Gustavo Dudamel & LA Phil: Two New Sections Opened! - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Due to popular demand, two new seating sections have just been opened for the upcoming performance by Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Sunday, November 23rd, 3pm.

Seats in the Promenade Circle Terrace and Dress Circle Terrace are now available for purchase. Here's your chance to watch worldwide conducting sensation Gustavo Dudamel lead the LA Phil and Cameron Carpenter in an exciting afternoon of symphonic organ music.

Buy now to get the best seats in the house!

For tickets or more information, call our Patron Services Department at (949) 553-2422, or visit us online at

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
Cameron Carpenter, organ
Joanne Pearce Martin, organ
Heidi Stober, soprano

BARBER: Toccata Festiva for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 36
HARTKE: Symphony No. 4 "Organ" (Orange County premiere)*
SAINT-SAËNS: Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 “Organ”

* Commissioned by Edward Halvajian (1935-2009)

Cameron Carpenter will be the organist in the Barber and the Saint-Saëns pieces. Joanne Pearce Martin, the LA Phil’s Principal Keyboard, will be the organist in the Hartke piece.

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Music Monday: Taras Bulba - Monday, October 27, 2014

Created in 1835 from the imagination of Russian author Nikolai Gogol, the tale of Taras Bulba has inspired many other artists throughout the years. Set in 1628, Gogol’s short story focuses on the life of Taras Bulba as well as his sons, Andrei and Ostap as they defend the Cossacks in a war against Poland. The book has strong themes of nationalism, romance and loyalty, which is why it is so attractive to artists in other genres. Taras Bulba has been adapted into many films, rock songs, an opera, and a rhapsody for orchestra by composer Leoš Janácek.

Janácek composed his Taras Bulba between 1915-1918 and dedicated it to “our army, the armed protector of our nation.” Like everyone at the time, Janácek was affected by the events of WWI; he took those emotions and created a three-movement rhapsody based on Gogol’s story because “in the whole world there are not fires or tortures strong enough to destroy the vitality of the Russian nation” (paraphrasing Gogol). Each movement focuses on a main character and his death.

The first movement, The Death of Andrei, begins with a love theme. Andrei, Taras Bulba’s youngest son, has fallen in love with the daughter of a Polish general and chooses to fight on the side of the Poles, against his father and brother. Taras Bulba meets Andrei in battle, who lowers his head in shame and allows his father to kill him.

The second movement, The Death of Ostap, focuses on Taras Bulba’s older son who is heartbroken over his brother’s death and captured by the Poles in the same battle. Taras Bulba follows his son to Warsaw with the goal of saving him from execution. Ultimately he is too late and is forced to not only witness his son’s death but also the rejoicing and triumphant dance of his enemies.

In the final movement, The Prophecy and Death of Taras Bulba, the Cossack army fights to avenge Ostap’s death. Like his son, Taras Bulba gets captured by the Poles and is sentenced to burn at the stake. However, before he does, he makes a stirring prophecy about the strength of Russia and its orthodox faith, stating, “Do you think that there is anything in the world that a Cossack fears?” Despite the piece ending in death, Taras Bulba’s words inspire hope and strength.

To hear this powerful piece performed by the same orchestra who premiered it in Prague in 1924, come to the Czech Philharmonic performance on Tuesday, November 4, 8pm, at the Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall!

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Huntington Harbour Holiday Boutique: Oct. 24-25 - Friday, October 24, 2014

The 8th annual Huntington Harbour Holiday Boutique is underway! Come and do your holiday shopping today and tomorrow at the Huntington Harbour Mall. You'll find jewelry, clothing, accessories, home decor and specialty gourmet.

There are fabulous opportunity prizes that you can win, including tickets to our upcoming Canadian Brass Holiday Concert and gift baskets from Melissa's World Variety Produce, Huntington Harbour Dermatology & Laser, Harbour Aesthetic Spa, House of Brews, and much more!

Today (Friday), October 24: 10am-5pm
Tomorrow (Saturday), October 25: 10am-4pm

Huntington Harbour Mall
16889 Algonquin Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Questions? Need more info?
Call: (714) 840-7542

Proceeds benefit the Philharmonic Society's nationally recognized youth music education programs.

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Entertaining By Design: November 7 & 8 - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Laguna Design Center and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County invite you to Entertaining by Design, taking place Friday & Saturday, November 7 and 8, at the Laguna Design Center.

Top Southern California interior designers will be creating spectacular tabletop displays throughout LDC showrooms, and celebrated speakers will share their secrets of designing and entertaining with style.

Enjoy dazzling tabletop displays, fascinating speakers, holiday boutique, opportunity prizes, and much more!

Friday, November 7th, 9:00am-5:00pm
Saturday, November 8th, 9:00am-4:00pm

Lynn Chichi | Friday 10:00 AM
Chichi’s “Table Talk”

Brad Schmidt | Friday 2:00 PM
Decorating a Tree like a Pro

Roger’s Gardens | Saturday 10:00 AM

Chef Jim Douglas | Saturday 2:00 PM

Stay tuned for more information. This event is open to the public. If you’re needing an interior designer, this is a wonderful opportunity to find the perfect interior designer for you!

Advance tickets: $25 | At the Door: $30

Make sure to choose PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY on the "How did you hear about it" section at check out on Eventbrite so we can get credit!

This event benefits The Committees of the Philharmonic Society and, in turn, our nationally recognized youth music education programs.

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Music Monday: Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle - Monday, October 20, 2014

Most of us grew up singing this nursery rhyme, but did you know there is an actual connection between cats and string instruments? The members of Quatuor Mosaïques did! For their concert on Thursday, October 30th they’ll be performing on period instruments which include “catgut” strings.

