Rita Moreno Joins California Symphony For PETER & THE WOLF, 12/20-12/21

The California Symphony and Music Director Donato Cabrera ring in the holiday season with two special concerts starring beloved actress Rita Moreno, who narrates Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf in performances with the Orchestra December 20 at 7:30 pm and December 21 at 4 pm at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. The Orchestra also plays selections from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite, Johann Strauss Sr.'s Radetzsky March,Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, and leads the audience in a sing-along of selected favorite Christmas and holiday songs designed for the entire family to enjoy. The December concerts open with Kevin Beavers' Bright Sky.

Rita Moreno, best known to many for her portrayal of Anita in the classic musical film West Side Story, is one of only 12 entertainers in history to win all four major annual U.S. entertainment awards: the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. Her career has spanned nearly seven decades. She had a major role in the film The King and I and performed for six years on the children's show The Electric Company. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in West Side Story.She has also won numerous lifetime achievement awards, including the Kennedy Center Honor, the SAG Life Achievement Award, and the National Medal of Arts. She recently completed production for the Latino remake for Netflix of Norman Lear's classic sitcom, One Day at a Time, which will premiere in January 2017.

Bright Sky was composed in 2011, six years after Kevin Beavers' three-year tenure (2002-2005) as the Orchestra's Young American Composer-in-Residence. Throughout its history, the Orchestra has made American repertoire its special focus. During its 30th anniversary season, the Orchestra performs music from its celebrated Young American Composers-in-Residence program,with works by alumni on each of its concerts. Kevin Beavers is the winner of both the Philadelphia Orchestra's Centennial Composition Competition and ASCAP's Nissim Prize.

Prior to both concerts, kids and adults will be able to make Peter and the Wolf puppets in the Lesher Center lobby. Tickets for the concerts are priced at $42-$72, and $20 for students, subject to change. Tickets are available throughwww.californiasymphony.org or by calling 925-943-7469.

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 enters its fourth season in 2016-17 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 visitwww.californiasymphony.org.

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 www.donatocabrera.com.

(Photo Credit: Aubrey Bergauer)

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