Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestrates Student Opportunities

Photo courtesy Pasadena Symphony Association Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra is expanding programming for Pasadena Unified School District students this year.
Photo courtesy Pasadena Symphony Association
Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra is expanding programming for Pasadena Unified School District students this year.

For any young musician who aspires to feel a part of the crashing crescendos of George Gershwin or Ludwig van Beethoven at a famous concert hall, the chances of doing so through the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra just got a lot better.
The Pasadena Symphony Association’s PYSO is doubling down on its efforts to reach Pasadena Unified School District music students this school year, with help from a grant from the California Arts Commission. The PSA has broadened its partnership with PUSD, extending the Pasadena Symphony Teaching Artists program to additional school sites by doubling its roster of teachers, providing musical instruction to more than 200 students across the district. The program, launched in 2015 with the goal of offsetting budget cuts and condensed music instruction, offers free, supplemental instruction for grades 4-6 that aims to enhance the district’s music program.
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Pasadena Symphony Moonlight Sonata Gala Sept. 22

Join the Pasadena Symphony Association for an evening of enchantment and romance on Saturday, Sept. 22, as it hosts the annual Moonlight Sonata Gala.
This year’s soiree will light up Centennial Square, set against the rotunda of Pasadena City Hall. The evening’s festivities will kick off with libations around the Baroque fountain in the cloistered courtyard, followed by dinner under a moonlit sky at the steps of City Hall, and will conclude with dancing into the night under the stars. The program offers an awards ceremony honoring two prominent community figures, a live and silent auction, and live music performances by distinguished musicians.
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Pasadena Symphony Signs New Labor Contract With Musicians Union

Lora Unger CEO, Pasadena Symphony Assn.
Lora Unger
CEO, Pasadena Symphony Assn.

The Pasadena Symphony Association and American Federation of Musicians Local 47, today jointly announced an agreement on a new five-year labor contract. The new agreement runs retroactively from the 2016-17 to the 2020-21 season.
“We’ve taken great care to create a culture that fosters a collaborative approach between musicians and management. It’s been a thoughtful process that reflects our shared commitment to the future of this great orchestra and its unique role in the region,” said PSA CEO Lora Unger.
“This is an orchestra that can do it all, and does it all at a very high level — performing baroque, choral and the grandest of symphonies, to the popular music of the great American songbook and beyond. This agreement sets the stage for us to launch a number of strategic growth initiatives within a fiscally responsible framework. It also provides a multi-year plan that the board is confident in delivering given the institutional growth the PSA has achieved over the past three years with the support of our community, which values artistic excellence and access.”
Marissa Benedict, chair of the PSA orchestra committee, praised the shared efforts of the process and stated: “Our alliance with the board and with management supported a collective willingness to work in tandem with each other to reach for a positive outcome. We remain optimistic that we will continue to work harmoniously together, now and in the future, to allow our shared vision to come into fruition. Because we are now united, we are stronger, allowing us to make better music and better relationships. We are excited to share the gift of live symphonic music and these joyous events with our current supporters while extending a grand invitation to new relationships in our community for many years to come.”
Highlights of the new five-year agreement include:
• Increases to the musicians’ minimum wage scale of 14.5% over a five-year period, which includes a substantial increase in the first year of the contract retroactive to Oct. 1, 2016.
• Establishing an artistic advisory committee, creating a platform for coordinated planning discussions between musicians and management.
• Additional infrastructure on personnel matters and operational processes.

Pasadena Symphony Association to Make Magic at Moonlight Gala

The Pasadena Symphony Association will host its annual Moonlight Sonata Gala on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 5:30-10 p.m., which will be a night filled with entertainment, music and dancing held at Pasadena’s historic City Hall.
Music Director David Lockington will host the evening as guests enjoy dinner and live music under the stars in Centennial Square. Distinctive to this year’s gala is lively dancing to close out the night. The evening will start off with libations in the cloistered courtyard. As dinner begins, members of the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra will serenade guests along their walk to Centennial Square, where Claud & Co. will provide a four-course meal. The program will feature a live and silent auction along with an awards ceremony honoring three prominent community figures. Dance music will be provided by Tony Galla and the Usual Suspects, a six-piece band that will perform songs from the Great American Songbook.
Another entertainer will be illusionist David Kwong, who recently published “Spellbound: Seven Principles to Illusion to Captivate Audiences and Unlock the Secrets of Success.”
Centennial Square is located at 100 N. Garfield Ave. Tickets to the Moonlight Sonata Gala are limited. Individual tickets start at $250 and may be purchased by visiting or by contacting Scott Vandrick, chief development officer at or by calling (626) 793-7172, ext.45.