General News

Michael Feinstein Named Principal Pops Conductor of Pasadena POPS

Marvin Hamlisch’s orchestral legacy of promoting The Great American Songbook continues in the expert hands of Michael Feinstein

Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of The Great American Songbook,” is the newly appointed Principal Pops Conductor of the Pasadena POPS.  In addition to his recording and concert career, Michael is an accomplished archivist and television and radio host with his own nationally-broadcast series on PBS and NPR. He has both the deep musical knowledge and charisma to be the face of a prominent POPS orchestra. Feinstein recently performed with the Pasadena POPS at the Los Angeles County Arboretum to a record breaking crowd on July 21st; it was Marvin Hamlisch’s last concert prior to his sudden passing on August 6, 2012.

The Pasadena POPS has enjoyed unprecedented successes under Hamlisch’s leadership – distinctive concerts of pure entertainment delivered with humor and joy to loyal audiences resulting in historic attendance and critical acclaim. “Michael Feinstein is simply the right fit, having already charmed capacity crowds at the Arboretum,” says Paul Jan Zdunek, CEO, adding, “Not only is he a consummate musician, engaging communicator and master entertainer, his lifetime dedication to The Great American Songbook and countless national accomplishments uniquely positions him to build on Marvin’s legacy and lead the Pasadena POPS to new levels of artistic success.”

“To be connected with the Pasadena Pops is simply a great honor, and thrilling as well. It was the passing of our irreplaceable Marvin Hamlisch that has given me the desire to conduct, and every step of the way I will have him on my mind and in my heart,” says Michael Feinstein, adding, “It was because of Marvin that I wish to do this because he had a great love for the Pasadena POPS and my experience with everybody last month was so positive on every level.”

“While we are still deeply saddened by the untimely passing of our beloved friend and leader Marvin Hamlisch, we take great comfort in appointing Michael Feinstein to the Marvin Hamlisch Chair as our new Principal Pops Conductor,” states Melinda Shea, President of the Board, “Marvin’s wife, my dear friend Terre, is also so delighted that Marvin will be forever connected to the Pasadena POPS through the naming of the Marvin Hamlisch Chair.”

The summer 2012 season at the Los Angeles Country Arboretum continues as scheduled this Saturday with La Dolce Vita and closes on September 8 with Gershwin On The Green. Season subscriptions to the Pasadena POPS Summer 2013 season under the direction of Michael Feinstein are on sale now. 2013 Concert dates are June 8, June 29, July 13, August 10 and September 7. For more information visit www.PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org

Marvin Hamlisch Chair

As Principal Pops Conductor, Marvin Hamlisch propelled the Pasadena POPS into a new and successful era, guided by his own contributions to The Great American Songbook and carrying on the legacies of Richard Rodgers and George Gershwin. He was a giant in American music, a true national treasure and dear friend whose music leaves a cherished legacy to the entire world.

To honor his life and work, the Pasadena POPS has created the Marvin Hamlisch Chair, an operating fund that will support the legacy of Marvin Hamlisch and the unique programming he developed for the Pasadena POPS.

A colleague and friend of Marvin Hamlisch, the Pasadena POPS has appointed Michael Feinstein to serve as the first Principal Pops Conductor to hold this newly created Chair.

Gifts to the Marvin Hamlisch Chair fund may be made in honor or memory of a friend or family member or simply to celebrate Marvin Hamlisch’s musical and personal contributions to the Pasadena POPS and the world of music.

About Michael Feinstein

Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of The Great American Songbook,” is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace.

More than simply a performer, Feinstein has received national recognition for his commitment to celebrating America’s popular song and preserving its legacy for the next generation. In 2007, he founded the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Vocal Academy and Competition, which awards scholarships and prizes to students across the country. Michael serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.

Feinstein’s earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his Concord Records CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life was released last year. His Emmy nominated TV special, Michael Feinstein – The Sinatra Legacy, which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, IN, is currently airing across the country. His PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook was the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award. The first two seasons are now available on DVD and the third season will air in 2013.  For his nationally syndicated public radio program Song Travels, Michael interviews and performs alongside music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Moby, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more.

His new book The Gershwins and Me, which is combined with a new CD of Gershwin standards performed with Cyrus Chestnut at the piano, will be published by Simon & Schuster in October 2012. Recently, he released the CDs The Power Of Two – collaborating with “Glee” and “30 Rock” star Cheyenne Jackson – and Cheek To Cheek, recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. His newest recording is We Dreamed These Days, featuring the Carmel Symphony Orchestra; Feinstein co-wrote the title song with Dr. Maya Angelou.

Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The theater is home to an annual international Great American Arts festival, diverse live programming and a museum for his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Starting in 2010, he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Feinstein is working with MGM to turn The Thomas Crown Affair into a Broadway musical. He also has designed a new piano for Steinway called “The First Ladies,” inspired by the White House piano and signed by several former First Ladies. It was first played to commemorate the Ronald Regan centennial on February 6, 2011.

In 2005, Feinstein recorded Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of Harry Warren classics recorded with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. The previous year, he completed a national tour with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb based on their album Only One Life – The Songs of Jimmy Webb. The disc was named one of “10 Best CDs of the Year” by USA Today.

In 2003, Feinstein received his fourth Grammy nomination for his release Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, his first recording with a symphony orchestra. The year before, Rhino/Elektra Music released The Michael Feinstein Anthology, a two-disc compilation spanning the years 1987 to 1996 and featuring old favorites and previously unreleased tracks.

Michael’s own record label, Feinery, a Concord Records subsidiary, released The Livingston & Evans Songbook, featuring Feinstein and special guest Melissa Manchester. Feinery also records favorite current artists and restores recordings and musical broadcasts from the golden age of popular song.

His Manhattan nightclub, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, has presented the top talents of pop and jazz, including Rosemary Clooney, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Alan Cumming. Feinstein appears there for a sold-out holiday engagement every year.

His many other credits include scoring the original music for the film Get Bruce and performing on the hits television series “Better With You,” “Caroline in the City,” “Melrose Place,” “Coach,” “Cybill“ and “7th Heaven.”

The roots of all this work began in Columbus, Ohio, where Feinstein started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he worked in local piano bars for two years, moving to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.

Gershwin’s influence provided a solid base upon which Feinstein evolved into a captivating performer, composer and arranger of his own original music. He also has become an unparalleled interpreter of music legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Harry Warren. Feinstein has received three honorary doctorates.

Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins and Carole Bayer Sager), Feinstein is an all-star force in American music.

Michael Feinstein performing with the Pasadena POPS on July 21, 2012

Michael Feinstein and Marvin Hamlisch together with the Pasadena POPS on July 21, 2012

Marvin Hamlisch, 1944-2012

The Pasadena Symphony and POPS are both shocked and devastated to learn about the sudden passing of Marvin Hamlisch. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Terre, his family, and his friends and colleagues.

During his time in Pasadena, he was beloved in our community and made an enormous impact with everyone he encountered. He brought a tireless humor and enthusiasm to the stage, and was loved by our audience, musicians, and staff. Marvin propelled the Pasadena POPS into a new and successful era, guided by his contributions to the Great American Songbook carrying on the legacies of Richard Rogers and George Gershwin. His was a giant in American music and a true national treasure.

Marvin was here when we needed him with his vision and artistic guidance. He was a great friend and his music leaves an unforgettable legacy to the world. Marvin was a remarkable person and an incredible talent who will be dearly missed.

Paul Jan Zdunek, CEO – Pasadena Symphony Association
Melinda Shea, President – Pasadena Symphony Association

More details – http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/08/composer-marvin-hamlisch-68-collapsed-in-unexpected-death.html

Rose & the Nightingale POPS Concert

Please note: these events are cancelled due to excessive heat.

If we are able to reschedule, we will update you accordingly. Thank you, and we apologize for any inconvenience.

The Spirit of the Garden POPS Concert

Rose & the Nightingale, a powerhouse quartet of female virtuosi, celebrate the sublimity of gardens through poetry and song. Co-presented by the Arboretum and the Pasadena Symphony and POPS, “The Spirit of the Garden” kicks off with refreshments followed by a surround-sound experience with the audience seated alongside the performers on stage for this intimate concert. Composed for performances in the nation’s great public gardens, “The Spirit of the Garden” West Coast tour has included the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers and Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

Rose & the Nightingale is a New York City-based quartet of world-class improvising vocalists and instrumentalists, creating beautiful and unique genre-defying music full of melody, harmony, and energetic expression. Rose & the Nightingale’s “The Spirit of the Garden” blurs the boundaries of world music, folk, art song, and jazz improvisation. This unique program integrates poetry about gardens and the nexus of spirituality and nature as the lyrics to the songs, as inspiration for improvised interludes, and as thematic threads throughout the concert. Critically acclaimed, Rose & the Nightingale’s live performances have uplifted audiences with the power of the quartet’s fiery rhythmic energy, sublime harmonies, lyrical beauty, and staggering talent. Onstage, the band is a great demonstration of female strength and grace.

Members of Rose & the Nightingale have performed internationally on five continents, at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Barbican in London, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, Chicago Symphony Hall, and at the  prestigious North Sea, Montreal, Montreux, Newport, San Francisco, and Cape Town South Africa festivals, and Tokyo’s Blue Note. Their performers are Jody Redhage (cello, vocals, compositions); Sara Caswell (violin & mandolin); Katelyn Benton (piano & vocals); and Leala Cyr (vocals, trumpet and percussion).

