By Robert D. Thomas
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News
In an era when symphony orchestra across the United States are struggling — e.g., closures, bankruptcies, cutbacks — the Pacific Symphony in Orange County continues to defy the odds as it matures year after year. The orchestra’s 36th season opens Sept. 22, 20 and 22 at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa when Music Director Carl St.Clair leads a program of Johann Strauss Jr.’ Overture to Die Fledermaus, Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier Suite, and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, with André Watts as soloist.
St.Clair, who turned age 60 last June and has led the orchestra for 22 seasons, will conduct eight of the 12 concerts during the season, plus a special one-night concert on Sept. 27 that features pianist Lang Lang as soloist in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor). The season also includes performances of Handel’s Messiah on Dec. 9 led by John Alexander, artistic director of the Pacific Chorale; his ensemble will also appear in two subscription concerts.
The Pacific Symphony will continue two of their long-running, innovative programming concepts. The next-to-last concerts on May 16, 17 and 18 will be a continuation of the “American Composers Festival” series and will feature the Duke Ellington Orchestra playing the music of saxophonist Daniel Schnyder. The final concerts on June 6, 7 and 8 will see St.Clair unpack Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring as part of the “Music Unwound” series.
Timothy Mangan, music critic of the Orange County Register, has a nice profile of St.Clair that includes a really cool picture of the conductor with his mentor, Leonard Bernstein, HERE.
• Season Schedule HERE
• Pacific Symphony Web site HERE
Other season previews:
• Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra HERE
• The Colburn Orchestra HERE
(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.