Pacific Symphony: September concerts

The summer season ends with fireworks and the 40th anniversary indoor season begins with shooting stars this month.

The annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular, Sept. 8, features big works by Pyotr Ilyich and his Russian compatriots. The commanding Van Cliburn-winning pianist Vadym Kholodenko returns to perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and of course the same composer’s 1812 Overture, festooned with cannons and fireworks, ends the proceedings. Festive works by Shostakovich, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin are also performed. Carl St.Clair conducts. Tickets here

The opening night concerts, led by St.Clair on Sept. 27-29, are a kind of 40th birthday party for the Symphony (founded in 1978). The orchestra’s first composer-in-residence, Frank Ticheli, is back with a new version of his Shooting Stars; new concertmaster Dennis Kim and principal violist Meredith Crawford step forward to solo in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante; the eloquent pianist Olga Kern takes on Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3; and, wrapping it all up, a special performance of Ravel’s Boléro, played in tandem with a special film tracing the orchestra’s 40-year history. Tickets here

Our newly named Sunday Matinées series opens the next day (Sept. 30) with a slightly shortened version of the above (Rachmaninoff and Ravel). Tickets here –TM

Single tickets on sale, suggestions made

Tickets to individual concerts in Pacific Symphony’s 2018-2019 season go on sale today. This next season marks the orchestra’s 40th anniversary.

The offer includes classical concerts, pops concerts, and special events.* Go to pacificsymphony.org or call (714) 755-5799.

Go to the All Concerts page if you would like to scroll through the season schedule.

But wait, there’s more. If you’re having trouble choosing a concert you’d like to buy tickets for, I’m here to help. As a longtime music critic, and before that a record store clerk, I have plenty of experience making recommendations.

So, drop me a line at tmangan@pacificsymphony.org if you’d like a suggestion or two of concerts that I think you’ll enjoy. For my reference, please include some of your favorite pieces and/or favorite performances you’ve attended. I’ll send you a personalized selection in response. For free.

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Connections series renamed, programming set

Pacific Symphony has changed the name of its long-running Sunday Casual Connections series to Sunday Matinees. The substance of the series remains the same: The four concerts each are performed without intermission and last about 90 minutes. Carl St.Clair conducts and offers commentary on the pieces performed.

Subscription brochures for the series were sent out last week, and programming has been finalized. Sunday Matinees opens on Sept. 30 with pianist Olga Kern joining the orchestra for Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. St.Clair and the ensemble close with Ravel’s “Boléro.”

Concert two in the series (Oct. 28) celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia with a performance of Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.” A specially-produced video will be part of the presentation.

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Special screening of ‘Ellis Island: The Dream of America with Pacific Symphony’ slated for Musco Center

Pacific Symphony announced today a free, public screening of Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America with Pacific Symphony” at 8 p.m. on June 29 at the Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University. The screening features the PBS broadcast version of “Ellis Island,” taped at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in 2017 with conductor Carl St.Clair, Pacific Symphony and a number of guest artists. The nationwide broadcast premiere is later that night, at 10 p.m., as part of the long-running “Great Performances” series. (Check local listings.)

Using texts from the Ellis Island Oral History Project and archival Ellis Island images in combination with an original orchestral score, “Ellis Island” traces seven first-hand accounts of immigrants, narrated by guest stars Barry Bostwick, Camryn Manheim, Michael Nouri, Lesley Fera, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Samantha Sloyan and Kira Sternbach. More than 40 percent of the U.S. population can track their ancestry through Ellis Island.

“This screening of the U.S. broadcast premiere of Peter Boyer’s ‘Ellis Island: The Dream of America with Pacific Symphony’ on PBS’s ‘Great Performances’ is the culmination of a year marked with brilliant artistic milestones,” said Pacific Symphony president John Forsyte. “In April the orchestra made its Carnegie Hall debut to critical acclaim. And the following month the Symphony was warmly received during its first-ever tour of China.

“These significant landmarks, along with the national PBS special, are broadening Pacific Symphony’s audiences while increasing its national and international reputation. We thank Paul Musco and Musco Center for the Arts for providing world-class facilities to Pacific Symphony for this special occasion.”

PBS SoCal (KOCE) has also announced its broadcast schedule for “Ellis Island.” It will air first at 10 p.m. on June 29 on PBS SoCal 1, with repeat broadcasts on the same channel at 4 p.m. June 30; 7 p.m. July 4; and 1 a.m. July 5. PBS SoCal 2 will air “Ellis Island” twice on July 5 (at 7 and 11 p.m.) and four times on July 6 (at 4, 8 and 11 a.m., and 3 p.m.).

The June 29 screening at Musco is produced by Pacific Symphony in association with PBS SoCal. It will include brief interviews with composer Boyer and Nasser Kazeminy, chairman of the Ellis Island Honors Society. Free tickets are available by calling the Pacific Symphony box office at (714) 755-5799. A meet-and-greet with Boyer will be held in the Musco lobby, following the screening.

Shanghai, Tuesday evening

Off last night (Tuesday) in a van, weaving through the streets into an older part of Shanghai, for a fan/media event. Violinist Pinchas Zukerman (our soloist on tour) and conductor Carl St.Clair chatted about the world of classical music and their previous experiences in China along the way, and then we arrived at the venue, what we would call a small independent book store with a gathering place for events in the back.

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