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.

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.

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.

Reflections: Verdi’s Otello

“Pacific Symphony Mounts a Surefire Production of Verdi’s Otello” — Voice of OC

For the 10th anniversary of Pacific Symphony’s opera initiative, Carl St.Clair conducted the orchestra, Pacific Chorale and a stellar cast of singers in Verdi’s greatest dramatic masterpiece, Otello. The audience cheered and critics raved.


“It’s luxury casting to have a full symphony orchestra play this music and St.Clair and the Pacific musicians sounded ready for it…Positioned in the loft above the orchestra, the recently Grammy-winning Pacific Chorale gave a fit and trim account of the extensive parts for chorus…Tenor Carl Tanner reprised the title role that he sang at the Metropolitan Opera in a commanding performance…Baritone Stephen Powell clearly enjoyed singing Iago, not with a villainous twirling of mustaches or overplaying, but by savoring the words and phrases as if they were evil chocolate morsels…Making her debut in the role, soprano Kelebogile Besong provided a fragile and vulnerable account of the doomed Desdemona. Her tones shimmered, her phrases filigreed.” 

Classical Voice

A Powerhouse Otello…American tenor Carl Tanner gave the finest singing of the evening as the tragic moor Otello…Like the great Otellos of the past—Ramon Vinay, Jon Vickers, Placido Domingo—Tanner successfully portrayed Otello as a great warrior and a romantic hero who tragically falls victim to blind jealousy…The Pacific Chorale sang and acted magnificently in the Act 1 storm chorus and the campfire drinking chorus, as well as the Act 3 assembly scene.”  

Click here for more information on Pacific Symphony’s opera initiative, Opera FOCUS.

Opera FOCUS Dinner
1) Gary Good welcoming opera-lovers to the OperaFocus Dinner. 2) Concertmaster Dennis Kim plays “Meditation” from Thais by Massenet in honor of Paul Musco and Carlos Mollura. 3) Ellie and Mike Gordon. 4) Music Director Carl St.Clair and Dennis Kim. 5) Assistant Conductor Jacob Sustaita, Stage Director Robert Neu and Volunteer Sonia Levitin. 6) Drs. Hana and Francisco Ayala, Ruth Ann and John Evans, chairman of the board. 7) Tawny Nguyen, Robert Neu and Mark Nielsen

Opera Performance
1) The opera begins with a fierce storm, but Otello steers his boat safely into the harbor of Cyprus. 2) Celebration over the arrival of Otello. 3) Otello (Carl Tanner) greets his wife Desdemona (Kelebogile Besong). 4) Sadistic Iago (Stephen Powell) plants a seed of jealousy in Otello’s mind. 5) Emilia (Margaret Lattimore) counsels Desdemona. 6) Iago rejoices and proclaims his belief in a cruel God. 7) Desdemona prays. 8) Otello confronts Desdemona, while she proclaims her innocence. 9) Final bows

Photo Credits: Doug Gifford

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!


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


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


  • 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)


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)


  • 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)


  • 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)


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


  • 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.

Meet the Symphony’s Orchestra Librarian

Image Description: Sheet music and folders for the upcoming Zhang Plays Rach 2 concerts. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 on the left, Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun in the middle and Stravinsky’s 1945 Firebird Suite on the right.  

While patrons don’t often get to see an orchestra librarian, they are an important part of every orchestra. Pacific Symphony’s librarian is Alison Spaeth.  

An alumna of the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati College, Alison graduated with a Clarinet Performance degree. She first learned about the job after meeting Wendy Skoczen, who is now Chief Librarian for the Met Opera. At the time, Alison was looking around for an alternative to a performance career that would still keep her close to the classical music community. It didn’t take her too long to decide that this was what she wanted to do. She was an Assistant Librarian at the Cincinnati Symphony and Principal Librarian at the Austin Symphony prior to coming to Pacific Symphony.  

The Orchestra Librarian’s space is located in the basement at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Despite the fact that her work is primarily done behind the scenes, Alison still gets to interact with a wide variety of people inside and outside the organization. This list includes artistic staff, music publishers, string principals, conductors, the personnel manager, operations staff and orchestra musicians. Alison is at every rehearsal and concert. Her most visible job during concert duty is placing the conductor’s scores. Her most important job during concert duty is being present in case of a music emergency (a last-minute adjustment from the music director or a part left at home by a musician).  

The photo above features the sheet music and folders the Symphony will be playing in the upcoming Zhang Plays Rach 2 concerts this week. Did you know that the library corrected over a thousand errors for the 1945 version of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite for the parts before they were distributed to our musicians? The task required two librarians!

One of the reasons why it required that many corrections is because the 1919 version has undergone several revisions by expert editors. However, the 1945 version remains under copyright and can only be rented from a single source. If an orchestra wants to perform Stravinsky’s later version of Firebird Suite (which is somewhat reorchestrated and contains two extra movements) they have no option other than to rent the materials knowing that the parts are not entirely performance-ready. The publisher has little motivation to issue a corrected printing since they maintain the sole source for it.  

