Dr. Jacob Sustaita, Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles, Family Musical Mornings, and More!

Fall is my favorite time of the year. Yes, I celebrate my birthday at the end of September, but more than that, fall marks the beginning of a new symphony season, a new school year, and the return of our youth ensembles! There is nothing more exhilarating then hearing the first sounds of a youth ensemble playing together at the start of a new season. There is familiarity among the returning musicians, but there is also a sense of the unknown and wonderment. As the summer ends, and the first rehearsal of the new season grows near, I find myself asking questions like, “what will this year’s orchestra sound like and be like? What goals will I set for the year? What will be our biggest challenge?”

It takes about twenty seconds of playing before all my questions are answered and a million other thoughts and questions enter my mind. There is something very meaningful and joyful when I am with Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (PSYO). The connection I have with the students go far beyond the incredible music-making and energetic spirit that we share. When I look out from the podium and see so much talent and potential, it almost takes my breath away knowing what an honor it is to serve as their music director. It really is a dream come true.

The more I reflect on being a part of Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles (PSYE), the more I am thankful and proud of being a part of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) when I was in high school. I have the most vivid and specific memories of countless moments in the years I spent in YOSA that shaped my life as a man and musician. From the excitement and stress of that first audition to get accepted to the tour we had in Australia, it was my time in youth orchestra that showed me that I wasn’t alone in my passion and obsession with classical music, and those years, concerts, tours, and rehearsals–I can’t imagine my life without every one of those moments.

My experiences in YOSA helped me to realize that my life would always be about music and sharing music with others. Now, there were many other great musical moments in my life as I grew up but being a part of an ensemble that challenged me and taught me about responsibility and ownership as an artist was the greatest gift for me.

I ask myself from time to time – what is it that a youth ensemble can provide? Why would a young musician want to be a part of a youth ensemble? The answers are always the same. A youth ensemble brings young people together from a larger area than any school has the capacity to make happen. A youth ensemble is a platform for a young person to make a commitment to their peers to be the best artist and collaborator possible.

Watching an orchestra or wind ensemble grow and connect with each other over a season is unbelievable. As a music director, I invite each of them to work hard, pay close attention to each other, problem solve as a section, and to always be creating an environment that is safe and fosters greatness. It is more than just teamwork and improving our skill set. Being in a youth ensemble is about coming together to be stronger and more creative as musicians, artists, and people. Through the difficulties of playing ones instrument in a world-class ensemble and being willing to challenge yourself to work toward a common goal, it is clear that youth ensembles builds more resilient leaders for the future.

As Assistant Conductor with Pacific Symphony, I work closely with Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St. Clair and the symphony’s outstanding musicians, staff, and administrators on designing and presenting our Family Musical Mornings Series sponsored by Farmers and Merchants Bank. This is a five-concert series every season that focuses on our young audience members and families coming to enjoy the symphony in a concert made just for them.

I love our planning session. We have the best time brainstorming and bouncing ideas off each other. I am particularly impressed with the willingness and support of trying innovative ideas and platforms. I said it before, but I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to be the one to conduct these concerts, and I often get to be a part of the narrative aspect of our concerts.

If you haven’t seen one of our Family Musical Mornings, you are all in luck. Our next performance is one of my all-time favorites! Saturday, December 3, 2022–Nutcracker for Kids! As with all of our Family concerts, we perform twice on Saturday mornings–10 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

Nutcracker for Kids! 2021. Photo by Stan Sholik.

There is so much that we offer at Pacific Symphony–concerts for young people, concerts built for school music programs, concerts for families, and don’t forget about our events and lobby activities before the 10:00 a.m. concert and after the 11:30 a.m. concert. Our gift to our community is music. We have something for everyone in Orange County, and I hope to meet more and more of you at our concerts. Check out our website for up-to-date information and for tickets. Also, find us on Facebook and Instagram to stay connected with us and see some behind-the-scenes footage.

Humans of Pacific Symphony: Meet Violinist Linda Owen

“As a musician, it’s fun to perform, but it’s more fun to play with people. They become your family.”

