Mission and History

Mission

The mission of the Pasadena Symphony and POPS is to provide orchestral performances of the highest quality and to benefit the community through its music, community engagement, and education programs.

History

The Pasadena Symphony Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1928 by Conductor Reginald Bland. Originally named the Pasadena Civic Orchestra, its first members were mostly volunteer musicians, many of whom were students of Bland. The annual operating budget was a mere $3,500, which was funded entirely by the City of Pasadena. Because of the tremendous support it continually received from the local community, the Pasadena Symphony grew into a nationally recognized, fully professional orchestra. The Pasadena Symphony Association officially merged the Pasadena Symphony and POPS in 2007.

Over the past 80 years, the Pasadena Symphony has artistically matured into one of the top performing symphonic ensembles in southern California, comprised of the most gifted and sought after musicians from the motion picture film industry. With extensive credits in the film, television, recording and orchestral industry, the musicians of Pasadena Symphony and POPS are the most heard in the world.

The Pasadena Symphony and POPS performs in two of the most extraordinary venues in the United States: Ambassador Auditorium, known as the Carnegie Hall of the West, and the luxuriant Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Internationally recognized, Grammy-nominated conductor, David Lockington, serves as the Pasadena Symphony Association’s Music Director, with performance-practice specialist Nicholas McGegan serving as Principal Guest Conductor.  The multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein, is the  Principal Pops Conductor, who succeeded  Marvin Hamlisch in the newly created Marvin Hamlisch Chair.

A hallmark of its robust education programs, the Pasadena Symphony Association has served the youth of the region for over five decades through the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestras of over 300 gifted students in grades 4-12 from more than 50 schools all over Southern California.  The PYSO Symphony tours bi-annually and makes guest appearances at local venues throughout the year, including on the popular television show GLEE.

Moving Forward

In the fall of 2007, the Pasadena Symphony incorporated the Pasadena POPS into its Association under the new name Pasadena Symphony and POPS. This merger created an expanded Classics and POPS series providing the community with a full spectrum of live symphonic classical concerts and POPS concerts year-round at the historic Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena and now at its summer venue at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.