Music Tuesday: Ma’oz Tzur - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Today is the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Greek Seleucid Empire was driven out of Judea. When attempting to purify the temple by lighting the menorah, the Jews discovered almost all the ritual olive oil had been tarnished--enough oil was left for only a single day.

Amazingly, that oil lasted eight days which was enough time to have new oil prepared. This miracle is recreated during Hanukkah by lighting a candle on the menorah each night of the holiday, eating foods fried in oil such as latkes and pontshkes and singing songs.

One of the traditional Hanukkah songs is Ma’oz Tzur, which translates to “stronghold of rock” in English, and is sung after prayers and lighting the menorah. Written in the 13th century by a man named Mordechai, the poetry retells occasions when God delivered the Jews from ancient enemies: Pharoah (Egypt), Nubchadnezzar (Babylon), Haman (Persia) and Antiochus (Greece).

There are six stanzas in all, but the most commonly sung is the first which thanks God for his protection:

Transliteration English
Ma'oz Tzur Yeshu'ati, lekha na'eh leshabe'ah.
Tikon beit tefilati, vesham toda nezabe'ah.
Le'et takhin matbe'ah mitzar hamnabe'ah.
Az egmor beshir mizmor hanukat hamizbe'ah.
My refuge, my rock of salvation! 'Tis pleasant to sing your praises.
Let our house of prayer be restored. And there we will offer you our thanks.
When You will have slaughtered the barking foe.
Then we will celebrate with song and psalm the altar's dedication.

Here is a recording of Ma’oz Tzur performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Zubin Mehta. Happy Hanukkah!

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Cruise of Lights® Begins Wednesday! - Friday, December 12, 2014

A beloved holiday tradition, the Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee presents the 52nd annual Cruise of Lights®, a 45-minute narrated boat tour through the sparkling waterways of Huntington Harbour.

Hailed as "the most spectacular holiday light show on water," the Cruise of Lights® takes you to see thousands of lights on boats, decks, docks and homes, plus incredible animation!

Bring the entire family and enjoy the Cruise of Lights®, a beloved holiday tradition.

Proceeds from the Cruise of Lights® benefit the nationally recognized Youth Music Education Programs of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

Cruise Dates & Hours

December 17-23, 2014
Cruises depart the dock at: 5:30 PM | 6:30 PM | 7:30 PM | 8:30 PM
Cruises are not cancelled due to rain.

Please arrive at least 15 minutes early to accommodate shuttle transportation time.

Parking & Shuttle Information

Free parking is available at the Huntington Harbour Mall parking lot.
Shuttles to the cruise leave from the Huntington Harbour Mall parking lot.

The Huntington Harbour Mall is located at:
16889 Algonquin Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Please arrive at least 15 minutes early to accommodate shuttle transportation time.

Ticket Information

Adults: $17.00
Children (2-12 only): $10.00
Children (under 2): FREE

Special Value Night on December 18
Adults: $15.00

3 Ways to Order
By Phone: (714) 840-7542
In Person: 16889 Algonquin St., Huntington Beach (Mon-Fri from 9:30am-4:30pm)

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5 Things You Need To Know About: The Canadian Brass - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This Monday, December 15th, the world-renowned Canadian Brass quintet performs a holiday concert at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Here are FIVE things you need to know about the Canadian Brass.


  1. Charles "Chuck" Daellenbach. The Canadian Brass' tuba player, who co-founded the quintet in 1970 with trombonist Gene Watts, is the only original member still in the group. From the get go, Chuck was the moving force in marketing, publishing and managing the business. Since 1998, Canadian Brass has been a recording artist at Opening Day Entertainment Group (distributed by IDLA), releasing more than 25 CDs on the imprint to date. Opening Day is owned and run by Chuck Daellenbach together with his wife, MB.

  2. China. In 1977, as China emerged from the Cultural Revolution, Canadian Brass arrived in Beijing for a concert tour that was part of a cultural exchange. They were the first Western musicians to visit the country since Western music and art were banned in May 1966. The experience was the inspiration for the Canadian Brass' newly released album, "Great Wall of China," which features the ensemble performing arrangements of some of China’s most popular songs. This YouTube video will tell you more about the Canadian Brass' historic 1977 trip to China.

  3. Music & Humor. The hallmark of any Canadian Brass performance is entertainment, spontaneity, virtuosity and, most of all, fun--but never at the expense of the music. Masters of concert presentations, Canadian Brass has developed a uniquely engaging stage presence and rapport with audiences, serving up a wide range of repertoire with lively dialogue and theatrical effects.

  4. Gold. The Canadian Brass perform exclusively on instruments manufactured by Conn-Selmer Inc. under the legendary brands of Vincent Bach and C. G. Conn. Skillfully handcrafted, each instrument is a blend of classic design, elegant styling, and signature sound--beautifully culminating with the trademark Canadian Brass 24k gold-plate finish.

