Yearly Archives: 2012

Gift Certificates Available

Give the gift of music this holiday season with a Pasadena Symphony and POPS Gift Certificate! Call our Box Office at (626) 793-7172 to order today!

Gift certificates are available in any denomination, and may be used for any of their upcoming concerts.

“We’ve found that people really love giving our gift certificates as holiday presents,” explained Paul Jan Zdunek, CEO of the Pasadena Symphony Association. “It’s a thoughtful present that can be used throughout the new year by the ‘person-who-has-everything’ in your life!”

The Pasadena Symphony performs their Singpoli Classics series in the acoustically superb Ambassador Auditorium from October through April. With extensive credits in the film, television, and recording studio, the musicians of the Pasadena Symphony and POPS are the most heard musicians in the world. The next concert in their Singpoli Classics series will be held on January 12, featuring Grammy Award nominated violinist Caroline Goulding performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto with conductor Tito Muñoz. Also on the program is arguably one of the greatest first symphonies ever written – Brahms Symphony No. 1, alongside Composer-In-Residence Peter Boyer’s work “Apollo,” a sparkling feast of sounds.

The Pasadena POPS Sierra Acura Summer Concert Series, held at the lavishly beautiful LA County Arboretum from June through September, are fun, outdoor events with a festive picnic atmosphere. Under the direction of its new Principal Pops Conductor Michael Feinstein, the concerts celebrate America’s favorite popular music, from the Great American Songbook to the definitive orchestral tribute to the Beatles with Classical Mystery Tour, culminating in this season’s special appearance by Broadway legend Bernadette Peters.

The Pasadena Symphony also performs their annual Holiday Candlelight concert to sold-out crowds in Pasadena’s All Saints Church each December.

To order a Pasadena Symphony and POPS gift certificate this holiday season, contact the Box Office at 626.793.7172. Gift certificates may also be purchased in person at any concert or by visiting their administrative offices at 2 North Lake Avenue Suite 1080 in Pasadena.

Pasadena Symphony Presents JPL Chorus in their First Winter Concert

Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory may be best known for its unparalleled scientific endeavors such as landing the Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars, but on Tuesday, December 18, another side of the organization will be on display. The JPL Chorus, founded earlier this year in a partnership with the Pasadena Symphony Association, presents its first annual Evening of Classic Christmas Music at 7:30pm in Monrovia’s Live Oak Vineyard Church.

“This is a group that is very dedicated and working extremely hard to make beautiful music,” explained Donald Brinegar, Director of Choruses with the Pasadena Symphony Association. “They are absolutely filled with the season’s cheer.”

The chorus is comprised of nearly fifty employees coming from a wide variety of roles within JPL, including scientists, engineers, administrators, software, business people, and more. They rehearse each Wednesday afternoon, trading lab coats for chorus folders. The JPL Chorus debuted in May, and performed over the summer with the Pasadena POPS in their highly-acclaimed summer concert series at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.

Sharing the stage with the JPL Chorus will be Pasadena City College’s Donald Brinegar Singers. The Donald Brinegar singers have recorded more than ten CDs and received nominations for seven GRAMMY first-ballot awards.

“As our colleagues at JPL must always be precision perfect as well as super-humanly creative, so are our musicians of the Pasadena Symphony and POPS, which makes for an exciting partnership in this city of Arts & Sciences,” noted Paul Jan Zdunek, Chief Executive Officer of the Pasadena Symphony Association.

The evening’s program includes holiday favorites, such as “Joy to the World,” “Lo How a Rose e’re Blooming,” and “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” among other carols. Two of the pieces were arranged by JPL engineers in the chorus: “What Child is This” by Todd Barber and “Love Be Ours” by William M. Owen. There will also be a sing-along section of the concert for the audience to participate.

“The audience is in for a real treat,” continued Brinegar. “There is so much enthusiasm and joyfulness coming from this group.”

Admission to the JPL Chorus Winter Concert is free and does not require reservations. A freewill offering will be taken with all donations will be given to the Monrovia Unity Center; suggested donation is $10. The concert will be held at Live Oak Vineyard Church in Monrovia on Tuesday, December 18 at 7:30pm. For additional information, contact the Pasadena Symphony Association at 626.793.7172 or online at



  • What: Evening of Classic Christmas Music
  • Who: The Pasadena Symphony Association’s JPL Chorus
  • When: Tuesday, December 18 at 7:30pm
  • Where: Live Oak Vineyard Church | 1307 S Myrtle Ave, Monrovia
  • Cost: Free, but a freewill offering will be taken with all donations will be given to the Monrovia Unity Center; suggested donation is $10

Refer a Friend and Save!

