UCI Long U.S.-China Institute Hosts ‘Beethoven in Beijing’ Filmmaker Webinar Ahead of Lunar New Year   

Image Credit: See attached hyperlink.

In 1973, the Philadelphia Orchestra made a historic visit to China. The visit was so impactful it helped rekindle in Chinese audiences a love for Western music after years of silence during the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976). 

Next week, join UCI Long U.S.-China Institute as they host a webinar featuring some of the filmmakers from Beethoven in Beijing. Panelists include director Jennifer Lin, conductor Jindong Cai and historian Sheila Melvin. The Q&A will start at 2 p.m. PST on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. 

Narrated by American and Chinese musicians and historians, the film explores the impact of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s historic tour on China both then and now. It is produced by History Making Productions. Here’s a brief clip.  

To watch the documentary ahead of the conversation, please click here. It will available from available from Jan. 17 – 26, 2022. To register for the webinar, please click here.  

Concert Updates for Cinderella–Opera for Kids, Lunar New Year and Cathedrals of Sound

Pacific Symphony announced today that Pacific Chorale and the American Feel Young Chorus will not be appearing on the Lunar New Year concert (Feb. 5). The orchestra also announced the postponement of “Cinderella—Opera for Kids” on Farmers & Merchants Family Musical Morning series and “Cathedrals of Sound” (Feb. 17-19). The common denominator among these three programs is the participation of vocalists, who are unable to rehearse or perform wearing masks, necessitating changes be made.

For the Lunar New Year concert, the two choruses involved—Pacific Chorale and the American Feel Young Chorus—will not be appearing on the program, although they will be seen on a pre-recorded mosaic video to the traditional Chinese song, “Swan Goose.” “Cinderella—Opera for Kids” has been rescheduled to June 4, and “Cathedrals of Sound” will be scheduled for the 2022-23 season. In its place, Carl St.Clair will conduct a program entitled “Beethoven and Rachmaninoff” (Feb. 17-19), which features Beethoven’s “Pastorale” Symphony and Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto with Italian pianist Alessio Bax as soloist.

Anyone holding either a 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. ticket for “Cinderella—Opera for Kids” will be able to attend the same program on June 4. Tickets for “Cathedrals of Sound” will be honored at the “Beethoven and Rachmaninoff” concerts.

With vocalists unable to rehearse or perform while wearing masks, officials felt these program changes and postponements were the best way to ensure the safety of audiences, musicians, volunteers and staff. Late January concerts remain scheduled as planned with robust safety protocols in place.

Pacific Symphony President and CEO John Forsyte said “We were fortunate to be able to postpone the Family Musical Morning ‘Cinderella’ program to early June and to make some modifications to the artist lineup for the Lunar New Year program. While we were gratified to be able to bring together an appealing program featuring works of Beethoven and Rachmaninoff with an engaging young piano soloist in place of ‘Cathedrals of Sound,’ our disappointment is palpable at needing to postpone to next season the world premiere of ‘Fiat Lux’ by the celebrated composer Sir James MacMillan. We know our audiences share that disappointment.”

We continue to take the ongoing commitment to the well-being of our audiences, musicians, staff and volunteers very seriously and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Thank you for your patience and understanding. For further ticketing assistance, please contact our Box Office by phone at (714) 755-5799 or email at boxoffice@pacificsymphony.org. To learn more, please visit PacificSymphony.org.

Valentine’s Day with Katherine Jenkins

We’re excited to welcome Welsh superstar mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins OBE in her Pacific Symphony debut next month.  

Since she burst onto the music scene in 2003, Ms. Jenkins has recorded more than 10 solo albums starting with “Première” in 2004. Her latest, “Cinema Paradiso,” will be the focus of our upcoming pops concert, Feb. 11-12, 2022. Some tracks on the album include “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Disney’s Pinocchio (1940), “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and “Somewhere/Tonight” featuring Luke Evans from West Side Story (1961) among others. Selections will be announced from the stage.  

Throughout her career, Katherine Jenkins OBE has performed around the world before patrons like presidents and the British royal family and embarked on several sold-out tours. She also has multiple collaborations that include duets with artists like Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo and Dame Vera Lynn. If you’re a movie music and classical crossover fan, you won’t want to miss this one.  

Pacific Symphony will be led by guest conductor Albert-George Schram and open the first half of the show. To learn more about the show and get tickets, please click here. To learn more about our commitment to the safety of our audiences, please click here

The 2021-22 Pops Series is generously underwritten by the Sharon and Tom Malloy Family.  

