Music Monday: What We’re Thankful For - Monday, November 24, 2014

Prior to the Thanksgiving meal, many families have the tradition of going around the table and having each person say something they’re thankful for. To honor this special holiday, some of the staff here at the Philharmonic Society have shared pieces of music or musical experiences they are thankful for this time of year:

I’m always reminded of the hymn “Come, ye Thankful People Come”. After many years as a church musician I still appreciate a good hymn, and I always looked forward to playing this one at Thanksgiving services.
--Heather Cromleigh, Director of Volunteer Services / Board Liason

I automatically think of Beethoven when being grateful and there are 2 works that come to mind: the final movement of the “Pastoral” Symphony (Beethoven even labels this movement “Shepherd’s Song, Happy and thankful feelings after the storm”) and the second theme in the finale of the “Eroica” Symphony, especially when it slows down at the end.

I am also grateful to Leonard Bernstein for his wonderful Harvard lecture series (on DVD), which illuminates so many facets of classical music in a new and extraordinarily original way. He was a true genius when it came to communicating ideas about music.

--Randy Polevoi, Musical Concierge

I am thankful for my all of my music teachers throughout elementary and high school. Their classes were always an enjoyable part of my day and they worked so hard to help us do our best.
--Allison Heinrichs, Development Associate

Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” always puts me in a good mood around Thanksgiving. Not only is it one of my favorite pieces to perform, I love listening to it because of its pure American quality. My favorite section of the piece is the reverent, prayerful moment that happens after the joyful Simple Gifts melody – it gives me chills every time.
--Siri Bloom, Ticketing & Marketing Associate

I’m thankful for Beethoven’s Ninth. It was the first piece I heard live, and I’ve been going to concerts for three decades since that introduction. It’s a work that embodies everything that’s great about music for me. It’s all about humanity’s shared aspirations, and the experience of it live in concert is overwhelming, thrilling, and deeply communal.
--John Mangum

We wish you all a wonderful holiday with friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Cameron Carpenter on "Why Organ?" - Friday, November 21, 2014

Organist Cameron Carpenter explains why he chose to play the organ, an instrument he considers "violent, dynamic, ecstatic...sensuous, cinematic...all the things that life is."

Cameron will join Classical KUSC's Rich Capparela for a pre-concert Q&A before this Sunday's performance at Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil.

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Philharmonic Society Revives Eclectic Orange Brand, Adds Four Spring 2015 Concerts - Monday, November 17, 2014

The Philharmonic Society of Orange County is pleased to announce the revival of its Eclectic Orange brand, an extension of diverse programming curated to expand the reach of the audiences we serve. Under the Eclectic Orange brand, four concerts have been scheduled in spring 2015, featuring performances by classical music comedy duo Igudesman & Joo on February 18, ukulele phenomenon Jake Shimabukuro on March 22, as well as tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain on April 1 and radio personality Garrison Keillor on April 13. Tickets go on sale to the public Tuesday, November 18.

Commonly known as the area’s oldest and most recognized classical music presenter, the Society presented its Eclectic Orange Festival from 1999-2005 as a celebration of the eclectic nature of Orange County’s cultural landscape. Among the artists and composers featured by the Festival are Tan Dun, Philip Glass, Edgar Meyer, David Sedaris, Shaolin Warriors, Joshua Bell, Ute Lemper, Yamato Drummers of Japan, Benny Goodman, Anoushka Shankar, the Kronos Quartet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

Philharmonic Society President and Artistic Director John Mangum remarked, “Our mission is to present the world’s greatest music. These Eclectic Orange presentations allow the Society to cross into other musical genres, and in doing so, serve more of the Orange County community, while maintaining the high caliber of artists that the Society is known for presenting.”

The Eclectic Orange concerts are made possible with support in part by a generous grant from Wylie and Bette Aitken.

Igudesman & Joo
Feb. 18 | IBT
Jake Shimabukuro
Mar. 22 | RHS
Zakir Hussain's
Celtic Connections

Apr. 1 | RHS
An Evening with
Garrison Keillor

Apr. 13 | RHS

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Music Monday: Saint-Saëns in Pop Culture - Monday, November 10, 2014

On Sunday, November 23rd, Gustavo Dudamel will lead the LA Phil and organist Cameron Carpenter in a performance of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3, “Organ.” Even if you’ve never heard this piece performed before, you may be surprised to hear a familiar tune in the finale.

