Making Star Wars History

Pacific Symphony on the Celebration Stage at Star Wars Celebration 2022. Photo by Walt Disney Studios.
Pacific Symphony on the Celebration Stage at Star Wars Celebration 2022. Photo by Walt Disney Studios.

Pacific Symphony became a part of Star Wars history when they participated in the Lucasfilm’s Studio Showcase panel at Star Wars Celebration, Thursday, May 26 in Anaheim, California. Under the baton of five-time Academy Award-winning composer John Williams, the orchestra performed the live premiere of the new theme from the Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi series.  

Pacific Chorale opened the Obi-Wan Kenobi segment performing “Duel of the Fates” (from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) culminating in stars Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Hayden Christensen (Darth Vader) walking out on stage to greet the crowd. The original limited series marks a special return for McGregor and Christensen to the Star Wars franchise after their last performance together in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005). You can watch a more in depth interview the co-stars had with Star Wars Celebration host Anthony Carboni here.

Pacific Symphony looks on as Maestro John Williams takes a bow. Photo by Star Wars Celebration.

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy then came on stage to set the scene for a historic musical moment. “So, when we began working on Obi-Wan Kenobi, we were struck by the fact that he didn’t have a theme. How could that be? It is with profound gratitude and excitement I am pleased to announce that you will all now become a part of Star Wars history as the new Obi-Wan theme is played live for the first time ever,” Kennedy said. Maestro Williams received a standing ovation as he came out to conduct Pacific Symphony, with whom many of the musicians have worked with him on projects before.

After the orchestra played the Obi-Wan Theme, John Williams transitioned to Indiana Jones. “I know that this is a Star Wars Celebration but here’s a little piece that’s not Star Wars. But you might know it,” Williams said. The orchestra also performed “Raiders March” from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and “The Imperial March” from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Star Harrison Ford and filmmakers James Mangold, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall of the upcoming fifth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise took the stage to unveil an early photo from the film, and to wish composer John Williams a happy 90th birthday. As on all four previous Indiana Jones films, Williams is composing the score for the new film, which opens on June 30, 2023.

It all came to a close when fans started singing happy birthday to him as he left. Congratulations to everyone involved! It was an honor to be a part of that moment with all of you. To read through some of the highlights from the Lucasfilm’s Studio Showcase panel, please click here.

If you’re a John Williams fan, be sure to consider Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert in August and John Williams: A 90th Birthday Celebration in November.

All SummerFest 2022 concerts will take place at FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA and 2022-23 Pops Season concerts will take place at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA.   

What’s Happening Next Month: June 2022

The 2021-22 Season officially comes to a close this month. Thank you for joining us this season. We have loved sharing live experiences with you again. All performances will take place at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA this month. Here’s what’s going on. Until we meet again.

BLOCKBUSTER BROADWAY! • June 3-4 at 8 p.m. PDT

This was vocalist Chelle Denton’s video submission for Scott Coulter’s Give My Regards… A Competition Like No Other in 2020. Denton won the competition in 2021. You can read more about it here.

It’s a show-tune song and dance extravaganza! Celebrate The Phantom of the OperaLes Misérables, The Lion King, Waitress, West Side Story, Wicked, Carol King’s Beautiful and more in one thrilling, crowd-pleasing performance. The only thing better than spending an evening at a hit Broadway show is spending an evening with ALL of them. Jessica Hendy, Chelle Denton, Joshua Israel, Scott Coulter and John Boswell will join us in the second half.

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman.

To learn more about the show, please click here.

CINDERELLA – OPERA FOR KIDS! • June 4, 2022 at 10 & 11:30 a.m. PDT

This enchanting rags-to-riches fairy-tale opera adapts Rossini’s sparkling work especially for young audiences. From start to finish, you’ll be swept away by show-stopping vocal fireworks, toe-tapping tunes, high-spirited comedy and colorful costumes — all leading up to a happily-ever-after grand finale!

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Assistant Conductor Dr. Jacob Sustaita. This concert was rescheduled from Jan. 29 to June 4.

LOBBY ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Join us before the 10 a.m. concert (starting at 9 a.m.) or after the 11:30 concert (starting at 12:15 p.m.) for fun activities in the concert hall lobbies, related to the theme of the opera and exploring the Cinderella story from around the world.

To learn more about the show, please click here.

