Growing up in Hochheim, Texas, a young Carl St. Clair was once asked by a visiting journalist how many people lived in his town. After pausing for a moment to tally up the population, he replied, "36."
"I could count them all up in my head. Although I think that number may have dropped significantly since then," St. Clair said.
St. Clair is now the music director of the Pacific Symphony, where, at 20 years at the podium, he is the second-longest serving conductor of an American orchestra. During his tenure, the orchestra has toured to other counties, created recordings and propelled music-education programs forward in many Orange County cities.
"[St. Clair] is somebody who has a strong idea of an orchestra's role in the community and ways how the orchestra can remain vibrant and engaging," John Forsyte, president of the Pacific Symphony, said.
The Pacific Symphony makes its home in the Segerstrom Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, where St. Clair can be found not only conducting, but also balancing administrative and community responsibilities with the same gusto he brings to the stage.