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.

Nowruz: Welcoming the Arrival of Spring

A Haft Sîn display.
Credit: Farhang Foundation.

The famous poet Rumi wrote, “Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” And certainly no season stirs the soul more than spring. March 21 marks the first day of spring, but for millions of people around the world it’s also the start of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. Nowruz, which means “new day” in Persian, has been celebrated for more than 3,000 years. Even Google has celebrated this holiday of rebirth and renewal with a special doodle depicting spring flowers and nature. 

This year, Pacific Symphony in collaboration with the Farhang Foundation, presents an intriguing concert conducted by Carl St.Clair on March 26 at 8 p.m. The program will feature classical works as well as traditional Iranian music.

The evening’s special guest artist will be Alireza Ghorbani, who is part of the new generation of Iranian singers of classical Persian music. Iran’s media consider Ghorbani to be one of the most important singers in the country: “Alireza Ghorbani is a professional and humble singer who, along with all of these traits, perseveres with exemplary work. He has collaborated with many leading composers. His eternal learning spirit has allowed him to step up calmly and confidently in leading the way forward for Iranian music.” 

Anoosheh Oskouian, who serves as a trustee of the Farhang Foundation and as a board member of Pacific Symphony, commented, “I am so pleased that the Farhang Foundation will again partner with Pacific Symphony to celebrate Nowruz, which marks the arrival of spring and rebirth of nature.” She continued, “It has been my dream to connect East and West musically with a special Nowruz concert onstage.” 

Carl St.Clair said, “Pacific Symphony values its position as a cultural resource and leader and we embrace Orange County’s rich and diverse communities through contextual programming. This is a way to connect on a more personal level and also reflects my own wish to enrich lives through the beauty and power of music.”

Are you joining us? Let us know in the comments below! To learn more about the show and get tickets, please click here.

Season Ahead: Sunday Matinees

Image Description: Photos of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (top left), Gustav Mahler (top right), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (bottom left) and Ludwig van Beethoven (bottom right).  

Weekends are a big part of our schedule here at Pacific Symphony. We know how important they are to you too. If you’re looking for new Sunday activities, we have 4 Sunday Matinee concerts this season for your consideration:  

  • Oct. 3: Tchaikovsky’s Fifth  
  • Jan. 9: Mahler’s Symphony No. 4  
  • May 22: Mozart’s Requiem  
  • Jun. 12: Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto  

Join us for an intimate and lively behind-the-scenes exploration of the classics! Concerts are 90 minutes long and include insightful comments from Maestro St.Clair. Doors open at 2 p.m. and the concert starts at 3. There will be no intermission for each show.  

To learn more about the series and get tickets, please click here.