In 1977, violinist Linda Owen picked up a copy of her local newspaper. Conductor Keith Clark had just returned after almost ten years abroad in Europe. He announced in the paper he formed a brand-new orchestra in Orange County, and Owen was immediately intrigued. Wasting no time at all, she got herself backstage at his next concert at Fullerton College. She walked right up to Clark and introduced herself with a firm handshake. She expressed her interest in his new orchestra and quickly summarized her musical experience as Concertmaster of Rio Hondo Symphony. Impressed, Clark invited Owen to join right then and there.

“It is definitely not the way that musicians get into the orchestra today!” Owen commented. “Keith liked everybody, but he obviously knew that I played and he was trying to get his orchestra going so he said, sure, come! Keith was a very interesting man and I enjoyed playing with him.”

Just like that, Owen became a founding member of Clark’s Pacific Chamber Orchestra, which would later come to be known as today’s Pacific Symphony. Now, 45 years later, Owen is still part of the Symphony family and continues to display her talents as an accomplished violinist. She is one of the two original musicians still playing with the orchestra today.

“Music is my life, my quartet, the Symphony, practicing and performing–and I fly fish.”

This quote by Owen really wraps up all she is about. She is a musician, educator, fly-fisher, orchid raiser, and safe haven to all blue birds alike.

Owen’s background in music started in fourth grade when she first picked up the violin. She fell in love with the instrument’s sound and was fortunate enough to have parents who invested in that passion. They hired a private instructor to expand upon her talents, and soon she was practicing three hours a day.

“I didn’t come from a musical family, but [my parents] knew music was important. Even though we didn’t have a lot of money, when my brother and I started playing instruments, they got us private lessons. That made a huge difference.”

After high school, Owen knew she wanted to go into teaching. Music was surprisingly not part of her college plans at all, though it was still a passion of hers. Fortunately, her advisor at Whittier College foresaw another path for her.

“I always knew I wanted to go into education, but the music part sort of fell into my lap. Everything I did in high school was music, so I guess my advisor in college figured I was going to go into music. That’s how I got into it! I planned on teaching English or social studies, but I’m really glad it was music!”

Owen received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education at Whittier College and then began her extensive career in music education. She taught elementary school music for 20 years and then transitioned to Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. A career in music education was a wonderful time for her; she loved working with her students.

“When you’re teaching something the kids want to do, it is so much fun because they really enjoy coming to class. You just have so much fun developing them. I still see people; I run into students I had 30, 40 years ago. Actually, an old student of mine is writing music now and he just asked me to look at his string parts to see if they’re too hard or playable. He’s all grown up and this is his livelihood now.”

Owen balanced music education and performance for many years, but push did come to shove in March 2006 when the Symphony was set to tour in Germany. Schedules grew conflicted and she knew she could no longer do both. She was faced with a life-changing career decision and, after 37 years in education, she decided to retire.

“It was a great decision, and I have been happily ‘just a musician’ ever since.”

Owen, of course, is not “just a musician”, as her impressive musical accomplishments can attest to. In 1991, Owen started a chamber music series at the Bradford House in Placentia. Her quartet and colleagues from Pacific Symphony performed there throughout the years. Her program had decades of success and continued for 32 years!

“(Bradford House) is not a big house, so when we did concerts there, we just set up chairs and people sat elbow to elbow. People loved coming to the concerts because you could see the performers breathe. They’re up close to the music. We had fine groups that played there.”

Owen also keeps busy with her well-known Santiago String Quartet and with Pacific Symphony since its inception. Owen and some friends of hers decided that they wanted to form a string quartet to perform good music for the community. Playing in a quartet is an experience you must be a part of as a string player.

Linda and her first halibut, caught deep sea fishing in Alaska

Many summers back, the string quartet was invited to Mammoth to coach and play concerts for a festival. She insisted that her husband, Bill, tag along. Most of her work for the festival took place in the evenings, so during the day Owen and her husband were able to spend time together. This was when Owen decided to learn fly-fishing with her husband and it soon became a new hobby for her. She frequents Mammoth, but has also fished in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Alaska.

“I can’t say I’m an expert at it, but I catch fish! That’s the bottom line! It’s just so wonderful to be out in nature on the river. It’s very special.”

Back home, Owen has a special connection with nature as well. She raises 75 magnificent orchids, and she also has a friendly community of blue birds that nest right in her yard.