Before the modern elements of steel or nylon, “catgut” strings were used in making violins, violas, cellos, lutes and harps. Because of their name it was general belief that cat intestines were the main ingredient for the strings, however today that belief has been proven to be untrue. “Catgut” strings are most commonly made out of sheep or goat intestines, so sadly the only thing that truly connects a cat and a fiddle is a myth.

But why would people call them “catgut” strings if they weren’t made with actual cat guts? There are a few theories that answer that question:

• Cow intestines were sometimes used to make the strings, so some believe the phrase “cattle-gut” was eventually shortened to “catgut”
• It derived from “kit-gut” or “kit-string”, “kit” meaning fiddle. Overtime it may have been mistaken for “cat.”
• Killing a cat was considered very unlucky in medieval times, so a few string makers used the term “catgut” to frighten off anyone who wanted to get into the business

Wherever they got their name, “catgut” strings are still used today by musicians who perform Baroque and Classical music on period instruments. The strings create less tension than the modern equivalent resulting in a sweeter, more textured sound.

See if you can hear the difference! Come to hear Quatuor Mosaïques on Thursday, October 30th at 8pm!

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Opening Night: A Recap - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Saturday's Opening Night concert with the London Philharmonic was an exhilarating evening. We had more than 1,400 people in the audience. Thanks to all who joined us for the first concert of our 61st season and gave John a warm welcome at his first Philharmonic Society concert as our President and Artistic Director. For those of you who weren't able to join us, we hope to see you at a concert soon!

Mid-afternoon, the orchestra loaded in. There were boxes and crates of wardrobes, instruments, music scores and more. Walking backstage after helping Jean-Efflam Bavouzet select his Steinway, we caught some humorous labels like "LPO Cites Endangered Items in Cargo." (It was a crate of violins, though with airlines mistreating instruments these days one can never be too careful). You can see a photo of this crate, along with more behind-the-scenes photos at our Facebook page.

Just after 8pm, Vladimir Jurowski took up his baton, and the orchestra set off with Dvorak's sinister tone poem, The Noonday Witch, Op. 108. Full of suspense, the work relates a folk tale about a mother who, in trying to protect her son from the noonday witch, ends up smothering the child to death. Very appropriate for the upcoming Halloween holiday.

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet joined Jurowski and the LPO on stage for Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto. Orange County Register classical music critic Timothy Mangan wrote of the performance: "[Bavouzet] tore into the [Prokofiev] Third like a man on an obstacle course for the 100th time and trying to set a record. It was a thrilling performance, fast, powerful and headlong. It was not merely percussive pounding, though, but stylish, snazzy inflection and shapely melody."

During intermission, Bavouzet joined concertgoers in the lobby for a quick CD signing (pictured right).

Then Jurowski and the LPO finished off the night with Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony "Pathétique." Yes, there was clapping after the third movement--but there [almost] always is.

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Music Monday: Bavouzet's Encore - Monday, October 13, 2014

After a spectacular performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on Saturday night, soloist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet gave the audience an extra treat by performing Claude Debussy’s Etude 11, pour les arpèges composes. Written in 1915, it is part of the last collection of piano etudes Debussy composed and requires technical prowess from the performer.

Debussy wrote of them, “[they are] a warning to pianists not to take up the musical profession unless they have remarkable hands.” Without a doubt, Bavouzet lived up to that challenge!

If you were unable to attend the performance or you simply want to hear this piece again, below is a recording by Walter Gieseking. The music is paired with the sheet music so you can visually see the complexity of the music. Enjoy!

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Opening Night: Two New Sections Opened - Friday, October 10, 2014

Due to popular demand, two new sections in the concert hall have been opened for tomorrow's Opening Night concert with the London Philharmonic featuring pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.

Join us for the kickoff of our 61st concert season!

Vladimir Jurowski, conductor
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano

Saturday, October 11th, 8pm
Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

DVORÁK: The Noon Witch, Op. 108
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, "Pathétique"

Tickets start at $35. For more info, call (949) 553-2422, or visit

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When organs go bad. - Wednesday, October 08, 2014

American organist Cameron Carpenter, who comes to us next month the Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil, opened the Berlin Philharmonic's season last Friday. He was slated to perform an all-Bach program to a nearly full hall but then the organ malfunctioned.

The Philharmonie's Schuke organ broke and kept a note perpetually sounding. Technicians were unable to fix the glitch, even after turning the organ off and then on again. Carpenter graciously finished out the second half on a Steinway D, performing Chopin's Etude in C-sharp minor, selections from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, a work from Medtner, Grainger's Handel in the Strant and other works.

Here we have a video of the organ misbehaving:

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Music Monday: Getting to know Josef Suk - Monday, October 06, 2014

This month, The Smetana Trio will present an evening of music celebrating Czech tradition and culture. In addition to performing works by popular composers like Bohuslav Martinu and Bedrich Smetana they will also play a piano trio by Josef Suk, a lesser-known composer who led a very interesting life and career. Here are some fun facts about him:

  • He began his musical studies as a violinist, and later in life was a founding member of the Bohemian String Quartet. They toured Europe and premiered many works by Antonín Dvorák and Leoš Janácek

  • Dvorák was his most influential teacher and friend; Suk even went on to marry his daughter, Otilie

  • In 1904, Suk lost both his wife and father-in-law which resulted in a drastic shift in his compositional style. His works became more heavy and complex, mirroring his personal life

  • Suk was a silver medalist in the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. From 1912-1948, the Olympic Games included arts competitions and awarded medals for architecture, literature, painting, sculpture and music. Suk was honored for his composition Into a New Life

  • Come learn more about Josef Suk by hearing his Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 2 performed by The Smetana Trio on Saturday, October 18th, 8pm, at the Irvine Barclay Theatre!

    Until then, here's a recording of the piece to tide you over.

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