“The Spirit of the Garden” POPS concert features poems as lyrics written by living American poets with whom Redhage has collaborated, including Wyn Cooper of Vermont, Maria Brady Smith of Missouri, Ella Cvancara of Wyoming, Evan Karp and Silvi Alcivar of California, as well as French poet Miquel Decor, and Rumi.

Poetry & Music in the Garden Workshop

Best for families with students ages 8-18

In Rose & the Nightingale’s “Poetry & Music in the Garden Workshop,” participants are split into four groups, each led by a Rose & the Nightingale band member. The four groups visit four specifically chosen areas in the botanic garden in a round robin style spending 15 minutes in each area. Band members teach a different technique for writing nature poetry in each of the four locations, giving the students the opportunity to write their own nature poems reacting to each specific areas, requiring the students to openly engage and creatively respond to their natural environment. After visiting all four garden areas and writing at least four of their own nature poems, participants reconvene in a centralize location, where Rose & the Nightingale use their voices and instruments to transform the students’ haikus as the lyrics to new songs spontaneously composed.

Students are encouraged to participate in the songwriting process through reactive input, and as participants in the music-making: either as singers, spoken word artists, or percussionists. The highlights of this composition process will be showcased at Rose & the Nightingale’s 5pm performance on Sunday, August 12 at the Arboretum, with an invitation to the workshop students to be involved in the performance of these highlights. The Poetry & Music in the Garden workshop provides a consciousness-raising experience in which students are required to be open and aware, reacting to different garden environments with their own artistic responses. The workshop provides a fun and exciting opportunity to participate in a multi-disciplinary collaborative process. The workshop aims to spark future collaboration between literary and musical minded local students. Students are welcome to bring recording devices to the workshop to record their haikus being made into song.

Pasadena Symphony and Jet Propulsion Lab Partner to Create JPL Chorus

Pasadena is a city rich with the arts and sciences, and the new JPL Chorus is perhaps the perfect blend of both. Formed earlier this year in partnership between the Pasadena Symphony Association and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the JPL Chorus is comprised of JPL employees who rehearse weekly under the direction of Donald Brinegar, the Pasadena Symphony’s Director of Choruses. The JPL Chorus will debut in a free, public concert with the Pasadena City College Chamber Singers on May 5 at 7:30pm at Ambassador Auditorium.

The JPL Chorus is comprised of 53 employees who rehearse each Wednesday evening. Their concert program includes a mixture of classical repertoire to popular, with composers ranging from Benjamin Britten and Lennon/McCartney.

According to Stephen Kulczycki, Deputy Director of Communications and Education at JPL (and a member of the bass section), the idea for a chorus came about after talking with Pasadena Symphony CEO Paul Zdunek about how the two organizations might be able to partner.

“I suggested that we might get good participation if we tried a chorus, and Paul agreed,” explained Kulczycki. “We put out some test balloons, got about one hundred people to express some interest, and by the time we started rehearsing we had about fifty people regularly involved.”

The singers come from a wide variety of roles within JPL, including scientists, engineers, administrators, software, business people, and more. “The idea is to celebrate JPL with our group’s enthusiasm about music and singing. It’s been a lot of fun, and I think what Don brings to this particularly is a great sense of joy in the experience,” continued Kulczycki.

The JPL Chorus concert featuring the Pasadena City College Chamber Singers on May 5 at Ambassador Auditorium is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. For additional information about the Pasadena Symphony Association or for a full schedule of concerts, contact the Box Office at 626.793.7172 or visit www.PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org.

IF YOU GO:

  • What: JPL Chorus Concert
  • Who: JPL Chorus of the Pasadena Symphony Association and the Pasadena City College Chamber Singers, under the direction of Donald Brinegar (Pasadena Symphony Director of Choruses)
  • Where: Ambassador Auditorium; 131 St. John Ave, Pasadena, CA 91123
  • When: Saturday, May 5 | 7:30pm
  • Cost: Free

Michael Stern replaces James DePreist to conduct the Pasadena Symphony April 28 at Ambassador Auditorium

Pasadena, CA Pasadena Symphony Artistic Advisor James DePreist is recovering from recent and unanticipated heart bypass surgery and is unable to appear with the orchestra later this month as originally scheduled. American conductor Michael Stern will step in to conduct the Pasadena Symphony’s final concert of its Classics Season featuring Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 and Strauss’ poignant Four Last Songs with Grammy Award-winning soprano Christine Brewer at Ambassador Auditorium on Saturday April 28 at 2pm & 8pm.

“We never know when life will take us on an unexpected journey,” comments Paul Jan Zdunek, Chief Executive Officer of the Pasadena Symphony Association. “Our thoughts are with Maestro DePreist and his wife Ginette during his recovery. We look forward to their visit to Pasadena in the very near future. Although not under these circumstances, we are pleased that Michael Stern was available to step in; he is a consummate musician who has successfully partnered with Christine Brewer before.”

Celebrated soprano Christine Brewer is regarded as one of the leading interpreters of Strauss’ works, and has performed the lead roles in his operas Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Frau ohne Schatten with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and more. A hallmark of her extensive discography is the critically acclaimed recording of Stauss’ Four Last Songs with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the leading roles of both the Tristan Project with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Turandot with Gustavo Dudamel.

She made her debut with LA Opera last month in a leading role of Benjamin Britton’s Albert Herring, earning a review from the Los Angeles Times describing her as a “galvanizing…force of nature!”

Conductor Michael Stern is in his seventh season as music director of the Kansas City Symphony. He is also the founding artistic director and principal conductor of The IRIS Orchestra in Tennessee. He has produced a string of recordings and acclaimed commissioned new works by American composers.

“[Michael] Stern has a dynamic stick technique that commands rather than coaxes. Attacks are sharp and aggressive. Rhythms are clean and propulsive. He knows his way to a climax… He is someone we should be seeing more of.” – Los Angeles Times

Stern has led orchestras worldwide including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Helsinki Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. and more. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.

April 28 marks the final concerts of the 2011-12 classics series and the Pasadena Symphony’s second season as the resident professional orchestra of the historic Ambassador Auditorium. Tickets to Brewer Sings Strauss on Saturday, April 28 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm begin at $35 and may be purchased by visiting PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org, calling 626.793.7172 or onsite on the day of the concert.

IF YOU GO:

  • What: Brewer Sings Strauss with the Pasadena Symphony
  • When: Saturday, April 28 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm
  • Where: Ambassador Auditorium; 131 St. John Ave, Pasadena, CA 91123
  • Cost: Tickets start at $35.00
  • Parking: Valet on Green Street, $10 general parking available adjacent to the theater in Maranatha parking lots.
  • Full Program: Wagner Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey from Götterdämmerung, Strauss Four Last Songs, Dvorak Symphony No. 8
  • Pre-Concert Conversation: Pasadena Symphony Association’s CEO Paul Jan Zdunek visits with Guest Conductor Michael Stern about the program, his musical journey and much more an hour before each concert (1 pm and again at 7 pm on stage at Ambassador Auditorium).

ABOUT CHRISTINE BREWER
Grammy Award-winning American soprano Christine Brewer’s appearances in opera, concert, and recital are marked by her own unique timbre, at once warm and brilliant, combined with a vibrant personality and emotional honesty reminiscent of the great sopranos of the past. Her range, golden tone, boundless power, and control make her a favorite of the stage as well as a sought-after recording artist.

Highlights of Brewer’s 2011-12 season include opening the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 67th season with a program featuring Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the Immolation scene from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. A “superlative Strauss singer” (New York Times), she also looks forward to singing the German composer’s Four Last Songs with the St. Louis Symphony under David Robertson, besides featuring his music alongside that of Marx, Thomson, Ives, and Smith in recital with pianist and frequent collaborator Craig Rutenberg, at New York’s Alice Tully Hall.

The soprano’s numerous 2010-11 season highlights included performances of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with both the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Donald Runnicles and the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas, as well as Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass with the Toronto and Chicago Symphonies led by James Conlon. She reprised Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Royal Concertgebouw and Detroit Symphony under Mariss Jansons and Leonard Slatkin respectively, besides performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Barber’s Prayers of Kierkegaard with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony. She was also the featured soloist for the New York City Opera’s opening night gala.

An avid recitalist, Brewer has graced such prestigious venues as Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Oberlin Conservatory, the Friends of Chamber Music, Washington DC’s Vocal Arts Society, and many others. She has appeared in Lincoln Center’s “Art of the Song” series at Alice Tully Hall, the Boston Celebrity Series, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Atlanta’s Spivey Hall, California’s Mondavi Center, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Her unique voice has also been featured at the Gilmore, Ravinia, and Cleveland Art Song festivals.

On the opera stage, Brewer is highly regarded for her striking portrayal of the title role in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, which she has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra de Lyon, Théatre du Chatelet, Santa Fe Opera, English National Opera, and Opera Theater of St. Louis. Attracting glowing reviews with each role, the soprano has performed Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at San Francisco Opera, Gluck’s Alceste with Santa Fe Opera, the Dyer’s Wife in Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten at Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Paris Opera, and Lady Billows in Britten’s Albert Herring at Santa Fe Opera. She is also celebrated for her work on lesser-known operas such as the title roles in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride with the Edinburgh Festival, the Rio de Janeiro Opera, and Madrid Opera and Strauss’s Die ägyptische Helena with the Santa Fe Opera.