BEETHOVEN’S PIANO CONCERTOS • June 9-11, 2022 at 8 p.m. PDT

Before concert cancellations began all across the arts world, Alexander Romanovsky was set to play the first of four incredible Beethoven-only programs in March 2020. Here he is performing the Cadenza of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. This very special all-Beethoven weekend will finally take place this month.

An all-Beethoven weekend – in celebration of the iconic composer’s 251th birthday – featuring all five piano concertos with the lavishly talented Alexander Romanovsky. A weekend two years in the making.

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. PDT. The preview talk with Dr. Jacob Sustaita starts at 7 p.m. PDT. You can also listen to the podcast by Classical California KUSC’s Alan Chapman here.

To learn more about the show, please click here.

BEETHOVEN’S EMPEROR CONCERTO • June 12, 2022 at 3 p.m. PDT

Pianist Alexander Romanovsky. Photo by Daniil Rabovsky.

Pianist Alexander Romanovsky returns to the stage with one of Beethoven’s most beloved works—his Fifth Piano Concerto, “Emperor.” From sheer beauty to dazzling grandeur, the “Emperor” requires extreme virtuosity from its soloist, making it an ideal centerpiece in the hands of the talented Romanovsky.

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair. There will be no preview talk for this matinee performance. The concert will be performed without intermission.

To learn more about show, please click here.

MOZART & MAHLER • June 23-25, 2022 at 8 p.m. PDT

Awe is the only adjective to describe twin piano phenoms, Christina Naughton and Michelle Naughton; watch as they take Mozart’s rarely performed Concerto for Two Pianos to the stage. On the second half, Mahler’s popular Symphony No. 4 evokes memories of youthful innocence and rustic German countryside. We’re also excited to welcome the return of Soprano Cecilia Violetta López in the second half during Mahler’s Symphony No. 4.

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. PDT.
The preview talk with Dr. Jacob Sustaita starts at 7 p.m. PDT. You can also listen to the podcast by Classical California KUSC’s Alan Chapman here. This program was originally scheduled for Jan. 6-8, 2022.

To learn more about the show, please click here.

MAHLER’S SYMPHONY NO. 4 • June 26, 2022 at 3 p.m. PDT

Composer Gustav Mahler.

Inspired by a Bavarian folk poem and a song he wrote, Gustav Mahler’s fourth symphony is an exploration of the idea of heaven from the perspective of a child. Come experience the sunniest of all his symphonies.

PRE-CONCERT MUSIC IN THE LOBBY
Chelsea Chaves (soprano) and Dr. Cheryl Lin Fielding (piano) will be performing songs by Gustav Mahler from 2:30-2:50 p.m. His love of vocal music led him to incorporate it into some of his greatest works, including his Symphony No. 4.

Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair. Doors open at 2 p.m. PDT. There is no preview talk for this concert. The concert will be performed without intermission. This program was originally scheduled for Jan. 9.

To learn more about the show, please click here.

What show(s) are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments below! Have a great summer, everyone.

Orli Shaham Comments On This Season’s Final Café Ludwig Program

On May 8, we’ll be performing the Fantasie for Flute and Piano by Philippe Gaubert and a flute movement from Martinu’s Sextet, the Serenade for String Trio by Ernst von Dohnanyi, and we’ll wrap up the program with the fabulous Piano Trio by Maurice Ravel.

I love all the players on this program, as always: Ben Smolen, Dennis Kim, Meredith Crawford and Warren Hagerty. I enjoy this combination of Czech and French music that will “speak” to each other in this program. There’s a lot of intimate music making here, with small forces in each of the pieces. It’s a lovely way to end our Cafe Ludwig season, with these duos and trios, displaying the deep personal connections which we all have and which we’re all so grateful for.

The Ravel Piano Trio is one of my absolute favorite pieces of chamber music, so I’m particularly excited to play it with Dennis Kim and Warren Hagerty. It’s so perfectly thought out, so delicate, so full of imagination, and demands so much of each of the players. That’s one of the reasons I thought this is a perfect setting for it. Dennis and Warren and I have established a wonderful rapport together, and we’ve tackled chamber music in all sorts of contexts by now, and we’ve gotten to know each other well as players. We’re excited to come together as a trio and play a piece like this, which requires such cohesion among the players. It asks us to set a scene, without letting any part of that scene go untouched. It was the final piece that he wrote before heading out to the front, as a volunteer soldier for World War I. It was particularly important to him to make sure it was well edited and that everything was in place because he had a palpable sense that it might end up being his last piece. It didn’t, but he thought of it that way. In many ways, it brought his level of composition to an entirely different place than where it had been before, with that awareness that it might be his final statement. ~ Orli Shaham, Curator and Host of Café Ludwig

To learn more about the show, please click here.