There’s so much that goes on before, during and after a concert. Sometimes going unseen and unneeded is a sign of great success in her job. If she can get through a rehearsal without a page-turn fix request, a question about a wrong note, or any discussion about the music on the page, then she knows the music was adequately prepared. The less time our musicians spend thinking about the ink on the page, the more time they can dedicate to music-making. 

We hope you’ve gotten the chance to get to know our librarian a bit better. Librarians are truly one of our community’s unsung heroes. How much did you know about the job? Let us know in the comments below! To learn more about what our Orchestra Librarian and Director of Orchestra Personnel staff members do, please click here

Pacific Symphony’s Online Store Gift Guide

The holidays are officially here and for those of you who get involved with gift buying, we know how crazy it can be. Is your game plan ready? If you still have to get a gift for a music lover in your life, here are some suggestions from our online store with additional tips. Thank you for choosing to shop with Pacific Symphony this season! You’ve got this.  


  • 4 Days until Black Friday (Nov. 26) 
  • 6 Days until Hanukkah (sundown on Nov. 28)  
  • 7 Days until Cyber Monday (Nov. 29) 
  • 33 Days until Christmas (Dec. 25)  


  • From 11/25/2021 – 11/30/2021, you’re invited to use code 20THANKS to receive 20% OFF every purchase for one order.  
  • From 12/01/2021 – 12/31/2021, use code GIVEAWAY to receive a FREE Chopin Tote Bag with every purchase over $50 for one order.  

The following portion of our guide will be divided into two sections: for kids and adults.   

BOOK: A Child’s Introduction to the Orchestra  

Written by Robert Levine and illustrated by Meredith Hamilton, A Child’s Introduction to Orchestra features 37 selections that help young readers learn about the instruments, music and composers who wrote the pieces. The book also includes downloadable music and poster.  

TOY: Ludwig Musical Bear  

Born in Dec. 1770 in Bonn, Germany, Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the world’s most beloved and admired composers. These adorable musical bears are premium-quality plush toys playing the artists’ most well-known compositions. It includes 40 minutes of high-quality recordings and is washable. 

TIP: If you bundle these two gifts, this would make a great break or even bedtime activity for your young ones.  

HOME: Pacific Symphony Classic Afghan  

Cozy is one of those words that defines the season. This throw is just that. This custom throw is approximately 48″ x 68″ with a generous 2 inches of fringe going all the way around.  

STATIONERY: Musically Themed Note Cards 

Musically themed note cards. Get it? Okay, we’ll see ourselves out. Now that we have that out of the way, there’s something special about a handwritten letter. When you visit the online store, you can pick from eight different themes.  

KITCHEN: Pacific Symphony Mug 

Do you have a Pacific Symphony fan in your life? Are you that fan? Don’t forget to consider this 11-ounce mug. Add a couple of candy canes and a pre-packaged hot chocolate with some marshmallows and you’re good to go. It’s also dishwasher and microwave safe.  

TIP: If you love putting hampers together, pair the throw and mug with someone’s favorite brand of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Additionally, you can also throw in some candy boxes or baked goods as well. You can easily make it the ultimate cozy kit for the biggest Pacific Symphony fan in your life.  

To view the full store, please click this link. Have a great and safe holiday season, everyone!  

Composer Frank Ticheli’s “All the World’s a Stage” Receives World Premiere Oct. 14 – 16  

Composer Frank Ticheli at the piano.

Specially commissioned for Carl St.Clair’s 30th anniversary career milestone as Pacific Symphony’s Music Director, Frank Ticheli’s All the World’s a Stage will receive its world premiere next week.  

A gift for orchestra and audience, this unique piece will encourage everyone in the concert hall to participate. From making air sounds to playing whirlies and even singing, the tasks will add an interactive element to the evening. Something like this hasn’t been done at the concert hall before.  

For those of you who may be wary, don’t worry, Carl St.Clair will teach you everything you need to know beforehand. You’ll only be joining the Symphony at the beginning and end of the piece. No prior music training required. Carl St.Clair will cue you when it’s time for you to join the orchestra.  

Formerly Pacific Symphony’s Composer-in-Residence from 1991–1998, Ticheli has a decades-long friendship with our community and also teaches composition at USC’s Thornton School of Music. Named after one of Shakespeare’s famous lines from the play As You Like It, Ticheli’s 10-minute piece is sure to be a memorable experience for all of us.  

We don’t want to give too much away, but if you would like to get a sneak peek and hear from the composer, don’t forget to catch this conversation with our Assistant Conductor Jacob Sustaita and Frank Ticheli below. We can’t wait to see everyone in action soon.  

