Pasadena Symphony Season Showcases Seven Conductors

First published in the Sept. 2 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

Pasadena Symphony announces its 94th season with a seven-concert schedule that will introduce seven conductors who will serve as “artistic partners” from Oct. 16 through April 30, 2022.
“The annual Composers Showcase for the 2021-22 season will feature works by both emerging and established contemporary composers at each concert, including one world premiere by Brett Banducci,” a spokesperson said.
Music Director David Lockington will be on a leave of absence for the season.
All concerts take place at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium with both matinee and evening performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The season also includes the annually sold out Holiday Candlelight Concert on Saturday, Dec. 18 with the 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances at All Saints Church.

“We are excited to finally bring our full orchestra back to work indoors this October to our home at the acoustically exquisite Ambassador Auditorium,” CEO Lora Unger said. “We’ll be welcoming the community back to indoor concerts safely, ensuring all are vaccinated both in the audience and on stage. This season’s lineup of conductors, guest artists and featured composers represents a diversely powerful voice of the future of classical music and we’re honored to bring the joy of live music back to the concert hall where it belongs.”
Conductor Joseph Young and violinist Randall Goosby kick off the 2021/22 season on Oct. 16 with Beethoven Symphony No. 7 and Brahms Violin Concerto, and Anna Rakitina leads the orchestra on Nov. 13 with Dvorák Symphony No. 9 “New World” alongside George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with pianist Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner. Conductor Jenny Wong will ring in the holidays with the orchestra at its annual Holiday Candlelight Concert. Performance specialist Nicholas McGegan returns to lead the orchestra’s annual Baroque concert on Jan. 22, with Vivaldi’s Gloria and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5; Lidiya Yankovskaya and virtuoso violinist Chee-Yun bring Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and “Romeo and Juliet” to the stage on Feb. 12; Brett Mitchell and pianist Aldo López-Gavilán perform Greig’s Piano Concerto and Mozart Symphony No. 40 on March 19; and Keitaro Harada and Valentina Lisitsa close the season on April 30 with Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 and Beethoven Symphony No. 5.
“Fostering the future of classical music is integral to the Pasadena Symphony’s mission and the 2021-22 season will usher in the second annual Composers Showcase, featuring the best and brightest contemporary composers on each symphony concert,” a spokesperson said.
Jessie Montgomery’s “Banner” opens the season on Oct. 16 with Nkeiru Okoye’s “Voices Shouting Out” on Nov. 13, Gabriella Smith’s “Brandenburg Interstices” on Jan. 22, Gabriela Franks’ “Elegia Andina” on Feb. 12, Adam Shoenberg’s “Finding Rothko” on March 19 and on April 30, the orchestra will perform the world premiere of “In Nomine” by Banducci.
“The Pasadena Symphony provides a quintessential experience specially designed for the music lover, the social butterfly or a date night out, and the inner epicurean in us all,” a spokesperson said. “Audiences can enjoy a drink or a bite in the lively outdoor Symphony Lounge, yet another addition to the carefree and elegant concert experience the Pasadena Symphony offers. A posh setting at Ambassador Auditorium’s beautiful outdoor plaza, the Lounge offers uniquely prepared menus for both lunch and dinner and a full service bar before the concert and during intermission.”
All Symphony series concerts take place at Ambassador Auditorium, 131 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105, with performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Subscription packages start at $99 with single tickets starting at $35. Both may be purchased online at or by calling (626) 793-7172.

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