Pacific Symphony’s 2024-25 Classical Series Honors Music Director Carl St.Clair’s 35 Years of Leadership

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Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair

Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair arrived in Orange County in 1990 to take over the artistic leadership of the Pacific Symphony, which had been formed in 1978.

The Symphony had gone from performing in a high school gymnasium to becoming the resident orchestra at the new Orange County Performing Arts Center.

St.Clair’s goal – make that his mission – was to take this relatively new musical ensemble and mold it into a world-class symphony orchestra.

Honoring the classics yet skillfully adding the works of new composers, St.Clair brought audiences on a musical journey that elevated listeners while at the same time challenging musicians to rise to the occasion.

In 2006 the Pacific Symphony became the resident orchestra of the newly opened Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Since that time the orchestra garnered numerous accolades including a debut concert at Carnegie Hall in 2018 as part of composer Philip Glass. 80th birthday.

The Pacific Symphony now is the largest orchestra formed in the U.S. in the last 50 years. Even more impressive: the 2024-2025 Classics Season marks Music Director Carl St.Clair’s 35th anniversary. He holds the distinction of being the longest-tenured American-born conductor of a major American orchestra.

Highlights of his tenure include launching the American Composers Festival, which explores a different aspect of American music each year, and the annual Symphonic Voices performance of a staged opera in concert.

Carl St.Clair

“As we herald the 2024–25 season, it’s not just a celebration of the music we’ve cherished over the years, but a heartfelt homage to the enduring relationship I’ve shared with Pacific Symphony,” said St.Clair, a longtime resident of Laguna Beach. “This landmark 35th anniversary season is a testament to our collective journey—a tapestry of our shared experiences, our growth, and our unyielding commitment to excellence.”

According to Pacific Symphony President and CEO John Forsyte, “Carl St.Clair’s 35th Anniversary as the music director of Pacific Symphony will feature numerous exhilarating moments under his exceptional leadership. This is undoubtedly one of his most ambitious seasons and one that will generate great community excitement. Throughout his tenure, he has appointed the vast majority of musicians that occupy the tenured roster of this highly distinguished group of orchestral musicians. With the emotion of this season, they will undoubtedly add an extra dimension of energy to Carl’s musical choices that both reflect his artistic values and have animated his thrilling tenure.”

About The 2024-25 Classics Season

The Pacific Symphony’s 46th season, and opening of the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series, begins on Thursday, Sept. 26. Comprising 36 concerts as part of a 12-program subscription series, four Sunday Matinees, and four specials, the 2024-25 Classical Season presents wide-ranging selections of masterworks, treasured classics, and exciting new discoveries.

Over the course of the season, St.Clair leads works by composers he has championed at Pacific Symphony, and celebrates his relationship with the Symphony’s musicians by collaborating with gifted guest artists as soloists.

Carl St.Clair conducts Pacific Symphony

Pacific Symphony’s 2024-25 season begins in style with a celebratory opening performance on September 26. The program presents an eclectic mix of musical genius, beginning with the dynamic compositions of Frank Ticheli followed by Maurice Ravel’s “Alborada del gracioso” and pianist Claire Huangci performing her interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” The concert culminates in a performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, which the composer considered “one of his best works.”

Season highlights include several new works, an opera in concert (“Das Rheingold,” the first part of Wagner’s Ring Cycle), and various themed concerts such as the “Classical Spooktacular” program in October.

Pacific Chorale partners with Pacific Symphony on two choral masterworks including “Carmina Burana,” and violinist Joshua Bell joins Pacific Symphony in February 2025.

The season concludes in June 2025 with Verdi’s monumental “Requiem.”

For a complete list of concerts and ticket information, visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

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