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ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Miller | July 12, 2013
Austin Wintory doesn't care to participate in debates about whether video games count as art. But if anyone corners him about it Wednesday when he joins the Pacific Symphony as a guest conductor, he'll have a couple of powerful friends to back him up. One is the voting bloc of the Recording Academy, which a few months ago made Wintory the first composer to snare a Grammy nomination for a game score. Another is the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which around the same time added 14 games to its collection - including "flOw," a project Wintory co-created while a student at USC. In recent years, the medium's increasing sophistication has caused many to question whether it can stand alongside novels, movies and other venerable forms.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Miller | May 13, 2013
Daniel Schnyder spends nearly every day walking in Duke Ellington's footsteps. Literally. The Pacific Symphony's composer-in-residence, who will perform Thursday through Sunday at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, recently moved his family to Harlem to be close to Manhattan's cultural scene. He didn't have the funds for a spot downtown, but as it turned out, his affordable digs brought him face-to-face with musical history. One day, shortly after moving in, Schnyder was walking down the street and noticed a plaque outside a brownstone noting that Ellington, the prolific composer and bandleader, had once lived there.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Miller | April 18, 2013
If David Lynch, Salvador Dali or some other surrealist master were given the task of programming a symphony concert, he or she might concoct something akin to this week's offering at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. First, take an orchestra that recently performed Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and have it play a tribute to 20th-century American composers plus a selection from the fantasy video game "Diablo III. " Then, to cap off the evening, bring in Gladys Knight, the woman who sang lead on "Midnight Train to Georgia" and other 1970s soul hits.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Bradley Zint | February 28, 2013
In my two years and five months of writing this column, I've found that the best and worst time doing it happened on the same evening. The Vienna Philharmonic — widely considered one of the best orchestras in the world, if not the best — was playing in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. On the stands was Mahler's Sixth Symphony, a long-winded but mighty work. The third movement alone is worth the price of admission. Furthermore, it was Vienna's first concert in Costa Mesa in nearly a decade.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Rhea Mahbubani | February 7, 2013
They came with music in their hearts and lyrics on their lips. An audition pool of nearly 50 hopefuls from across Orange and Los Angeles counties and the Inland Empire has now been whittled to four. The finalists of the Pacific Symphony production "OC Can You Sing?" know that it's almost time for a victor to emerge. Nearing the end of its second run, this is a competition for amateur singers over the age of 18 who filmed themselves singing and submitted video clips between October and November.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Rhea Mahbubani | February 7, 2013
Practice. That's the core of Kenny G's mantra as a musician. No matter the myriad possibilities a day in his life might bring, at least three hours are dedicated to practicing the saxophone. "I keep at it every day," he said. "I work hard, practice a lot and things get better, little by little. " This New York-based saxophone-wielding maestro of adult contemporary and jazz will perform at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall next week. Kenny G will take the stage Thursday through Saturday and regale the audience with numbers like "Songbird," "Silhouette" and "Midnight Motion.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Bradley Zint | February 6, 2013
Opera is again returning to Orange County this month, thanks to the Pacific Symphony's three-year "Symphonic Voices" opera-vocal initiative that's bringing the high-class art form to local audiences since the closing of Opera Pacific in 2008. Last year, it was three acclaimed, sold-out nights of Puccini's "La Bohéme. " This year, it's "Tosca," another Puccini classic that brings the Pacific Symphony onstage, front and center, alongside the singers in the Italian libretto. Carl St.Clair, the symphony's longtime director who also has had a long opera conducting career in Europe, leads from the podium in the three productions on Feb. 21, 23 and 26. All the 8 p.m. concerts in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, are preceded by a 7 p.m. preview talk with musicologist Alan Chapman.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Miller | December 27, 2012
Alfred Hitchcock was once quoted as saying, "I enjoy playing the audience like a piano. " And so does Eileen Jeanette. The vice president of artistic and orchestra operations for the Pacific Symphony keeps a keen eye on how many people have bought tickets for every show at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. It's not just a matter of fretting about the crowd's reaction; Jeanette needs to know how many human bodies will occupy the seats, because that will indicate how much she needs to shift the room's acoustics to accommodate them.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Bradley Zint | December 19, 2012
The League of American Orchestras and Newport Beach arts philanthropists Phil and Mary Lyons have given the Pacific Symphony funds to extend Santa Ana Strings. The symphony's music education program — also aided by Santa Ana-based THINK Together — began this past summer with 150 fourth- and fifth-graders from a few Santa Ana Unified School District elementary campuses. The students received five weeks of professional instruction on the violin, then played together before the Pacific Symphony's concert at the Orange County Great Park in July.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Bradley Zint | November 27, 2012
December is going to be a busy month for the Pacific Symphony, which will play favorites of both the holidays and the classics in the coming weeks. Acclaimed American cellist Alisa Weilerstein is the featured soloist Dec. 6 through 8 for Dvorak's Cello Concerto. The Pacific Symphony will be guest-led by Alexander Shelley, an Englishman who is the chief conductor for the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra in Germany. Debussy's "La Mer" and Handel's "Music for the Royal Fireworks" round out the program for the 8 p.m. concerts.
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