Pacific Symphony: March concerts

Here’s your quick roundup of Pacific Symphony events in the month of March, mobile-friendly and with links to tickets. There will be a total of 12 presentations.

Chief among them will be concerts previewing the orchestra’s first tour of China in May. The performers and repertoire are the same as on tour. Carl St.Clair leads a program with two orchestral showpieces as bookends, Ravel’s Suite No. 2 from “Daphnis et Chloe” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” (orchestrated by Ravel). In between, the orchestra welcomes back esteemed violinist Pinchas Zukerman as soloist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3. The Mussorgsky will be accompanied by striking visual animation created by eleven students from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Performances are March 15-17 in Segerstrom Concert Hall (tickets here). The concert is repeated, without Ravel’s “Daphnis,” on March 18 in Segerstrom (tickets) and on March 19 in McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts in Palm Desert (ticket info).

Zukerman will also give a masterclass on March 18, working with three students from Orange County. The masterclass will be held in Samueli Theater and the public is welcome. Tickets are $10.

The month opens with the third annual Lantern Festival (March 4), a free community event celebrating the return of spring and reunion of the family. A dragon dance, puppet show, Chinese folk dance, lantern making and more are featured. Watch a video of last year’s event. Tickets are free, but required.

Los Angeles-based composer Steven Mahpar will narrate his own “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” to open Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble’s spring concert (March 10). Conductor Gregory X. Whitmore continues the concert with two classics of the 20th century: Ralph Vaughan Williams’ gorgeous “The Lark Ascending” (with flutist Yuri Choi) and Paul Hindemith’s boisterous “Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber.” Free. Tickets here

On March 12, Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra and conductor Roger Kalia give their own ambitious spring concert featuring Brendan Faegre’s “Analog Intelligence (a 21st Century Dance Suite)” and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan.” Admission is free, but tickets are required.

The Family Musical Mornings series continues (March 17) with Kalia presiding over a program of music from popular video games, including “Super Mario Brothers” and “The Legend of Zelda.” The premise of the show is two kids getting lost inside their favorite video game. Popular classical selections by Wagner, Stravinsky and Mahler are also performed by Pacific Symphony side-by-side with Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra. Tickets here

Finally, on the pops series, Pink Martini returns (March 23-24). The stylish ensemble resurrects popular music of the past, with elegance and panache. Conductor Richard Kaufman and Pacific Symphony join them. Tickets here

Pacific Symphony: February concerts

Pacific Symphony will perform in 12 concerts during the month of February. Here’s your quick, mobile-friendly guide to them, with link to tickets.

Having forged a musical friendship with Carl St.Clair through solo appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, Ukrainian pianist Alexander Romanovsky, winner of the Busoni Competition at the ripe age of 17, in 2001, makes his debut with Pacific Symphony (Feb. 1-3). His vehicle will be the impossibly difficult and wonderfully barbed Piano Concerto No. 2 by Prokofiev. St.Clair and the orchestra open the program with the Third Symphony of Brahms. The distinguished American composer Paul Chihara’s celebratory “Wild Wood” from 2015 will also be heard, in the world premiere of a new version for orchestra. Tickets here

At 3 p.m. on Feb. 4, the musicians perform a shortened version of the same program without intermission. Chihara’s piece and the Prokofiev concerto are reprised in their entirety; the third movement of the Brahms provides contrast. Tickets here

The next installment of the Family Musical Mornings series is Feb. 3, an opera for kids program featured a masked ball for super heroes set to selections from Johann Strauss, Jr.’s “Die Fledermaus.” Roger Kalia conducts; students from Chapman University’s opera program sing. Two performances. Tickets here

The Symphony’s annual Chinese New Year celebration will feature a long list of performers and a program spanning Eastern and Western music (Feb. 10). Carl St.Clair leads the multidisciplinary extravaganza. Tickets here

The Cafe Ludwig chamber music series continues with a program that honors both the 100th birthday of Bernstein and the 80th birthday of Steve Reich. Music by Bernstein (the Sonata for Clarinet), Reich (the Quartet for two pianos and two vibraphones), Hanson, Schoenfeld and Ewazen is performed. Tickets here

Conductor Richard Kaufman returns to the Pops Series, this time focused on the “yacht rock” of Christopher Cross, the stellar guest on this occasion (Feb. 16-17). Tickets here

