Pacific Symphony's 40th Anniversary Season Launches With Pianist Olga Kern
It's opening night again for Pacific Symphony, Orange County's premiere orchestra, this time for a very special 40th Anniversary season. Music Director Carl St.Clair, now celebrating his 39th year with the orchestra, leads a night of programming that begins with "Shooting Stars" by Frank Ticheli, originally commissioned for Pacific Symphony's 25th anniversary and now extended in celebration of the orchestra's 40th anniversary.
Next, celebrated Russian-American pianist and Van Cliburn gold medalist Olga Kern performs the "Mount Everest" of piano concertos, Rachmaninoff's Third. Then, the night brings together newly-appointed Concertmaster Dennis Kim and Principal Violist Meredith Crawford as they sweep the audience away with Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante. Finally, Ravel's experimental and vibrant "Boléro" brings the night to an end with the longest crescendo in music history. This Opening Night program reflects what you'll hear all season long with Pacific Symphony: incredible guest artists, phenomenal repertoire from across the classical music spectrum and the energetic chemistry of the orchestra and Carl St.Clair, one of America's longest-tenured music directors.
The Symphony's opening takes place Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 27-29, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Single tickets start at $34. A preview talk with Alan Chapman begins at 7 p.m. Also, the Symphony's Sunday Matinées Series kicks off its season with "Rach 3" on Sunday, Sept. 30, at 3 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. This matinee performance includes Olga Kern's performance of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto, and Ravel's "Boléro." Single tickets start at $35. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.
Starting off the night is Frank Ticheli's "Shooting Stars." Pacific Symphony's first composer-in-residence from 1991-98, Ticheli has composed numerous staples of the concert band repertoire. Interestingly, "Shooting Stars" is the second movement of his Symphony No. 2, which was composed so that all the movements would work as stand-alone concert pieces.
Next, the audience finds themselves deep in the Russian Romantic repertoire, with Rachmaninoff's fiery Piano Concerto No. 3 performed by returning pianist Olga Kern. Having performed in many international competitions, Kern jumpstarted her U.S. career with her historic gold?medal win at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition as the first woman to do so in more than 30 years. Her technique and brilliant energy on stage will be a grand opening to the season.
Then, newly appointed concertmaster Dennis Kim and Principal Violist Meredith Crawford join forces in a performance of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, a piece that gives equal weight to their artistic and instrumental capabilities.
Finally, the night ends on a wild note, with Ravel's intoxicating "Boléro." A long-time staple of the repertoire, this piece displays a democratic philosophy of orchestration, as instruments from the orchestra slowly join in unison, until the entire house of cards falls apart abruptly, and the audience is left sitting in the aftermath of a 17-minute long crescendo, the longest in musical history. A specially commissioned anniversary film highlighting musicians of the Symphony as soloists, as well as the Symphony's 40 years in Orange County, will also be shown during this piece.
Pacific Symphony's Classical Series is made possible by the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation, with additional support from The Westin South Coast Plaza, KUSC, KPCC and PBS SoCal. The Presenting Sponsor for the opening weekend concert is South Coast Plaza. Olga Kern's performance, and the rest of the 2018-19 season piano soloists are generously sponsored by The Michelle F. Rohé Distinguished Piano Fund.