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The West Coast is usually associated with fun, frolic and the sun, loads and loads of it. After all, it isn't for nothing that California is known as the "Sunshine State." However, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra has been lending the sun-kissed stretches of California a more melodic feel for more than the last four decades. Based out of Orange County and commanding a trifecta of performance spaces, namely the Renée and Henry Segerstom Concert Hall, Samueli Theater and the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, the entity cites its purpose as the enriching of "the human spirit through superior performances of symphonic music and community engagement." Claim some Pacific Symphony Orchestra tickets to be lapped with waves of classical orchestral music and sprays of contemporary compositions.
The Pacific Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1979 as a fusion of the legacies of both American and European musical entities. The founder Keith Clark was associated with the Los Angeles Master Chorale as an assistant to conductor Roger Wagner and was also the "principle guest conductor" for the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Interestingly, Keith started the orchestra out of his kitchen at his home in Fullerton, California with a $2,000 grant and the organization's first company of musicians was comprised of a motley crew of local freelance musical performers. These musicians, though performing in the region's universities, film studios and performing arts institutions, were credible professionals in their own right, having been part of notable orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra.
The Pacific Symphony Orchestra debuted with a performance in 1979 at the Fullerton's Plummer Auditorium and then two years later had started playing out their concerts at the "Good Time Theater" that was located in Knott's Berry Farm and had a capacity of 3,000. During the eighties, they performed in various venues such as the Santa Ana High School's auditorium as well as at the Music Center of Los Angeles County, the performance at the later venue marking their prominent involvement in the respective county's bicentennial celebrations that year. However, in the late 1980s, the orchestra's Board of Directors decided to extricate Clark from the very entity that he founded and been serving as the Music Director for almost a decade. This turn of events was marked by the hiring of Louis Spisto as its new Executive Director who started claiming that Clark's conductorship was falling below the mark in certain performances. By 1989, ten years after the symphony had been created, following Keith Clark's ouster by the board, his name had been erased from all of the organization's official literature and lamentably to this day, there is no mention of Clark anywhere on the Pacific Symphony Orchestra's website or anywhere on the premises.
Since the start of the 1990s, the musical direction of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra has been led by Music Director Carl St.Clair, who has not only enhanced the company's musical repertoire but also developed successful community based educational programs. It is in recognition to his leadership skills that the organization credits itself as the United States' largest orchestra formed in the last four decades. St.Clair's directorship has yielded a number of critically acclaimed musical albums that contain the recordings of compositions that the orchestra had commissioned itself, such as An American Requiem by Richard Danielpour or Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio by Elliot Goldenthal. They were released by Reference Recordings and Sony Classical respectively, the later work having been performed by the cello maestro Yo-Yo Ma. Other works that are part of the orchestra's repertoire include Copland's Appalachian Spring Suite, Etc and Respighi's Church Windows, Poema Autunnale.
The last decade has seen the Pacific Symphony Orchestra reach to new heights of musical acclaim, with their first European tour drawing almost a dozen rave reviews from notable Euro-classical critics. The orchestra was also the recipient coveted "ASCAP Award for Adventuresome Programming" in 2005 as well as in 2010 and continues to bring more than a 100 concerts every year to stages both at home and internationally. So book some Pacific Symphony Orchestra tickets to have your senses awash with the surf of eclectic tunes and bold compositions.
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