Brewer has worked with many of today’s most notable conductors, including Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Lorin Maazel, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Antonio Pappano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Shaw, and Jaap van Zweden. Frequently sought after to sing the great symphonic works of Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, Mahler, Beethoven, Strauss, Wagner, Janácek, and Britten, she has sung with the philharmonics of New York and Los Angeles, and the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., St. Louis, San Francisco, Boston, and Dallas. In Europe, the soprano counts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Orchestre de Paris, and Toulouse Orchestra as regular partners. In addition, she has made appearances with the Malaysia Philharmonic, New World Symphony, and Toronto Symphony. The versatile artist has also been invited to perform for such special engagements as the re-opening of Covent Garden with Plácido Domingo for TRH the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, a concert of Handel with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and a gala performance of Górecki’s Third Symphony with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and long-time collaborator Runnicles.

Brewer’s recordings include a contribution to Hyperion’s prestigious Schubert series with pianist Graham Johnson; the Janácek Glagolitic Mass and Dvorák Te Deum with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Telarc); Dvorák’s Stabat Mater (Naxos); and two recital recordings entitled “Saint Louis Woman” and “Music for a While,” produced and released by Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Recent releases include a live recital disc from Wigmore Hall (Koch); Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde, Strauss’s Opera Scenes, and Mozart’s Requiem with Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony (Telarc); Fidelio in German with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Live); Barber’s Vanessa with the BBC Symphony (Chandos) and the Grammy Award-winning Bolcom Songs of Innocence and Experience (Naxos), both conducted by Leonard Slatkin; Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Sir Simon Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (EMI); a disc of lieder for Hyperion’s new Richard Strauss series with pianist Roger Vignoles; Fidelio in English and “Great Operatic Arias” with the London Philharmonic (Chandos); and Britten’s War Requiem with the London Philharmonic and Kurt Masur (LPO Live).

ABOUT MICHAEL STERN
Conductor Michael Stern is in his seventh season as music director of the Kansas City Symphony, hailed for its remarkable artistic growth and development since his tenure began. The Symphony and Stern concluded their first year together by making a recording for the Naxos label which was released in 2007. They have released two CDs on the Reference Recordings Label Britten’s Orchestra with orchestral works of Benjamin Britten, and The Tempest, with music by Sullivan and Sibelius inspired by Shakespeare’s play, both released to critical acclaim and the Britten album winning a Grammy in 2011.

Mr. Stern is also founding artistic director and principal conductor of the IRIS Orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee. Other past positions include a tenure as the chief conductor of Germany’s Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra (the first American chief conductor in the orchestra’s history), Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille, and as permanent guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, a position which he held for five years.

Stern has led orchestras throughout Europe and Asia, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Beethovenhalle Orchestra in Bonn, Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic, National Symphony of Taiwan, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony and the Vienna Radio Symphony’s tour of China.

In North America, Stern has conducted the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.

Stern received his music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where his major teacher was the noted conductor and scholar Max Rudolf. Stern coedited the third edition of Rudolf’s famous textbook, The Grammar of Conducting, and also edited a new volume of Rudolf’s collected writings and correspondence. Stern is a 1981 graduate of Harvard University, where he earned a degree in American history.

Don’t miss the GROW! A Garden Festival at the Arboretum on May 4-6

The weekend celebration of Spring will be a great and fun way to get acquainted with the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden, the beautiful new summer home for the POPS concert.

There will be art installations, plants for sale, a Marketplace, live entertainment, food and much more to enjoy. Festivities begin Friday evening, May 4, and continue through Saturday and Sunday. See below for more information directly from the Arboretum:

Who spiked the punch at the LA Arboretum?

Join us Friday evening, May 4, to find out – with tequila cocktails by Nobleza Tequila and wine flights offered by Phantom Rivers Winery, accompanied by appetizers from Claud & Company Catering and the Peacock Café.  Not to mention our Beer for Books booth, where all proceeds will go toward new books for the Arboretum Library.

Accompanied by big band music from the Big Band Theory, it is the perfect backdrop for enjoying a stroll through our garden sculpture exhibits:  Earth Dreams – Beyond the Sculptural Landscapes, where you will also have a chance to meet the artists.  The Ladybugs pictures above are an example of some of the amazing art you will see.

The fun continues on Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, with plenty of kids’ activities, live entertainment throughout the day, food trucks, guided tours through our beautiful gardens, and much more!

There is a fantastic lineup of educational Q&A sessions from top garden experts. These forums feature topics on everything from bee-keeping and backyard chickens, maximizing your edible garden production to drought-friendly ornamental landscaping.

And don’t forget your shopping opportunities!  During the POPS concert, our Marketplace will have over 50 vendors with a full array of garden accessories, and over 25 Plant Vendors & Societies offering unique plants and great information.  Our Arboretum Gift Shop will be offering special discounts on all merchandise as well.

GROW! will also be the first opportunity to see our newly designed Garden for All Seasons – a demonstration garden of cutting-edge water harvesting techniques and urban homesteading principles.

Download a flyer for the GROW! POPS concert and festival with event details here!

For complete details visit our website at www.arboretum.org and click on Garden Festival or contact Nancy Yoshihara at 626.821.4667 or nancy.yoshihara@arboretum.org.

Tchaikovsky’s Fourth

“There is still happiness, simple, naïve happiness,” said Tchaikovsky of his Fourth Symphony. It was a breakthrough work, a bounding creative leap in scale, intensity, and ambition combining theatrical flair with emotional contrasts that reach epic proportions – music so personal that it becomes universal. Rachmaninoff International Award winning pianist Rueibin Chen performs his talisman, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, brilliant with delicious wit and one of the world’s most irresistible melodies popularized by the movie “Somewhere in Time”.

Watch a preview of Reuibin Chen performing another one of Rachmaninoff’s piano masterpieces:

Pasadena Symphony Announces 85th Anniversary Season with Russian Blockbusters, Award Winning Artists and a World Premiere

The Pasadena Symphony celebrates its 85th Anniversary Season with Russian blockbusters by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and Borodin with must-see Artists and Conductors for its 2012-13 Classics Series at Pasadena’s own “Carnegie Hall of the West”, one of the finest concert halls in the nation – Ambassador Auditorium.

The season opens on October 6, 2012 with the return of the infectious dynamo, conductor Mei-Ann Chen, followed by California native Edwin Outwater, burgeoning conductor Tito Muñoz, and 2012 Grammy Nominee Nicholas McGegan. Georg Solti Prize winning conductor Jose Luis Gomez and Composer-in-Residence Peter Boyer who will share the podium for the season finale.

Must-see guest artists include: 16 year-old Gilmore award-winning pianist George Li, Rachmaninoff International Prize winning pianist Rueibin Chen, Grammy Nominee violinist Caroline Goulding, soprano Yulia Van Doren, Pasadena Symphony’s own Principal Clarinetist Donald Foster, and prolific recording artist and superstar violin virtuoso Chee-Yun. All celebrating the 85th Anniversary of the Pasadena Symphony – an ensemble of Southern California’s most talented and in-demand musicians heard around the world.

Season highlights include both Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9; both Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and his Symphony No. 4, Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Beethoven’s Egmont, Huang Li’s Spring Festival plus the premiere of Composer-in-Residence Peter Boyer’s Symphony No. 1.

“The 85th Anniversary Season is shaping up to be our finest yet. We look forward to returning conductors Mei-Ann Chen and Tito Muñoz as well as an enlightening performance of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony under the informed and inspired direction of Nicolas McGegan,” states Paul Jan Zdunek, Chief Executive Officer. “We are also very excited about working alongside Peter Boyer. He is an amazingly versatile talent, which is why he is in high demand in the orchestral and film industries.”

Off the heels of a sold out concert this past December, the Pasadena Symphony’s Holiday Candlelight returns on Saturday December 1, 2012. This unique holiday concert has already become a seasonal staple for the community at the architecturally exquisite and acoustically sonorous setting of Pasadena’s All Saints Church. Conductor Grant Cooper and Soprano Lisa Vroman join an array of choruses in this intimate and festive concert of holiday melodies performed by candlelight – an aural respite that is sure to summon the spirit of the season!

The 2012-13 Classics Series Concert dates are October 6, November 3, January 12, February 9, and April 27 with both 2 pm matinee and 8 pm evening performances plus Holiday Candlelight on December 1, 2012. Purchase a Season subscription to enjoy up to 20% savings at 626-793-7172 or online at www.PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org. Single tickets go on sale June 1, 2012.

All Classics Concerts take place at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium each Saturday with two performances at 2pm & 8pm (full schedule below)

October 6, 2012
RACHMANINOFF SEASON OPENER

Mei-Ann Chen, Conductor
George Li, Piano

Beethoven Egmont Overture
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2
Shostakovich Symphony No. 9

Sixteen year-old Gilmore award winning pianist George Li’s playing is full of “dreamy lyricism – notes like pebbles dropping into a pond – alternated with a Romantic turbulence that gives meaning and soul to musical swirls of notes,” raves Cleveland Classical. Alluring, sensuous, romantic, virtuosic, poetic – all are suitable in describing Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto. An infectious dynamo, Maestra Mei-Ann Chen returns to Pasadena with Shostakovich’s boisterous and joyful Symphony No. 9 and Beethoven’s Egmont Overture – an opening night everyone is talking about!

LA Times -“Listeners had little choice but to fasten their seatbelts and hang on.”

Chicago Sun Times - “Mei-Ann plays and speaks from the heart, the body, and the head, and the audience and the players have embraced her [Chicago Sinfonietta].”

Rocky Mountain News - “…a confident, engaging musician with a fresh degree of drama, lyricism and transparency. Her podium manner is thrilling to watch, passionate and committed, yet on the money with cues and pacing. Watch for her [Colorado Symphony].”