Pacific Symphony Announces 2022-23 Pops Season

Pacific Symphony announces its highly anticipated 2022-23 Pops Season led by Principal Pops Conductor Laureate Richard Kaufman and underwritten by the Sharon and Tom Malloy Family.  

As a Season Special, Pacific Symphony will perform Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™ in Concert, Oct. 28-29 in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. The concert will feature John Jesensky conducting Pacific Symphony in performing live, to picture, every note from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™. Audiences will be able to relive the magic of the entire film in high-definition on a 40-foot screen while hearing Pacific Symphony perform John Williams’ unforgettable score live.

The 2022-23 Pops Season officially begins Nov. 4-5, 2022, with a tribute to legendary film composer Maestro John Williams in honor of his 90th birthday. Five other blockbuster shows in the Pops series include renowned artists across jazz, pop, disco, Broadway and rock: The Manhattan Transfer, Kristin Chenoweth, Gloria Gaynor, The Music of The Rolling Stones and Renée Elise Goldsberry. The finale of the 2022-23 Pops Season will close June 9-10, 2023, with Hamilton: An American Musical alumna and Girls5eva star Renée Elise Goldsberry. One additional concert to be announced

All concerts begin at 8 p.m. and take place at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA. Subscriptions for the seven-concert series are now available and start at $245. Single ticket sales begin in August and start at $35. Lobby doors open approximately one hour before curtain. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact our Patron Services team at (714) 755-5799, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or learn more at PacificSymphony.org.

Programs, artists, prices and dates are subject to change.

PACIFIC SYMPHONY 2022-23 POPS SEASON

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE™ IN CONCERT (Season Special)
Oct. 28 • 8 p.m.; Oct. 29 • 3 & 8 p.m.
John Jesensky, conductor

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™ Harry Potter learns on his 11th birthday that he is the orphaned son of two wizards and possesses magical powers of his own. At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy, he leans the high-flying sport of Quidditch and plays a ‘live’ chess game en route to facing a Dark Wizard bent on destroying him.

Relive the film that started it all. Watch the wand choose the wizard, a troll run amok and magic mirrors in high-definition while Pacific Symphony performs John Williams’ iconic score. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime event as Harry, Ron, Hermione and all your favorite characters return to the screen and enchant the world all over again.

WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names, and indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s22)

JOHN WILLIAMS: A 90th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
Nov. 4-5 • 8 p.m.
Richard Kaufman, conductor 

Pacific Symphony’s history wouldn’t be the same without Maestro John Williams. After all, it was Williams who encouraged his Boston Symphony colleague Carl St.Clair to apply for the music director position opening at Pacific Symphony after a trip in the late 1980s. The rest as they say, is history. The music of John Williams has transported us beyond our imagination. To new worlds. Through heart-pounding adventures. Be there as Pacific Symphony performs all your John Williams favorites: Superman, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and of course, Star Wars. The force is with you for this 90th birthday celebration of cinema’s symphonic master.

HOLIDAY POPS WITH THE MANHATTAN TRANSFER
Dec. 16-17 • 8 p.m.
Evan Roider, conductor

Warmth, joy and magic are only some of the words that can be used to describe the holiday season. Those are also the same words that can be used to describe jazz vocal group The Manhattan Transfer’s The Christmas Album and An Acapella Christmas albums. Founded by Tim Hauser in 1969, the group has gone on to receive both critical praise and commercial success ever since. Both holiday-themed albums include standards such as “Happy Holiday,” “Let It Snow,” “Christmas Time Is Here,” “Jingle Bells” and more. Celebrate the season with family and friends with Pacific Symphony in the holiday-decked Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Sparkling classics and favorites for the season—even a visit from Santa!

KRISTIN CHENOWETH
Mar. 10-11, 2023 • 8 p.m.
Mary-Mitchell Campbell, conductor

You may know her as Sally Brown from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Glinda the Good Witch from Wicked or Mildred Layton from Apple TV+’s Schmigadoon! but Emmy and Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth also has a rival solo career and has become a concert hall favorite. Her latest album, For the Girls, was released in 2019 and features hits such as “Desperado,” “The Man That Got Away” and “It Doesn’t Matter Any More.” Kristin Chenoweth joins Pacific Symphony for this spectacular concert of classic songs of love and empowerment. Entertainment Weekly raves: “her set-list spans so many different genres, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.”