“An orchid lasts for a long time. They bloom for months. My first orchids will start blooming in December and I’ll have orchids through July. There’s sort of a sea of orchids in my patio; it’s pretty spectacular.”

“One thing about blue birds is that they are so social. They look you in the eye and they almost talk to you. They’re not afraid of you. They will sit there and are so friendly. They like having you around. They like that I take really good care of them. We have a bluebird nesting box in our yard. They have two or three nests a year and I watch them raise their babies.”

For Owen, her bluebirds are family, and she takes her care for them very seriously. There were a few times when she was away from home for long periods of time. She did not want her bluebirds to feel abandoned, so she hired someone specifically to feed them while she was away. Because of her committed care of them, they keep coming back every year.

Despite being a bustling, in-demand musician, Owen finds that staying busy with music is actually what grounds her in life.

“Music is my world and keeps me sane. (It) helps us all escape from the crazy world, to a place of passion and peace.”

Of course, Pacific Symphony is a big part of that equation. With her longtime commitment to the organization, the Symphony grew to become part of her family and support system. She has played with fellow musicians for years and they have since become important parts of her life.

She is very grateful to have them. Owen’s husband, Bill, was her biggest supporter. He passed away in March of 2020 and her fellow musicians were a comfort to have around during a hard time.

Linda and Bill Owen

“As a musician it’s fun to perform, but what is really important is the people you play with. They become your family. Those were the people that were by my side and kept me going. Just last year, there was one concert where three of us sat side by side and we had all lost our husbands in the last year, or so. We’re such a close family and it’s really great to have those people. People would call and just check up on you to see how you were doing.”

The Symphony family continues to expand as the years go on. Owen has been able to watch it grow and evolve throughout the years.

“We have so many wonderful young players that have become part of the orchestra. It has made the Symphony better and better. These young players are such incredible musicians.”

These young musicians will only continue to grow and do wonders for the organization in the years to come. Looking back, She is proud to be a part of Pacific Symphony and all it has been able to accomplish. She knows that her friends and family at the Symphony will continue to exceed expectations and provide only the best musical performances for their community.

Samantha Horrocks is a guest blogger currently enrolled as a senior at California State University, Fullerton studying Communications with a concentration in Entertainment and Tourism. 

A November Message from Carl St.Clair

November is a good time to pause and reflect on the gratitude we feel for the vital cultural life we all share here in Orange County. I invite you to read our blog and website to find out more about the many gratifying cultural programs being presented this month.

In November the Symphony celebrates its annual Community Support Month in which we showcase the many ways we bring our orchestra to Southern California communities.

We’re proud to be a community-supported orchestra. Through your generosity, the Symphony is able to fulfill its social responsibility to help improve the lives of all Orange County residents regardless of their age, background, socio-economic condition, or other circumstances. Without your financial and volunteer support, our community programs simply wouldn’t exist.

Your investment impacts numerous communities throughout our region. From free performances such as Symphony in the Cities and our Kohl Family Symphony on the Go! mobile stage to service programs like arts-X-press, Heartstrings, Santa Ana Strings, and Class Act, only your support can generate this level of community impact.

Another important way Pacific Symphony impacts our community is by nurturing and inspiring young musicians grades 6 through 12 in our Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles, one of the largest pre-professional musical training programs in the nation. This month, you can experience concerts featuring Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (Nov. 14), Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings (Nov. 20) and Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble (Nov. 21).

We are pleased to welcome our newest addition to the PSYE family ensembles with the debut of the Pacific Symphony Youth Concert Band, founded in 2022 through the generous sponsorship and advocacy of Hans and Valerie Imhof and John and Elizabeth Stahr. PSYCB is led by award-winning music educator Angela Woo. I couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Angela into our Pacific Symphony ‘family’ as the newest member of our conducting ‘team.’ Having known Angela for over three decades, it has been wonderful observing her impressive career development. Her many accomplishments have distinguished her as one of the leading conductors and educators with middle school- and high school-aged musicians. There is no one more perfect than Angela to lead this new and exciting initiative in the Symphony’s Youth Ensemble Program. You won’t want to miss their inaugural concert on Nov. 20, “Simple Gifts: New Beginnings.”

On Nov. 29, Pacific Symphony will once again close Community Support Month by participating in GivingTuesday, the global giving movement now celebrating its tenth year. Be sure to watch the Symphony blog and social media channels for more information at the end of the month. 