November 3, 2012
TCHAIKOVSKY’S FOURTH
Edwin Outwater, Conductor
Rueibin Chen, Piano

Huang Li Spring Festival Overture
Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4

“There is still happiness, simple, naïve happiness,” said Tchaikovsky of his Fourth Symphony. It was a breakthrough work, a bounding creative leap in scale, intensity, and ambition combining theatrical flair with emotional contrasts that reach epic proportions – music so personal that it becomes universal. Rachmaninoff International Award winning pianist Rueibin Chen performs his talisman, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, brilliant with delicious wit and one of the world’s most irresistible melodies popularized by the movie “Somewhere in Time.”

The Washington Post - “Outwater showed that he is an accomplished conductor, with a lyric sensibility and a gift for blending high drama with subtle, convincing emotion… [He] produced a near-crystalline performance that kept the music tight and exciting. Definitely hot – and definitely a hit.”

Boston Globe - “Rueibin Chen plays with white-hot energy, steel-fingered power and athletic virtuosity.”

The Times (UK) - “Rueibin Chen mesmerized the audience as his fingers traveled the ivories with at times mind-boggling precision and swiftness and a level of emotion which delivered each note, each chord, to the heart of each member of the audience.”

January 12, 2013
BRAHMS AND SIBELIUS
Tito Muñoz, Conductor
Carolyn Goulding, Violin

Boyer “Apollo” from Three Olympians
Sibelius Violin Concerto
Brahms Symphony No. 1

Brahms was hailed by Schuman as “the rightful heir to the mantle of Beethoven.” His First Symphony is a worthy successor with its dramatic strength, lyrical power and triumphant soundscape – it is arguably one of the greatest first symphonies ever written. Composer-in-Residence Peter Boyer’s vibrant universe of sound takes center stage with Apollo and Grammy Award nominated artist Caroline Goulding performs the Sibelius Violin Concerto, which contrasts the dark, dreamy and reflective with an air of passionate urgency, gypsy dance and boundless virtuosity.

Pasadena Star News - “Muñoz’s athletic, albeit stylish conducting style was infectiously exuberant and the orchestra was razor-sharp in its playing, a foretaste of things to come.”

Cincinnati Inquirer - “Muñoz led with fluid motions, he inspired precise atmospheric playing, and every gesture made musical sense…Clearly, this is a major talent in the making.”

Gramophone - “A precociously gifted virtuoso…Goulding is a violinist of impressive technical polish and musical maturity.”

February 9, 2013
McGEGAN CONDUCTS MAHLER
Nicholas McGegan, Conductor
Yulia Van Doren, Soprano
Donald Foster, Clarinet

Mozart Clarinet Concerto
Mahler Symphony No. 4

Many a love affair with the symphonies of Mahler has begun with his Fourth. Grammy Award nominated conductor Nicolas McGegan returns to lead the warmly lyrical “Sunlit Symphony”, an optimistic look at a golden age of innocence through a child’s song of a heavenly life at the gates of paradise. Known for his aural luxuriance, charismatic playfulness and utmost musicianship, McGegan delivers this sonic masterpiece as only he can. Making his Pasadena Symphony debut, acclaimed Principal Clarinet Donald Foster plays Mozart’s beloved Clarinet Concerto – ethereal, playful and deeply moving.

Los Angeles Times - “If Nicholas McGegan is conducting, closing your eyes means missing something vital. Musicians respond instantly and the music springs into life and stays alive…”

Los Angeles Times - “He conducts without a baton, excitedly scooping the music up with his hands and arms…. McGegan led with characteristic flair, punching out rhythms and merrily getting maximum ping for his buck.”

The Financial Times - “…Van Doren sang gloriously, with subtle inflection, dynamic sensitivity and spunky charm…”

April 27, 2013
TCHAIKOVSKY VIOLIN CONCERTO
Jose-Luis Gomez, Conductor
Peter Boyer, Composer-in Residence & Conductor
Chee-Yun, Violin

Boyer Festivities
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
Borodin In the Steppes of Central Asia
Boyer Symphony No. 1 (world premiere)

Superstar violinist Chee-Yun is “a talented instrumentalist, with the kind of high-gloss tone that pulls sensuously at the listener’s ear,” raves New York Times. A perfect match for the intensely passionate music of Tchaikovsky’s personal love letter – his indelible Violin Concerto. Jose Luis Gomez, winner of the Georg Solti conducting prize, leads the orchestra in Borodin’s majestic landscape of central Asia. Plus, the world premiere of Composer-in-Residence Peter Boyer’s Symphony No. 1 conducted by the composer himself – a grand finale to Pasadena Symphony’s 85th anniversary season!

Strings Magazine - “Chee-Yun has the poise and natural self-confidence of a seasoned veteran and born performer. Her technique is brilliant and utterly secure, her tone like butter, smooth, rich and flawless.”

To purchase tickets, visit www.PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org or call (626) 793-7172.

Pasadena Symphony and POPS
ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES

ABOUT MEI-ANN CHEN
One of the most dynamic young conductors in America, Mei-Ann Chen has recently completed her first season as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. During this time, the impact of her energy, enthusiasm and high level of music-making has already been felt by the orchestra, audiences and entire community. In July of 2011, she also assumed the music directorship of the Chicago Sinfonietta, only the second person in the orchestra’s history to hold this position.

Among Ms. Chen’s upcoming highlights are debuts on the Chicago Symphony subscription series, the Netherlands Philharmonic at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Aspen Music Festival. Other debuts include the symphonies of Jacksonville, Naples, North Carolina, San Diego, Sarasota and Tucson, as well as the Louisiana Philharmonic, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, the São Paulo Symphony and the Tampere Philharmonic in Finland. She will make her Cincinnati Opera debut in June 2013, leading a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

In great demand as a guest conductor, Ms. Chen recently stepped in on short notice for her very well-received subscription concert debut with the Cincinnati Symphony. She has also appeared with the symphonies of Alabama, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Edmonton (Canada), Florida, Fort Worth, Nashville, National (Washington, DC), Oregon, Pacific, Pasadena, Phoenix, Seattle and Toronto, as well as the Rochester Philharmonic and Grand Teton Festival Orchestra. Worldwide engagements include all the principal Danish orchestras, BBC Scottish Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Graz Symphony, National Symphony of Mexico, Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Trondheim Symphony. Festival appearances include Wintergreen, Chautauqua and the Texas Music Festival in Houston.

The first woman to win the Malko Competition (2005), Ms. Chen has served as Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta, Baltimore and Oregon symphonies. The positions in Atlanta and Baltimore were sponsored by the League of American Orchestras. Recipient of the 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship, she has appeared jointly with Marin Alsop and Stefan Sanderling in highly acclaimed subscription concerts with the Baltimore Symphony, Colorado Symphony and Florida Orchestra.

In 2002, Ms. Chen was unanimously selected as Music Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon, the oldest of its kind and the model for many of the youth orchestras in the United States. During her five-year tenure with the orchestra, she led its sold-out debut in Carnegie Hall, received an ASCAP award for innovative programming, and developed new and unique musicianship programs for the orchestra’s members. She was honored with a Sunburst Award from Young Audiences for her contribution to music education.

Born in Taiwan, Mei-Ann Chen has lived in the United States since 1989. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Michigan, where she was a student of Kenneth Kiesler. Prior to that, she was the first student in New England Conservatory’s history to receive master’s degrees, simultaneously, in both violin and conducting. Ms. Chen also participated in the National Conducting Institute in Washington, D.C. and the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen.

ABOUT EDWIN OUTWATER
Edwin Outwater is Music Director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in Ontario, Canada. Now in his fourth season, he has revitalized the orchestra and gained international attention for innovative projects and imaginative programs.

Mr. Outwater’s recent highlights include his professional opera debut conducting La Traviata with the San Francisco Opera, a subscription concert with the San Francisco Symphony that featured a new world premiere composition by Duncan Sheik, two PDQ Bach events – one with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and one with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, an evening of Nico Muhly’s orchestral works at the Toronto Conservatory of Music, a performance of John Adams’ revised version of the Dr. Atomic Symphony with the BBC National Symphony Orchestra of Wales, an evening with Nikki Yanofsky at the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa and leading the very first appearance of the YouTube Symphony at Carnegie Hall as one of three conductors chosen for this event – alongside Michael Tilson Thomas and Tan Dun.

As a conductor and educator, this season Mr. Outwater leads the New World Symphony Orchestra in an in-depth focus on the music of Manuel de Falla in addition to appearances with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Australian Youth Orchestra. He returns to the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C., the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and makes a debut appearance with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

In the 2009-2010 season, Mr. Outwater returned to the San Francisco Symphony for subscription series performances and also returned to the Chicago Symphony, New World Symphony, Columbus Symphony, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He made his debut appearances that season with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C., the St. Louis Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa and the Mexico City Philharmonic.

Edwin Outwater was Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony from 2001-2006. While there, he worked closely with Michael Tilson Thomas, accompanied the orchestra on tour and conducted numerous concerts each season. In July 2006 Mr. Outwater conducted the world premiere performance and recording of The Composer is Dead, by Nathaniel Stookey and Lemony Snicket which was recently released HarperCollins. In 2008, his recording with the San Francisco Symphony of the music of Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate was released to wide acclaim.

