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Last modified: December 22, 2011, 6:44 PM
In little more than thirty two years, Pacific Symphony has risen to artistic prominence and has earned national recognition for innovative programming and a remarkable commitment to cultural development in its community. Founded in 1978, the Pacific Symphony in Orange County, California (between Los Angeles and San Diego counties, population three million), is the largest orchestra formed in the United States in the last fifty years. Led by Music Director Carl St.Clair and President John Forsyte, the Symphony performs 100 concerts annually at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, and throughout Orange County. Under Maestro St.Clair, the Symphony embarked on its first and highly successful European tour in 2006 with visits to nine cities. In September, 2006, the Pacific Symphony inaugurated its new home -- the 2,000 seat Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall with acoustics by Russell Johnson of ARTEC. In 2010, Pacific Symphony was recognized by the League of American Orchestras as one of the country's most innovative ensembles for its work with festivals and thematic programming.
Pacific Symphony is widely recognized for developing and promoting today's young and established composers and expanding the orchestral repertoire. This commitment to new works is illustrated through the Symphony's commissions and recordings, presentation of the American Composer's Festival, and its biennial Young American Composers Competition. The Symphony received the prestigious ASCAP Awards for Adventuresome Programming in 2005 and 2010 for its role in introducing new works. Pacific Symphony commissioned composers include William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, Philip Glass, William Kraft, Tobias Picker, Frank Ticheli, and Chen Yi, who composed a cello concerto in 2004 for Yo-Yo Ma. The Symphony commissioned and recorded An American Requiem by the Symphony's most recent Composer-in-Residence Richard Danielpour (Reference Recordings) and Elliot Goldenthal's Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio with Yo-Yo Ma (Sony Classical). Upcoming recordings for release will include those highlighting music of William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty and Philip Glass.
In 2010, Pacific Symphony inaugurated Music Unwound, a new initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. These concerts feature new engagement practices, multi-media, scripted concerts, and artist/audience interaction. A new initiative for hands-on, participatory arts activities is now being developed.
Pacific Symphony's award-winning and results-oriented education programs are evidence of the Symphony's determination to integrate its music into the Orange County community, developing audiences of all ages and forming strong, meaningful connections between the community and the organization. Among these programs include an expansive elementary school partnership program, a large Family Series, and the Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles. Music Director Carl St.Clair actively participates in the development and execution of these programs, which comprise nearly 10% of the Symphony's budget. The Symphony has been honored as one of nine exemplary orchestra education programs in the nation by the National Endowment for the Arts and the League of American Orchestras.
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