This Week’s “Mozart & Mahler” Programs Postponed and Rescheduled to June 2022

Image Description: Pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton.

The “Mozart & Mahler” concerts originally scheduled to take place this week, Thursday, Jan. 6 through Saturday, Jan. 8 and “Mahler’s Symphony No. 4” on Sunday, Jan. 9 have been postponed until June. Anyone holding a ticket for those performances originally scheduled will be able to attend concerts featuring the same repertoire June 23-26.

With many audience members and musicians traveling during the holidays or gathering together with larger groups, officials felt that postponing this particular set of concerts was the best way to ensure the safety of audiences, musicians, volunteers and staff. Late January concerts remain scheduled as planned with robust safety protocols in place.

Pacific Symphony President and CEO John Forsyte commented, “In consultation with guest artists, musicians and health experts, and given the proximity of these concerts to the holiday travel season, we decided to postpone the program. It was good fortune that Christina Naughton and Michelle Naughton, the brilliant piano duo scheduled to perform Mozart’s Duo Piano Concerto, will join Carl St.Clair to perform the program as planned this June.”

Forsyte added, “We want to start off the new year honoring our ongoing commitment to the well-being of our audiences, musicians and staff. We take that responsibility seriously, so we appreciate your understanding, apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to our performances later this month.”

All other scheduled performances are expected to take place as planned, including the next Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Classical Series concert Jan. 27-29 — “Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto” — and Lunar New Year on Feb. 5.

For more information, please call Pacific Symphony’s ticket office at (714) 755-5799 or visit PacificSymphony.org.


June 23-25, 2022 • 8 p.m. PDT

  • Carl St.Clair, conductor
  • Christina Naughton, piano
  • Michelle Naughton, piano
  • Soprano to be announced

Program: Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 10 for Two Pianos and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4

This concert is sponsored by Cunard, Suzanne & David Chonette and The Michelle F. Rohé Fund


June 26, 2022 • 3 p.m. PDT

  • Carl St.Clair, conductor
  • Soprano to be announced

Program: Mahler’s Symphony No. 4

Pacific Symphony Celebrates Black History Month with the Langston Hughes Project

©Roger Thomas 2015 – mingus999@hotmail.com / Ice-T and Ron McCurdy – the Langston Hughes Project Ask Your Mama; 12 Moods for Jazz / London Jazz Festival, Barbican Hall, Saturday 21st November 2015 / Ron McCurdy – trumpet, spoken word / Ice-T – spoken word / Yuma Sung – piano / Mark Hodgson – bass / Mark Mondesir – drums

 “…a raging, inspired revival that would make Langston Hughes proud… as relevant today as it was in 1960.” —The Guardian

Pacific Symphony will present and produce Ron McCurdy’s Langston Hughes Project at Irvine Barclay Theatre on Feb. 27. Carl St.Clair leads a multimedia concert performance of Hughes’ kaleidoscopic jazz poem suite titled, Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz. This is Hughes’ homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. It is a 12-part epic poem that Hughes scored with musical cues drawn from blues and Dixieland, gospel songs, boogie-woogie, bebop, progressive jazz, Latin “cha-cha,” Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indian calypso and African drumming—a creative masterwork left unperformed at his death.

This fully orchestrated work is enhanced through engaging videography. The multimedia concert performance links the words and music of Hughes’ poetry to topical images of Ask Your Mama’s people, places, events and to the visual artists Langston Hughes admired and/or collaborated with most closely over the course of his career. These include the African-inspired mural designs and cubist geometries of Aaron Douglas, the blues and jazz-inspired collages of Romare Bearden, the macabre grotesques of Meta Warrick Fuller, the rhythmic sculptural figurines, heads and bas reliefs of Richmond Barthé, and the color-blocked cityscapes and black history series of Palmer Hayden and Jacob Lawrence. Together the words, sounds and images recreate a magical moment in cultural history, which bridges the Harlem renaissance, the post-World War II beat writers’ coffeehouse jazz poetry world and the looming Black Arts performance explosion of the 1960s.

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.“

— Langston Hughes

More information or Tickets.

New Year’s Resolutions for Classical Music Lovers

Happy 2022! A new year begins and the Pacific Symphony team would like to wish you the very best. To kick the new year off on a high note, why not incorporate some new year’s resolutions specifically for classical music lovers. Here’s a list of five resolutions you might want to consider.