Mr. Outwater’s work in music education and community outreach has been widely acclaimed. In 2004 his education programs were given the Leonard Bernstein award for excellence in educational programming, and his Chinese New Year Program was given the MET LIFE award for community outreach. At the San Francisco Symphony, he conducted Family Concerts, Adventures in Music performances, which are heard by more than 25,000 students from San Francisco schools each year, and Concerts for Kids, which serve students from throughout Northern California. In Florida, Mr. Outwater designed the Florida Philharmonic Family Series and its Music for Youth program, which was heard annually by more than 40,000 fifth-grade students in South Florida.

ABOUT TITO MUNOZ
Lauded by the Cincinnati Enquirer for his “natural facility and convincing musicianship on the podium,” Tito Muñoz is increasingly recognized as one of the most gifted conductors of his generation.  Recently appointed Music Director of the Opéra National de Lorraine and the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy, he previously served a three year tenure as Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra, appointed by Franz Welser-Möst in April 2007, and a League of American Orchestras Conducting Fellow. Prior to that, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

An alumnus of the National Conducting Institute, Mr. Muñoz made his professional conducting debut in 2006 with the National Symphony Orchestra. That same year, he made his Cleveland Orchestra debut at the Blossom Music Festival at the invitation of David Zinman. The 2006-2007 season included a critically acclaimed subscription debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, stepping in for an ailing Krzysztof Penderecki. Other past engagements have included appearances with the symphony orchestras of Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit, Eugene, Princeton, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. He made his European debut with the Orchestre Lyrique de Région Avignon-Provence in fall of 2007.

In the 2009/10 season, Mr. Muñoz made a critically acclaimed subscription debut with The Cleveland Orchestra and a return subscription appearance with the Cincinnati Symphony as well as debuts with the Toledo, Hartford, and El Paso Symphonies and the Mexico City Philharmonic. Other recent and upcoming engagements include return performances with the Detroit Symphony, the Toledo Symphony, and the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt, and subscription debuts with the symphony orchestras of San Antonio, Albany, and Pasadena. In Europe, he will debut with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and the Opéra de Rennes, leading a production of Britten’s Turn of the Screw.

Since the summer of 2006, Mr. Muñoz has made regular appearances with The Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival. In the summer of 2009 he conducted performances with The Cleveland Orchestra and The Joffrey Ballet, which led to further performances in summer of 2010 as well as an invitation to tour with The Joffrey Ballet in the 2010/11 season. Other festival appearances have included the Chautauqua Music Festival, the Grant Park Music Festival, and Italy’s Ritratti 2008 festival.

Mr. Muñoz’s relationship with the Opéra National de Lorraine and the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy began in spring of 2009 when he made his operatic debut with performances of Caballero’s Los sobrinos del Capitán Grant as well as successful subscription performances with the symphony, resulting in an immediate re-engagement for concerts in the spring of 2010 and the spring of 2011. His first complete season as Music Director begins in fall of 2011 with a production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress followed by a production of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Les Noces.

He is the winner of the Aspen Music Festival’s 2005 Robert J. Harth Conductor Prize and the 2006 Aspen Conducting Prize, and in summer 2007, he returned to Aspen as the festival’s Assistant Conductor. Also an accomplished violinist, Mr. Muñoz has performed in many of New York’s leading ensembles including the New York Virtuosi, Ensemble Sospeso, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, as well as numerous Broadway shows. As a studio musician he has recorded for Albany Records, RCA Victor and Sony.

ABOUT NICHOLAS MCGEGAN
Nicholas McGegan is loved by audiences and orchestras for performances that match authority with enthusiasm, scholarship with joy, and curatorial responsibility with evangelical exuberance. The London Independent calls him “one of the finest baroque conductors of his generation” and The New Yorker lauds him as “an expert in 18th-century style.”

Through nearly twenty-five years its music director, McGegan has established the San Francisco-based Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra as the leading period performance band in America – and at the forefront of the ‘historical’ movement worldwide thanks to notable appearances at Carnegie Hall, the London Proms, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the International Handel Festival, Gottingen where he has been artistic director since 1991.

In Gottingen and with the Philharmonia Baroque he has defined an approach to period style that sets the current standard: probing, serious but undogmatic, recognising that the music of the past doesn’t belong in a museum or in academia but in vigorous engagement with an audience, for pleasure and delight on both sides of the platform edge.

‘If Nicholas McGegan is conducting’, wrote the Los Angeles Times, ‘closing your eyes means missing something vital. Other conductors may interpret baroque scores as plains of sewing machine rhythms and textures; McGegan finds in them rivulets, courses, hairpin turns and breezes gusting through valleys and up and around mountains… At every move, his musicians respond instantly, fluidly, and the music springs into life and stays alive’.

Active in opera as well as the concert hall, he was principal conductor of Sweden’s perfectly preserved 18th-century theatre Drottingholm 1993-6, running the annual festival there. And he has been a pioneer in the process of exporting historically informed practice beyond the small world of period instruments to the wider one of conventional symphonic forces, guest-conducting orchestras like the Concertgebouw, Suisse Romande, Halle, Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia, St. Louis, Toronto, and Sydney Symphonies, and the New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong Philharmonics, as well as opera companies like Covent Garden, San Francisco, Santa Fe and Washington.

His discography of over 100 releases includes the world premiere recording of Handel’s Susanna, which attracted both a Gramophone Award and Grammy nomination, and recent issues of the same composer’s Solomon, Samson, and Acis and Galatea (a rarity in that it unearths the little-known version adapted by Felix Mendelssohn). He is also credited with the first performance in modern times of Handel’s masterly but mislaid Gloria. And he has broken new ground in experimental dance-collaborations with Mark Morris, notably at festivals like Edinburgh, Ravinia and the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. Mr. McGegan is committed to the next generation of musicians, frequently conducting and coaching students in residencies as part of the music programs at Yale and Juilliard.

Born in England, Nicholas McGegan was educated at Cambridge and Oxford and taught at the Royal College of Music, London. In 2010 he was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to music overseas.” His awards also include the Halle Handel Prize, an honorary professorship at Georg-August University, Gottingen, and an official Nicholas McGegan Day, declared by the Mayor of San Francisco in recognition of two decades’ distinguished work with the Philharmonia Baroque.

The citation on that curious day talked loftily of his achievement in presenting ‘great music that enriches lives, inspires passion for period instrument performance, connects audiences to history, preserves tradition, and celebrates creative genius’.

But as McGegan himself said when a journalist talked admiringly of his work with an orchestra: ‘I’m not working with them. I’m having fun with them’. It makes a difference.

ABOUT JOSE LUIS GOMEZ
The young Venezuelan-born, Spanish conductor Jose Luis Gomez was catapulted to international attention when he captured the First Prize at the 5th International Sir Georg Solti Conductor’s Competition in Frankfurt in September, 2010 by a sensational and rare unanimous decision of the jury.

Gomez’ electrifying energy, talent, and creativity earned him immediate acclaim from the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra – where he was appointed to the position of Assistant Conductor – a post newly created specifically for him by Paavo Jarvi and the orchestra directly upon the conclusion of the competition.

His showing in the Solti Competition also won him an immediate invitation to conduct La Boheme at the Oper Frankfurt in 2012 as well.

Maestro Gomez’ apprenticeship under conductors Lu Jia, Muhai Tang, and John Nelson paved the way for his sudden emergence as a conductor of major importance; and his experience as Assistant Concertmaster of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, as member of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, and as a regular member of the Berlin Philharmonic chamber ensembles, has garnered him praise from the great conductors of the world.

From the age of 11, Gomez was Concertmaster of the Youth Orchestra of Zulia State – part of the El Sistema de Orquestas Juveniles de Venezuela – following which he earned his degree in music and violin from the Maracaibo Music Conservatory and pursued graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

Maestro Gomez has conducted as part of the Besancon International Conducting Competition and has led the Castille y Leon Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Pescara Conservatory, and the Ensemble Stravinsky. This season, Gomez leads performances of Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” in the Lombardia region of Italy through the ASLICO Opera association and he leads concert performances with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Philharmonic, the Macao Symphony Orchestra and the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra.

In the 2011-12 season, Mr Gomez will make his subscription debut concerts with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, debut appearances with the Frankfurt Opera, and will lead a tour with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Valles of Catalunya, Spain among others.

ABOUT PETER BOYER
Peter Boyer has emerged in recent years as one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation. His orchestral works have received over 275 public performances, by nearly 100 orchestras. He has conducted recordings of his music with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia. His works have received national broadcasts in the U.S. and abroad. He has received seven national awards for his work.

Conductor Keith Lockhart chose Boyer for the Boston Pops’ 125th anniversary commission honoring the legacy of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy. Acclaimed actors Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Cherry Jones narrated the premiere of Boyer’s The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers in May 2010, which was attended by many members of the Kennedy family, and received extensive national media attention. The Boston Pops also performed the work at Tanglewood with narrator Alec Baldwin, and released a recording on the BSO Classics label.

Orchestras which have performed Boyer’s music include the Dallas Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Hartford Symphony, and dozens of others. Boyer recently concluded his term as Composer-in-Residence of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra for the 2010-11 season.

Boyer’s major work Ellis Island: The Dream of America for actors and orchestra, which celebrates the historic American immigrant experience, has been his most successful composition to date. Premiered in 2002, the work has received over 120 live performances by more than 50 orchestras, making it one of the most-performed American orchestral works of the last decade. Boyer’s recording of this work was released by Naxos in its American Classics Series in 2005, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. The League of American Orchestras’ Symphony magazine recently profiled Ellis Island as one of “a handful of recent works by living composers becoming orchestral standards.”