The month closes with three performances of Mozart’s final opera “The Magic Flute,” in semi-staged performances on Feb. 21, 23 and 27. Robert Neu is the stage director; Robin Walsh is lasted as  “puppet designer” (that should be fun) and Katie Wilson the costume designer. John Tessier (Tamino), Hadleigh Adams (Papageno) and Tess Altiveros (Pamina) head the cast. Tickets here

Student tickets for $10

Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, home of Pacific Symphony

Did you know that if you are a student you can attend most Pacific Symphony concerts for less than the price of a movie? These are not Rush tickets. You’ll have them before you arrive.

Join the orchestra’s Student Rewards program and get access to $10 tickets. Non-student friends and family can come along for just $20.

Sign up for the email newsletter and 4-6 days before each concert for which Student Rewards tickets are available (usually, every Classical, Casual Connections and Organ series concert; others based on availability), you’ll receive instructions on how to buy $10 tickets for the event. Go here to sign up for the newsletter.

There’s also a discounted subscription program for students who would like to go a little more often. Call (714) 755-5799 for more details on that.

Here’s a list of Pacific Symphony’s upcoming concerts.

Pacific Symphony: January concerts


Here’s your quick, mobile-friendly guide to Pacific Symphony concerts in January, with links to tickets. There are five concerts in all during the month.

The elegant and dashing violin virtuoso Ray Chen arrives Jan. 11-13 to play the greatest violin concerto of them all, i.e. Beethoven’s. On the second half of the program, guest conductor Michael Francis, making his debut with the orchestra, leads a rare performance of Elgar’s richly tapestried Symphony No. 1. Tickets here

The Grammy-nominated Russian-American violinist Philippe Quint then comes (Jan. 21) to lead the orchestra in a one-off performance of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” at the acoustically resplendent Soka Performing Arts Center. Tickets here

Later the same day, back at Segerstrom Concert Hall, organist Paul Jacobs, a national figure and local favorite, mans the Gillespie Concert Organ to perform a program of Bach and Liszt, including the Toccata and Fugue in D minor of the former and the mammoth Fantasia and Fugue on “Ad Nos, Ad Salutarem Unjam” of the latter. Tickets here

Pacific Symphony: December concerts

Here’s your quick, mobile-friendly guide to December concerts at Pacific Symphony, with links to buy tickets online.

Estonian conductor Anu Tali, recently picked by The Washington Post as one of the top “Female conductors to watch,” makes her debut with the orchestra in a program of Czech and American music (Nov. 30; Dec. 1-2). Smetana’s cherished tone poem “The Moldau” opens the proceedings, and Dvorák’s powerful and undervalued Symphony No. 7 caps them. In between, Gershwin’s Concerto in F gets a ride with noted Chinese pianist Xiayin Wang in the solo seat. Tickets here

Then the holiday programming gets underway. First, there’s “Nutcracker for Kids!” on Dec. 2, a condensed version of the classic ballet featuring Festival Ballet Theatre, Pacific Symphony, conductor Roger Kalia and a visit from Santa Claus. Tickets here

The annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah” (Dec. 3) is this year led by a very special guest, conductor John Alexander, recently retired from Pacific Chorale after 45 years as its artistic director. He leads the Symphony, Chorale and soloists in a complete performance. Tickets here

Pacific Symphony will be in the pit at Segerstrom Hall for 13 performances of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” with American Ballet Theatre between Dec. 7 and Dec. 17. That’s a lot of sugar plums. Tickets here

The “Holiday Organ Spectacular” rumbles in Dec. 19. Todd Wilson, head of the Organ Department at The Cleveland Institute of Music, takes charge of the mammoth Gillespie Concert Organ and Symphony musicians Ben Smolen (flute), Elliott Moreau (bassoon and saxophone), Barry Perkins (trumpet), Mindy Ball (harp), Robert Slack (percussion) and Timothy Landauer (cello) make guest appearances. Tickets here

Finally, the multi-talented Seth MacFarlane arrives (Dec. 22-23) to sing holiday tunes and selections from the American Songbook, all in the cool style of the Rat Pack. Actor Gavin McLeod is also on hand for “The Night Before Christmas.” Richard Kaufman conducts. Tickets here