GLORIA GAYNOR – THE QUEEN OF DISCO
Apr. 14-15, 2023 • 8 p.m.
Sarah Hicks, conductor

There is no doubt that Grammy-award winner and Dance Music Hall of Famer Gloria Gaynor is one of disco’s greatest icons. Before she became a solo artist, Gaynor started singing with the Soul Satisfiers in the 1960s. It wasn’t until the 70s when she really began doing things on her own. Since the release of her first studio album Never Can Say Goodbye in 1975, she has gone on to record more than 15 studio albums. Her latest album, Testimony, was released in 2019. She also won the first and only Grammy for Best Disco Recording for “I Will Survive” in 1980.

THE MUSIC OF THE ROLLING STONES
May 5-6, 2023 • 8 p.m.
Enrico Lopez-Yañez, conductor

Since their first live production of classic rock music with orchestra in 1995, Windborne Productions, Inc. have gone on to create several memorable tribute shows. The Music of the Rolling Stones features Mick Adams on lead vocals. Let’s spend the night together, when Pacific Symphony, backed by a full rock band, presents “The Music of the Rolling Stones.” A celebration of nearly 60 years of Stone’s hits. It’s a gas, gas, gas!

RENÉE ELISE GOLDSBERRY
June 9-10, 2023 • 8 p.m.
Richard Kaufman, conductor

Drama Desk and Tony Award winner Renée Elise Goldsberry made her debut as Nala in Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway and was the last Mimi in Jonathan Larson’s Rent, but it was her role as Angelica Schuyler in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical that recently made her become a household name. Principal Pops Conductor Laureate Richard Kaufman leads Goldsberry and the Symphony for an evening of renditions of some of her favorite songs and maybe even a few selections from Hamilton! Hear her golden voice fill the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in a collection of showstoppers as only she can sing them.

Pacific Symphony Announces 2022-23 Family Musical Mornings Series Presented By Farmers & Merchants Bank

Pacific Symphony today announced the 2022-23 Family Musical Mornings series presented by Farmers & Merchants Bank. The series includes 45-minute, kid-friendly concerts that engage and entertain young audiences, setting them on the path to a lifelong love of music. The Family Musical Mornings series comprises ten Saturday morning concerts, consisting of five programs with two performances each day at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Tailored for children and their families, each program explores a different theme and is designed to be interactive, engaging and participatory. Pacific Symphony, led by Dr. Jacob Sustaita, Assistant Conductor (and Music Director for the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra), is joined by singers, actors and dancers to take audiences on a musical journey through the secrets and inner workings of the orchestra with a captivating, multimedia format.

The Symphony gratefully acknowledges Farmers & Merchants Bank for its strong support as the presenting sponsor of the Family Musical Mornings series. Pacific Symphony’s President and CEO John Forsyte commented, “We are proud to be in partnership with Farmers & Merchants Bank, and we are deeply grateful for their past support and continuing commitment. Pacific Symphony can continue music education and family programming only because of wonderful investors like Farmers & Merchants.”

Tickets go on sale beginning May 2 and are priced starting at just $60 for five magical musical experiences. Subscriptions can be purchased by calling the Symphony Box Office at (714) 755-5799, going online at PacificSymphony.org or by mailing Pacific Symphony at 17620 Fitch, Suite 100, Irvine, CA 92614.

2022-23 FAMILY MUSICAL MORNINGS SERIES

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE
Oct. 22 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Learn about the magical, mystical powers of the orchestra through the eyes of a wizard’s young apprentice. You’ll hear selections from A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and even Harry Potter. Don’t forget to wear your Halloween costume!

NUTCRACKER FOR KIDS!
Dec. 3 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Festival Ballet Theatre – Salwa Rizkalla, Artistic Director

Visions of sugarplums and beautiful ballerinas will dance in your head after seeing Tchaikovsky’s delightful Christmas ballet, performed in a condensed version created just for kids. This annual favorite finishes with a jolly visit from Santa Claus himself!

GREAT MUSIC IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Feb. 22, 2023 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Experience the sweeping sounds of the great outdoors brought to life in the concert hall when Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra joins forces with Pacific Symphony for this side-by-side performance. You’ll hear the sound of swirling waters and majestic scenes from nature as painted by the musical pen of famous composers.

WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS, A DECADE IN CONCERT
Mar. 18, 2023 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Celebrating iconic musical moments from favorite films released over the last decade, this melodic journey explores Disney Animation’s latest stories through unforgettable film clips and scores performed live by a symphony orchestra. This thrilling performance includes music from Moana (2016), Academy Award-winning Frozen (2013), Academy Award-winning Big Hero 6 (2014) and Tangled (2010). Come dressed as your favorite Disney character!

HANSEL & GRETEL—OPERA FOR KIDS!
Jun. 3, 2023 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

This fairytale adventure tells the story of two hungry children lost in an enchanted forest, an inviting gingerbread house and a wicked witch. This kid-friendly production features spoken narration and acting, as well as the most charming and catchy tunes from the original opera, sung by talented opera singers.

All programs and artists subject to change.

Pacific Symphony Announces SummerFest 2022

Presented By City of Hope Orange County

Exciting New Location: FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine

Lineup includes The Music of Queen; Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert;
and the annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular with fireworks

Pacific Symphony has once again put together an entertaining SummerFest program for 2022. For this summer’s programming, all three concerts will be held in the beautiful setting of FivePoint Amphitheatre (located in the heart of Orange County) in Irvine. This attractive venue offers ticket buyers an opportunity to sit at tables directly in front of the stage, along with grandstand seating for a panoramic view. Prior to concerts, gourmet food trucks with a diverse array of offerings are available for picnicking. Sip some champagne, kick back, relax and enjoy the perfect soundtrack for summer evenings under the stars.

This season features the high-energy pop rock of Windborne’s The Music of Queen (July 4); John Williams’ thrilling soundtrack of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert performed live to film (Aug. 20); and everyone’s favorite summer finale: Tchaikovsky Spectacular (Sept. 4), featuring a medalist from the Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, who will make an important debut with Pacific Symphony. The combination of music under the stars, friendship, food and a relaxing atmosphere has attracted thousands of fans each summer to hear Pacific Symphony’s brilliant musicians, led by outstanding conductors like Music Director Carl St.Clair.

City of Hope Orange County is the lead sponsor of the series, and a new partner of Pacific Symphony. President and CEO John Forsyte commented, “City of Hope is building a comprehensive campus of the future in Irvine intentionally built around the needs of patients and their families. Pacific Symphony applauds City of Hope’s commitment to Orange County and we are proud to partner on the concert offerings this summer.” Annette Walker, president of City of Hope Orange County, added, “A healthy community needs advanced medicine to heal the body and the arts to replenish the soul. City of Hope Orange County is delighted to sponsor SummerFest and looks forward to seeing Orange County residents coming together once again to enjoy beautiful music.”

Tickets for SummerFest 2022 are now on sale. Subscriptions for the three-concert series range from $99-$299, with boxes and front-row packages available. Single ticket sales begin Tuesday, May 31 starting at just $39. All concerts take place at 8 p.m. Concessions are diverse and bountiful including food trucks selling Mediterranean, Korean and Mexican food. A wide variety of wine, beer and cocktails are available for purchase. Gates open at 6 p.m. for picnicking. For more information or to purchase tickets call Pacific Symphony Patron Services at (714) 755-5799, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or visit us online at PacificSymphony.org.

The SummerFest 2022 Season is generously presented by City of Hope Orange County. Additional sponsors include PBS SoCal, K-Earth 101, KPCC 89.3 FM and Classical California KUSC 91.5. Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa is the official hotel of Pacific Symphony.

Programs, artists, prices and dates are subject to change.

SUMMERFEST 2022 SERIES

JULY 4 SPECTACULAR: THE MUSIC OF QUEEN
Monday • July 4 • 8 p.m.

Albert-George Schram, conductor

Salute the Fourth with the ultimate celebration of one of the greatest bands ever. You’ll enjoy a night filled with the classic hits of Queen performed as you’ve never heard them before. The sonic power of Pacific Symphony joins forces with a full rock band to perform Queen classic songs in a brilliant combination of passion and power. Joined by high-energy band and vocalists Windborne, the orchestra performs hits such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are the Champions,” “Killer Queen,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and many more. A memorable evening complete with a sizzling Fourth of July fireworks show!

STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK IN CONCERT
Saturday • Aug. 20 • 8 p.m.

