Pacific Symphony to Kick Off Season with Opening Concerts, 10/1

Pacific Symphony to Kick Off Season with Opening Concerts, 10/1

Orange County, Calif.-Sept. 4, 2015-Pacific Symphony and Music Director Carl St.Clair open the 2015-16 Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series with Beethoven's monumental hymn to human freedom and brotherhood, his Symphony No. 9, "Choral," featuring the soul-stirring "Ode to Joy." This magnificent union between symphony orchestra and voices features Pacific Chorale and four world-class opera vocalists, soprano Mary Wilson, mezzo-soprano Milena Kiti?, tenor John Bellemer and bass-baritone Kevin Deas, who sing the dramatic and dynamic solo passages in the fourth movement. The program opens the orchestra's 37th season with a rare opportunity to hear "The Promise of Living" from Aaron Copland's opera, "The Tender Land," a choral piece with a similar message of thanksgiving and neighborly love. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit

"Beethoven's Ninth is a musical journey in search of a song," says Maestro St.Clair. "The message, as the song emerges and is found, is 'all mankind must become brothers.' This powerful statement was true when it was written, was true when Beethoven set it to his famous theme and is true today. It can't be repeated often enough."

Furthering the message of joy and community is the highly anticipated unveiling of a brand new composition by the Symphony's composer-in-residence, Narong Prangcharoen, written for and inspired by Orange County. The project titled "OC in Unison," funded by The James Irvine Foundation, began in January 2014, when Prangcharoen began touring the region to ask people what makes Orange County home and what unites its people. He received more than 350 submissions in the forms of art, music, poetry, dance and photography, all inspirations for the piece: "Beyond Land and Ocean."

"I asked Narong Prangcharoen to compose a work that would embrace Orange County and unite us in music," explains St.Clair." In a manner of speaking, to help us in Orange County to become 'brothers,' which is why I am pleased that the premiere is on the same program as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony."

The Symphony's Opening Night concerts take place Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 1-3, at 8 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. A preview talk with Alan Chapman begins at 7 p.m. Tickets for this concert are $25-$190. Sunday Casual Connections offers an encore performance on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 3 p.m.; tickets are $25-$96. The public is invited to attend a free "Community Celebration" on the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Plaza on Sunday, Oct. 4, from 1-3 p.m. (prior to the concert), to grab lunch from food trucks and enjoy music, art, dance and other community presentations that helped to inspire Prancharoen's composition.

The Opening Night Celebration (dinner and party), "Ode to Joy," takes place on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 5 p.m., with honors going to the Symphony's musicians. Chaired by Jo Ellen Chatham, the black-tie affair features an elegant cocktail reception and pre-concert dinner in the Plaza Ballroom at The Westin South Coast Plaza. A post-concert party takes place at the hotel's Terrace Pavilion with entertainment, dessert and an opportunity to mingle with the musicians. Tables for 10 may be purchased for $7,500-$25,000; individual seats are $500. For more information, please contact special events at (714) 876-2364 or The event is generously sponsored by South Coast Plaza withmusician sponsors: Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin of Newport Beach.

About the Music

The premiere of Beethoven's Ninth in 1824 was a remarkable moment in history. Although he could not hear a note, Beethoven conducted the orchestra, and the audience responded with five standing ovations. George Grove, author of "Beethoven and his Nine Symphonies," describes the moment as "a volcanic explosion of sympathy and admiration." A musician at the premiere wrote, "He moved as if he wanted to play all of the instruments himself and sing for the whole chorus." The final complete symphony by Beethoven, the Ninth has become one of the best known works of the Western classical repertoire, and has been adapted for use as the European Anthem. The symphony is considered one of Beethoven's masterpieces and one of the greatest musical compositions ever written. It's also the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony. The words were taken from "Ode to Joy," a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785.

Also on the program, "Beyond Land and Ocean" by Prangcharoen, is meant to reflect the spirit of the Orange County community. The piece takes inspiration from experiences the composer had touring the region, as well as suggestions from the people who live here.

"The charm of Orange County comes not only from its land and its coastal location, both of which are very important to the people of Orange County, but, far beyond that, also from the pride that the people have in their native roots and heritage," says Prangcharoen. "The piece starts with soft sounds in the strings, portraying the atmosphere of the Newport Beach Back Bay in the early morning. The birds wake up, singing and calling to each other. Then, as the sun continues to rise, and its light shines on the land, the music starts to build. We can hear the four famous bells (the "campanario") of the Mission at San Juan Capistrano, and these bells provide

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