Do you know someone who has not yet experienced the Pasadena Symphony? If they order tickets and mention your name, we will send you a $20 coupon for a future ticket purchase!

Call our Box Office today at (626) 793-7172 today for more details.

This offer valid for any current ticket buyer who refers a new buyer not already in the Pasadena Symphony Association database. New buyers must purchase over the telephone or in-person and mention current ticket buyer’s name during transaction.

Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra to Perform a Free Winter Concert

The Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 41th season with a free annual Winter Concert on Tuesday, December 4th at 7:00pm in Pasadena High School’s auditorium (2925 E Sierra Madre Blvd, Pasadena). The performance features the three educational ensembles of the Pasadena Symphony Association: the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble.

The concert is a culmination of weekly rehearsals for the 160 students involved in the ensembles. Under the direction of Music Director Jack Taylor and Conductors Pin Chen and Gary Yearick, the students have developed their skills by playing alongside a variety of dedicated peers from over 40 schools throughout Los Angeles the and San Gabriel Valley.

The students have also benefited from direct exposure to the professional conductors who work with the Pasadena Symphony. Mei-Ann Chen, director of the Chicago Sinfonietta and Memphis Symphony, Edwin Outwater, Music Director of Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and Grant Cooper, director of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, have all spent rehearsals with the students exposing them to professional rehearsal and performance techniques.

Auditions for the ensembles of the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra are held each year in May, and are open to students entering grades 6 through 9. The ensembles perform multiple concerts throughout the year and travel for retreats and performance tours.

Entrance to the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Winter Concert on Tuesday, December 4 at 7:00pm is free. For details and more information, visit or call 626.793.7172.

Michael Feinstein Named Principal Pops Conductor of Pasadena POPS

Marvin Hamlisch’s orchestral legacy of promoting The Great American Songbook continues in the expert hands of Michael Feinstein

Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of The Great American Songbook,” is the newly appointed Principal Pops Conductor of the Pasadena POPS.  In addition to his recording and concert career, Michael is an accomplished archivist and television and radio host with his own nationally-broadcast series on PBS and NPR. He has both the deep musical knowledge and charisma to be the face of a prominent POPS orchestra. Feinstein recently performed with the Pasadena POPS at the Los Angeles County Arboretum to a record breaking crowd on July 21st; it was Marvin Hamlisch’s last concert prior to his sudden passing on August 6, 2012.

The Pasadena POPS has enjoyed unprecedented successes under Hamlisch’s leadership – distinctive concerts of pure entertainment delivered with humor and joy to loyal audiences resulting in historic attendance and critical acclaim. “Michael Feinstein is simply the right fit, having already charmed capacity crowds at the Arboretum,” says Paul Jan Zdunek, CEO, adding, “Not only is he a consummate musician, engaging communicator and master entertainer, his lifetime dedication to The Great American Songbook and countless national accomplishments uniquely positions him to build on Marvin’s legacy and lead the Pasadena POPS to new levels of artistic success.”

“To be connected with the Pasadena Pops is simply a great honor, and thrilling as well. It was the passing of our irreplaceable Marvin Hamlisch that has given me the desire to conduct, and every step of the way I will have him on my mind and in my heart,” says Michael Feinstein, adding, “It was because of Marvin that I wish to do this because he had a great love for the Pasadena POPS and my experience with everybody last month was so positive on every level.”

“While we are still deeply saddened by the untimely passing of our beloved friend and leader Marvin Hamlisch, we take great comfort in appointing Michael Feinstein to the Marvin Hamlisch Chair as our new Principal Pops Conductor,” states Melinda Shea, President of the Board, “Marvin’s wife, my dear friend Terre, is also so delighted that Marvin will be forever connected to the Pasadena POPS through the naming of the Marvin Hamlisch Chair.”