In addition to his work for the concert hall, Boyer is active in the film and television music industry. He has contributed orchestral arrangements to 20 Hollywood film scores, including the Oscar-winning Up, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III, Speed Racer, Super 8 and Cars 2 (all for composer Michael Giacchino), Dolphin Tale and The Conspirator (for composer Mark Isham); twice arranged music for the Academy Awards, including the 2009 telecast; and composed music for The History Channel.

Boyer was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1970. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhode Island College, and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from The Hartt School of the University of Hartford. He then studied privately with composer John Corigliano in New York, and moved to Los Angeles to study film & TV scoring at USC, where his teachers included the late Elmer Bernstein. Boyer has taught since 1996 at Claremont Graduate University, where he holds the Helen M. Smith Chair in Music and the rank of Full Professor.

ABOUT GEORGE LI
Sixteen-year-old YCA Winner, pianist George Li possesses brilliant virtuosity and interpretive depth far beyond his years. Rounding off last season playing for President Obama at the White House evening honoring Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, along with capturing a prestigious Gilmore Young Artist Award, George Li is well on the way to a flourishing career.

His first New York appearance opens the 51st Young Concert Artists Series in the Peter Marino Concert at Merkin Hall. YCA also presents his debut in Washington DC at the Kennedy Center, sponsored by the Alexander Kasza-Kasser Prize. At the Auditions, Mr. Li was awarded many special prizes: The Paul A. Fish Memorial Award for Career Development, the Sander Buchman Award; The Ruth Laredo Award, the John Browning Prize, and the Slomovic Prize for a Concerto Engagement.

Other 2011-2012 recitals include the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, the Vancouver Recital Society, at Shriver Hall (MD) and the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (in Germany), among others. As soloist with orchestra, George Li performs with the Grand Rapids Symphony as part of the Gilmore Festival, the Akron Symphony, and has been re-engaged by the Spartanburg Philharmonic.

As First Prize winner of the first Cooper Competition at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, he appeared as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra. He has also performed as soloist with orchestras including the Xiamen Philharmonic in China, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra in Venezuela, the Spartanburg, Boston and Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestras, and with “I Solisti di Perugia” in Italy.

Mr. Li was chosen to appear at the opening ceremony of Boston’s new Institute of Contemporary Art and the inauguration of President Tony Woodcock at the New England Conservatory. Mr. Li is a member of the New England Conservatory’s Vivace Trio, which was heard on “From the Top” on NPR and WNET, and performed for members of US Congress at the Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. George Li gave his first public performance at Boston’s Steinway Hall at the age of ten. At ages six and seven, he won First Prize in the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association Competition. He attends the Walnut Hill School for the Arts and studies piano at the New England Conservatory with Wha Kyung Byun.

ABOUT RUIBIEN CHEN
Mr. Rueibin Chen’s distinguished career as an internationally acclaimed pianist has earned him a reputation for technical brilliance, immense energy, and intense artistic expression. His masterful performance of Rachmaninoff’s complete piano concertos (including the Paganini Rhapsody Op. 43) in two consecutive nights at Taiwan’s National Concert Hall garnered significant critical acclaim. The performance was considered to “be the first of its kind and has left a sensational imprint in the minds of the overflowed audience.” Such praise befits “one of those geniuses that come along once in twenty years.” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

A Chinese-Austrian born in Taiwan, Chen has won a total of eighteen medals, five of them gold, in various international piano competitions in Tel Aviv (Rubinstein), in Warsaw (Chopin) ,Salt Lake City (Bachauer), Athens (Callas), Vienna, Manresa, and Italy (Rome, Rachmaninov, Bellini, and Stresa).

Chen received his first piano lessons from his father when he was five. At the age of thirteen, he was selected by the Taiwanese government in a national talent search and was sent to Vienna, Austria, where he obtained a concert diploma from the Vienna Conservatory. Subsequently, he received a soloist’s examination award from the Hannover Hochschule für Musik in Germany and then continued his study under the legendary Lazar Berman.

Chen made his European debut in the Grossensaal of the Konzerthaus in Vienna in 1984 to much acclaim. He has been invited to perform at many festivals, such as the International Salzburg Music Festival, Vienna Spring Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Hong Kong Festival, Taipei Music Festival, Taipei Arts Festival, the International Rachmaninoff Music Festival in Moscow, the Janáček Music Festival in Czechoslovakia, the Chopin Festivals in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland, various festivals in Romania and the Auckland International Piano Festival.

Chen tours regularly throughout the world, performing in major concert halls such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington DC, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, Kodak Theater in Hollywood, Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary, Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Opera de Monte Carlo, Warsaw Philharmonie, Bolshoi Hall in Moscow, F. Mann Auditorium Tel Aviv, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Symphony Hall in Osaka, Hong Kong Cultural Center, Beijing Music Hall, National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center in Taipei and Shanghai Oriental Art Center in Shanghai, Sydney Opera House. Since 2002, he has been the Artist-in-Residence of Hong Kong Radio Television.

ABOUT CAROLINE GOULDING
Violinist Caroline Goulding has performed as a soloist with some of North America’s premier orchestras including the orchestras of Cleveland, Toronto, National, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, New Mexico, Charlotte, Louisville, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Cleveland Pops and the Cincinnati Pops. Aside from her orchestral engagements, Caroline has appeared at venues such as Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, (Le) Poisson Rouge, the Kennedy Center, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society’s Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, and the University of Georgia’s Ramsey Concert Hall. She has shared the stage with Béla Fleck, Anton Nel, Christopher O’Riley, Navah Perlman, Wendy Warner and Elaine Douvas.

On March 14, 2011 Caroline was awarded the Avery Fisher Career Grant at a reception and performance at Lincoln Center’s Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse. The 2010-2011 season marked a cycle of solo orchestral engagements including debuts with the Louisville Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, El Paso Symphony and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and return solo appearances with The Cleveland Orchestra, Toronto Symphony and Atlantic Classical Orchestra. Prior to receiving the Career Grant, Caroline won the 2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and is the recipient of the Helen Armstrong Violin Fellowship. She was presented by YCA in recital throughout the nation including debuts at the Kaufman Center’s Merkin Hall in NYC, Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre in Washington DC and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. That same year, Caroline was awarded a Grammy nomination for her debut recording on the Telarc label.

Along with the nomination, Caroline’s debut recording hit Billboard Classical’s Top 15 as well as garnered attention from other venerable musicians, including violinist Jaime Laredo who voiced, “Caroline Goulding is one of the most gifted and musically interesting violinists I have heard in a long time; her playing is heartfelt and dazzling throughout.” Composer John Corigliano, whose Red Violin Caprices she recorded, said, “She gives a totally individual interpretation to my music. I think she will shortly become a very famous young woman and only hope that she gives my other violin works a glance.”

In a review of Caroline’s summer 2011 debut with the National Symphony Orchestra, Anne Midgette of the Washington Post stated, “Goulding is a skilled violinist well on her way to an important career.” Other highlights of the 2011-2012 season include debuts with the London Chamber Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Colorado Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, Easter Music Festival Orchestra and the Eastern Connecticut Symphony as well as recital debuts at the Kansas City Harriman-Jewell Series, University of Florida, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC and Fundacion Sinfonia in the Dominican Republic. Return engagements include solo performances with the Dallas Symphony, Extremadura Symphony Orchestra of Spain and the Boise Philharmonic.

Along with her orchestral and recital appearances, Caroline has also made her way through national television and radio airwaves on NBC’s Today, MARTHA, hosted by Martha Stewart, PBS’s From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall, NPR’s Performance Today, From the Top, Sirius Satellite Radio, WNYC New York, CosmoGirl Online and is featured on Maestro Erich Kunzel’s last Telarc recording From the Top at the Pops, released in 2009. In December 2009, Caroline was named Musical America’s Artist of the Month. A past recipient of the Stradivari Society, Caroline currently plays the General Kyd Stradivarius (c 1720), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds.

ABOUT YULIA VAN DOREN
Consistently singled out for her “perfect baroque voice” (Seattle Times), young Russian-American soprano Yulia Van Doren has established herself as a rising star of the new generation of Baroque specialists. Recent seasons have included debuts with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Asheville Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Tanglewood Music Festival, Vancouver Early Music Festival, Colorado Music Festival, and Carnegie Hall. Also a passionate interpreter of 20th- and 21st-century music, Yulia recently made her European debut singing the Hungarian première of Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Highlights of her 2010-2011 season include the Cartagena International Music Festival, Colombia, where she appears in Bach’s B minor Mass with soprano Dawn Upshaw and the City of London Sinfonia, as well as Bach’s Coffee Cantata with the Brentano String Quartet; Messiah with the Portland Baroque Orchestra under Rinaldo Alessandrini and the Colorado Symphony; and two major roles with the Boston Early Music Festival: Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, and Manto in Steffani’s Niobe, BEMF’s centerpiece opera. The only singer to win top prizes in all four North American Bach vocal competitions, Yulia was also a winner of Astral Artists’ 2009 National Auditions.

ABOUT DONALD FOSTER
Donald T. Foster is one of Southern California’s most active clarinetists, serving as Principal Clarinetist of both the Pasadena and Santa Barbara Symphonies. He is a frequent auxiliary/substitute musician with the San Diego Symphony and the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra and is the Founding Artistic Director of Mládí, LA’ s first conductorless chamber orchestra. In addition, Don is very active in the motion picture and television studios, and can be heard on many soundtracks for feature films including Warhorse, Adventures of Tintin, Rango, Marley & Me, Disturbia and many more.

