Pacific Symphony Announces 2022-23 Classical Season

Highlights Include Symphony Special: Superstar Pianist Lang Lang with Carl St.Clair, and more.

By: Mar. 01, 2022
Pacific Symphony Announces 2022-23 Classical Season

Music Director Carl St.Clair and President John Forsyte today announced programming for Pacific Symphony's 2022-23 season. Before the season officially opens, the internationally celebrated pianist Lang Lang appears in a special performance of Saint-Saëns' Second Piano Concerto on Sunday, Sept. 18 with Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition featured as a tribute to the early October opening of the Orange County Museum of Art on the Segerstrom Center campus. The Symphony's 44th season and opening of the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series begins on Thursday, Sept. 22 with "Beethoven & Boléro," a program that highlights the orchestra's musicians as soloists in Beethoven's Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano and Ravel's Boléro. In a hat-trick of firsts, Sandbox Percussion debuts with the orchestra to perform Re(new)al, a new percussion quartet concerto written by Viet Cuong, the Symphony's new composer-in-residence.

Comprising 36 concerts as part of a 12-program subscription series, four Sunday Matinées and four Specials, the 2022-23 classical season reflects Pacific Symphony's diverse repertoire-from core symphonic works to a full-length opera-and a penchant for re-interpreting the classics for the 21st century, through lighting, visuals and multimedia elements.

Commenting on the 2022-23 season, Music Director Carl St.Clair said, "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.

"After working out all the numerous in-depth details of planning the season with our Senior Vice President of Artistic Planning Eileen Jeanette, I am 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," added St.Clair. "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."

Symphony President John Forsyte stated: "Today's announcement is a watershed moment. The resilience of Pacific Symphony is a direct reflection of the affection of this community for its orchestra. We are so grateful to all of our patrons and ticket holders who have stayed engaged and supportive. I know the musicians, conductors and guest artists have expressed so much gratitude for audiences returning to the concert hall and cheering for live music.

"Orange County has developed into a major destination for innovation, research universities and growth industries," continued Forsyte "and Pacific Symphony has developed alongside them. The philanthropic underwriting from leading supporters like the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family and many other incredible investors has assured that we can undertake the ambitious season we are sharing today. We are committed to keeping the Symphony relevant for today's audiences and Carl has once again imagined a range of programming that will undoubtedly keep the concert experience fresh and inspiring."

2022-23 Season Highlights at a Glance

Lang Lang Returns

Heralded by The New York Times as "the hottest artist on the classical music planet," Lang Lang plays sold-out concerts all over the world. He has performed for numerous international dignitaries, including the Pope, four U.S. presidents and monarchs from many nations. And now this world-celebrated piano superstar returns to perform a special pre-season concert with Pacific Symphony under the baton of Music Director Carl St.Clair (Sept. 18). The program features Lang Lang in a virtuosic tour de force: Saint-Saëns' Second Piano Concerto. The concert also holds Ravel's Mother Goose Suite and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition as orchestrated by Ravel. Subscribers to the classical series receive priority access to seats for this special event performance.


Pacific Symphony's New Composer-in-Residence, Viet Cuong

The season opens (Sept. 22-24) with a work that introduces the Symphony's new composer-in-residence Viet Cuong (b. 1990). His music has been called "alluring" and "wildly inventive" by The New York Times and "irresistible" by the San Francisco Chronicle. His work has been commissioned and performed on six continents by musicians and ensembles such as the New York Philharmonic, Eighth Blackbird, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Albany Symphony and Orchestra of St. Luke's, among many others. Cuong's music has been featured in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, National Gallery of Art and the Library of Congress. A native Californian, Cuong teaches at University of Las Vegas and lives in Orange County.

Re(new)al will be performed by the Sandbox Percussion ensemble, to whom the work is dedicated. In a composer's note, Cuong stated: "I have tremendous respect for renewable energy initiatives and the commitment to creating a new, better reality for us all. Re(new)al is a percussion quartet concerto that is similarly devoted to finding unexpected ways to breathe new life into traditional ideas, and the solo quartet therefore performs on several 'found' instruments, including crystal glasses and compressed air cans. And while the piece also features more traditional instruments, such as snare drum and vibraphone, I looked for ways to either alter their sounds or find new ways to play them."

The program also showcases Pacific Symphony musicians in Beethoven's Triple Concerto (with Concertmaster Dennis Kim and Principal Cellist Warren Hagerty joining pianist Orli Shaham) and taking solo turns in Ravel's mesmerizing Boléro.

Introducing New Works by Women Composers

Music Director Carl St.Clair continues to explore new works by women composers to add to the performing repertoire of Pacific Symphony. He brings a number of new voices to our attention this season.