In 1978, 92 years after the symphony premiered, singers Scott Fitzgerald and Yvonne Keeley brought the Saint-Saëns melody to pop culture with their UK hit, “If I Had Words.” Suddenly the tune was updated with a modern beat and lyrics. Below is their performance on the iconic Top of the Pops:

The theme emerged again in 1995, this time in a scene from the movie Babe. The storyline revolves around a small pig named Babe who wants to be a sheep dog and help Farmer Hoggett with is flocks, and as a result is laughed at by the other animals on the farm. When one of them tells Babe that farmers eat pigs, he runs away on a rainy night and gets very sick. Once Babe is found, Farmer Hoggett sings “If I Had Words” to earn back Babe’s trust and nurse him back to health.

Although the melody has been given a modern twist in pop culture, nothing compares to it in the original symphonic form. Come hear it for yourself at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, November 23rd at 3pm!

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Czech Philharmonic Recap: Committees' Night & Encores - Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Last night, the Czech Philharmonic kicked off its 2-week, 11-city tour of the U.S. at our Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, performing under its Chief Conductor Jirí Belohlávek, who made his U.S. debut. Grammy-nominated pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, always a welcome sight in OC, joined them as soloist for the Liszt Piano Concerto No. 2. Other works on the program included Janacek's Taras Bulba and Dvorak's beloved New World Symphony.

The Czech Philharmonic performance also happened to be Committees' Night, where we recognize and thank the tireless volunteers who make our youth programs possible. You can see some of our Committees members showing off the corsages they received at our Facebook page.

President of the Committees Linda England was presented with a bouquet of flowers onstage by Philharmonic Society President John Mangum, and she gave a touching speech about why she is so dedicated to youth music education. Growing up, Linda's parents' musical preferences did not mesh, so as a child she lived in a non-musical household. Her exposure to music was through her school music programs back in Boise, ID, and that is why she is so dedicated to making sure our children in Orange County get to have rich musical experiences, so that they, like her, can develop a deep love and appreciation for music.

During intermission, Jean-Yves Thibaudet joined concertgoers in the lobby for a quick CD signing (pictured right). Charming and gracious as always, he reminisced with concertgoers who shared memories of their previous encounters with him and of his past performances that they enjoyed.

Following the program, the Czech Philharmonic rewarded the enthusiastic audience with two encores.

1) Bedrich Smetana's The Bartered Bride Overture
2) Oskar Nedbal's Valse triste from 'Der faule Hans' Ballet-Pantomime

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Music Monday: Czech Philharmonic’s Antonín Dvorák Project - Monday, November 03, 2014

In honor of their nation’s most famous composer, the Czech Philharmonic has spent the past four years creating the Antonín Dvorák Project--a combination of live concert recordings, TV broadcasts and a documentary. Under the baton of conductor Jirí Belohlávek the orchestra has recorded fresh, live interpretations of all nine Dvorák symphonies as well as his three concertos featuring soloists Garrick Ohlsson (piano), Alisa Weilerstein (cello) and Frank Peter Zimmerman (violin).

In addition to the audio, each recording was filmed with 15 different cameras throughout the orchestra. Czech Television will broadcast an hour program featuring each of the nine symphonies along with commentary, helping audiences better understand the music.

Finally, Canadian director Barbara Willis Sweete has filmed the entire process for a documentary. Currently under the working title An Orchestra Reborn, the film shows not just the recording process but also the growth of the orchestra, their relationship with Belohlávek, and the hard work it takes to create beautiful music.

To learn more about the project and to explore audio clips, videos and scores, follow this link to the Czech Philharmonic website.

The Czech Philharmonic performance on Tuesday, November 4th will be a special one. When asked what makes the orchestra distinct Belohlávek said, “I think it sounds this way because our musicians have practically been breastfed on Dvorák since birth. This music lives within the orchestra and thus we are able to improvise & fantasize spontaneously. Suddenly you feel this collective spirit rising up in unexpected ways touching something timeless, something that reaches far beyond us.”

Get caught up in the music at the Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at 8pm!

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Quatuor Mosaïques' Encore - Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! A huge thanks to everyone who came out last night to the Irvine Barclay Theatre for our presentation of Quatuor Mosaïques. Their encore from the performance was the Menuetto from Mozart's String Quartet No. 15 in D minor, K. 421.

