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Pacific Symphony's 2011 Summer Festival Offers the Perfect Blend of Balmy Summer Nights, Great Music, Picnicking and Fireworks at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

Published: 02/17/2011
PACIFIC SYMPHONY'S 2011 SUMMER FESTIVAL OFFERS THE PERFECT BLEND OF BALMY SUMMER NIGHTS, GREAT MUSIC, PICNICKING AND FIREWORKS AT VERIZON WIRELESS AMPHITHEATER

Presented by Hoag Hospital, the season line-up includes a 4th-of-July celebration starring "Elvis," The 5 Browns on Steinways, Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, Duke Ellington's big band, and the "1812" Overture with cannons and fireworks!

Orange County, Calif.-Feb. 17, 2011-Winter chill gives way to warm summer thoughts as Pacific Symphony plans its annual trek to the orchestra's summer home at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine-July 4-Sept. 10. It's the ideal summer experience: picnicking with friends and family while enjoying breathtaking music under the stars-and on some evenings-concluding with dazzling fireworks! This season's Summer Festival, presented by Hoag Hospital, offers a diverse selection of five concerts-ranging from a July 4th celebration spotlighting the music of Elvis, to the dynamic siblings of The 5 Browns "thundering down" on Steinways; to Bugs Bunny, the orchestra and Looney Tunes; to Duke Ellington and New Orleans jazz! And, of course, summer ends with its customary bang-"Tchaikovsky Spectacular"-featuring fireworks and cannons!


It's no wonder that, for many, the Symphony's Summer Festival has become an Orange County tradition with more than 40,000 people coming every year to enjoy summer nights with the Symphony. Subscriptions range from $90-$460, with luxury season packages also available. Single tickets are $25 to $99 and go on sale May 22. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.pacificsymphony.org.


"Each and every summer at Verizon is a musical delight," says Music Director Carl St.Clair. "I always look forward to sharing music with the orchestra and our audiences under the beautiful Southern Californian skies. It's hard to top the experience."


All shook up! There could be screaming, swooning and the obligatory scarf giveaway, at the Symphony's first concert of the summer on Monday, July 4, at 8 p.m. This holiday celebration features "A Symphonic Tribute to Elvis," led by Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman and starring the "King of Rock and Roll"-in the guise of renowned tribute artist Kraig Parker. The program includes Elvis hits such as "Blue Suede Shoes," "Love Me Tender," "Hound Dog" and much, much more-backed by the orchestra and sung by an impersonator who has audiences believing that Elvis never really left. Plus, the first half features fiddler extraordinaire Tom Demer and patriotic favorites in honor of America's birthday. Concluding this memorable holiday occasion are spectacular fireworks exploding in the night sky.


"Our Fourth-of-July concert is going to be a real party this summer!" gushes Maestro Kaufman. "With one of America's greatest fiddlers, and a salute to Elvis, the ‘King,' it will be an amazing night of music and fun...the perfect way to celebrate the birthday of our great country."


In August 2004, the London Times hailed Parker as the world's foremost Elvis tribute performer. From Las Vegas to London, Parker has been called the ultimate image of Elvis Presley. He has been astonishing crowds for more than12 years with his amazing impersonation. All ages are startled by Parker's incredible likeness to Elvis in look, voice, moves and stage presence. Unlike many imitators, Kraig hits the stage with a full Las Vegas style show band that is second to none. He has been joined on stage by some of Presley's original singers such as The Jordanaires, The Stamps Quartet and the Sweet Inspirations. In addition, several of Presley's original bodyguards, as well as Loanne Parker, widow of Colonel Tom Parker, have welcomed Kraig as a premier tribute to Elvis.

Scorching pianos! The second concert of the season, "The Fab Five," takes place Saturday, July 16, 8 p.m., led by Music Director Carl St.Clair and featuring five highly talented young pianists known as The 5 Browns. These five siblings-all piano virtuosos-took the music world by storm in 2002, when People magazine dubbed them: "The Fab Five." Now internationally acclaimed, the Juilliard-trained quintet is known to take one's breath away. The concert includes Mozart's Concerto for Three Pianos, Mussorgsky's powerful elegy, "Pictures at an Exhibition," and Saint-Saens' colorful tribute to the animal kingdom, "Carnival of the Animals."


The New York Post proclaimed: "One family, five pianos and 50 fingers add up to the biggest classical music sensation in years."


Entertainment Weekly called them "...five young Mormons who all play scorching piano. Thundering down on five Steinways together, they're button-down cute and somewhat otherworldly."