A virtual conversation with Assistant Conductor Jacob Sustaita and Composer Frank Ticheli.

To learn more about our Beethoven’s “Eroica” concerts, please click here.  

Arts & Culture Events To Enjoy In Orange County This Fall

Image Description: Pacific Symphony led by Maestro Carl St.Clair on the performance platform at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA.

Orange County’s arts and culture scene provides a lot to look forward to this fall and Voice of OC has a great run down of everything going on. There truly is something for everyone, and we hope you get a chance experience the best our community has to offer. You can take a look at the piece written by Richard Chang, Kristina Garcia, Timothy Mangan, Eric Marchcese, Anne Marie Panoringan and Kaitlin Wright here

Mentioned in the article is our classical season opener, “Emanuel Ax Plays Mozart,” from Sept. 30 – Oct. 2. The show starts at 8 p.m. each night and tickets are still available. To learn more about the event, please click here. 

What events are you looking forward to going to this season? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for the shout out, Voice of OC!  

Celebrate Opening Night, Sept. 30

Can you feel the excitement and anticipation building? The fall concert season is about to begin. Pacific Symphony has planned an exceptional opening concert you won’t want to miss. Music Director Carl St.Clair leads the orchestra in a program featuring the internationally renowned pianist Emanuel Ax, who is known for his “thoughtful, lyrical, lustrous pianism” (The Washington Post). He will perform Mozart’s charming Piano Concerto No. 17. Maestro St.Clair concludes the concert with Tchaikovsky’s moving Fifth Symphony. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

For an enhanced experience, reserve an Opening Night Celebration Table or Ticket for “A Notable Gathering.” Be part of this one-of-a-kind Orange County special event, featuring a pre-concert cocktail reception and sumptuous dinner on the plaza, an inspiring concert, intermission reception and festive after-party. All proceeds for this fundraising event benefit go towards Pacific Symphony’s artistic, community and education programs. All guests are asked to provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test result within 72 hours the event. For more information, please contact Pacific Symphony Special Events (714) 876-2364 or Events@PacificSymphony.org

Get ready for opening night by tuning in to Symphony Mixer on Weds., Sept. 22 at 5 p.m. to experience Emanual Ax in conversation with Jacob Sustaita, Pacific Symphony’s assistant conductor. Watch the Symphony’s Facebook page for more details.

Happy Classical Music Month!

“Classical music is a celebration of artistic excellence. Great art endures through the ages, and in the United States we have embraced that great music and incorporated it into the American experience.” –former President Bill Clinton

In Aug. 1994, former President Bill Clinton declared September Classical Music Month in the U.S. Since then, fans around the country have been trying to find different ways to celebrate it each year.  

Whether you’ve just started listening to classical music or are a seasoned pro, know that it’s never too late to get started or to deepen your knowledge of the art form.  

Here are some fun suggestions:  

  • Pick a composer you’ve never listened to and put together an introductory playlist. You can even keep track of what you think about it on a blog or social media. 
  • If you’re a musician, create a video series of some of your favorite compositions and classical artists.  
  • Don’t forget to thank your favorite music educators!  
  • Look for volunteer opportunities to support your local arts organizations. 
  • Attend a Pacific Symphony concert! 😉  
  • If you’re looking for a way to end the summer season, our Tchaikovsky Spectacular will take place on Saturday, Sept. 11th at the Pacific Amphitheatre.  

How would you celebrate Classical Music Month? How has music impacted your life? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear your story. Thank you for your continued support during this unprecedented time.  

5 Tips on How to Listen to Classical Music


It has come to my attention that some people – friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, folks met at parties – don’t know how to listen to classical music. They are interested in getting into it (some of them), and they would like to try, but they don’t seem to have the slightest idea about where to begin. Maybe their intention to listen to classical music is along the lines of eating more broccoli (i.e. they’ll never do it), but the intention is there. They are usually a little intimidated by the prospect.

I’d like to help. And so, with no small trepidation, I offer the following hints. Call them common sense. Those who already know how to listen to classical music are dismissed.

1. Quiet

The first thing you have to know about listening to classical music, and probably the single most important, is that it demands your full attention, like reading a book or watching a movie. People aren’t used to listening to music this way anymore; our lives are busy, fractured and portable. We listen in the car, at the gym, on a walk, at work (while doing something else), as we wash the dishes or talk to someone. That is, we don’t really listen; we use music as soundtrack, or as background to multitasking, or as motivational beat to exercise.

But classical music, to be understood and appreciated, must be foreground. (Some people even find it irritating as background.) It is a narrative in notes. You must follow it, to hear what happens; you must participate in the experience. The best way to listen to it, therefore, is live (when you are more or less forced to), or in a quiet room, alone or with someone who knows not to talk. Turning out the lights doesn’t hurt. Your brain will do most of the rest, whether you know a lot about classical music or nothing at all.

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