The Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra and Youth Wind Ensemble to Perform in Individual Spring Concerts, 3/1 and 3/9
Two captivating displays of youthful musicality take place next month as Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (PSYO) and Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble (PSYWE) perform an impressive range of music for their individual spring concerts. The students are bonded more than at any other time during the year, having recently returned from winter retreats, and have prepared some challenging repertoire to perform for the community. Led by Music Director Alejandro Gutiérrez, PSYO travels for the first time to Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo, on Saturday, March 1, at 3 p.m., to perform a concert of 20th-century music by Prokofiev, John Williams, James Newton Howard, Ginastera and more. Then, the exuberant sounds of PSYWE are heard the following weekend on Sunday, March 9, at 3 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Led by Music Director Joshua Roach, the wind ensemble performs and narrates Mussorgsky's masterwork, "Pictures at an Exhibition," and plays exciting music by Shostakovich, Grainger, Barber and Barnes. Tickets are $12, general admission; for more information or to purchase, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.
"I always love the spring session for the youth ensembles," says Maestro Roach. "The growth of young adult musicians during each of their years in high school is astonishing. If you
compare a student's playing six months apart during the year, you might not think it would be the same player! Also, we spend an intense weekend together at a retreat in January, and after this, everyone comes to know one another so much better that the group really begins to form its own culture. It's very exciting, and it means that the level of music-making rises."
Maestro Gutiérrez adds, "At the retreat, the students had the opportunity to get to know each other better, socialize and participate in a session of acting and group exercises, which helped them to feel and share the energy around them while performing, be more expressive and work as a team. I'm most proud of their positive attitude and the high level of performance they are accomplishing."
Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra
The outstanding young musicians of PSYO dive into an afternoon of 20th-century music that ranges from well-known film scores to music from the electroacoustic and neoclassical movements, with a little Argentinian flare to wrap it all up.
"For me it is very important to expose the youth orchestra to as many varieties of genres, musical styles and different ways of musical expression as possible," says Gutiérrez. "The diversity of musical movements that occurred during the 20th century offers the possibility to expand that exposure beyond the traditional orchestral repertoire."
The program opens with "Tuning Up" for orchestra, written by Edgard Varèse, known as the "Father of Electronic Music."
"The piece by Varèse, 'Tuning Up,' is the only one on the program that could be affiliated with the modernism period in the late 1940s-for his intention to organize the sound experienced during the tuning of an orchestra and the adding of extra noise, with sirens and percussion, into a short piece of music," says Gutiérrez. "My goal with this piece is to teach the members of the orchestra about this experimental musical language of the 20th century that has been so difficult for audiences to digest due to the lack of proper ways to deliver it in concert contexts."
Movie music follows as the orchestra performs John Williams' theme from "Jurassic Park" and James Newton Howard's themes from the Disney film, "Dinosaur"; scores which are also being played alongside Pacific Symphony at the Family Musical Mornings concert, "Dinosaurs!" selections from Sergei Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" center the program, with guest narration by Richard Soto, an actor at South Coast Repertory. The concert concludes with bravura, as the orchestra plays "Suite Estancia" by Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera.