California Symphony To Perform An All-French Program At Leshner Center of The Arts, 3/19

Music Director Donato Cabrera leads the California Symphony in a program of French and French-inspired music on Sunday, March 19 at 4 pm at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. Violinist and California Symphony's Acting Concertmaster Jennifer Cho, a graduate of The Juilliard School and a member of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, makes her debut as a soloist with the Orchestra in Ravel's Tzigane. The Orchestra also performs Young American Composer-in-Residence alumnus Pierre Jalbert's Les espaces infinis, written in 2001 while in residence with the California Symphony, and music from Delibes, Saint-Saëns and Bizet. Just prior to the concert, the California Symphony is offering a special French wine tasting experience with artisan cheese in the Lesher Center lobby (separate tickets required).

Born in Glendale, California, Jennifer Cho joined the California Symphony as Assistant Concertmaster in October 2013. She was appointed as Acting Concertmaster by Donato Cabrera for the 2016-17 season, and has been a member of the San Francisco Opera first violin section since 2011. Prior to these appointments, Cho was Principal Second Violin for both the Princeton Symphony and Symphony in C (previously Haddonfield Symphony). She has also performed with many other ensembles, including the New Jersey Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, String Orchestra of New York, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Arcos Chamber Orchestra, and the Jupiter Chamber Players. Cho received her Bachelor and Master's degrees from The Juilliard School of Music, where she studied with Stephen Clapp and Robert Mann. At the end of her undergraduate studies, Cho was chosen by the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to be a graduate scholar. Cho is married to bassist Mark Wallace, who is Assistant Principal of the Orchestra Filharmonic of Minas Gerais in Brazil. She currently splits her time between Belo Horizonte, Brazil and San Francisco.

"Jennifer Cho has a finesse and elegance to her playing, a subtle quality that I love," Donato Cabrera said. When she was Concertmaster of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, The Charleston City Paper praised her solos for their "sweet toned perfection."

Composer Pierre Jalbert, who was born in New Hampshire to a Québécois family, was a Young American Composer-in-Residence with the California Symphony from 1999-2002. Earning widespread notice for his richly colored and superbly crafted scores, Jalbert has developed a musical language that is engaging, expressive, and deeply personal. Among his many honors are the Rome Prize, the BBC Masterprize, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's 2007 Stoeger Award, and a 2010 award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Jalbert has drawn inspiration from a variety of sources, from plainchant melodies to natural phenomena. His music has been performed worldwide, with four Carnegie Hall performances of his orchestral music, including the Houston Symphony's Carnegie Hall premiere of his orchestral work, big sky, in 2006. Other major works for orchestra include In Aeternam (2000), performed by the London Symphony Orchestra; Symphonia Sacra (2001), written for the California Symphony; Les espaces infinis (2001), written for the Albany Symphony; Chamber Symphony (2004), commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Fire and Ice (2007), commissioned for the Oakland East Bay (now Oakland), Marin, and Santa Rosa Symphonies through Meet the Composer Foundation's Magnum Opus Project; and Shades of Memory (2011), premiered by the Houston Symphony. Recent orchestral performances include those by the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra under Marin Alsop. In addition to his tenure with the California Symphony, he has served as Composer-in-Residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (2002-2005) and Music in the Loft in Chicago (2003). Select chamber music commissions and performances include those of the Emerson, Ying, Borromeo, Maia, Enso, Chiara, and Escher String Quartets. Pierre Jalbert is Professor of Music at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music in Houston, and he serves on the Artistic Board of Musiqa, a Houston-based new music group.

The California Symphony, celebrating its 30th Anniversary in the 2016-17 season, is distinguished for its concert programs that combine classics alongside American repertoire and lesser-known works, its pioneering Young American Composer-in-Residence program, its nationally recognized education programs, and for bringing music to people in new and unconventional settings. The Orchestra is in its fourth season with Music Director Donato Cabrera. The Orchestra is comprised of musicians who have performed with the orchestras of the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, and others, and many of its musicians have been performing with the California Symphony for nearly all its existence. California Symphony has launched the careers of some of today's most-performed composers and soloists, including violinist Sarah Chang, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and composers such as Mason Bates, Christopher Theofanidis, and Kevin Puts. The Orchestra is expanding its regional base in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and performed concerts in four new venues during the 2015-16 season, in addition to concerts at its home at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. For more information, please visit

Music Director Donato Cabrera joined the California Symphony in 2013. He has been the Music Director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra since 2014, and he also has a thriving international conducting career. He was the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (SFSYO) from 2009 through the 2015-16 season. As Music Director of the California Symphony, Cabrera is committed to featuring music by American composers, supporting young artists in the Early Stages of their careers, and commissioning new world premieres from talented resident composers. Cabrera was a co-founder of the New York-based American Contemporary Music Ensemble. He made his Carnegie Hall debut leading the world premiere of Mark Grey's ?tash Sorushan. In 2002, Cabrera was a Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellow at the Salzburg Festival. He has served as assistant conductor at the Ravinia, Spoleto (Italy), and Aspen Music Festivals, and as resident conductor at the Music Academy of the West. Cabrera has also been an assistant conductor for productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. From 2005-2008, he was Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Opera and in 2009, he made his debut with the San Francisco Ballet. Cabrera was the rehearsal and cover conductor for the Metropolitan Opera production and DVD release of Doctor Atomic, which won the 2012 Grammy® Award for Best Opera Recording. In 2010, Donato Cabrera was recognized by the Consulate-General of Mexico in San Francisco as a Luminary of the Friends of Mexico Honorary Committee for his contributions to promoting the Mexican community in the Bay Area. He holds degrees from the University of Nevada and the University of Illinois and has also pursued graduate studies in conducting at Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music. For more information, visit


Sunday, March 19 at 4 pm

Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek

California Symphony: The French Connection

Donato Cabrera, conductor

California Symphony

Jennifer Cho, violin


Delibes - Cortege de Bacchus from Sylvia Suite

Pierre Jalbert - Les espaces infinis

Ravel - Tzigane

Jennifer Cho, violin

Saint-Saëns - Danse Macabre

Bizet - L'Arlésienne Suite No. 2

TICKETS: Tickets are $42-$72 and $20 for students, subject to change. Tickets are available at or 925-943-7469. Tickets for the preconcert wine and cheese tasting are $25 for wine only (three wines) and $35 for wine and cheese and are available at or 925-943-7469. A preconcert talk by Music Director Donato Cabrera, free to ticketholders, begins at 3 pm.

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