Foster graduated from the University of Southern California, receiving his Master of Music degree in 1996 while in the studios of Yehuda Gilad and Michele Zukovsky. He has received Fellowships from both the Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals, the latter of which he attended for four consecutive summers. He is a former first prize winner of the Pasadena Instrumental Competition, and has won concerto competitions with such organizations as the Los Angeles Mozart Festival, YMF Debut Orchestra, Marrowstone Music Festival, and Aspen Music Festival.

Prior engagements include serving as Principal Clarinet with the Philharmonie der Nationen based in Hamburg, Germany. While with the Philharmonie he performed in over 250 concerts in virtually every major city in Europe. He has also served as Principal Clarinet of the Colorado Music Festival, in Boulder, Colorado and has been featured in Central America with his reed trio Trianche as a featured ensemble for the Costa Rica Music Festival. He is currently on the faculty of the Moreno Valley campus at Riverside Community College and divides his time with residences in Palm Springs and the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles.

ABOUT CHEE-YUN
Violinist Chee-Yun’s flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents. Charming, charismatic and deeply passionate about her art, Chee-Yun continues to carve a unique place for herself in the ever-evolving world of classical music.

Chee-Yun performs regularly with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and the Toronto, Houston, Seattle, Pittsburgh and National symphony orchestras. Additionally, she has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has performed with such distinguished conductors as Hans Graf, James DePriest, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Michael Tilson Thomas, Krzysztof Penderecki, Neeme Järvi, Pinchas Zukerman, Manfred Honeck and Giancarlo Guerrero. Internationally, Chee-Yun has toured with the Haifa Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Germany’s Braunschweig Orchestra and the MDR Radio Leipzig and performed with the St. Petersburg Camerata, the Bamberg Philharmonic, the Bilbao Symphony, the London Festival Orchestra, the Nagoya Philharmonic, and the KBS Symphony Orchestra. Her orchestral highlights include a concert with the Seoul Philharmonic conducted by Myung-Whun Chung that was broadcast on national network television, a benefit for UNESCO with the Orchestra of St. Lukes at Avery Fisher Hall, and her tours of the United States with the San Francisco Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas conducting), and Japan with the NHK Symphony. Recent and upcoming engagements include return subscription weeks in Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, as well as the Colorado and Austin symphony orchestras and the National Philharmonic.

As a recitalist, Chee-Yun has performed in many major US cities including New York, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Atlanta. Career highlights include appearances at the Kennedy Center’s “Salute to Slava” gala honoring Mstislav Rostropovich, the Mostly Mozart Festival’s tour to Japan, a performance with Michael Tilson Thomas in the inaugural season of Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, and the US premiere of the Penderecki Sonata No. 2 with pianist Barry Douglas. Other recent highlights include recitals in St. Paul, Buffalo, Washington, DC, Omaha and Scottsdale, duo recitals with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and a performance at the American Ballet Theatre’s fall gala. Firmly committed to chamber music, Chee-Yun has toured with “Music from Marlboro” and appears frequently with Spoleto USA, a project she has been associated with since its inception. Additional chamber music appearances include the Ravinia, Aspen, Bravo! Vail Valley, La Jolla, Caramoor, Green Music, Santa Fe and Bridgewater festivals in the US, the Great Mountains Music Festival in South Korea, the Clandeboye Festival with Camerata Ireland in Northern Ireland, the Opera Theatre and Music Festival in Lucca, Italy, the Colmar Festival in France, the Beethoven and Penderecki festivals in Poland and the Kirishima Festival in Japan.

Chee-Yun has received exceptional acclaim as a recording artist since the release of her debut album of virtuoso encore pieces in 1993. Her recent recording of the Penderecki Violin Concerto No. 2 on Naxos was acclaimed as “an engrossing, masterly performance” (The Strad Magazine) and “a performance of staggering virtuosity and musicality” (American Record Guide). Her releases on the Denon label include Mendelssohn’s E Minor Violin Concerto, Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 5, Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, and Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3, with the London Philharmonic under the direction of Maestro Lopez-Cobos, a disc of three French violin sonatas (Debussy, Saint-Saëns and Fauré), and the violin sonatas of Szymanowski and Franck. Her most recent Denon disc features the violin sonatas of Brahms and Strauss. Two compilation discs, Vocalise d’amour, and The Very Best of Chee-Yun, feature highlights of Chee-Yun’s earlier recordings. In 2007, Chee-Yun recorded the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Camerata Ireland, pianist Barry Douglas and cellist Andrés Diaz, for Satirino Records. In 2008, Decca/Korea released “Serenata Notturno,” an album of light classics that went platinum within six months of its release.

Chee-Yun has been heard frequently on National Public Radio’s Performance Today and on WQXR and WNYC radio in New York City. She has also been featured on KTV, a children’s program on the cable network CNBC, Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”, on Public Radio International and numerous syndicated and local radio programs across the United States and abroad. She has appeared on PBS as a special guest on Victor Borge’s Then and Now 3, in a live broadcast at Spivey Hall in Atlanta concurrent with the Olympic Games, and on ESPN performing the theme for the X Games. In Fall 2009, she also appeared in an episode of HBO’s hit series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Chee-Yun’s first public performance at age 8 took place in her native Seoul after she won the Grand Prize of the Korean Times Competition. At 13, she came to the United States and was invited to perform the Vieuxtemps Concerto No. 5 in a Young People’s Concert with the New York Philharmonic. Two years later, she appeared as soloist with the New York String Orchestra under Alexander Schneider at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. In 1989, she won the Young Concert Artist’s international competition, and a year later became the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. In Korea, Chee-Yun studied with Nam Yun Kim. In the United States, she has worked with Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Daniel Phillips and Felix Galimir (chamber music) at The Juilliard School.

In addition to her active performance and recording schedule, Chee-Yun is a dedicated and enthusiastic educator. She gives master classes around the world and has held several teaching posts at notable music schools and universities. Her past faculty positions have included serving as the resident Starling Soloist and Adjunct Professor of Violin at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Visiting Professor of Music (Violin) at Indiana University School of Music. In August 2007, she was appointed Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Violin at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Chee-Yun plays the Stradivarius “Ex-Strauss” (Cremona, 1708), which is on loan to her from Samsung.

About the Pasadena Symphony and POPS

Recent Acclaim:
“…Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony sent me straight to the thesaurus for more options to ‘enthusiasm.’ They include eagerness, fervor, passion, gusto, zeal, zest, keenness, excitement, fire. All will do.
Vitality, drive, vivacity, dash, vim, gusto, brio, dynamism, verve and spirit are other suitable synonyms. You get the point.” – Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times. October 30, 2011

“…full of pulsating energy from first note to last… the strings were lushly resonant, the wind principals were at the top of their games, and the brass rang out with gleaming vigor.” – Robert Thomas, Pasadena Star News. November 2, 2011.

The Pasadena Symphony Association was founded in 1928 by Conductor Reginald Bland. Originally named the Pasadena Civic Orchestra, its first members were mostly volunteer musicians, many of whom were students of Bland. The annual operating budget was $3,500, which was funded entirely by the City of Pasadena.

The Pasadena Symphony and POPS is an ensemble of Southern California’s most talented, sought after musicians. With extensive credits in the film, television, recording and orchestral industry, the artists of Pasadena Symphony and POPS are the most heard in the world.

In the fall of 2007, the Pasadena Symphony incorporated the Pasadena POPS into its Association under the new name Pasadena Symphony and POPS. This merger created an expanded Classics and POPS series providing the community with a full spectrum of live symphonic concerts year-round. Starting summer 2012, the Pasadena POPS’ summer home will relocate to Los Angeles County Arboretum.

The Pasadena Symphony provides a musical experience like no other at the Ambassador Auditorium – known as the Carnegie Hall of the West. Internationally recognized, Presidential Medal of Arts Recipient, Maestro James DePreist, serves as the Pasadena Symphony Association’s Artistic Advisor. The Pasadena POPS welcomed Marvin Hamlisch to the podium as its new Principal Pops Conductor on July 23, 2011.

A hallmark of its robust education programs, the Pasadena Symphony Association has served the youth of the region since 1972 through the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra comprised of over 160 gifted middle school students from more than 40 schools all over the Southland. The PYSO most recently performed on several episodes of the popular television show GLEE.

Pasadena Symphony Association Successfully Negotiates Unprecedented Four Year Master Agreement

The Pasadena Symphony Association, the Musicians of the Pasadena Symphony and POPS and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 47 have announced the ratification of a new four-year contract ending in 2015 – an unprecedented term length for the Pasadena Symphony Association. The Musicians of the Pasadena Symphony and POPS have played a vital role in an unwavering journey to achieve the mandate of fiscal solvency as outlined in its 2009 Recovery Plan for a Sustainable Future.

“The Musicians and the Board have maintained a committed and cooperative partnership that has enabled the Pasadena Symphony Association to reach fiscal sustainability while energizing its artistic distinction and empowering community access, an unwavering trademark of this organization throughout its 84 year history,” says Melinda Shea, Pasadena Symphony Association Board President.

After four years of fixed wages, this new master agreement increases the musicians’ base wages by 5% over the course of its term. “The increase in the Musicians’ wages is more than well deserved and has been thoughtfully designed to ensure its sustainability within our multi-year budgetary projections and artistic plans,” explains Paul Jan Zdunek, Chief Executive Officer of the Pasadena Symphony Association. “The Musicians deserve enormous credit as the artistic driving force and heart of this organization. This contract signals a firm commitment by all involved to continue cultivating its nearly century-old service to this community as the pillar of the performing arts.”