  5. White Sneakers. The Canadian Brass' trademark white sneakers have stepped onto some of the world's most prestigious stages. But where did they come from? The Canadian Brass had decided to incorporate dance into one of their shows, and invited dancers from the National Ballet to give them some advice. The Ballet advised them to get ballet slippers, so they all got white ballet shoes. But a lot of people in the audience thought they were sneakers so the Brass went out and bought white sneakers and have been happy and comfortable ever since.
The Canadian Brass Holiday Concert takes place this Monday, December 15th, 8pm, at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Hear them perform seasonal favorites, holiday classics, and brass standards in an entertaining evening of virtuosic playing and heartwarming humor. Tickets start at $45, and are available at, or by calling (949) 553-2422.

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Music Monday: Happy Birthday, Manuel Ponce! - Monday, December 08, 2014

On this day in 1882, composer Manuel Ponce was born in Zacetecas, Mexico. As the earliest internationally known composer from that country, Ponce was a motivated student, passionate nationalist and an inventive composer who combined the traditional style and form of classical music with popular Mexican song and folklore.

Educated in both Mexico and Europe, Ponce travelled to expand his knowledge of music throughout his life. He studied composition and music theory at the Conservatorio Nacional in Mexico City, the School of Bologna in Italy, the Stern'sches Konservatorium in Berlin and the École Normale de Musique in Paris, where he met another Latin colleague, Heitor Villa-Lobos. In addition, between his European travels he would return to Mexico to share his education with young musicians in his childhood town of Aquascalientes and at his alma mater, Conservatorio Nacional.

His compositions complimented his teaching efforts, in that he was committed to inspiring Mexican musicians and bringing their heritage and culture to the world. He wrote compositions for orchestra, chamber groups and solo instruments; his most famous piece is the song Estrellita written in 1912. He is also known for his guitar works, mostly due to his multiple collaborations with Spanish guitarist Andrés Segovia.

His rarely performed Concierto del Sur, premiered by Andrés Segovia in 1941, will be performed at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Thursday, March 5, 2015, by soloist Alfonso Moreno and the State Symphony Orchestra of México. Don’t miss it!

In the video below, Stefano Tracanelli plays Ponce's "Estrellita."

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Canadian Brass - Free Download - Friday, December 05, 2014

To help everyone get in the holiday spirit, Canadian Brass is offering a free download of their recording of I Saw Three Ships, arranged by Luther Henderson from the group's most recent Canadian Brass Christmas recording, Christmas Time is Here which is also available as a digital download.

Find the track here and use coupon code TURKEY at checkout to make it free! Expires Sunday, December 7th.

Don't miss the Canadian Brass' upcoming holiday concert on Monday, December 15th, at the Irvine Barclay Theatre! Hear beloved seasonal favorites and holiday classics such as Tormé’s Christmas Song, Dreydel Variations, and songs from A Charlie Brown Christmas in an entertaining evening of virtuosic playing and heartwarming humor. Tickets start at $45.

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The Gift of Music: Paying it Forward - Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Sometime in your life, someone provided you with a generous spark that ignited your interest in music. Whether your relationship with music began at school, at home or in a concert hall, you know the joy and inspiration it has provided through the years. And you’ve likely experienced the unique power music has to enrich—and possibly even transform—your life.

For over sixty years, the Philharmonic Society has been inspiring people throughout our community with great music—whether it’s bringing the world’s finest musicians to Orange County, or introducing generations of school children to music. We’ve been able to do this because people who value their own musical experiences have “paid it forward” so others can begin their own journey of musical discovery. Would you consider making a gift of music today—one that will benefit so many in our own community?

Your generous gift today will help bring rich musical experiences to over 150,000 K-12 children throughout Orange County this year. The Society’s extensive array of music education programs takes place in the concert hall and at schools in 26 Orange County school districts. Your gift partners with the work and dedication of The Committees of the Philharmonic Society to provide these curriculum-based programs free of charge to all schools, enabling students of all means and backgrounds to engage with the transformative power of music. What an incredible gift!

If you act before December 31st with a new or increased gift, the 60th Anniversary Challenge offered by Jim and Catherine Emmi will double the impact of your support! This is the perfect moment to “pay it forward” and make this gift of music possible for our community. Thank you in advance for your partnership and generosity.

We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season, and a prosperous and happy 2015!

Make Your Gift Today:
Donate Online

Call: Allison Heinrichs
(949) 553-2422, ext. 301

Mail to: Fund for Music
Philharmonic Society of Orange County
2082 Business Center Dr, Ste. 100
Irvine, CA 92612

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Black Friday thru Cyber Monday Sale is Happening Now! - Friday, November 28, 2014

Don't miss out! Take advantage of our BIGGEST sale of the year and save up to 50% off concerts. Concert tickets make great gifts for friends, loved ones, or colleagues, and they make wonderful stocking stuffers! Buy concert tickets for the classical music lover in your life. Sale ends Monday, December 1, at 11:59pm.

Buy 1 or more concerts and save 20%!*
(use the promotion code CYBER20, 2-ticket minimum per concert)

Buy 3 or more concerts and save 50%!**
(use the promotion code CYBER50, 2-ticket minimum per concert)

Rotterdam Philharmonic Kronos Quartet Venice Baroque Orchestra State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico Takács Quartet
Vespers of 1610 L'Orfeo Ray Chen Mark Morris: Dido and Aeneas  Carl St.Clair Tribute

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Music Monday: What We’re Thankful For - Monday, November 24, 2014

Prior to the Thanksgiving meal, many families have the tradition of going around the table and having each person say something they’re thankful for. To honor this special holiday, some of the staff here at the Philharmonic Society have shared pieces of music or musical experiences they are thankful for this time of year:

I’m always reminded of the hymn “Come, ye Thankful People Come”. After many years as a church musician I still appreciate a good hymn, and I always looked forward to playing this one at Thanksgiving services.
--Heather Cromleigh, Director of Volunteer Services / Board Liason

I automatically think of Beethoven when being grateful and there are 2 works that come to mind: the final movement of the “Pastoral” Symphony (Beethoven even labels this movement “Shepherd’s Song, Happy and thankful feelings after the storm”) and the second theme in the finale of the “Eroica” Symphony, especially when it slows down at the end.

I am also grateful to Leonard Bernstein for his wonderful Harvard lecture series (on DVD), which illuminates so many facets of classical music in a new and extraordinarily original way. He was a true genius when it came to communicating ideas about music.

--Randy Polevoi, Musical Concierge

I am thankful for my all of my music teachers throughout elementary and high school. Their classes were always an enjoyable part of my day and they worked so hard to help us do our best.
--Allison Heinrichs, Development Associate

Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” always puts me in a good mood around Thanksgiving. Not only is it one of my favorite pieces to perform, I love listening to it because of its pure American quality. My favorite section of the piece is the reverent, prayerful moment that happens after the joyful Simple Gifts melody – it gives me chills every time.
--Siri Bloom, Ticketing & Marketing Associate

I’m thankful for Beethoven’s Ninth. It was the first piece I heard live, and I’ve been going to concerts for three decades since that introduction. It’s a work that embodies everything that’s great about music for me. It’s all about humanity’s shared aspirations, and the experience of it live in concert is overwhelming, thrilling, and deeply communal.
--John Mangum

We wish you all a wonderful holiday with friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Cameron Carpenter on "Why Organ?" - Friday, November 21, 2014

Organist Cameron Carpenter explains why he chose to play the organ, an instrument he considers "violent, dynamic, ecstatic...sensuous, cinematic...all the things that life is."

Cameron will join Classical KUSC's Rich Capparela for a pre-concert Q&A before this Sunday's performance at Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil.

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Philharmonic Society Revives Eclectic Orange Brand, Adds Four Spring 2015 Concerts - Monday, November 17, 2014

The Philharmonic Society of Orange County is pleased to announce the revival of its Eclectic Orange brand, an extension of diverse programming curated to expand the reach of the audiences we serve. Under the Eclectic Orange brand, four concerts have been scheduled in spring 2015, featuring performances by classical music comedy duo Igudesman & Joo on February 18, ukulele phenomenon Jake Shimabukuro on March 22, as well as tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain on April 1 and radio personality Garrison Keillor on April 13. Tickets go on sale to the public Tuesday, November 18.

Commonly known as the area’s oldest and most recognized classical music presenter, the Society presented its Eclectic Orange Festival from 1999-2005 as a celebration of the eclectic nature of Orange County’s cultural landscape. Among the artists and composers featured by the Festival are Tan Dun, Philip Glass, Edgar Meyer, David Sedaris, Shaolin Warriors, Joshua Bell, Ute Lemper, Yamato Drummers of Japan, Benny Goodman, Anoushka Shankar, the Kronos Quartet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

Philharmonic Society President and Artistic Director John Mangum remarked, “Our mission is to present the world’s greatest music. These Eclectic Orange presentations allow the Society to cross into other musical genres, and in doing so, serve more of the Orange County community, while maintaining the high caliber of artists that the Society is known for presenting.”

The Eclectic Orange concerts are made possible with support in part by a generous grant from Wylie and Bette Aitken.

Igudesman & Joo
Feb. 18 | IBT
Jake Shimabukuro
Mar. 22 | RHS
Zakir Hussain's
Celtic Connections

Apr. 1 | RHS
An Evening with
Garrison Keillor

Apr. 13 | RHS

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