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Gustavo Dudamel & LA Phil: Two New Sections Opened! - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Due to popular demand, two new seating sections have just been opened for the upcoming performance by Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Sunday, November 23rd, 3pm.

Seats in the Promenade Circle Terrace and Dress Circle Terrace are now available for purchase. Here's your chance to watch worldwide conducting sensation Gustavo Dudamel lead the LA Phil and Cameron Carpenter in an exciting afternoon of symphonic organ music.

Buy now to get the best seats in the house!

For tickets or more information, call our Patron Services Department at (949) 553-2422, or visit us online at

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
Cameron Carpenter, organ
Joanne Pearce Martin, organ
Heidi Stober, soprano

BARBER: Toccata Festiva for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 36
HARTKE: Symphony No. 4 "Organ" (Orange County premiere)*
SAINT-SAËNS: Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 “Organ”

* Commissioned by Edward Halvajian (1935-2009)

Cameron Carpenter will be the organist in the Barber and the Saint-Saëns pieces. Joanne Pearce Martin, the LA Phil’s Principal Keyboard, will be the organist in the Hartke piece.

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Music Monday: Taras Bulba - Monday, October 27, 2014

Created in 1835 from the imagination of Russian author Nikolai Gogol, the tale of Taras Bulba has inspired many other artists throughout the years. Set in 1628, Gogol’s short story focuses on the life of Taras Bulba as well as his sons, Andrei and Ostap as they defend the Cossacks in a war against Poland. The book has strong themes of nationalism, romance and loyalty, which is why it is so attractive to artists in other genres. Taras Bulba has been adapted into many films, rock songs, an opera, and a rhapsody for orchestra by composer Leoš Janácek.

Janácek composed his Taras Bulba between 1915-1918 and dedicated it to “our army, the armed protector of our nation.” Like everyone at the time, Janácek was affected by the events of WWI; he took those emotions and created a three-movement rhapsody based on Gogol’s story because “in the whole world there are not fires or tortures strong enough to destroy the vitality of the Russian nation” (paraphrasing Gogol). Each movement focuses on a main character and his death.

The first movement, The Death of Andrei, begins with a love theme. Andrei, Taras Bulba’s youngest son, has fallen in love with the daughter of a Polish general and chooses to fight on the side of the Poles, against his father and brother. Taras Bulba meets Andrei in battle, who lowers his head in shame and allows his father to kill him.

The second movement, The Death of Ostap, focuses on Taras Bulba’s older son who is heartbroken over his brother’s death and captured by the Poles in the same battle. Taras Bulba follows his son to Warsaw with the goal of saving him from execution. Ultimately he is too late and is forced to not only witness his son’s death but also the rejoicing and triumphant dance of his enemies.

In the final movement, The Prophecy and Death of Taras Bulba, the Cossack army fights to avenge Ostap’s death. Like his son, Taras Bulba gets captured by the Poles and is sentenced to burn at the stake. However, before he does, he makes a stirring prophecy about the strength of Russia and its orthodox faith, stating, “Do you think that there is anything in the world that a Cossack fears?” Despite the piece ending in death, Taras Bulba’s words inspire hope and strength.

To hear this powerful piece performed by the same orchestra who premiered it in Prague in 1924, come to the Czech Philharmonic performance on Tuesday, November 4, 8pm, at the Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall!

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Huntington Harbour Holiday Boutique: Oct. 24-25 - Friday, October 24, 2014

The 8th annual Huntington Harbour Holiday Boutique is underway! Come and do your holiday shopping today and tomorrow at the Huntington Harbour Mall. You'll find jewelry, clothing, accessories, home decor and specialty gourmet.

There are fabulous opportunity prizes that you can win, including tickets to our upcoming Canadian Brass Holiday Concert and gift baskets from Melissa's World Variety Produce, Huntington Harbour Dermatology & Laser, Harbour Aesthetic Spa, House of Brews, and much more!

Today (Friday), October 24: 10am-5pm
Tomorrow (Saturday), October 25: 10am-4pm

Huntington Harbour Mall
16889 Algonquin Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Questions? Need more info?
Call: (714) 840-7542

Proceeds benefit the Philharmonic Society's nationally recognized youth music education programs.

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