Get out of your comfort zone

Try discovering new artists, songs and genres! You may discover a talented, unknown artist before they get big. Venture out of your comfort zone and start experimenting with music. And if you usually attend classical concerts, think about trying a Pacific Symphony Pops concert like Welsh Pop-Opera superstar Katherine Jenkins on Valentine’s weekend (Feb. 11-12). Here, she sings the poignant pop song “I Believe” with fellow superstar Andrea Bocelli.

Share the gift of music

Giving the gift of music can be a life-changer! Next time you’re grabbing tickets to a show, select an extra ticket or two and invite a friend along. You’ll create new memories and help support your favorite symphony with a potential new fan. Consider getting dinner before the concert at the Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar across the street at the Avenue of the Arts Hotel and enjoy complimentary parking for the concert!

Get social

If you aren’t already following Pacific Symphony on social media, it’s time to check out what we’re posting in the new year. We provide previews of upcoming concerts, videos, quizzes, contests and more. We invite you to tell us how your concert experience was. Why not try your hand at being a music critic and submit a concert review? Please like, comment, review and share! You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Spotify.

Discover the world of opera

Consider attending an opera this season. Opera combines dramatic storytelling, compelling stagecraft and passionate emotive music. We’ll be presenting Verdi’s Otello in April with one of the leading Otellos of our day, Carl Tanner. Do you want to learn a little about opera in advance? Tune in to Keep It Classical’s YouTube channel to watch “Five Best Operas for Beginners—The Operas You Should See First.” This is a good introduction to the world of opera, in just 14 minutes!

Expand your cultural experience

Pacific Symphony invites you to live life vibrantly by expanding your cultural horizons. You can celebrate the Year of the Tiger with our annual Lunar New Year concert (Feb. 5) or our Lantern Festival (Feb. 26), an all-day free family event from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For Black History Month, you can experience The Langston Hughes Project, an exciting multimedia program celebrating African-American culture on Feb. 27. When the spring equinox approaches, you may want to consider celebrating the Persian New Year with our special Nowruz program on March 26.

What are some of your resolutions for the new year? Let us know in the comments below!

Celebrate Lantern Festival with Pacific Symphony  

Photo by James Pan.

Even though the exact origin dates are unknown, it is said that the history of the Lantern Festival may go as far back as the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.). Traditionally observed on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar, the festival marks the return of spring and reunion of family. This year, it will officially take place on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.  

On Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, join Pacific Symphony and the South Coast Chinese Cultural Center/Irvine Chinese School for the return of our in-person Lantern Festival. 

This free family-friendly event commemorates the end of the Lunar New Year celebration with music, dance, art making, riddles and food. Join us as the concert hall lobby becomes transformed for the festivities with floating lanterns and the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall is opened to the public for performances featuring local music and dance groups.   

Here’s a closer look at what you can expect.


LANTERN FESTIVAL (11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. PST):   

First Segment: UCI Dragon Dance Team, Pacific Symphony String Ensemble and Chinese Dance Company of Southern California  

Second Segment: Samulnori, Korean American Youth Performing Artists, Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles and Irvine Chinese Chorus  

Third Segment: New Orange County Children’s Choir, Viet Cam Dance (with Tawni Thanh Thảo Nguyễn) and South Coast Chinese Orchestra 

Admission is FREE, but tickets are required. Due to venue capacity, admission will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the course of the event. Though a ticket does not guarantee immediate admission, ticket holders will be given priority access. Be sure to print out all print-at-home tickets. To stay updated about our health and safety requirements, please use this link.  

In addition to performances, there will also be activities. Examples include a lantern installation, Lantern Decorating with Bowers Museum and a calligraphy station. While most of the activities will take place in the lobby at the concert hall, there may be some outside on the plaza as well. Activities start at 11 a.m. PST.


LITTLE LANTERN FESTIVAL (3:30 – 4:30 p.m. PST): Lion Dance, Chinese Folk Dance, Story of Lantern Festival, Wushu, Lion Dance Mask Demonstration, South Coast Chinese Drum Group and Lantern Parade 

This mini outdoor festival is particularly tailored for families with young children.

Have you ever been to one of our Lantern Festival events before? Are you joining us this year? Let us know in the comments below!

**Performances and activities are subject to change. Please check the website prior to your visit for updated information.