“The Pasadena Symphony has a long history of a great relationship between management and musicians. The process and product of these negotiations exemplified this. While all struggled through many changes and challenges, this contract reflects all parties’ interests in continuing and strengthening an important arts organization in the region,” states Andy Malloy, PSA Players Committee Chair. “We hope a four year contract provides stability for planning and growth and will make it possible to improve wages and working conditions and work opportunities for the players as we move forward. It was very clear throughout the negotiations that all parties have the continuing sustainability and development of the organization as a top priority,” added Malloy.

“It’s always a pleasure to do business with management who is understanding to the times we as professional musicians are facing. We understand the economic climate that orchestras are also facing. Throughout the past year, Local 47 and the Pasadena players committee enjoyed enthusiastic bargaining regarding one of our world class orchestras. Along with Vice President.

John Acosta, I personally am very proud to have headed such an outstanding group of players and an understanding group on management’s side. With various astute players on the bargaining unit committee, we were able to come to an understanding and hope our relationship will continue to blossom in the years to come,” states Vince Trombetta, President of Local 47.

Through exceptionally sonorous performances in its winter home at Pasadena’s historic Ambassador Auditorium, the Pasadena Symphony is thriving with consistent critical acclaim providing memorable and intimately moving experiences by the nation’s finest conductors and soloists in both matinee and evening performances. Beginning in summer 2012 the Pasadena POPS, led by legendary composer and orchestra builder Marvin Hamlisch, moves to its summer home at the luxurious and lush Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Hamlisch is a rare star whose extensive body of work has left an indelible mark on popular American music and has helped build the nation’s finest orchestras from coast to coast. Pasadena POPS concerts are a journey through popular music – from the Great American Songbook, light classics, Broadway and Hollywood hits, to Hamlisch’s own list of acclaimed credits.

The Pasadena Symphony Association continues its year-round commitment to building community through music by presenting “Music Under The Stars” (an annual free concert at Pasadena’s City Hall), ringing in the holiday season with its “Holiday Candlelight Concerts,” supporting a full educational outreach series with its Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra program serving  more than 200 students in grades 6-9 weekly and introducing musical experiences to young adults and youth from all walks of life through its free monthly  Musical Circus performances and Instrument Petting Zoos at the Americana at Brand.

Pasadena Symphony Names Peter Boyer Composer in Residence and Commissions the Premiere of his Symphony No. 1

The Pasadena Symphony welcomes GRAMMY-nominated Peter Boyer as its Composer in Residence for the 2012-2013 season, and has commissioned his Symphony No. 1 to premiere in its landmark 85th anniversary season. This commission has been made possible through contributions by the Trustees of Claremont Graduate University.

“We are very excited about working alongside such a well respected composer as we celebrate our 85th season,” explains Paul Jan Zdunek, Chief Executive Officer of the Pasadena Symphony Association. “Peter is an amazingly versatile talent, which is why he is in continuous demand in the orchestral and film industries.”

Boyer, a resident of Altadena and the Helen M. Smith Professor of Music at Claremont Graduate University, is one of the most frequently performed contemporary American orchestral composers of his generation. His work Ellis Island: The Dream of America has been performed over 125 times by nearly sixty orchestras in the last decade, and he has received commissions from organizations including the Boston Pops, Pacific Symphony, Eastern Music Festival, and the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. He has also contributed orchestrations to 20 feature film scores by top Hollywood composers.

In his role as Composer in Residence, Boyer will compose his first symphony as well as lead intimate salons with the Pasadena Symphony Association’s Fresh Ink Society. “This Society is a recently formed new music collective of the region’s most enthusiastic community leaders that are helping to realize the commission, performance and recording of its first project – the Symphony No. 1 of Peter Boyer,” states Zdunek. A wide range of community and Fresh Ink Society activities will culminate in the premiere of Boyer’s Symphony No. 1 on April 27, 2013 at Ambassador Auditorium.  Full season details of the 85th anniversary season will be announced in the coming weeks.

“I am honored and excited to accept the Pasadena Symphony’s invitation to serve as its Composer in Residence for the 2012-13 season,” says Boyer. “I have long admired this excellent orchestra, whose members include musical colleagues and friends. A commission for a first symphony is both a great challenge and splendid opportunity for any composer. I’m most grateful for this opportunity, and eagerly look forward to the collaboration ahead.”

The Fresh Ink Society is raising funds for a capstone to the season-long relationship with Boyer. “We hope to record Peter’s first symphony for the Naxos label,” continues Zdunek. “We are looking to have a few more people join us and Peter in the Fresh Ink Society, so that we may share Peter’s music and our Pasadena Symphony with listeners everywhere on this internationally released CD.” For information on how to support the Fresh Ink Society of the Pasadena Symphony Association, visit PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org or call their administrative offices at (626) 793-7172.

ABOUT PETER BOYER

Grammy-nominated Peter Boyer has emerged in recent years as one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation. His orchestral works have received over 275 public performances, by nearly 100 orchestras. He has conducted recordings of his music with two of the world’s finest orchestras, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia. His works have received numerous national broadcasts in the U.S. and abroad. He has received seven national awards for his work, including two BMI Awards for young composers, the First Music Carnegie Hall commission, and the Lancaster Symphony Composer’s Award.

Conductor Keith Lockhart chose Boyer for the Boston Pops 125th anniversary commission honoring the legacy of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy. Acclaimed actors Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Cherry Jones narrated the premiere of Boyer’s The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers in May 2010, which was attended by many members of the Kennedy family, and received extensive national media attention. Boyer’s work was the centerpiece of the TV special An American Salute: The Boston Pops at 125, produced and broadcast by WCVB-TV, Boston’s ABC affiliate, which won a Boston/New England Emmy Award. The work was also performed at the 37th annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the Charles River Esplanade, for an audience of over 750,000, and telecast on WBZ-TV, Boston’s CBS affiliate. The Boston Pops also performed Boyer’s Kennedy Brothers at the Tanglewood Music Festival with narrator Alec Baldwin, and at Hyannis Port with narrator Chris Cooper, and released a commercial recording of the work on the BSO Classics label.

Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya appointed Boyer as the 2010-11 Composer-in-Residence for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and led 10 performances of his works during that season. Gerard Schwarz, Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony, commissioned and premiered Boyer’s Festivities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Eastern Music Festival in 2011. Boyer’s music has been performed by the symphony orchestras of Dallas, Nashville, Pacific, Phoenix, Buffalo, Fort Worth, Brooklyn, Kansas City, Virginia, Hartford, Toledo, Richmond, Grand Rapids, Elgin, Rhode Island, Portland, Winston-Salem, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Sarasota, Kalamazoo, Fort Wayne, Greenville, Bamberg, Belgrade, the New York Youth Symphony, Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, and many others. The Pasadena Symphony has commissioned Boyer to compose his Symphony No. 1 for its 2012-13 season.

Boyer’s major work Ellis Island: The Dream of America for actors and orchestra, which celebrates the historic American immigrant experience, has been his most successful composition to date. Premiered in 2002, the work has received over 125 live performances by 55 orchestras, making it one of the most-performed American orchestral works of the last decade. Boyer’s recording of this work was released by Naxos in its American Classics Series in 2005, and was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. The League of American Orchestras’ Symphony magazine recently profiled Ellis Island as one of “a handful of recent works by living composers becoming orchestral standards.”

In addition to his work for the concert hall, Boyer is active in the film and television music industry. He has contributed orchestrations (arrangements for orchestra of music by other composers) to 20 Hollywood film scores, from studios including Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Disney/Pixar, Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Lionsgate/Marvel, and Sony Pictures Animation. Film composers for whom Boyer has orchestrated music include Michael Giacchino (the Oscar-winning Up, Star Trek, Cars 2, Super 8, Mission: Impossible III, Speed Racer), Mark Isham (Dolphin Tale, Robert Redford’s The Conspirator), Harry Gregson-Williams (Arthur Christmas) and the late Michael Kamen (Open Range, First Daughter, Against the Ropes). Boyer has twice arranged and orchestrated music for the Academy Awards, including the 2009 telecast. He scored episodes of the TV series Engineering an Empire for The History Channel.

Boyer’s work has been profiled and reviewed in such media outlets as the Associated Press, USA TODAY, Variety, CNN.com, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, Hartford Courant, Symphony Magazine, BBC Music Magazine, Gramophone, and many others. Boyer has carried out composer residency work in conjunction with performances of his music around the United States, including at Brown University and Vanderbilt University, and with Orange County’s Pacific Symphony. As conductor, Boyer has led such orchestras as the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Hartford Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and Richmond Symphony, and has conducted recording sessions from London’s famed Abbey Road and Air Studios to the scoring stages of Los Angeles.

Boyer was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1970, and began composing at the age of 15. His first major composition was a large-scale Requiem Mass in memory of his grandmother, composed while only a teenager. He was named to the first All-USA College Academic Team, comprised of “the 20 best and brightest college students in the nation,” by USA TODAY in 1990. Boyer received his Bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College, which awarded him an honorary Doctor of Music degree in 2004. He received Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from The Hartt School of the University of Hartford, which named him its 2002 Alumnus of the Year. There his teachers included Larry Alan Smith and Harold Farberman. Following his doctoral work, Boyer studied privately with John Corigliano in New York, then moved to Los Angeles to study film and TV scoring at the USC School of Music, where his teachers included the late Elmer Bernstein. In 1996, Boyer was appointed to the faculty at Claremont Graduate University, where he holds the Helen M. Smith Chair in Music and the rank of Full Professor. Boyer resides in Altadena, in the San Gabriel Foothills just north of Los Angeles.