Image courtesy of Long Beach Symphony.
Last season, the Long Beach Symphony began its search for a new music director, inviting six guest conductors to lead its performances. The search will continue during this 2015-16 season, as three of the conductors have been invited back for another chance to wow audiences, joined by three new maestros.
While ticket sales were up by 27 percent last season, according to the release, let's hope this trend continues as the symphony comes closer to its decision.
“Long Beach Symphony is on solid ground, ending in a surplus again last fiscal year," said Executive Director Kelly Ruggirello in a statement.
Sponsored by LEXUS, this upcoming Classical season will combine popular, crowd-pleasing American, French, German and Russian masterworks with some rarely heard works by composers such as Lukas Foss, Ticheli and Samuel Barber. Soloists will be drawn from the Symphony’s own stash of world-class musicians with flutist Heather Clark, harpist Marcia Dickstein, cellist Cécilia Tsan and concertmaster, Roger Wilkie, as well as celebrated local soprano, Elissa Johnston, and the virtuosic young pianist, Natasha Paremski.
"We are able to attract top talent for our Music Director search, because of all that we and the City of Long Beach have to offer: world-class musicians, top-notch arts and cultural institutions, a temperate climate, beautiful beaches, a wide variety of recreational opportunities and highly-rated schools all contribute greatly to the desirability of the position," Ruggirello said.
Opening night on October 10 will feature music from the late Romantic period led by returning conductor, Southern California native Edwin Outwater, currently director of Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, whose rousing performance in Long Beach last November earned him the invitation to return. His program this year includes Berlioz’ short Roman Carnival Overture, followed by Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole featuring Concertmaster Roger Wilkie.
A concert of 20th Century American music follows on November 14, led by another alumnus conductor, Edward Cumming. Cumming is currently director of Orchestral Activities and associate professor of music at The Hartt School, and will be leading performances of works by Bernstein, Ticheli, Gershwin, and Lukas Foss’s Renaissance Concerto for Flute and Orchestra with soloist Heather Clark. Maestro Cumming was also Music Director of the Hartford Symphony for nine years.
As 2015 comes to a close, the Classical series returns to start the new year off soundly to the lush instrumentals of the late Romantic and Impressionist periods with works by French composers Ravel and Saint-Saëns, led by Benjamin Wallfisch, a London-born composer and conductor who, at the age of 22, was appointed associate conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra.
Subsequently, the Symphony welcomes New Zealand-born Maestra Gemma New, who will present two vocal/orchestral works alongside celebrated local soprano, Elissa Johnston: a performance of Mahler’s magnificent Symphony No. 4 and Barber’s 1947 work, Knoxville: Summer of 1915, as well as J.S. Bach’s Overture to Orchestral Suite #4 in D Major.
Maestro Lucas Richman’s performance of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Chausson in April of this year garnered high praise from audience and reviewers alike, earning him an invitation to return in April 2016 with a program that includes Handel’s Harp Concerto, as well as much-loved symphonies by Mozart and Beethoven.
The season concludes in June with three works from the Romantic period: a short work by Brahms, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, and Chopin’s beloved Piano Concerto No. 1, with guest soloist, Natasha Paremski, and guest conductor, Eckart Preu.
For more information about the Symphony’s 2015-16 season, or to purchase a season subscription, please visit the Symphony’s website here or call 562.436.3203. Tickets go on sale starting September 10.