"I am pleased to welcome The 5 Browns in a program that is sure to amaze," says St.Clair. "These young American talents are individually extremely talented, but as an ensemble of piano virtuosos, they are dazzling. Performing the rarely heard Mozart Concerto for Three Pianos and having them team together for a performance of ‘Carnival of the Animals' will make for an unforgettable first half. Continuing the idea of the piano during the second half, the orchestra and I will perform Mussorgsky's mighty ‘Pictures at an Exhibition,' originally composed for piano, in the orchestration by Maurice Ravel."


The 5 Browns-Ryan, Melody, Gregory, Deondra and Desirae-all attended New York's Juilliard School. In fact, they became the first family of five siblings ever accepted at the same time. The quintet enjoyed their first wave of critical attention in February 2002, when they were featured on "Oprah" and "60 Minutes." The Browns have released three CDs that each went to No. 1 on Billboard Magazine's Classical Album Chart. They have also garnered extensive coverage from the media including "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Good Morning America," "Today," and "The View" to "The Martha Stewart Show," Public Radio's "Performance Today," as well as The New York Times, Parade, People, the Los Angeles Times, the Sunday London Telegraph. They are also featured in a new PBS TV special, "The 5 Browns in Concert."


You'll love to sing too! Prepare to relive happy childhood memories for the Symphony's Warner Bros. Studios presentation of "Bugs Bunny at the Symphony," on Saturday, Aug. 6, 8 p.m. Led by creator and conductor Emmy AwardTM-winner George Daugherty, the wascally wabbit and his pals are let loose on the orchestra world, as "Bugs Bunny," "Tweety," "Sylvester," "Pepe le Pew," "Daffy Duck," "Elmer Fudd" and others cavort across the big screen accompanied live by the Symphony. Featuring sidesplitting cartoons like "What's Opera, Doc?" and "The Rabbit of Seville," the program includes a specially created montage of Looney Tunes called "I Love to Singa." And that's not all, folks!


"Bugs Bunny at the Symphony," is a rechristened and newly created concert sequel to Warner Bros.' "Bugs Bunny on Broadway," a record-setting orchestra-and-film concert that reinvented a new genre of symphony orchestra concert when it debuted in 1990. "Bugs Bunny at the Symphony," featuring a new fusion of on-screen Looney Tunes and live symphony orchestra accompaniment, spotlights some of the original cartoon treasures of "Bugs Bunny on Broadway," while adding an enlarged "cast" of Warner Bros.' animated characters and cartoons to this celebrated melding of classical music and classic animation.


It's got that swing! Maestro St.Clair returns to lead the world-famous Duke Ellington Orchestra on Saturday, Aug. 27, at 8 p.m. As the Boston Globe put it, "In the century since Duke Ellington's birth, there has been no greater composer, American or otherwise." Winton Marsalis may have said it best about Duke Ellington: "His music sounds like America." For this concert, Ellington's musical genius is featured in a treasure trove of great songs: "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing," "Sophisticated Lady," "Mood Indigo," "Take the ‘A' Train" and more. The program also includes Bernstein's rousing "Slava!," "Three Dance Episodes" from "On the Town," and Gershwin's much loved "An American in Paris."


"Celebrating the music of my friend and mentor, Leonard Bernstein, along with Gershwin's ‘An American in Paris,' will serve as an exciting prelude to the second half featuring the Duke Ellington Orchestra," says St.Clair. "It will be a hot evening at Verizon-filled with jazz, blues and that great American sound!"


Ellington remains one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all American music. As both a composer and a band leader, Ellington's reputation has increased since his death, with thematic repackaging of his signature music often becoming best-sellers. Posthumous recognition of his work includes a special award citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board. Ellington influenced millions of people both around the world and at home. He gave American music its own sound for the first time. Simply put, Ellington transcends boundaries and left the world with a wealth of music that renews itself through every generation of fans and music-lovers. His legacy continues to live on through the Duke Ellington Orchestra.


The Russians are coming! No summer is complete without the Symphony's traditional triumphant culmination of the Summer Festival- "Tchaikovsky Spectacular"-which is highlighted by the thrilling climax of thundering cannons and magnificent fireworks in the "1812" Overture. Led for the second time-the first was in 2009-by Assistant Conductor Maxim Eshkenazy on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 8 p.m., the concert features young Georgian virtuoso Alexander Korsantia and the Huntington Beach Band. The program includes some of the most enchanting and exuberant pieces by favorite Russian composers, including Rachmaninoff's hugely popular and achingly romantic Piano Concerto No. 2, performed by Korsantia; Shostakovich's Festive Overture; Liadov's "The Enchanted Lake"; and Tchaikovsky's Suite from "Sleeping Beauty."


"I am looking forward to making music with our musicians and sharing this special experience with our wonderful and enthusiastic patrons," says Maestro Eshkenazy. "We will have music from the great masters Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich-accompanied by super-bombastic, spectacular fireworks! What better way to end the season?!"

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