Latin Grammy-nominated Gabriela Ortiz is one of the foremost composers in Mexico today and one of the most vibrant musicians emerging on the international scene. Her musical language achieves an extraordinary and expressive synthesis of tradition and the avant-garde by combining high art, folk music and jazz in novel, frequently refined and always personal ways. Her compositions are credited for being both entertaining and immediate as well as profound and sophisticated; she achieves a balance between highly organized structure and improvisatory spontaneity. Audiences will have a chance to experience her artistry when St.Clair conducts "Luz Eólica" ("Aeolian Light") from Altar de Viento ("Altar of Wind"), a work for flute and orchestra (Oct. 20-22).

London-born Anna Clyne is a Grammy-nominated composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music. Described as a "composer of uncommon gifts and unusual methods" in a New York Times profile and as "fearless" by NPR, her work often includes collaborations with cutting-edge choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers and musicians. Conductor Karen Kamensek leads the orchestra in Clyne's work entitled Pivot (Nov. 17-19). The composer commented that she wanted "to write a piece that reflected the diversity and the excitement of the Edinburgh Festival. I wanted to take the listener on a journey of sorts into different rooms within this short timeframe of five minutes. The title Pivot refers to this pivoting between different musical and artists' experiences."

A powerful communicator renowned for her musical scope and versatility, Brazilian American Clarice Assad is a significant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop and jazz genres. A Grammy-nominated composer, celebrated pianist, inventive vocalist and educator, she is renowned for her evocative colors, rich textures and diverse stylistic range. Mei-Ann Chen returns this season to conduct a program (Dec. 1-3) that includes Assad's Sin Fronteras (Without Boundaries). The composer states the work "emerged from a utopian state of mind in which I found myself one day, daring to erase imaginary lines that disconnect us geographically, culturally and morally: Boundaries that the human race has willingly subscribed to for thousands of years. But what would happen if the walls that separate us from really getting to know one another were not there? While in the real world this idea would generate a fair amount of confusion, in the realm of music of the 21st century, this does not need to be so!"

World premieres by James MacMillan and John Wineglass

Due to the COVID-19 omicron surge, the eagerly anticipated world premiere of Pacific Symphony's commission from Sir James MacMillan will take place June 15-17, 2023. Leading Scottish composer Sir James MacMillan has been hailed by The New York Times as "ceaselessly inventive, evocative and penetrating." This major commission, entitled Fiat Lux ("Let There Be Light"), utilizes a text by Dana Gioia, the internationally acclaimed poet, California poet laureate and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Carl St.Clair directs the performance, which opens with Allegri's hauntingly beautiful, 17th century a cappella choral work Miserere Mei, Deus followed by Strauss' eternal tone poem Death and Transfiguration. Pacific Chorale joins the Symphony on both the MacMillan world premiere and Allegri masterwork for this "Cathedrals of Sound" program, which will take audiences on a spiritual journey, offering an evening of inspiration and awe.

Pacific Symphony audiences first became acquainted with the work of multiple EMMY® award-winning composer John Christopher Wineglass during the 2020-21 season when the orchestra streamed "Alone Together," which was a Pacific Symphony co-commission. Now Wineglass has written another work commissioned by the Symphony: a violin concerto to be performed by Concertmaster Dennis Kim under the baton of Carl St.Clair (Feb. 23-25). Wineglass will also work with Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles and young composers initiative.

Notable Pacific Symphony premieres are indicated by two asterisks (**) in the attached Calendar.

"The Roaring Twenties" Celebrates "The Jazz Age"

Carl St.Clair curates an exciting mini-festival-in-an-evening celebrating The Roaring Twenties (May 11-13, 2023), which were dubbed "The Jazz Age" by novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. Each night will present an evening-long, three-part celebration of the music that defined that era: Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, W.C. Handy, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin-his Rhapsody in Blue. A notable Symphony premiere on the program will be George Antheil's Jazz Symphony (1925) that the composer described as "one of the very first symphonic expressions which attempted to synthesize American jazz as a legitimate symphony expression." Audiences will hear these classics in the evening's first third and then they'll fox trot on the Plaza to sounds of the John Tu and Friends band. (Best to keep in mind Fitzgerald's quote from Tales of the Jazz Age: "You don't have to dance-just get out there on the floor and shake"). To cap off the evening, the festivities will culminate with a landmark silent film of the 20s to close, accompanied on the organ by Dennis James. All evening, the bars will be open, and in the roaring 2020s, there's no prohibition!

Pacific Chorale Featured in Four Collaborations with Pacific Symphony

Celebrating over half a century of bringing music to Southern California, Pacific Chorale is internationally recognized for exceptional artistic expression. Under the direction of Robert Istad, the Chorale presents a substantial performance season of its own at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County in addition to its long-standing partnership with Pacific Symphony. During the 2022-23 season, Pacific Chorale will collaborate with Pacific Symphony on four programs: The Planets (Nov. 17-19), Verdi's Rigoletto (April 20, 22, 25, 2023), Cathedrals of Sound (June 15-17, 2023) and Handel's Messiah (Dec. 4).

