By Larry Taylor/Garden Grove Journal
Pacific Symphony opens its 2012-13 season in Segerstrom Concert Hall this weekend, Sept. 20-23, with a concert featuring esteemed pianist Andre Watts playing Brahm’s Second Piano Concerto, conductor Carl St. Clair leading the orchestra.
Next week, Sept. 27, should be just as special with the international star pianist Lang Lang coming to the Concert Hall to appear with Pacific Symphony. The Chinese pianist has been heralded as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet,” by The New York Times.
He joins PSO and St. Clair for two of the most demanding piano concertos in the repertoire: Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, the “Emperor.”
Following, Oct. 18-20, 17-year-old prodigy, Conrad Tao plays Grieg’s Piano Concerto. Hailed by critics, the pianist made a sensational Orange County debut last year. His performance of Grieg’s masterpiece is predicted to elicit the same exuberant reaction this year.
It is a “Come to the Cabaret” event, Nov. 8-10, when vocalists Ute Lemper and Hudson Shad, join St. Clair and the orchestra in a performance of nightclub favorites, including Weill’s “Seven Deadly Sins,“ Gershwin’s “An American in Paris.” and four songs made famous by French chanteuse Edith Piaf.
German theater star Lemper is widely acknowledged as the ultimate interpreter of the songs of the European cabaret. She is also known for her award-winning performances in “Cabaret” and “Chicago.”
Cellist Alisa Weilerstein is featured, Dec. 6-8, playing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. Alexander Shelley conducts the orchestra. Also on the program are Handel’s: Music for the Royal Fireworks and Debussy’s “La Mer.”
Starting the new year, Jan. 10-12, Beethoven’s crowning achievement, the Violin Concerto, will be performed by Canadian violinist James Ehnes with celebrated Scottish conductor Garry Walker in charge. On the program, as well, will be Rimsky Korsakov’s Sheherezade.”
Mozart’s Requiem and More is the program title, Jan. 31-Feb. 2,. Featuring six Mozart pieces, including his Requiem and excerpts from the “Magic Flute.” St. Clair and the orchestra will be joined by Pacific Chorale, directed by John Alexander.
Opera will come back to Orange County with Puccini”s “Tosca.” scheduled Feb. 21, 23 and 26. Inspired by St. Clair’s successful career as an opera conductor in Europe, Pacific presents concert opera for a second season. Pacific Chorale will join in.
Rounding out the season:
March 21-23, From Bach to Mahler – Dejan Lazic, piano plays Bach’s: Air on the G string, Bach’s: Piano Concerto No. 3, Mahler’s: Symphony No. 5.
April 4-6, Beethoven’s Fifth – Mei-Ann Chen, conductor: Beethoven: Symphony No. 5.
May 2-4, Saint Saen’s Organ Symphony – Aziz Shokhakimov, conductor; Tianwa Yang, violin; Paul Jacobs, organ.
May 16-18, American Composers’ Festival – showcasing Duke Ellington, his orchestra and compositions.
June 6-8, Rite of Spring Turns 100 – Tchaikovsky: Excerpts from “The Nutcracker” and “Swan Lake”; Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.”
For tickets and information, Call (714) 755-5799; www,pacificsymphony.org.