MusicSouthern California Music

Pacific Symphony leaves Irvine Meadows with “Tchaikovsky Spectacular”

Photo by Erica Sharp/MUSE
Photo by Erica Sharp/MUSE

Irvine, CA – The Pacific Symphony Orchestra put down their bows for a final time while playing at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater during their grand finale performance, “Tchaikovsky Spectacular” on Saturday, September 3.

Through the music of Tchaikovsky, the orchestra celebrated a twenty-nine-year summer tradition, filling the night with nostalgia and instilling the promise of the future, bringing together musicians and concert-goers of all ages alike.

“This is an incredibly special moment in our lives,” said conductor and director of PSO, Carl St. Clair, who took stage for the first time this summer season, opening the show.  Even the musicians felt the bittersweetness in the air as some could be seen snapping selfies on stage before the show. Earlier in the season it was confirmed that the fate of Irvine Meadows is to be torn down and replaced by apartment complexes.

In order to create a memorable last show, St. Clair said in deciding the repertoire he had trouble in choosing between Tchaikovsky’s violin or piano concerto but due the closure, he announced that the orchestra would be performing both, rendering approval from the audience in applause.  He then reminded the audience of two things; “a blessing” that Irvine Meadows is and that Tchaikovsky is “spectacular.”

Solo violinist and winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2015, Paul Huang joined the orchestra to play “Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 35 TH 59”, after the enchanting, introductory selections from the ballet “Swan Lake Op. 20”.  With sharpness and the precision of a missile, Huang employed a captivating performance, awing the audience, even bringing them to their feet in standing ovation in between the second and third movements of the piece.

Deemed as a failure personally by Tchaikovsky, PSO brought “Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker, op. 71”, back to life with affection and softness that transitioning into “Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op.23” as Russian born pianist Natasha Paremski sparkled as the second guest artist of the night with her electrifying solo, luring concertgoers with every hammering on the keys.

Photo by Erica Sharp/MUSE
Photo by Erica Sharp/MUSE

The night concluded with an explosive and thunderous rendition of the “1812 Overture” as the Huntington Beach Concert Band played alongside PSO, that included a dynamic and glitzy firework display and firing of sixteen cannons.  As the orchestra played the majestic yet tender opening minutes of the piece, it seemed to summarizes the emotional and sentimental perfectly, bringing the sold out crowd to another roaring standing ovation, thanking the Pacific Symphony Orchestra for the past memories.

Although the venue for the future summer seasons is yet to be determined and regardless their contract falling through on Thursday, St. Clair promised that the Pacific Symphony Orchestra will continue in the summer of 2017.

“We are your orchestra,” he said “…You be there for us and we will be there for you.”

In the meantime, fans can enjoy the upcoming indoor season at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, starting September 13.

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