The summer 2012 season at the Los Angeles Country Arboretum continues as scheduled this Saturday with La Dolce Vita and closes on September 8 with Gershwin On The Green. Season subscriptions to the Pasadena POPS Summer 2013 season under the direction of Michael Feinstein are on sale now. 2013 Concert dates are June 8, June 29, July 13, August 10 and September 7. For more information visit

Marvin Hamlisch Chair

As Principal Pops Conductor, Marvin Hamlisch propelled the Pasadena POPS into a new and successful era, guided by his own contributions to The Great American Songbook and carrying on the legacies of Richard Rodgers and George Gershwin. He was a giant in American music, a true national treasure and dear friend whose music leaves a cherished legacy to the entire world.

To honor his life and work, the Pasadena POPS has created the Marvin Hamlisch Chair, an operating fund that will support the legacy of Marvin Hamlisch and the unique programming he developed for the Pasadena POPS.

A colleague and friend of Marvin Hamlisch, the Pasadena POPS has appointed Michael Feinstein to serve as the first Principal Pops Conductor to hold this newly created Chair.

Gifts to the Marvin Hamlisch Chair fund may be made in honor or memory of a friend or family member or simply to celebrate Marvin Hamlisch’s musical and personal contributions to the Pasadena POPS and the world of music.

About Michael Feinstein

Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of The Great American Songbook,” is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace.

More than simply a performer, Feinstein has received national recognition for his commitment to celebrating America’s popular song and preserving its legacy for the next generation. In 2007, he founded the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Vocal Academy and Competition, which awards scholarships and prizes to students across the country. Michael serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.

Feinstein’s earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his Concord Records CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life was released last year. His Emmy nominated TV special, Michael Feinstein – The Sinatra Legacy, which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, IN, is currently airing across the country. His PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook was the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award. The first two seasons are now available on DVD and the third season will air in 2013.  For his nationally syndicated public radio program Song Travels, Michael interviews and performs alongside music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Moby, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more.

His new book The Gershwins and Me, which is combined with a new CD of Gershwin standards performed with Cyrus Chestnut at the piano, will be published by Simon & Schuster in October 2012. Recently, he released the CDs The Power Of Two – collaborating with “Glee” and “30 Rock” star Cheyenne Jackson – and Cheek To Cheek, recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. His newest recording is We Dreamed These Days, featuring the Carmel Symphony Orchestra; Feinstein co-wrote the title song with Dr. Maya Angelou.

Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The theater is home to an annual international Great American Arts festival, diverse live programming and a museum for his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Starting in 2010, he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Feinstein is working with MGM to turn The Thomas Crown Affair into a Broadway musical. He also has designed a new piano for Steinway called “The First Ladies,” inspired by the White House piano and signed by several former First Ladies. It was first played to commemorate the Ronald Regan centennial on February 6, 2011.

In 2005, Feinstein recorded Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of Harry Warren classics recorded with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. The previous year, he completed a national tour with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb based on their album Only One Life – The Songs of Jimmy Webb. The disc was named one of “10 Best CDs of the Year” by USA Today.

In 2003, Feinstein received his fourth Grammy nomination for his release Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, his first recording with a symphony orchestra. The year before, Rhino/Elektra Music released The Michael Feinstein Anthology, a two-disc compilation spanning the years 1987 to 1996 and featuring old favorites and previously unreleased tracks.

Michael’s own record label, Feinery, a Concord Records subsidiary, released The Livingston & Evans Songbook, featuring Feinstein and special guest Melissa Manchester. Feinery also records favorite current artists and restores recordings and musical broadcasts from the golden age of popular song.

His Manhattan nightclub, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, has presented the top talents of pop and jazz, including Rosemary Clooney, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Alan Cumming. Feinstein appears there for a sold-out holiday engagement every year.

His many other credits include scoring the original music for the film Get Bruce and performing on the hits television series “Better With You,” “Caroline in the City,” “Melrose Place,” “Coach,” “Cybill“ and “7th Heaven.”

The roots of all this work began in Columbus, Ohio, where Feinstein started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he worked in local piano bars for two years, moving to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.

Gershwin’s influence provided a solid base upon which Feinstein evolved into a captivating performer, composer and arranger of his own original music. He also has become an unparalleled interpreter of music legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Harry Warren. Feinstein has received three honorary doctorates.

Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins and Carole Bayer Sager), Feinstein is an all-star force in American music.