I leave you with my gratitude for your continued support and heartfelt wishes for a happy, healthy, and peaceful Thanksgiving for you and your loved ones.

Pacific Symphony Opening Night: Music Director Carl St.Clair and Sandbox Percussion – Beethoven & Boléro, Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Costa Mesa, California, September 22, 2022.

Celebrate Community Support Month with a Gift to Pacific Symphony

November is Pacific Symphony’s annual Community Support Month–a celebration of gratitude for everyone who supports and enables our commitments to the greater Orange County area. In a month known for celebrating the gift of “thanks,” Pacific Symphony thanks you for your participation that affords us unique opportunities to support a lengthy list of community partners.

Donald Pierce plays a violin as Rachel Schlesinger from the Pacific Symphony and Karen Skipper, music therapist, look on.

Each season, Pacific Symphony provides exceptional musical experiences onstage in our magnificent Segerstrom Concert Hall. We also work hard to nurture our Southern California communities in a wide variety of ways. Free performances, including our Symphony in the Cities concerts and our Symphony on the Go! mobile stage, inspire music lovers across the region.

Initiatives like Heartstrings: Santa Ana Strings and each of our Heartstrings partnerships impact thousands in greater Orange County. Our wide-ranging music education programs and youth ensembles foster lifelong learning in students and young musicians each year.

From Orange County schools, to senior centers, to numerous other community institutions, your support enables Pacific Symphony to engage and serve those serving the greater community. Your support and passion propel us towards great heights in musical artistry and community engagement. You are the reason that Pacific Symphony is more than an orchestra.

Just recently, Pacific Symphony was named Nonprofit of the Year for senatorial district 37 due to its commitment to providing free, live music and music education throughout Southern California during the pandemic, and after the re-opening of public events. We are proud of this recognition, but realize it is due to the consistent support of patrons like you.

Please support your Pacific Symphony by donating as generously as you are able. The work we do in your community is as much a part of who we are as the music we perform.

Celebrate Community Support Month by continuing to be the foundation that allows us to engage, empower, and embrace communities through the tremendous power and joy of music.

Community support month concludes on November 29th with the famous Giving Tuesday event. Giving Tuesday is big money in small bites. Your gift combined with other gifts received during this global event adds up to a significant and lasting impact on Pacific Symphony and the communities we serve.

On top of that, there is still time to double your impact! Every gift during Community Support Month and on Giving Tuesday will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $1,000,000 by renowned philanthropist, John Tu. In his words, “Music is everything. Music is love. Music is the soul of your mind.”

Our community programs simply wouldn’t exist without your generous philanthropy. Please consider making a gift today to help sustain these life-changing and enriching community initiatives now and for the future.

Thank you so very much. We’ll see you soon.

Pacific Symphony Welcomes Three New Musicians

“I am pleased to welcome three new musicians to the Pacific Symphony family,” said Music Director Carl St.Clair (William J. Gillespie Music Director Chair). “I look forward to working with them beginning this 2022-23 season.”

Yoomin Seo — Associate Concertmaster

Born in 1998, South Korean violinist Yoomin Seo made her debut recital at the Kumho Art Center at age 12, and her solo debut with the Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra at the same age.

In Aug. 2021, Seo won the concerto competition at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where she performed Prokofiev’s first violin concerto at the Benedict Music Tent. She also won the Third Prize at the 2019 Vienna Classic International Strings Competition. In 2016, she won the Second Prize at the Singapore Violin Festival Competition and was awarded First Prize at the Shinhan Music national competition. She also won top prizes in both international and national competitions such as Tchaikovsky International Competition for young musicians, EuroAsia Italy Strings International Competition, Sungjung Competition, Ewha & Kyunghyang Competition, and many others.

Seo has appeared with world-renowned orchestras as a soloist, including the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra, New Korea Philharmonic Orchestra, Kazakhstan Eurasian Symphony Orchestra, Ukraine Symphony Orchestra, Korean Symphony Orchestra, and more.

She is an Artist Diploma program candidate at the Colburn Conservatory of Music, where she studies with Robert Lipsett and is a recipient of the Dorothy Richard Starling grant. She received her bachelor’s degree from Korea National University of Arts, where she studied with Sung Ju Lee and graduated with the president’s and highest performance awards.