Richard Kaufman, conductor
WILLIAMS: The Empire Strikes Back (live music to film)

“You must feel the Force around you…”
The battle for the galaxy intensifies in this thrilling fifth episode of the unfolding saga. As Imperial Forces launch an all-out attack on the Rebel Alliance, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) flee to Cloud City where they are captured by Darth Vader. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) journeys to the mysterious, marshy planet of Dagobah, where the wise Jedi Master Yoda teaches the young hero the ways of the Force. Little does Luke know that all his Jedi training will be called upon so soon. A stunning revelation—and a seeming life-or-death duel with Darth Vader—await.

© 1980 & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.
Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts in association with 20th Century Fox
Film Corp, Lucasfilm and Warner/Chappell Music. © All rights reserved.

TCHAIKOVSKY SPECTACULAR
Sunday • Sept. 4 • 8 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Medal Winner of 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
(To be announced in June)

DVOŘÁK: Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1
TCHAIKOVSKY: “1812” Overture

No SummerFest is complete without Pacific Symphony performing Tchaikovsky’s thrilling “1812” overture, complete with brilliant fireworks. You’ll enjoy this famous romantic composer’s memorable First Piano Concerto, performed by a prizewinner of the 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

64th Annual Grammy Awards: And The Grammy Goes To…

This photo features Artistic Directors Grant Gershon, Robert Istad, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz and Luke McEndarfer during the presentation of Best Choral Performance. Photo Credit: Pacific Chorale.

Music’s biggest night was last night, Sunday, April 3. Hosted by The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, the 64th Annual Grammy Awards celebrated entries that were submitted between Sept. 1, 2020 – Sept. 30, 2021. We’re thrilled for the following Grammy award-winning artists who have performed with Pacific Symphony in the past and for those who are joining us next season. Congratulations, everyone! Enjoy every moment.

* indicates past/upcoming Pacific Symphony guest artist

BEST OPERA RECORDING

  • Glass*: Akhnaten
    Karen Kamensek*, conductor; J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Zachary James & Dísella Lárusdóttir; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)

BEST CHORAL PERFORMANCE

  • Mahler: Symphony No. 8, ‘Symphony Of A Thousand’ 
    Gustavo Dudamel, conductor; Grant Gershon, Robert Istad*, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz & Luke McEndarfer, chorus masters (Leah Crocetto, Mihoko Fujimura, Ryan McKinny, Erin Morley, Tamara Mumford, Simon O’Neill, Morris Robinson & Tamara Wilson; Los Angeles Philharmonic; Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, Los Angeles Master Chorale, National Children’s Chorus & Pacific Chorale*)

Fun Fact: The singers of Pacific Chorale were in rehearsal with us yesterday when news of their Grammy win came in. You can see their reaction on their Facebook page here.

BEST CHAMBER MUSIC/SMALL ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE

  • Beethoven: Cello Sonatas – Hope Amid Tears
    Yo-Yo Ma* & Emanuel Ax*

BEST CLASSICAL SOLO VOCAL ALBUM

  • Mythologies
    Sangeeta Kaur & Hila Plitmann*; Danaë Xanthe Vlasse, pianist (Virginie D’Avezac De Castera, Lili Haydn, Wouter Kellerman, Nadeem Majdalany, Eru Matsumoto & Emilio D. Miler)

BEST CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL COMPOSITION

  • Shaw: Narrow Sea 
    Caroline Shaw*, composer (Dawn Upshaw, Gilbert Kalish & Sō Percussion)

To see the full list of winners, please click here. Have a great week, everyone!

64th Annual Grammy Awards: Congratulations To All The Nominees!

This photo collage features Composer Clarice Assad, Artistic Director Robert Istad with Pacific Chorale and Sandbox Percussion.

Music’s biggest night is this Sunday, April 3. Live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be hosted by The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah. This will be Noah’s second ceremony as host. We’re thrilled that so many past and upcoming Pacific Symphony guest artists and Southern California neighbors are nominated in several categories.

Congratulations to all the nominees! We’re rooting for you!

BEST COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUAL MEDIA

  • One Night In Miami…
    Leslie Odom, Jr. (& Various Artists)
    Nicholai Baxter, compilation producer; Randall Poster, music supervisor

BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA

  • Speak Now [From One Night In Miami…]
    Sam Ashworth & Leslie Odom, Jr., songwriters (Leslie Odom, Jr.)