Michael Feinstein performing with the Pasadena POPS on July 21, 2012

Michael Feinstein and Marvin Hamlisch together with the Pasadena POPS on July 21, 2012

Marvin Hamlisch, 1944-2012

The Pasadena Symphony and POPS are both shocked and devastated to learn about the sudden passing of Marvin Hamlisch. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Terre, his family, and his friends and colleagues.

During his time in Pasadena, he was beloved in our community and made an enormous impact with everyone he encountered. He brought a tireless humor and enthusiasm to the stage, and was loved by our audience, musicians, and staff. Marvin propelled the Pasadena POPS into a new and successful era, guided by his contributions to the Great American Songbook carrying on the legacies of Richard Rogers and George Gershwin. His was a giant in American music and a true national treasure.

Marvin was here when we needed him with his vision and artistic guidance. He was a great friend and his music leaves an unforgettable legacy to the world. Marvin was a remarkable person and an incredible talent who will be dearly missed.

Paul Jan Zdunek, CEO – Pasadena Symphony Association
Melinda Shea, President – Pasadena Symphony Association

More details –

Rose & the Nightingale POPS Concert

Please note: these events are cancelled due to excessive heat.

If we are able to reschedule, we will update you accordingly. Thank you, and we apologize for any inconvenience.

The Spirit of the Garden POPS Concert

Rose & the Nightingale, a powerhouse quartet of female virtuosi, celebrate the sublimity of gardens through poetry and song. Co-presented by the Arboretum and the Pasadena Symphony and POPS, “The Spirit of the Garden” kicks off with refreshments followed by a surround-sound experience with the audience seated alongside the performers on stage for this intimate concert. Composed for performances in the nation’s great public gardens, “The Spirit of the Garden” West Coast tour has included the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers and Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

Rose & the Nightingale is a New York City-based quartet of world-class improvising vocalists and instrumentalists, creating beautiful and unique genre-defying music full of melody, harmony, and energetic expression. Rose & the Nightingale’s “The Spirit of the Garden” blurs the boundaries of world music, folk, art song, and jazz improvisation. This unique program integrates poetry about gardens and the nexus of spirituality and nature as the lyrics to the songs, as inspiration for improvised interludes, and as thematic threads throughout the concert. Critically acclaimed, Rose & the Nightingale’s live performances have uplifted audiences with the power of the quartet’s fiery rhythmic energy, sublime harmonies, lyrical beauty, and staggering talent. Onstage, the band is a great demonstration of female strength and grace.

Members of Rose & the Nightingale have performed internationally on five continents, at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Barbican in London, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, Chicago Symphony Hall, and at the  prestigious North Sea, Montreal, Montreux, Newport, San Francisco, and Cape Town South Africa festivals, and Tokyo’s Blue Note. Their performers are Jody Redhage (cello, vocals, compositions); Sara Caswell (violin & mandolin); Katelyn Benton (piano & vocals); and Leala Cyr (vocals, trumpet and percussion).

“The Spirit of the Garden” POPS concert features poems as lyrics written by living American poets with whom Redhage has collaborated, including Wyn Cooper of Vermont, Maria Brady Smith of Missouri, Ella Cvancara of Wyoming, Evan Karp and Silvi Alcivar of California, as well as French poet Miquel Decor, and Rumi.

Poetry & Music in the Garden Workshop

Best for families with students ages 8-18

In Rose & the Nightingale’s “Poetry & Music in the Garden Workshop,” participants are split into four groups, each led by a Rose & the Nightingale band member. The four groups visit four specifically chosen areas in the botanic garden in a round robin style spending 15 minutes in each area. Band members teach a different technique for writing nature poetry in each of the four locations, giving the students the opportunity to write their own nature poems reacting to each specific areas, requiring the students to openly engage and creatively respond to their natural environment. After visiting all four garden areas and writing at least four of their own nature poems, participants reconvene in a centralize location, where Rose & the Nightingale use their voices and instruments to transform the students’ haikus as the lyrics to new songs spontaneously composed.

Students are encouraged to participate in the songwriting process through reactive input, and as participants in the music-making: either as singers, spoken word artists, or percussionists. The highlights of this composition process will be showcased at Rose & the Nightingale’s 5pm performance on Sunday, August 12 at the Arboretum, with an invitation to the workshop students to be involved in the performance of these highlights. The Poetry & Music in the Garden workshop provides a consciousness-raising experience in which students are required to be open and aware, reacting to different garden environments with their own artistic responses. The workshop provides a fun and exciting opportunity to participate in a multi-disciplinary collaborative process. The workshop aims to spark future collaboration between literary and musical minded local students. Students are welcome to bring recording devices to the workshop to record their haikus being made into song.