In March 2022, Seo was invited to premiere James Domine’s third violin concerto with San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra. In 2021, she was invited to the Aspen Music Festival and School (as a violin fellowship). She attended Great Mountains Music Festival & School and was invited as a soloist at the Berlin Koreanisches Kulturzentrum, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, and Ukraine. She had masterclasses with many great musicians such as Sholomo Mintz, Ivry Gitlis, Ulf Wallin, Kyung-Wha Jung, Rachel Podger, Dong-Suk Kang, Gerard Poulet, and Donald Weilerstein.

Michael Siess — Violin I

Michael Siess, violin, is an active performer in the Los Angeles area, regularly joining ensembles such as Delirium Musicum and LA Chamber Orchestra.

He has contributed to numerous recordings, including Delirium Musicium’s upcoming debut album, The String Theory’s “Origin,” as well as numerous Hollywood studio sessions. Beginning his musical studies in Portland, OR, Siess holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and USC Thornton School of Music, studying with Margaret Batjer, William Preucil, and Itzhak Perlman. Over the summers, he enjoys playing at various festivals, including the Perlman Music Program, Aspen Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, and the Banff Centre’s Evolution: Classical.

As a soloist, he has made recent appearances with the Portland Chamber Orchestra, Portland Youth Philharmonic, and CIM Orchestra. Siess is a founding member of the classically trained, genre-bending band, Mixtape. Their original music and arrangements can be heard in numerous film soundtracks, animated shorts, music videos, electronic productions, as well as live in clubs around LA. In 2021, they were among the first class of participants at Honeywell Arts Academy’s Resonance Institute in Indiana, receiving mentorship from the band Time for Three. Mixtape’s debut visual album, “Astral Planes,” is now available online.

Gabriela Peña-Kim— Violin II

Gabriela Peña-Kim comes from a musical and diverse family, her father a native of Honduras and her mother from South Korea. She graduated from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where she studied with Alexander Kerr, concertmaster of Dallas Symphony.

Photo Credit: LA Phil.

After graduating, she played two seasons with Jacksonville Symphony under Music Director Courtney Lewis and has more recently been playing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as part of the Resident Fellow program for the past two seasons under Gustavo Dudamel. Her main focus has been on orchestral playing, attending numerous music festivals, including Music Academy of the West, Pacific Music Festival (PMF), Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, and Aspen Music Festival. She sat alongside Stephen Rose as Principal Second Violin at PMF and was a finalist for the concerto competition at Music Academy. She also enjoys playing chamber music as well. She was a frequent guest artist with the Lawson Ensemble, resident trio at the University of Florida in Jacksonville.

Peña-Kim often performs chamber music alongside her LA Phil colleagues and has had opportunities such as opening the Ford, the newest venue addition to the LA Phil, and performing solo Bach to open a concert featuring Essa-Pekka Salomon’s piece “Fog.” Along with being a part of the St. Augustine Music Festival for the past 10 years, she is also involved in managing the festival with her parents, the founders.

Please help us in welcoming our new musicians to the Pacific Symphony Family!

A Message from Music Director Carl St.Clair

September 19, 2022

Dear Pacific Symphony Family, 

The musicians of Pacific Symphony and I have shared an extraordinary 33-year journey, and so it is with deeply felt appreciation that I share that the Board of Directors and I have come to agreement on a two-year extension of my contract for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons, with an option for additional extensions. I am pleased to reaffirm my commitment to Pacific Symphony and to express how honored I am that the Board has extended my contract for two seasons, and that I will remain music director through 2023-24, if not longer. 

In light of this exciting new contract extension and after much soul searching over the past several months, I have asked our Board Chair John Evans to begin a succession plan and to commence a search for my successor. Until the Symphony secures a successor who will build upon our artistic achievements and successes, I am committed to continue as music director. There is no specific timetable, and this will afford the Board, musicians, and staff the appropriate opportunity to assess potential candidates allowing for a seamless transition. 

It is a great privilege to have worked alongside such an extraordinary group of professional musicians, artists, and friends, who comprise the members of Pacific Symphony. Our collaboration for 33 years continues to be inspiring, and I feel the embrace of their partnership, love, and commitment at every concert. Their passion for music-making and striving for excellence is a constant inspiration. I count our long musical relationship among the greatest blessings of my life and career. 