BEST ENGINEERED ALBUM, CLASSICAL

  • Archetypes
    Jonathan Lackey, Bill Maylone & Dan Nichols, engineers; Bill Maylone, mastering engineer (Sérgio Assad, Clarice Assad & Third Coast Percussion)
  • Beethoven: Cello Sonatas – Hope Amid Tears
    Richard King, engineer (Yo-Yo Ma & Emanuel Ax)
  • Mahler: Symphony No. 8, ‘Symphony Of A Thousand’
    Alexander Lipay & Dmitriy Lipay, engineers; Alexander Lipay & Dmitriy Lipay, mastering engineers (Gustavo Dudamel, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, Luke McEndarfer, Robert Istad, Grant Gershon, Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, Los Angeles Master Chorale, National Children’s Chorus, Pacific Chorale & Los Angeles Philharmonic)

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR, CLASSICAL

Steven Epstein

  • Beethoven: Cello Sonatas – Hope Amid Tears (Yo-Yo Ma & Emanuel Ax) (A)
  • Songs Of Comfort And Hope (Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott) (A)

David Frost

  • Glass: Akhnaten (Karen Kamensek, J’Nai Bridges, Dísella Lárusdóttir, Zachary James, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra) (A)

Elaine Martone

  • Archetypes (Sérgio Assad, Clarice Assad & Third Coast Percussion) (A)

BEST OPERA RECORDING

  • Glass: Akhnaten
    Karen Kamensek, conductor; J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Zachary James & Dísella Lárusdóttir; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)

BEST CHORAL PERFORMANCE

  • Mahler: Symphony No. 8, ‘Symphony Of A Thousand’
    Gustavo Dudamel, conductor; Grant Gershon, Robert Istad, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz & Luke McEndarfer, chorus masters (Leah Crocetto, Mihoko Fujimura, Ryan McKinny, Erin Morley, Tamara Mumford, Simon O’Neill, Morris Robinson & Tamara Wilson; Los Angeles Philharmonic; Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, Los Angeles Master Chorale, National Children’s Chorus & Pacific Chorale)

BEST CHAMBER MUSIC/SMALL ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE

  • Akiho: Seven Pillars
    Sandbox Percussion
  • Archetypes
    Sérgio Assad, Clarice Assad & Third Coast Percussion
  • Beethoven: Cello Sonatas – Hope Amid Tears
    Yo-Yo Ma & Emanuel Ax

BEST CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL COMPOSITION

  • Akiho: Seven Pillars
    Andy Akiho, composer (Sandbox Percussion)
  • Assad, Clarice & Sérgio, Connors, Dillon, Martin & Skidmore: Archetypes
    Clarice Assad, Sérgio Assad, Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin & David Skidmore, composers (Sérgio Assad, Clarice Assad & Third Coast Percussion)
  • Shaw: Narrow Sea
    Caroline Shaw, composer (Dawn Upshaw, Gilbert Kalish & Sō Percussion)

To review the complete list of nominees across all genres, please click here. To learn everything you need know about Sunday’s big night, please click here.

What’s Happening This Month: April 2022

April is upon us and that means we’ll be in Verdi mode for the next couple of weeks until April 12. Even though Otello wasn’t Verdi’s last work, people in his life still tried to find ways to encourage him to come out of retirement to work on this fate tempting project. All it took was Boito’s compelling first draft and a mutual love of Shakespeare prevailed.

Later in the month, the magic of cirque comes to the concert hall with Cirque de la Symphonie, April 22-23. There will also be two performances of Cirque for Kids on Saturday, April 23. We’re honored to be a part of the North American Premiere of Danny Elfman’s Percussion Concerto featuring British percussionist Colin Currie at Soka Performing Arts Center on Sunday, April 24. The month closes off with Yang Plays Rachmaninoff Apr. 28-30 and Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings wraps up their 2021-22 season with It’s All About Strings! on Saturday, Apr. 30.

Thank you for joining us! Here’s your monthly update.

Verdi’s Otello • April 7, 9 & 12 at 8 p.m. PDT

Love, betrayal and jealousy – all trademarks of great tragic opera – Otello embraces these themes to the fullest. Written decades after going into retirement, Verdi’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s tale takes you on a journey through a passionate romance destroyed by one of opera’s most loathsome villains. This will be a semi-staged opera in four acts, sung in Italian with English supertitles. There will also be an intermission after Act II.

Our cast includes tenor Carl Tanner as Otello, soprano Kelebogile Besong as Desdemona and baritone Stephen Powell as Iago. Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair.

To learn more, please click here.

Cirque de la Symphonie • April 22-23 at 8 p.m. PDT

Beauty, thrills and majesty! This popular troupe returns with a show featuring a jaw-dropping fusion of fliers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers and strongmen who perform their cirque acts while Pacific Symphony provides a soundtrack of classical masterpieces and contemporary favorites. They’ll be performing to selections from Chicago, Flight to Neverland, Swan Lake and more! Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Dr. Jacob Sustaita.

