November 5, 2019
It’s rare to find a serious and compelling orchestra concert in December. Musicians and audiences alike get a break from the standard repertoire but not from the onslaught of holiday programming. Fortunately, the orchestral year in Southern California isn’t quite over yet. Pacific Symphony plays two more classical series before the end of the year, a contrasting pair of sorts.
On Nov. 14–16, in their home at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, the orchestra stages an all-American program: Gershwin, Florence Price, and George Chadwick. A history of American music emerges from that trio; Chadwick was Price’s teacher at the New England Conservatory, while Gershwin offers the bridge between classical and popular traditions. Mei-Ann Chen conducts, and Aaron Diehl is the soloist in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Price’s Piano Concerto. Tickets to the Friday, Nov. 15 performance go for a special “TGIF” price.
In December, tradition reigns, with three performances of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. Carl St. Clair, Pacific Symphony’s longstanding music director, conducts, and Van Cliburn winner Vadym Kholodenko joins the orchestra as soloist in Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto. Also on the program: the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’s October Light, written as an express tribute to St. Clair. Tickets start at $25 for these concerts, Dec. 5–7.
Other offerings to take in before the new year include a weekend of youth ensemble concerts, Nov. 16–18, and the first program in the symphony’s “Sundays at Soka” series: a pairing of Mozart and Brahms, Nov. 17 at Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo. And of course, for those in the holiday spirit, a lineup of concerts — The Nutcracker for Kids (Dec. 7), Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 8), a “Holiday Organ Spectacular” (Dec. 17), and “Christmas with Marie Osmond” (Dec. 20–21) — could be just the thing.
Tickets for the Pacific Symphony are available online or by phone at 714-755-5799.