Symphony’s New Series, Pasadena Presents, Arrives in October

David Lockington, Lora Unger and Reggie Wilson

The Pasadena Symphony will make a phased return to concerts with Pasadena Presents, a series of four performances curated and hosted by Music Director David Lockington and beginning Oct. 17.
To adapt to guidelines set by local and state authorities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Pasadena Presents will serve as a new, intimate concert experience that will feature guest artists and musicians from the orchestra in a socially distanced concert setting. Each concert will feature a renowned soloist performing a concerto in recital, followed by an ensemble of symphony musicians performing chamber music works.
The orchestra’s full 2020-21 Symphony Classics Series repertoire will be rescheduled to the ’21-22 season. However, the organization plans to deliver a new ’20-21 season under the umbrella of Pasadena Presents. The fall schedule of four performances transforms the postponed concerts from March and April and the first two concerts of the ’20-21 Classics season to the new format. The symphony plans to announce future 2021 concerts later this fall.
Each Pasadena Presents concert is artistically inspired by the previously scheduled symphonic concerts, and orchestra officials say all will deliver the high-quality musical experiences patrons have come to expect from the symphony. The series opens on Oct. 17 with Simone Porter performing Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5, paired with Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence. On Oct. 24, the Beethoven Violin Concerto will be performed by Angelo Xiang Yu, paired with Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet.
Pianist Terrence Wilson continues the series on Nov. 7 performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Dvorák’s “American” String Quartet. The series concludes with Inon Barnatan performing his own transcription of Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances for solo piano and Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1.
The Pasadena Symphony is working in partnership with the city of Pasadena and local health authorities in the event that the state announces guidelines that would allow for small outdoor concert events to take place in the fall.
“We have two scenario plans in place — the first brings Pasadena Presents live in person and outdoors at the Pasadena Pavilion for the Performing Arts [formerly known as the Levitt Pavilion], and the second brings Pasadena Presents exclusively online for its ticket buyers and donors,” said Lora Unger, the symphony’s CEO.
“Our season is set to start on Oct. 17. We don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver, and yet we also want to make the right decisions at the right time,” Unger added. “We will continue to monitor public health guidelines as they evolve over the next two months so we can act based on what guidelines will be in place in October. We’re focused on ensuring we can deliver exciting concerts to our audience and bringing musicians back to work safely. Both scenarios achieve those goals. The show must go on, and if need be the show will go online.”
The organization, whose board is led by President Reggie Wilson, is proceeding with care so it can be prepared to create a safe and joyful experience, with protocols in place including socially distanced seating pods, mandatory mask wearing, increased sanitation practices and reworked ingress and egress plans. Lockington’s pre-concert discussion, Insights, made possible with support from Dr. Alan Fisher, will be sent via email to ticket-holders prior to each concert. The outdoor pavilion has been redesigned to seat up to 350 patrons in socially distanced pods, with plans to have multiple performances to accommodate the reseating of all ticket buyers who wish to attend. In the event that outdoor concerts remain prohibited into the fall, the performances will be recorded at Ambassador Auditorium and presented exclusively online.
Current ticket-holders and subscribers will be invited to transfer their current tickets directly to the Pasadena Presents series. Single tickets will be made available as inventory allows. The orchestra will also offer a membership to view the series online. For information, ticketing options and updates on Pasadena Presents, visit pasadenasymphony-pops.org or call (626) 793-7172.

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