Pacific Symphony’s 2011-2012 classical season kicks off with pomp and more than a little circumstance as one of classical music’s true superstars, Sarah Chang, will perform Mendelssohn’s vibrant and soul-stirring Violin Concerto as the centerpiece of the symphony’s Opening Night.
Recognized as one of the world’s great violinists, with a career spanning more than two decades, The New York Times says of Chang: “Her gifts are at a level so removed from the rest of us that all we can do is feel the appropriate awe and then wonder on the mysteries of nature.”
Since Chang’s debut with the New York Philharmonic at the age of 8, she has performed with the greatest orchestras, conductors and accompanists internationally for more than 20 years and has recorded exclusively for EMI Classics. As a chamber musician, she has collaborated with such artists as Pinchas Zukerman, Wolfgang Sawallish, Yefim Bronfman, Leif Ove Andsnes, Yo Yo Ma, the late Isaac Stern and members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
For her part, Chang says she’s excited about the upcoming Orange County engagement.
“I’ve fallen in love with [the Mendelssohn] all over again,” says Chang. “It’s an intricate, chamber music-like piece which is quite tricky to put together from a musician’s standpoint, but it has fabulous technical aspects and gorgeous melodies that are infectious. I love playing the concerto as much as I enjoy listening to it!”
Led by Music Director Carl St.Clair, the concert will begin with Berlioz’ lively “Roman Carnival Overture,” followed by the Mendelssohn concerto,. After intermission, eight-time Academy Award-nominee James Newton Howard’s first orchestral work, “I Would Plant a Tree,” returns after its premiere with the Symphony in 2009. The concert concludes with Respighi’s alluring “Pines of Rome,” a shimmering portrait of the trees and fountains of that city.
“And having Sarah Chang return as our soloist is a dream-come-true for any opening night concert,” continues St.Clair. “She has been with us on several occasions, but having her perform the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto as we celebrate the Symphony’s 33rd anniversary will surely bring the house down.”
In addition to three performances, Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 22-24, the Symphony’s opening weekend also includes a dinner party celebrating “Masters of the Music,” on Thursday, Sept. 22, beginning at 5 p.m at the Westin South Coast Plaza. Tables are $7,500-$25,000; individual seats are $500-$2,500. Concert tickets are sold separately.
On Sunday, Sept. 25, St.Clair and Chang will return for conversation and an afternoon performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Respighi’s “Pines of Rome” on at 3 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. After the concert, St.Clair welcomes patrons to join him for a post-concert coffee house reception in the Box Circle lobby.
Tickets for the concerts are $25-$110; for more information or to purchase tickets, call 714-755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.