To learn more, please click here.

Cirque for Kids • April 23 at 10 and 11:30 a.m. PDT

Symphony + Circus = a spectacular show, created especially for kids! Experience a jaw-dropping fusion of fliers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers and strongmen who perform their cirque acts while Pacific Symphony provides a soundtrack of classical masterpieces and contemporary favorites. This fun and fascinating 45-minute concert designed especially for children 5-11. Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Dr. Jacob Sustaita.

To learn more, please click here.

This video was produced by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sundays at Soka: Percussion Concerto by Danny Elfman • April 24 at 3 p.m. PDT

Danny Elfman brings to Aliso Viejo the North American Premiere of a brand new percussion concerto, co-commissioned by Soka Performing Arts Center at Soka University and the London Philharmonic, performed by Colin Currie – as one critic put it, ‘surely the world’s finest and most daring percussionist’. Additional pieces include Golijov’s Last Round and Wineglass’ Alone Together. Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair.

The Percussion Concerto is co-commissioned by Soka University and the London Philharmonic.

To learn more, please click here.

Yang Plays Rachmaninoff • April 28-30 at 8 p.m. PDT

Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 is a work that leads you from gorgeous melodies to unforgettable themes, all without pause. Earlier in the evening, piano phenom Joyce Yang dazzles with Rachmaninoff’s tour-de-force of the keyboard, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. April is also a big month. Not only are we acknowledging Rachmaninoff’s birthday on April 1, Yang’s birthday is also on April 11. Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of guest conductor Maestro José Luis Gomez.

To learn more, please click here.

PSSS: It’s All About Strings! • April 30 at 1 p.m. PDT

Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings wraps up their 2021-22 season with a program of rousing and engaging works from many eras. From the ethereal beauty of Gerald Finzi to the brilliance and drama of Tchaikovsky, this program is sure to provide new and exciting musical vistas for all to enjoy! Admission is free, but tickets are required. Seating is general admission. Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings will be under the baton of Maestra Irene Kroesen.

To learn more, please click here.

What concert are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!

Café Ludwig’s Artistic Director Orli Shaham Joins Juilliard’s Piano Faculty

Host, Curator and Pianist Orli Shaham at the Samueli Theatre during a Café Ludwig concert.

The Juilliard School just announced that Orli Shaham is joining the prestigious school’s piano faculty in the 2022-23 academic year. Shaham is an alumna of the school (Pre-College ’93; and the cross-registration program with Columbia University ’97), and for the past two years has taught at Juilliard as an interim faculty member. Pianists Soyeon Kate Lee and Shai Wosner also join the faculty.

Orli Shaham says, “I am honored and humbled to join the stellar faculty at The Juilliard School. In my years as interim faculty, I’ve seen firsthand how brilliant and inspiring these students are, and I’m thrilled to continue to dig into it all with them! Congratulations, too, to my fellow new faculty members, pianists Shai Wosner and Soyeon Kate Lee, I can’t wait to work alongside you and the rest of the Juilliard faculty and staff.”

In a statement, department chair Veda Kaplinsky says that Shaham, Lee and Wosner each “embody the ideals that are so fundamental to our mission: a passion for teaching, a keen intellect and superb artistry. We look forward to having them join our exceptional faculty and to working alongside them.” Dean David Serkin Ludwig adds that they also each “possess the rare combination of great artistry and outstanding teaching ability that defines the Juilliard faculty.”

Orli Shaham, who was born in Israel and grew up in New York, is the artistic director of both Pacific Symphony’s chamber series Café Ludwig in Costa Mesa, California, and the interactive children’s concert series Orli Shaham’s Bach Yard, which she founded in 2010. Also a regular guest host on National Public Radio’s From the Top, she’s chair of the board of trustees at Kaufman Music Center in New York City.

This season, Shaham is releasing the second and third volumes of the complete Mozart Piano Sonatas. Her Mozart recording project also includes volume 1 of the Piano Sonatas and her album of Piano Concertos with St. Louis Symphony, all of which are part of her discography of a dozen titles on Canary Classics. After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Columbia University, where she participated in the Barnard-Columbia-Juilliard exchange, she pursued graduate studies in historical musicology at Columbia. She is a winner of the Gilmore Young Artist Award and the Avery Fisher Career Grant.