danzmayr, and in Gabriela Martinez showcased a soloist who drew from the Segerstrom’s Steinway sounds that were an ideal blend of clarity and warmth.

When Ms. Martinez finally entered I did feel her opening solo statement in octaves of the first subject (Chopin in 1830 sticking to the Classical precedent of a second exposition led by the soloist) to be slightly underpowered—not quite the fortissimo he asks for. But then the crystalline beauty of her fingerwork was immediately in such exquisite contrast to the richness of the preceding orchestral tutti that to object would be churlish.

Throughout the performance, indeed, the most notable characteristic of her playing was a mellifluous songfulness that in the first movement really came into its own in the long passages where Chopin dwells on his second subject so much that it seems as if he cannot bear to leave it. Fine playing from first horn Keith Popejoy and principal bassoon Rose Corrigan of the passages where they counterpoint the piano line underlined how skillfully and sensitively Chopin could write for other instruments, and indeed the many felicities in the PSO’s fine account made me regret that Chopin composed so few works for orchestra.


This is an excerpt from the full review, which you can read on David J. Brown’s blog, LA Opus.

Interview: Gabriela Martinez

Genuine, charismatic and down to earth. Pianist Gabriela Martinez puts a smile on your face when you talk with her and grabs your attention when she plays. A truly gifted artist that the Symphony was honored to play with this past weekend.

Martinez performed Chopin’s First Piano Concerto, under the baton of David Danzmyer.

A Note on “The Magic Flute for Kids!”


We are thrilled to have the opportunity to present Magic Flute for Kids! again to our Family Concert audiences.  Mozart’s music has a purity and a playfulness to it that is particularly appealing to children, and the fantastical story featuring colorful characters provides a lively and engaging introduction to opera for children of all ages!

We are in our seventh consecutive year presenting an opera for children as part of our Family Concert series. Each year, in partnership with Dr. Peter Atherton (head of Opera Chapman at Chapman University), we work with our Maestro Roger Kalia to choose the most kid friendly and musically exciting excerpts for our young audiences. We then connect the musical pieces together with an original script and an educational pre-concert video. Performed by our incredible singers, local professionals and students and alumni from Chapman University, the story comes alive through their performances, supported by colorful costumes, life sized puppets, and projected visuals. And of course, having our amazing Pacific Symphony on stage and playing Mozart’s beautiful score while our singers sing adds to an incredibly musically rich experience.

If your child or grandchild has never seen an opera, this 45-minute version of “Magic Flute” will serve as an exciting, and age-appropriate opportunity for their first experience with this incredible art form, that combines instrumental and vocal music, along with drama, movement and costumes to create an impactful musical and theatrical experience. And our production this year will feature a special bonus: life size puppets, including a scary serpent and adorable magic animals.

We are honored and so grateful to Judge Warren Siegel and his wife Janet, who have underwritten our opera for children for many years. Thanks to their generous support, as well as the continued support of our beloved series sponsors Farmers and Merchants Bank, we have been able to make our dream of creating high-quality and engaging opera experiences for children a reality.


—Susan Miller Kotses, the Symphony’s Vice President of Education & Community Engagement

You can learn more about this concert or purchase tickets on our website here!