I am grateful to you—our loyal audiences, subscribers, and donors who have supported and trusted me as the Symphony’s musical leader throughout my long tenure. I have felt the warmth from this community—my community—that I will continue to treasure. I look forward to seeing you in the audience this season and in the coming years ahead. 

I remain committed to Pacific Symphony, and Susan and I will do everything we can to assure the success of our beloved and world-class Pacific Symphony. 

Yours in music always,

Carl St.Clair
William J. Gillespie Music Director

A Message from Carl St.Clair

Music Director Carl St.Clair. Photo by Marco Borgreve.

Welcome to what will surely be another exciting Pacific Symphony season at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, a true acoustic gem we are proud to call our home. Once again, we are deeply indebted to the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family for their extraordinary support of the Classical series. Through their tremendous philanthropic commitment, the orchestra has been able to perform the greatest masterworks, engage leading artists, and commission new American works. They are the first family of classical music in Orange County, and the musicians, Board, and I are truly grateful to them.

For our special pre-season concert, we welcome back our dear friend Lang Lang. He is a brilliant artist, and he performs Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No 2 on an all-French program that features music of Satie and Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition. For this concert we will be projecting on the large screen above the orchestra stunning new visuals for Mussorgsky’s virtuoso showpiece in a unique collaboration with our gifted colleagues at Orange County Museum of Art.

With the 2022-23 season, Pacific Symphony is entering a new era of discovery, exploring new musical experiences to share with our audiences. We look forward to introducing you to exciting new voices and music from around the world. Opening night will present a work by Viet Cuong, our new composer-in-residence. I could also call him an artist-in-residence because he will be contributing to our musical lives in so many ways. And, as a Vietnamese American, he will help us to engage in new cultural conversations with Orange County’s Vietnamese community, the largest in the world outside of Vietnam itself.

Complementing our incredibly exciting season, we’ve created many new and exhilarating musical encounters for you to experience. We are pleased to share with you the music of women composers from around the world: Mexico’s Gabriela Ortiz, the United Kingdom’s Anna Clyne, and Brazil’s Clarice Assad. The international surprises continue all season long, including guitarist Miloš from Montenegro, who will perform the work that could be considered Spain’s greatest export, Rodrigo’s famous Concierto de Aranjuez. We’ll have an exciting piece from the Polish film composer Wojciech Kilar and even music from 1920s France.

I think of this season as a multicultural mosaic of music, and I know you will enjoy it.

Carl St.Clair
Music Director

Star Wars Recap

Thank you to the 9,000 audience members who joined us for our Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert live-to-film event on Saturday, Aug. 20. Thank you to all our costuming groups and cosplayers for coming as well. Were you able to meet any of them? The Force was definitely with us. We hope you had a great time. Here’s a brief recap of what happened.

Don’t forget to join us on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. at FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA for our SummerFest finale. To learn more about our upcoming Tchaikovsky Spectacular concert, please click here: https://bit.ly/pstchaikovskyspectacular.

City of Irvine Honors Pacific Symphony with Official Proclamation

Left to Right: Councilmember Tammy Kim, Pacific Symphony Board Chair John Evans, Pacific Symphony Executive Vice Chair Arthur Ong, Pacific Symphony Board Member Carol Choi, Irvine City Mayor Farrah N. Khan, Pacific Symphony President & CEO John Forsyte, Vice Mayor and Councilmember Anthony Kuo, and Councilmember Larry Agran. Photo by Doug Gifford.

At the Aug. 9 Irvine City Council meeting, Mayor Farrah N. Khan and members of the Irvine City Council made a formal proclamation honoring Pacific Symphony for its 35 years of service to the City of Irvine. The Symphony’s service began with the orchestra’s first concert at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre during the summer of 1987. The summer concerts have continued since and are currently at Irvine’s FivePoint Amphitheatre.