Celebrate the Year of the Tiger with Pacific Symphony  

Energetic, confident and determined are some of the words that can be used to describe those represented by the tiger. If you were born in 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998 or 2010, you are a part of this group. Starting Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, those who observe Lunar New Year, will be celebrating the first new moon of the year for the next couple of weeks. This is an important time of year for many in several Asian communities around the world.  

On Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, join Pacific Symphony for our annual Lunar New Year concert. All audiences are welcome. It will be an evening that will blend Eastern and Western music and dance. Here’s a closer look at the program. 


Ron Banks, emcee 

Bei Bei, guzheng  

Fei-Fei, piano  

Yunah Lee, soprano  

Nicholas Preston, tenor  

Wendy Hua’s Violin Studio at Orange County Music and Dance (OCMD)  

Yaya Dance Academy – Yaya Zhang, artistic director  

Chinese Dance Company of Southern California by the South Coast Chinese Cultural Center 

American Feel Young Chorus – Sam Wei-Chi Sun, conductor  

Pacific Chorale – Robert Istad, artistic director 


Li Huanzhi: Spring Festival Overture  

Bei Bei: Fireworks & Spring Awakens  

Byrne: Main Title from The Last Emperor  

Viet Cuong: Thu Dieu (Fishing in Autumn)  

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue  

Li Wenping: I Love China  

Dvorak: “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka  

Traditional: Kapoga (I Long to Go to My Hometown)  

Verdi: “Brindisi” from La Traviata  

Bernstein: “Make Our Garden Grow” from Candide 

Swan Goose  

America the Beautiful 

This concert is generously sponsored by Charlie & Ling Zhang. Pacific Symphony will be led by Maestro Carl St.Clair. To learn more about the show, please click here. Are you joining us? Let us know in the comments below!  

Pacific Symphony Welcomes Cunard as its Official Cruise Line

Luxury cruise line Cunard and Pacific Symphony are embarking on a new partnership, with Cunard’s exclusive sponsorship of the organization’s premier Box Circle Club. 

As the official cruise line of the Pacific Symphony, Cunard’s support will enhance the organization’s mission to engage, inspire and serve Orange County through exceptional music performances, education and community programming. Just as the Pacific Symphony’s vision is to lead a classical music renaissance in the community through creativity and innovation, Cunard’s credo mirrors those core values by providing an elegant and distinctive ocean travel experience featuring the line’s renowned White Star Service, and providing guests unique special event opportunities.

Cunard has long supported and been passionate about classical music, featuring musical ensembles each year on flagship Queen Mary 2. Most notably is the much-anticipated, annual performances of Sir Anthony Inglis and the U.K.’s National Symphony Orchestra.

The partnership with Pacific Symphony provides Cunard a rare opportunity for west coast cruise and classical music enthusiasts to learn more about the line’s sailings in the region, as Cunard increases the fleet’s presence in North America; Queen Elizabeth will be sailing north through Los Angeles en route to Alaska in late May, followed by her second Alaska season commencing in early June 2022.

“We are elated to partner with the Pacific Symphony, a beloved, cultural gem in Orange County,” said Jamie Paiko, Vice President, Sales, Cunard North America. “Our guests are passionate about classical music and we hope to have the future opportunity of bringing the Symphony on board a voyage for everyone to enjoy. We are eager to introduce Pacific Symphony and their patrons to Cunard’s signature voyages, and are excited to support such an important organization in Southern California.”

“Pacific Symphony is delighted to welcome Cunard as the exclusive sponsor of our Box Circle Club, and we are gratified that they have joined us as the Symphony official cruise line. Cunard’s guests and Pacific Symphony’s audiences share much in common in their love for the very finest in art, culture and world-class experiences,” said John Forsyte, Pacific Symphony’s President & CEO.

Sundays at Soka with Pacific Symphony 

Image Description: Inside the Concert Hall at Soka Performing Arts Center.

Nestled on a beautiful hilltop at Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, the Soka Performing Arts Center is Pacific Symphony Chamber Orchestra’s musical home. Originally designed by master acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, Soka has hosted more than 500 performances since its dedication on May 27, 2011.  

Led by Music Director Carl St.Clair, Pacific Symphony Chamber Orchestra will make its return to Soka’s 1,032-seat Concert Hall on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. Program pieces are George Walker’s Lyric for Strings and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Serbia’s Artist of the Century, violinist Stefan Milenkovich as the soloist.  

The video below features Milenkovich performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with RTS Symphony Orchestra in 2017. Did you know that he plays a 1783 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin? 

To learn more about the upcoming show and to buy tickets, please click this link.