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STOCKTON SYMPHONY: Season Announcement
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STOCKTON SYMPHONY: Season Announcement


From Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 to the music of Billy Joel, from the dazzling symphonic spectacle of Carmina Burana to the anticipated return of Cirque de la Symphonie, from classical music inspired by planets far, far away to some of the best known compositions of Leonard Bernstein, the Stockton Symphony has announced its 2014-15 Season.

Proclaimed as a season of blockbusters—magnificent works of music that are as familiar as they are revered—subscription sales for the 2014-15 Season are underway and are available by calling the Stockton Symphony office at 209-951-0196 from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. All concerts but the season’s finale take place in the Warren Atherton Auditorium, San Joaquin Delta College; the final Pops Series concert, “Piano Men” will be performed in the Bob Hope Theatre in downtown Stockton.

The upcoming season marks the 88th year of the Stockton Symphony, making it the third oldest performing orchestra in California, after the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.  And it marks the 20th year under the baton of Maestro Peter Jaffe. “I was in my first term as President of the Symphony when Peter joined us in 1995,” notes Stockton Symphony Association (SSA) President Pam Lee. “It is a delight for the Symphony family to honor his service to our community.  The orchestra has grown artistically, new commissioned works have been performed, and many community partnerships have been created under his musical leadership.” A celebration of Maestro Jaffe’s 20 years is being planned for the fall.

It is a dynamic time for the SSA as it prepares for its season-opening performances.  As has been reported, SSA CEO Jane Kenworthy recently resigned, noting “while I am moving to Oregon to be near my youngest son, I have loved this city and this orchestra and will always be very proud of the fine things we have accomplished together.” She has left the organization in good stead. The board and staff leadership continue to be strong, and Maestro Jaffe has recently renewed his contract.  The SSA has engaged the services of David Marketing, an experienced arts marketing firm.  Hiring of an interim CEO is “imminent,” according to Lee.

While inviting guest conductors is common with the nation’s largest orchestras—and Maestro Jaffe has certainly guest-conducted many times for other organizations—this season will mark some of the first such invitations by the Stockton Symphony. Two of the Pops Series concerts and one of the Classics Series performances will feature a guest maestro. “I’m especially proud of our tradition of innovation,” notes Jaffe. “In the interest of variety, our Board suggested we invite some of my talented colleagues to the podium this season. I’m game for trying things that can insure a bright and vibrant future for our Stockton Symphony—this orchestra is a true shining star in our community.”

“For all that’s new this season, our  Symphony continues its commitment to providing exceptional soloists, performing a strong series of classical music, and offering our ever-popular series of Pops concerts,” notes Jaffe.  Highlights for the upcoming season are many.

The season begins Saturday, September 13, 2014 with the return of Cirque de la Symphonie for two new performances. The company wowed Stockton in their debut performance in September 2012 with a “Cirque” style show, complete with aerial flyers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers, balancers and strongmen performing to orchestral works selected by Maestro Jaffe. The company has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, to name but a few. The concerts, performed September 13 at 6 pm and Sunday, September 14 at 2:30 pm, are sponsored by Joan and Dino Cortopassi.

To kick off the Classics Series, the Symphony welcomes Stanislav Khristenko—the winner of the prestigious Cleveland Piano Competition—on Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 6 pm. The Cleveland Competition, which rivals the internationally renowned Van Cliburn competition in importance, awarded Khristenko $50,000 for his virtuosic demonstration; The Cleveland Plain Dealer described him as a “tour-de-force of technical, musical and stylistic mastery.” The program features Danzón No. 2 the popular Mexican orchestral work by Arturo Márquez, the monumental Piano Concerto No. 1 by Brahms and Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Sponsored by Ross Bewley; James Morris; Steve Schermerhorn & Mary Ann Brooks-Schermerhorn.

The Classics Series continues on Saturday November 15, 2014 (6 pm) with a program featuring Samuel Barber’s haunting  Adagio for Strings, made famous in the movie Platoon; the pyrotechnics of Tchaikovsky’s virtuosic Violin Concerto and perhaps the most famous work in all of classical music, Beethoven’s  Symphony No. 5. The featured soloist is Chee-Yun, violin. “This is a talented instrumentalist, with the kind of high-gloss tone that pulls sensuously at the listener’s ear” (New York Times).  Grammy-nominee David Amado has conducted the Delaware Symphony for over a decade; he will be the guest conductor for the evening. He appears by arrangement with Sciolino Artist Management. Sponsored by M.J. Hall and Company, Inc; Golden Bear Insurance Company.  