Pasadena Symphony and Jet Propulsion Lab Partner to Create JPL Chorus

Pasadena is a city rich with the arts and sciences, and the new JPL Chorus is perhaps the perfect blend of both. Formed earlier this year in partnership between the Pasadena Symphony Association and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the JPL Chorus is comprised of JPL employees who rehearse weekly under the direction of Donald Brinegar, the Pasadena Symphony’s Director of Choruses. The JPL Chorus will debut in a free, public concert with the Pasadena City College Chamber Singers on May 5 at 7:30pm at Ambassador Auditorium.

The JPL Chorus is comprised of 53 employees who rehearse each Wednesday evening. Their concert program includes a mixture of classical repertoire to popular, with composers ranging from Benjamin Britten and Lennon/McCartney.

According to Stephen Kulczycki, Deputy Director of Communications and Education at JPL (and a member of the bass section), the idea for a chorus came about after talking with Pasadena Symphony CEO Paul Zdunek about how the two organizations might be able to partner.

“I suggested that we might get good participation if we tried a chorus, and Paul agreed,” explained Kulczycki. “We put out some test balloons, got about one hundred people to express some interest, and by the time we started rehearsing we had about fifty people regularly involved.”

The singers come from a wide variety of roles within JPL, including scientists, engineers, administrators, software, business people, and more. “The idea is to celebrate JPL with our group’s enthusiasm about music and singing. It’s been a lot of fun, and I think what Don brings to this particularly is a great sense of joy in the experience,” continued Kulczycki.

The JPL Chorus concert featuring the Pasadena City College Chamber Singers on May 5 at Ambassador Auditorium is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. For additional information about the Pasadena Symphony Association or for a full schedule of concerts, contact the Box Office at 626.793.7172 or visit


  • What: JPL Chorus Concert
  • Who: JPL Chorus of the Pasadena Symphony Association and the Pasadena City College Chamber Singers, under the direction of Donald Brinegar (Pasadena Symphony Director of Choruses)
  • Where: Ambassador Auditorium; 131 St. John Ave, Pasadena, CA 91123
  • When: Saturday, May 5 | 7:30pm
  • Cost: Free

Michael Stern replaces James DePreist to conduct the Pasadena Symphony April 28 at Ambassador Auditorium

Pasadena, CA Pasadena Symphony Artistic Advisor James DePreist is recovering from recent and unanticipated heart bypass surgery and is unable to appear with the orchestra later this month as originally scheduled. American conductor Michael Stern will step in to conduct the Pasadena Symphony’s final concert of its Classics Season featuring Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 and Strauss’ poignant Four Last Songs with Grammy Award-winning soprano Christine Brewer at Ambassador Auditorium on Saturday April 28 at 2pm & 8pm.

“We never know when life will take us on an unexpected journey,” comments Paul Jan Zdunek, Chief Executive Officer of the Pasadena Symphony Association. “Our thoughts are with Maestro DePreist and his wife Ginette during his recovery. We look forward to their visit to Pasadena in the very near future. Although not under these circumstances, we are pleased that Michael Stern was available to step in; he is a consummate musician who has successfully partnered with Christine Brewer before.”

Celebrated soprano Christine Brewer is regarded as one of the leading interpreters of Strauss’ works, and has performed the lead roles in his operas Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Frau ohne Schatten with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and more. A hallmark of her extensive discography is the critically acclaimed recording of Stauss’ Four Last Songs with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the leading roles of both the Tristan Project with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Turandot with Gustavo Dudamel.

She made her debut with LA Opera last month in a leading role of Benjamin Britton’s Albert Herring, earning a review from the Los Angeles Times describing her as a “galvanizing…force of nature!”

Conductor Michael Stern is in his seventh season as music director of the Kansas City Symphony. He is also the founding artistic director and principal conductor of The IRIS Orchestra in Tennessee. He has produced a string of recordings and acclaimed commissioned new works by American composers.

“[Michael] Stern has a dynamic stick technique that commands rather than coaxes. Attacks are sharp and aggressive. Rhythms are clean and propulsive. He knows his way to a climax… He is someone we should be seeing more of.” – Los Angeles Times

Stern has led orchestras worldwide including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Helsinki Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. and more. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.

