Pacific Symphony is bringing back a popular event next week. The orchestra’s Nowruz concert, celebrating the Iranian New Year and welcoming the beginning of spring, returns to Segerstrom Hall on March 26. This year’s festivities follow a sold-out performance in 2019 and an online variation in 2021 and suggest an Orange County tradition in the making.
The same set of collaborators is involved in 2022. Pacific Symphony is again partnering with the Farhang Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes Iranian art and culture across Southern California, for the concert and for pre-concert activities: performances by the Melieka Fathi Dance Company, a traditional Haft-Sȋn table on display in the lobby.
Music Director Carl St. Clair leads the program, which features a couple of classical favorites (pieces by Antonio Vivaldi and Modest Mussorgsky). Shardad Rohani joins as guest conductor; his own composition, Dance of Spring Overture, opens the concert, and his arrangements of Alireza Ghorbani’s music make up the second half.
Ghorbani is one of two vocalists soloing with the orchestra and showcasing contemporary Iranian symphonic works. Mojgan Shajarian also takes the stage, singing Hossein Yousefzamani’s Bouye Baran and Shahin Yousefzamani’s Spring of Love. Iranian guitarist Lily Afshar is a featured soloist too, and Los Angeles composer Steven Mahpar’s Darius the Great rounds out the program.
Farhang Foundation trustee and Pacific Symphony board member Anoosheh Oskouian summed up the concert’s larger mission this way: “It has been my dream to connect East and West musically and to create an annual Nowruz tradition here in Southern California.”
Tickets for the March 26 performance, 8 p.m. at Segerstrom Concert Hall, are available on Pacific Symphony’s website.