The Symphony’s holiday tradition continues on Saturday, December 13, 2014 (6 pm) and Sunday, December 14, 2014 (2:30 pm), with a Holiday Pops concert—an array of holiday classics, carols and medleys, featuring the captivating soprano Lisa Vroman accompanied on stage by the Stockton Chorale and Youth Chorale. Ms. Vroman starred for many years on Broadway; she was the first to play both Fantine and Cosette in Les Misérables; she starred as Johanna in the Emmy Award-winning PBS special Sweeney Todd and performed opposite Dick Van Dyke as Mary Poppins in the Hollywood Bowl. Sponsored by St. Joseph’s Medical Center.

The occasion of the third Classics Series performance is very special—not just for the performance of El condor pasa, a work by Robles made famous by Simon & Garfunkle, nor for the performance of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, Symphony No 6, “Pathétique.” On Saturday, January 17, 2015, the Stockton Symphony will perform several compositions never performed by an orchestra before—each composed by local elementary school children during Paul Reisler’s fall 2014 residency. Each song will have been professionally orchestrated especially for the Stockton Symphony. Reisler’s Grammy-nominated project is entitled Kid Pan Alley; it has resulted in over 2500 compositions by 35,000 children across the country. It is a stunning demonstration of how the creative abilities of children—coupled with the extensive training and mature abilities of classical musicians—can create a powerful and charismatic music, while both educating and empowering the young participants. A special evening, not to be missed. Sponsored by Henry & Carol Zeiter, and Zeiter Eye.

The third Pops Series concert is entitled Hot! Hot! Hot! An Evening of Latin Music, Dance & Romance. And hot it is: an evening of salsa, merengue, mambo, cha-cha, tango, samba—under the guest direction of Grammy Award-winner Victor Vanacore, with music from the Estefan family (both father and daughter), Aaron Copland and Chick Corea, to name a few. On stage and in the spotlight are the delightful husband-and-wife dance team of Andrzej and Jennifer Przybyl, champion competitive dancers. The performances take place on Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 6 pm, and Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 2:30 pm; both are sponsored by Joe and Rita Sublett.

The fourth Classics Series performance is inspired by a galaxy far, far away. With a performance including selections from  Holst’s The Planets, music made popular in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and an opulent array of music from the Star Wars movies composed by multi-Academy Award winning composer John Williams, space is not only the final frontier—it is a very special evening of orchestral music.  Symphony In Space takes place on Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 6 pm and is sponsored by Tom and Virginia Chen.

The fifth and final Classics Series performance offers a true spectacle— a performance of two beloved works: Ravel’s Bolero and Orff’s Carmina Burana, which will feature approximately 250 singers from the combined choruses of the Stockton Chorale, the Stockton Youth Chorale, the University of the Pacific, and the San Joaquin Delta College together on stage. Considered one of the most dramatic and riveting symphonic spectacles of all time, the work features vocalists include Jessica Siena, soprano; Daniel Ebbers, tenor; and Ralph Cato, baritone. The concert will take place on Saturday, April 11, 2015 (6 pm) and is sponsored by Dan and Lynne Terry.

Finally, the fourth Pops Series event celebrates the music of Elton John and Billy Joel. “Piano Men,” featuring Joseph Boucher, piano and vocals, and guest conductor George Daugherty, takes to the stage in the Bob Hope Theatre on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 8 pm. These songs, so familiar, have rarely been performed with orchestra—not even when John and Joel were tearing up the Billboard charts in their ‘70s heyday. Sponsored by Bank of Stockton and Port of Stockton.

“The compositions that make up our season of blockbusters have long been recognized for their genius and passion,” notes Maestro Jaffe. “Eternal thanks to Stockton for its marvelous patronage and support. We play for you!”

A subscription package for the four-concert Pops Series or the five-concert Classics Series range from $94-$295. New subscribers save 30%. Single tickets go on sale July 15; prices range from $25-$69.  All concerts but the season’s finale take place in the Warren Atherton Auditorium, San Joaquin Delta College, 5151 Pacific Avenue, Stockton. The final Pops Series concert, “Piano Men” will be performed in the Bob Hope Theatre, 242 East Main Street, Stockton.
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