Donato Cabrera and the California Symphony
Donato Cabrera and the California Symphony | Credit: Art Garcia

Music Director Donato Cabrera designed his 10th year with California Symphony with bold ideas and eyes firmly on the future. Probably his most daring move is to offer 100 percent new material for the upcoming concerts. None of the works in the 2022–2023 season have ever been performed before in the Symphony’s 36-year history. Of those fresh offerings, a third are by underrepresented composers — women and/or persons of color. Finally, all of soloists in the next season will be women: pianist Elizabeth Dorman, contralto Sara Couden, pianist Maria Radutu, and cellist Inbal Segev.

In a statement released this morning, Cabrera said, “My 10th season with the California Symphony represents a milestone on a journey I’ve taken with our incredible musicians and our dedicated, loyal audience. I wanted to mark this achievement of 10 years of artistic growth and elevated ambition by performing an entire season of music that the orchestra has never performed before. All of the compositions that I have chosen, while new to our Walnut Creek audience, are celebrated for their unique beauty and groundbreaking nature.”

Inbal Segev
Inbal Segev is the featured soloist in the Intersections program. | Credit: Grant Legan

Executive Director Lisa Dell added, “The stories that Donato shares this season will shed light on these fascinating pieces, bringing us closer to a fuller, more inclusive history of classical music.”

Here are the five concert weekends on tap for the 2022–2023 season:

Intersections (Sept. 10–11, 2022): Israeli-American cellist Inbal Segev is the featured soloist in an evening of exuberant works including Anna Clyne’s Dance and Zoltán Kodály’s Dances of Galánta. Ukrainian folksong motives are at the fore in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2, and the Ukrainian them continues with composer Myroslav Skoryk’s Melody for Symphony Orchestra. Cabrera notes that these pieces are all among his favorites.

All Things Strings (Nov. 5–6, 2022): Featuring Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz’s powerful Concerto for String Orchestra, Antonin Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings, Edward Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47, the concert showcases the string section. The guest soloist is pianist Elizabeth Dorman, who will perform Gerald Finzi’s Eclogue for Piano and Strings.

Elizabeth Dorman
Elizabeth Dorman performs in the All Things Strings concerts. | Credit: Gert Mothes

Chopin in Paris (Feb. 4–5, 2023): For their first concert of 2023, the Symphony welcomes Austrian-Romanian pianist Maria Radutu as soloist on Frederic Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (in E Minor, Op. 11). The evening also includes Chevalier de Saint Georges’s L’amant anonyme (The anonymous lover), and Cesar Franck’s Symphony in D Minor.

Mahler’s Inner Circle (March 25–26, 2023): Austrian composers take the limelight in this program headlined by contralto Sara Couden, who will sing Alma Mahler’s Fünf Lieder (orchestrated by Jorma Panula). Also on the bill is Alexander Zemlinsky’s charming Lustspiel-Ouvertüre (Overture to a comedy), and Hans Rott’s Symphony No. 1 in E Major.

Fresh Inspirations (May 20–21, 2023): Young American Composer-in-Residence Viet Cuong headlines the season finale with the world premiere of his third and final commission for California Symphony. Also on the bill is Hector Berlioz’s dramatic Le carnaval romain (Roman carnival) and William Walton’s Symphony No. 1.

Viet Cuong
Young American Composer-in-Residence Viet Cuong unveils his final commission for the California Symphony in the Fresh Inspirations program. | Credit: Aaron Jay Young

All concerts are in the Hofmann Theatre at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. For more details and tickets, visit the California Symphony website.