April 28 marks the final concerts of the 2011-12 classics series and the Pasadena Symphony’s second season as the resident professional orchestra of the historic Ambassador Auditorium. Tickets to Brewer Sings Strauss on Saturday, April 28 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm begin at $35 and may be purchased by visiting, calling 626.793.7172 or onsite on the day of the concert.


  • What: Brewer Sings Strauss with the Pasadena Symphony
  • When: Saturday, April 28 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm
  • Where: Ambassador Auditorium; 131 St. John Ave, Pasadena, CA 91123
  • Cost: Tickets start at $35.00
  • Parking: Valet on Green Street, $10 general parking available adjacent to the theater in Maranatha parking lots.
  • Full Program: Wagner Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey from Götterdämmerung, Strauss Four Last Songs, Dvorak Symphony No. 8
  • Pre-Concert Conversation: Pasadena Symphony Association’s CEO Paul Jan Zdunek visits with Guest Conductor Michael Stern about the program, his musical journey and much more an hour before each concert (1 pm and again at 7 pm on stage at Ambassador Auditorium).

Grammy Award-winning American soprano Christine Brewer’s appearances in opera, concert, and recital are marked by her own unique timbre, at once warm and brilliant, combined with a vibrant personality and emotional honesty reminiscent of the great sopranos of the past. Her range, golden tone, boundless power, and control make her a favorite of the stage as well as a sought-after recording artist.

Highlights of Brewer’s 2011-12 season include opening the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 67th season with a program featuring Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the Immolation scene from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. A “superlative Strauss singer” (New York Times), she also looks forward to singing the German composer’s Four Last Songs with the St. Louis Symphony under David Robertson, besides featuring his music alongside that of Marx, Thomson, Ives, and Smith in recital with pianist and frequent collaborator Craig Rutenberg, at New York’s Alice Tully Hall.

The soprano’s numerous 2010-11 season highlights included performances of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with both the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Donald Runnicles and the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas, as well as Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass with the Toronto and Chicago Symphonies led by James Conlon. She reprised Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Royal Concertgebouw and Detroit Symphony under Mariss Jansons and Leonard Slatkin respectively, besides performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Barber’s Prayers of Kierkegaard with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony. She was also the featured soloist for the New York City Opera’s opening night gala.

An avid recitalist, Brewer has graced such prestigious venues as Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Oberlin Conservatory, the Friends of Chamber Music, Washington DC’s Vocal Arts Society, and many others. She has appeared in Lincoln Center’s “Art of the Song” series at Alice Tully Hall, the Boston Celebrity Series, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Atlanta’s Spivey Hall, California’s Mondavi Center, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Her unique voice has also been featured at the Gilmore, Ravinia, and Cleveland Art Song festivals.

On the opera stage, Brewer is highly regarded for her striking portrayal of the title role in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, which she has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra de Lyon, Théatre du Chatelet, Santa Fe Opera, English National Opera, and Opera Theater of St. Louis. Attracting glowing reviews with each role, the soprano has performed Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at San Francisco Opera, Gluck’s Alceste with Santa Fe Opera, the Dyer’s Wife in Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten at Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Paris Opera, and Lady Billows in Britten’s Albert Herring at Santa Fe Opera. She is also celebrated for her work on lesser-known operas such as the title roles in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride with the Edinburgh Festival, the Rio de Janeiro Opera, and Madrid Opera and Strauss’s Die ägyptische Helena with the Santa Fe Opera.

Brewer has worked with many of today’s most notable conductors, including Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Lorin Maazel, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Antonio Pappano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Shaw, and Jaap van Zweden. Frequently sought after to sing the great symphonic works of Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, Mahler, Beethoven, Strauss, Wagner, Janácek, and Britten, she has sung with the philharmonics of New York and Los Angeles, and the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., St. Louis, San Francisco, Boston, and Dallas. In Europe, the soprano counts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Orchestre de Paris, and Toulouse Orchestra as regular partners. In addition, she has made appearances with the Malaysia Philharmonic, New World Symphony, and Toronto Symphony. The versatile artist has also been invited to perform for such special engagements as the re-opening of Covent Garden with Plácido Domingo for TRH the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, a concert of Handel with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and a gala performance of Górecki’s Third Symphony with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and long-time collaborator Runnicles.

