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Pasadena Symphony Announces 2020-21 Classics Season

Published on Thursday, February 27, 2020 | 1:31 pm
From Top clockwise: Dylana Jenson, Terrence Wilson, Aubree Oliverson, Valentina Lisitsa, Andrew Tyson, Chee Yun (Click on image to enlarge). Photo courtesy: Pasadena Symphony & Pops
David Lockington. Photo courtesy Pasadena Symphony & Pops

Music Director David Lockington and the Pasadena Symphony announce its 2020/21 season of seven concerts, beginning October 17, 2020 through April 24, 2021. Highlights include the second annual Composers Showcase, featuring contemporary works by five California-based composers, including a world premiere by Brett Banducci, a Baroque program partnering with young artists from the Colburn School, Los Angeles Children’s Chorus and the Pasadena Civic Ballet, and a line-up of celebrated guest artists and popular masterpieces. All concerts take place at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium with both matinee and evening performances at 2pm and 8pm. The season also includes the annually sold-out Holiday Candlelight Concert on Saturday, December 19, 2020 with 4pm and 7pm performances at All Saints Church.

Lockington kicks off the 2020-21 season on October 17th with the return of violinist Dylana Jenson performing Brahms Violin Concerto, for a program that shows off the orchestra’s might with Strauss’s thrilling Don Juan and Mahler’s Symphony No. 10. November 14th brings a portrait of American life to the stage through three different lenses with award-winning pianist Terrence Wilson performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The Jazz Age masterpiece roars alongside a contemplative work of Native American sounds in symphonic form with composer Brent Michael Davids’ Iroquois Creation Song, performed on his crystal flute, and Dvo?ák’s magnificent incarnation of the American West with his Symphony No. 9 “New World.”

The orchestra’s annual Baroque concert on January 23, 2021 will take on new life with a community collaboration featuring dance, choral and symphonic elements. Continuing the tradition of presenting the stars of tomorrow here today, Colburn students Aubree Oliverson (violin), Martha Chan (flute) and Bogang Hwang (harpsichord) will be featured soloists for Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus will take center stage for Vivaldi’s Gloria, while students from the Pasadena Civic Ballet will perform original choreography for Boccherini’s Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid. To top it all off, multiple award-winning composer Gabriella Smith will put a fresh spin on Bach’s beloved concertos with her Brandenburg Interstices.

Russian passion meets Latin flair on February 13th for a Tchaikovsky spectacular with acclaimed violinist Chee-Yun on Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and his Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture. Rimsky Korsakov evokes Spanish folk melodies with his fiery Capriccio espagnol, and a contemporary piece by one of the Washington Post’s 35 most significant women composers in history, Gabriela Frank, explores her multicultural heritage.

The orchestra welcomes a new guest conductor to the podium on March 20th when Colorado Symphony Music Director Brett Mitchell makes his Pasadena debut with Mozart Sympony No. 40 and rising-star Andrew Tyson performing the ever-popular Grieg Piano Concerto. Adam Schoenberg’s Finding Rothko deepens the Grammy®-nominated composer’s relationship with the Pasadena Symphony, who presented the Los Angeles premiere of his Orchard in Fog in May 2019. David Lockington returns to the podium on April 24th to close the season with Beethoven Symphony No. 7 and internet sensation Valentina Lisitsa on Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3. The season finale showcases the orchestra’s own talented musicians with a world premiere commission composed by violist Brett Banducci for Principal French Horn James Thatcher.

The Pasadena Symphony provides a quintessential experience specially designed for the music lover, the social butterfly or a date night out, and the inner epicurean in us all. Audiences can enjoy gourmet food and drink in the lively Symphony Lounge, yet another addition to the care-free and elegant concert experience the Pasadena Symphony offers. A posh setting at Ambassador Auditorium’s beautiful outdoor plaza, the lounge offers uniquely prepared menus from Claud & Co for both lunch and dinner, a full bar and fine wines by Michero Family Wines, plus music before the concert and during intermission.

All Symphony Classics concerts take place at Ambassador Auditorium, 131 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, with performances at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Subscription packages start at $99 with single tickets starting at $35. Both may be purchased online at or by calling (626) 793-7172.

2020-21 Symphony Classics Series Calendar:

Brahms Violin Concerto
October 17, 2020
David Lockington, conductor
Dylana Jenson, violin

Strauss Don Juan
Mahler Symphony No. 10, mvmt 1
Brahms Violin Concerto

Rhapsody in Blue
November 14, 2020
David Lockington, conductor
Terrence Wilson, piano
Brent Michael Davids, crystal flute

Brent Michael Davids Iroquois Creation Song
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
Dvorák Symphony No. 9 “New World”

Holiday Candlelight
December 19, 2020
David Lockington, conductor
Soloist to be announced
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus
The Donald Brinegar Singers
L.A. Bronze Handbell Ensemble

Baroque: Brandenburg 5
January 23, 2021
David Lockington, conductor
Aubree Oliverson, Violin
Martha Chan, flute
Bogang Hwang, harpsichord
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus
Pasadena Civic Ballet

Gabriella Smith Brandenburg Interstices
Boccherini Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid
Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.5
Vivaldi Gloria

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
February 13, 2021
David Lockington, conductor
Chee -Yun, violin

Gabriela Frank Elegia Andina
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
Rimsky Korsakov Capriccio espagnol

Mozart Symphony No. 40
March 20, 2021
Brett Mitchell, guest conductor
Andrew Tyson, piano

Adam Schoenberg Finding Rothko
Grieg Piano Concerto
Mozart Symphony No. 40

Beethoven Symphony No. 7
April 24, 2021
David Lockington, conductor
Valentina Lisitsa, piano
James Thatcher, horn

Brett Banducci In Nomine (world premiere Pasadena Symphony commission)
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3
Beethoven Symphony No. 7

About the Pasadena Symphony Association

Recent Acclaim for the Pasadena Symphony and POPS:
“The Pasadena Symphony signals a new direction…teeming with vitality…dripping with opulent, sexy emotion.” – Los Angeles Times.

“…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.”
– Pasadena Star News.

Formed in 1928, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS is an ensemble of Hollywood’s most talented and sought-after musicians. With extensive credits in the film, television, recording and orchestral industry, the artists of the Pasadena Symphony and POPS are the most heard in the world.

The Pasadena Symphony and POPS performs in two of the most extraordinary venues in the country – the historic Ambassador Auditorium, known as the Carnegie Hall of the West, and the beautiful Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Internationally recognized, Grammy-nominated conductor David Lockington serves as the Pasadena Symphony Association’s Music Director, with performance-practice specialist Nicholas McGegan serving as Principal Guest Conductor. The multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein, is the Principal Pops Conductor, who succeeded Marvin Hamlisch in the newly created Marvin Hamlisch Chair.

A hallmark of its robust education programs, the Pasadena Symphony Association has served the youth of the region for over five decades through the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestras (PYSO), comprised of five performing ensembles with over 300 gifted 4th-12th grade students from more than 50 schools all over the Southern California region. The PYSO has toured internationally at prestigious venues in New York, Vienna, and most recently San Jose, Costa Rica. They regularly perform throughout Southern California and have appeared on the popular television show GLEE.

The PSA provides people from all walks of life with powerful access points to the world of symphonic music.




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