The Mayor listed the creative contributions Pacific Symphony has made to the quality of life in the City of Irvine over the past 35 years. Those efforts included:

  • Offering free Symphony in the Cities concerts at Irvine city parks as well as providing the Symphony on the Go! community concert series in Irvine; and
  • Engaging middle and high school student musicians from the City of Irvine through the Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles program and arts-X-press summer arts camp at Concordia University; and
  • Establishing a partnership with Irvine Chinese School/South Coast Chinese Cultural Center, which together have presented eight years of Lantern Festivals, reaching tens of thousands of community members, and by offering multigenerational learning through parent-student orchestra called Strings for Generations; and
  • Providing thousands of free tickets and bus transportation through its Heartstrings community service program, including Irvine-based agencies Alzheimer’s Association OC, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), and Working Wardrobes; plus free tickets for Orange County veterans, military personnel, and first responders; and
  • Providing musical concerts and enlightening experiences presented at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, including the Langston Hughes Project in Feb. 2022; and
  • Relocating the Symphony’s administrative center to Irvine and serving as a cultural ambassador, representing the City of Irvine over the years at Carnegie Hall in New York, and on tours across Europe and China.

After enumerating the Symphony’s many initiatives benefiting the City of Irvine, Mayor Khan proclaimed June 28, 2022 as “Pacific Symphony Day” in celebration of 35 years of service to the City of Irvine, and to encourage all to recognize the contributions of Pacific Symphony in improving and enriching the community.

After the presentation, President and CEO of Pacific Symphony John Forsyte recognized the City Council and staff, as well as the Board of Directors of Pacific Symphony for their encouragement and support. In a typical year, the Symphony invests more than $250,000 in activities and initiatives that engage Irvine residents.  

On Sunday, August 14 at Mike Ward Park, Pacific Symphony and Music Director Carl St.Clair will present a free, family-friendly Symphony in the Cities concert with educational activities commencing at 5:30 p.m. and the concert at 7:00 p.m. The concert is generously supported by the City of Irvine.

We’ve Gone Digital!

Pacific Symphony teamed with Performances Magazine to bring all summer concert program books online and easily accessible through your mobile device.

This convenient new way to view the concert information brings you front row and center for such incredible performances as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert and Tchaikovsky Spectacular at FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, as well as our free Symphony in the Cities concerts in Orange, Irvine, and Mission Viejo.

Each digital program book underlines essential information such as parking, venue policies, concert start times and locations, highlights guest artists, notes about each performance, links to purchase tickets to upcoming shows, and other important information from Pacific Symphony.

To view the program book at each concert, simply text PS to 55741 for a unique link.

When you register on Pacific Symphony’s digital hub between August 1 and October 15, you are automatically entered to win a pair of season tickets to the 2022-23 Pacific Symphony Pops Season, which kicks off November 4 & 5 with John Williams: A 90th Birthday Celebration at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.


SummerFest 2022 presented by City of Hope Orange Country
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert – August 20
Tchaikovsky Spectacular – September 4

Symphony in the Cities
Aitken Arts Plaza at Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University – August 7
Oso Viejo Community Park, Mission Viejo – August 13 
Mike Ward Community Park, Irvine – August 14

Symphony on the Go! is a mobile community concert experience bringing free outdoor chamber music to Orange County. Sponsored by Bank of America.

Age Well Senior Services
Friday, August 26, 2022, at 6:30 p.m.
Florence Sylvester Senior Center
23721 Moulton Pkwy, Laguna Hills, CA 92653

This concert is sponsored by Bank of America

The City of Dana Point
Saturday, August 27, 2022, at 7 p.m.
Dana Crest Park
24461 Josiah Dr., Dana Point, CA 92629

This concert is sponsored by Bank of America.

The Community of Ladera Ranch
Sunday, August 28, 2022, at 10:30 a.m.
Oso Grande Elementary School
30251 Sienna Pkwy, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694

The City of Yorba Linda
Saturday, October 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Yorba Linda Cultural Arts Center – Parking Lot
4802 Lakeview Avenue, Yorba Linda, CA 92886

The City of San Juan Capistrano
Saturday, October 8, 2022, at 6 p.m.
Los Rios Park
31790 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

St. Thomas More Catholic Church
Thursday, October 13 at 6:30 p.m.
St. Thomas More Catholic Church
51 Marketplace, Irvine, CA 92602

The City of Laguna Hills
Saturday, October 15, 2022, at 4 p.m.
Laguna Hills Sports Complex
25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92653