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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GSOplay at the Gothenburg Symphony

GSOplay is the Gothenburg Symphony’s online series of high definition performance videos. “We release approximately two to three videos per month and normally the performances are available for viewing up to 30 days after the release date,” the website says. Currently, the page features a nice range of repertoire, including the Symphony No. 5 by Sibelius, the “Symphonie fantastique” by Berlioz and the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Stenhammer.

Above, Kent Nagano conducts the orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3.

Bernstein at the Skirball

I went to the “Leonard Bernstein at 100” exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon, an entertaining way to beat the excessive heat. The exhibit, which runs through Sept. 2, is organized by the GRAMMY Museum and curated by its founding executive director Robert Santelli, a music historian. I doubt that any exhibit could capture the plentitude and variety of Bernstein’s life, but this one — with genuine artifacts, as well as replicas and facsimiles — does a good job at showing just how central Bernstein once was in American life. Here are a few of the items that were on display. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

Entrance to the exhibit.

A photo of a young Bernstein with conductor Serge Koussevitzky, 1940s.

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Pacific Chorale announces 2018-2019 season

The Pacific Chorale, longtime artistic partners of Pacific Symphony and most recently collaborators on “The Passion of Ramakrishna” performance at Carnegie Hall, has unveiled plans for its 2018-2019 concert season.

The Costa Mesa-based resident choir of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, led by artistic director Robert Istad, will perform six programs as part of its subscription schedule.

A performance of Haydn’s oratorio “The Creation” launches the season on Nov. 4, in the Chorale’s first performance of the work in 45 years. Soprano Elissa Johnston (who recently sang with the group at Carnegie Hall), tenor Derek Chester and bass
Paul Max Tipton are the soloists; the Pacific Symphony assists.

On March 9 (2019), Istad and the Chorale offer a Baroque concert at the Musco Center for the Arts in Orange. Bach’s “Magnificat” and Vivaldi’s “Gloria” will be performed with the period instrument ensemble Musica Angelica.

A program of music by women composers is slated for March 30. Composers Hildegard von Bingen, Lili Boulanger, Gabriela Lena Frank, Alice Parker, and Rosephanye Powell are included, as well as a world premiere by Seattle composer and conductor Karen P. Thomas.

The season ends (May 18) in a concert featuring the group’s British composer-in-residence Tarik O’Regan. The agenda will include the premiere of O’Regan’s first commissioned work for the Chorale.

December is taken up with the ensemble’s popular annual series of holiday concerts, including “Carols by Candlelight” on Dec. 1 and “Tis the Season!” on Dec. 22 an 23.

The non-subscription concert (free) in the group’s annual Choral Festival will be held Aug. 12. Music by Mozart is performed with the participation of community singers.

In addition, the Chorale will make a number of guest appearances. These include performances with Pacific Symphony in a “Bernstein @ 100” program, Handel’s “Messiah,” for Chinese New Year, “Madame Butterfly,” Verdi’s Requiem and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, “Symphony of a Thousand.” The Chorale will also partner on the latter with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall (May 30-31, June 2).

Subscription tickets are available now in packages of 3, 4 and 6 concerts, ranging in price from $60 to $500. For more information, visit pacificchorale.org or call 714-662-2345.

Pacific Symphony 40th season announcement

By TIMOTHY MANGAN

Music director Carl St.Clair and President John Forsyte unveiled plans today for Pacific Symphony’s 40th anniversary classical season in 2018-19. The schedule includes eight subscription programs (in multiple performances) conducted by St.Clair, who celebrates his 29th season as the orchestra’s leader. The Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation again sponsors the classical series, which is presented at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa.

The season opens Sept. 27-29 with concerts that commemorate the 40th anniversary. The program will include a new version of Frank Ticheli’s “Shooting Stars,” written for the orchestra for its 25th anniversary and updated here; and a performance of Ravel’s “Boléro” coupled with a newly commissioned film documenting the history of Pacific Symphony. Van Cliburn competition gold medalist Olga Kern will also return to perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

The orchestra marks the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth in the season’s second program (Oct. 25-27). St.Clair leads this tribute to his mentor, which includes the “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs,” with Symphony principal clarinetist Joseph Morris as soloist; the “Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium),” with violinist Augustin Hadelich as soloist; the “Chichester Psalms”; and selections from his Broadway musicals sung by Celena Shafer.

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