Brewer’s recordings include a contribution to Hyperion’s prestigious Schubert series with pianist Graham Johnson; the Janácek Glagolitic Mass and Dvorák Te Deum with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Telarc); Dvorák’s Stabat Mater (Naxos); and two recital recordings entitled “Saint Louis Woman” and “Music for a While,” produced and released by Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Recent releases include a live recital disc from Wigmore Hall (Koch); Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the “Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde, Strauss’s Opera Scenes, and Mozart’s Requiem with Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony (Telarc); Fidelio in German with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Live); Barber’s Vanessa with the BBC Symphony (Chandos) and the Grammy Award-winning Bolcom Songs of Innocence and Experience (Naxos), both conducted by Leonard Slatkin; Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Sir Simon Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (EMI); a disc of lieder for Hyperion’s new Richard Strauss series with pianist Roger Vignoles; Fidelio in English and “Great Operatic Arias” with the London Philharmonic (Chandos); and Britten’s War Requiem with the London Philharmonic and Kurt Masur (LPO Live).

Conductor Michael Stern is in his seventh season as music director of the Kansas City Symphony, hailed for its remarkable artistic growth and development since his tenure began. The Symphony and Stern concluded their first year together by making a recording for the Naxos label which was released in 2007. They have released two CDs on the Reference Recordings Label Britten’s Orchestra with orchestral works of Benjamin Britten, and The Tempest, with music by Sullivan and Sibelius inspired by Shakespeare’s play, both released to critical acclaim and the Britten album winning a Grammy in 2011.

Mr. Stern is also founding artistic director and principal conductor of the IRIS Orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee. Other past positions include a tenure as the chief conductor of Germany’s Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra (the first American chief conductor in the orchestra’s history), Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille, and as permanent guest conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, a position which he held for five years.

Stern has led orchestras throughout Europe and Asia, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Beethovenhalle Orchestra in Bonn, Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic, National Symphony of Taiwan, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony and the Vienna Radio Symphony’s tour of China.

In North America, Stern has conducted the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.

Stern received his music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where his major teacher was the noted conductor and scholar Max Rudolf. Stern coedited the third edition of Rudolf’s famous textbook, The Grammar of Conducting, and also edited a new volume of Rudolf’s collected writings and correspondence. Stern is a 1981 graduate of Harvard University, where he earned a degree in American history.

Don’t miss the GROW! A Garden Festival at the Arboretum on May 4-6

The weekend celebration of Spring will be a great and fun way to get acquainted with the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden, the beautiful new summer home for the POPS concert.

There will be art installations, plants for sale, a Marketplace, live entertainment, food and much more to enjoy. Festivities begin Friday evening, May 4, and continue through Saturday and Sunday. See below for more information directly from the Arboretum:

Who spiked the punch at the LA Arboretum?

Join us Friday evening, May 4, to find out – with tequila cocktails by Nobleza Tequila and wine flights offered by Phantom Rivers Winery, accompanied by appetizers from Claud & Company Catering and the Peacock Café.  Not to mention our Beer for Books booth, where all proceeds will go toward new books for the Arboretum Library.

Accompanied by big band music from the Big Band Theory, it is the perfect backdrop for enjoying a stroll through our garden sculpture exhibits:  Earth Dreams – Beyond the Sculptural Landscapes, where you will also have a chance to meet the artists.  The Ladybugs pictures above are an example of some of the amazing art you will see.

The fun continues on Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, with plenty of kids’ activities, live entertainment throughout the day, food trucks, guided tours through our beautiful gardens, and much more!

There is a fantastic lineup of educational Q&A sessions from top garden experts. These forums feature topics on everything from bee-keeping and backyard chickens, maximizing your edible garden production to drought-friendly ornamental landscaping.

And don’t forget your shopping opportunities!  During the POPS concert, our Marketplace will have over 50 vendors with a full array of garden accessories, and over 25 Plant Vendors & Societies offering unique plants and great information.  Our Arboretum Gift Shop will be offering special discounts on all merchandise as well.

GROW! will also be the first opportunity to see our newly designed Garden for All Seasons – a demonstration garden of cutting-edge water harvesting techniques and urban homesteading principles.

Download a flyer for the GROW! POPS concert and festival with event details here!

For complete details visit our website at and click on Garden Festival or contact Nancy Yoshihara at 626.821.4667 or