Guest Soloists

Pacific Symphony guest soloists during the 2022-23 season include pianist Orli Shaham, host of the Café Ludwig series, who joins Pacific Symphony colleagues Concertmaster Dennis Kim and Principal Cellist Warren Hagerty for Beethoven's Triple Concerto (Sept. 22-24); the young American pianist Claire Huangci, winner of the first prize and the Mozart prize at the 2018 Geza Anda Competition, will be the soloist in Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 (Oct. 20-22); the internationally recognized and acclaimed pianist Yefim Bronfman makes a long-awaited return with the Schumann Piano Concerto (Feb. 2-4, 2023); Concertmaster Dennis Kim performs the world premiere of John Wineglass' Violin Concerto (Feb. 23-25, 2023); pianist Conrad Tao, described by The Boston Globe as "ferociously talented," tackles Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24, K. 291 (March 16-18, 2023); pianist Jeffrey Biegel, who Leonard Bernstein cited as "a brilliant performer," takes on Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue in the original 1924 Paul Whiteman Band version for the "The Roaring Twenties" (May 11-13, 2023); world-renowned cinema organist Dennis James will improvise the soundtrack to a landmark silent film, also a part of the "The Roaring Twenties" mini-festival; a former winner of the Busoni Competition and laureate of the Leeds Competition, pianist Louie Lortie performs the Grieg Concerto (June 1-3, 2023); hailed by Musical America for "her voice pure and ethereal," soprano Elissa Johnston appears in the world premiere performance of Sir James MacMillan's Fiat Lux (June 15-17, 2023); and piano superstar Lang Lang returns to perform Saint-Saëns' beguiling Second Piano Concerto (Sept. 18).

Artists making their Pacific Symphony debuts include the "exhilarating" (New York Times) and "utterly mesmerizing" (The Guardian) Sandbox Percussion ensemble to perform Symphony composer-in-residence Viet Cuong's work Re(new)al (Sept. 22-24); violinist Stefan Jackiw, whose playing the LA Times called "fascinating, impressive and often riveting" will perform Bruch's Scottish Fantasy (Nov. 17-19); and guitarist Miloš, who the London Sunday Times dubbed "The King of Aranjuez" will perform Rodrigo's famous concerto (Dec. 1-3).

Sunday Matinee Series

Carl St.Clair has devoted his tenure at Pacific Symphony to designing festivals and concert series that enable audiences to engage more deeply with both new music and standard orchestral repertoire. The four-concert Sunday Matinée series was launched in 1995. Speaking from the stage, St.Clair offers the audience an intimate and lively exploration of the classics. These informal concerts are just 90 minutes long and provide a perfect introduction to classical music: Brahms' Symphony No. 4 (Oct. 23); Romeo and Juliet (Feb. 5); Tchaikovky's Fourth (Feb. 26); and The Genius of Gershwin (May 14).

Pacific Symphony Special Events

In addition to the previously mentioned pre-season concert featuring Lang Lang (Sept. 18), Pacific Symphony presents three additional special events during the 2022-23 season.

Pacific Symphony also gives a holiday presentation of Handel's Glorious Messiah (Dec. 4) featuring the Pacific Chorale, led by Julian Wachner; and two concerts that reflect the Orange County community including Lunar and Persian New Year celebrations led by Carl St.Clair (Jan. 28 and April 1).

The soon-to-be-announced SummerFest season at FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine includes three concerts beneath the stars. Programming still to be released in coming months includes the Pops series, Family Musical Mornings, Café Ludwig chamber music series and the Pedals and Pipes organ series. The county-wide Symphony on the Go concert tour returns after a successful inaugural season. The tour will include approximately 30 concerts, beginning in late May and continuing through mid-October.

Subscription and Ticket Information

Subscription materials for Pacific Symphony's 2022-23 Classical series are now available, offering a savings of up to 40% off regular single ticket prices on a wide variety of concert packages from four to 12 concerts each. Subscribers save 20% on additional tickets purchased throughout the year, and enjoy easy ticket exchange options and other subscriber-only benefits, including preferential discounts at nearby restaurants.

Tickets for special concerts are currently available for purchase only with subscriptions. Subscriptions may be purchased or renewed by any of four methods: online, by phone, by mail or in person at the box office. Pacific Symphony provides an easy payment plan option for subscribers: subscription purchases are eligible for the payment plan and will be automatically charged in installments on the first of the month through September 2022.

For more information, call Pacific Symphony Patron Services at (714) 755-5799, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit Groups of 10 or more who are interested in subscribing to the 2022-23 season should call Pacific Symphony's group sales department at (714) 755-5799.

Patrons may also visit to order tickets, learn about other nearby attractions and restaurants and make donations. The Symphony's new website provides background on the performances and the performers, along with Spotify playlists of works to be performed.

The Symphony's blog Pacific Overtures features engaging articles, audio and video to enhance patrons' experience before and after performances. Timely content of interest to concertgoers can also be found on Pacific Symphony's social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and WeChat.

Pacific Symphony performs in the heart of Southern California at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at 615 Town Center Drive on the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts campus in Costa Mesa.

Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa is the official hotel of Pacific Symphony. The 2022-23 season media sponsors include Classical KUSC, KPCC and PBS SoCal.



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