Pasadena, CA –  Join the Pasadena Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor Nicholas McGegan as he takes you on a wonderful adventure with Baroque Around the World, on January 20, 2018 at Ambassador Auditorium. Highly regarded as “one of the finest baroque conductors of his generation” (London Independent), the two-time Grammy nominee will jump start the new year as only he can with his historical performance practice bringing a wealth of experience to this exotic Baroque repertoire, ranging from the finest Cleopatra operas to quintessential Bach. “He’s a dynamo, a true animator, an energiser and an ignition point from which music can take off and take wing” (Herald Scotland). Don’t miss this chance to witness the “King” of Baroque interpretation at his finest, as he applies his special craft to the genius of these two Baroque masters.

For the symphony’s entrée to the new year, Colburn artist Blake Pouliot will join principal oboist Lara Wickes for Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe. Grand prize winner of the 2016 Orchestra Symphonique de Montreal (OSM) Manulife Competition, the twenty-three-year-old “Pouliot has the whole package… the look, charisma and talent.” (The Toronto Star) Soprano Sherezade Panthaki will also take the stage to invoke the fabled queen of the Nile with heart-rending Cleopatra arias from Handel, Graun, Mattheson and Hasse. An acknowledged star in the early-music field, Panthaki has developed strong collaborations with many of the world’s leading interpreters including Nicholas McGegan. Her international success has been fueled by superbly honed musicianship and passionately informed interpretations, “mining deep emotion from the subtle shaping of the lines” (New York Times).

Bookended by Telemann’s Overture des nations anciens et modernes and Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes,these two young soloists promise to bring together an absolutely riveting performance of a varied program of music, all in the masterful hands of Conductor Nicholas McGegan.

The Pasadena Symphony provides a quintessential experience specially designed for the music lover, the social butterfly or a date night out, and the inner epicurean in us all. For those who want to learn more about the music, join us for Insights – a free pre-concert dialogue with Conductor Nicholas McGegan, which begins one hour prior to each performance. Patrons who plan to arrive early can also enjoy a drink or a bite in the lively Sierra Auto Symphony Lounge, yet another addition to the carefree and elegant concert experience the Pasadena Symphony offers. A posh setting along Ambassador Auditorium’s beautiful outdoor plaza, the lounge offers uniquely prepared menus from Claud &Co for both lunch and dinner, a full bar and fine wines by Michero Family Wines, plus music before the concert and during intermission.
Performances on January 20, 2018 take place at both 2:00pm and 8:00pm at Ambassador Auditorium, located at 131 South St. John Avenue, Pasadena, CA. Subscriptions start at $99 with single ticket prices starting at $35. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (626) 793-7172.


  • What: The Pasadena Symphony presents Baroque Around the World
    Nicholas McGegan, conductor

Blake Pouliot, violin
Sherezade Panthaki, soprano
Lara Wickes, oboe

Telemann   Overture des nations anciens et modernes 
Bach           Concerto for Violin and Oboe 
Graun          “Tra le procelle assorto”  from Ceasar e Cleopatra
Handel       “Piangero” from Julius Ceasar
Hasse         “Morte col fiero aspetto”, Marc’Antonio e Cleopatra
Mattheson   The Death of Cleopatra
Rameau      Les Indes Galantes    

  • When: Saturday, January 20 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm



  • Cost: Tickets start at $35.00


  • Parking: Valet parking is available on Green Street for $15. General parking is available in two locations: next to the Auditorium (entrance on St. John Ave) at the covered parking structure for $10 and directly across the street at the Wells Fargo parking structure (entrance on Terrace at Green St). ADA parking is located at the above-ground parking lot adjacent to the Auditorium (entrance on St. John Ave.) for $10. Parking purchased onsite is cash only.


  • Pasadena Symphony Lounge:  Located on the plaza at Ambassador Auditorium. Opens at 12:30 pm before the matinee and 6 pm before the evening performance.


  • Pre-Concert Discussion: Pre-concert discussion with Conductor Nicholas McGegan begins one hour before curtain and is available to all ticket holders at no cost.



Principal Guest Conductor

As he embarks on his fourth decade on the podium, Nicholas McGegan — long hailed as “one of the finest baroque conductors of his generation” (The Independent) and “an expert in 18th-century style” (The New Yorker) — is recognized for his probing and revelatory explorations of music of all periods. In 2015 he begins his 30th year as music director of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and continues as Principal Guest Conductor of the Pasadena Symphony.

Best known as a baroque and classical specialist, McGegan’s approach— intelligent, infused with joy and never dogmatic — has led to appearances with many of the world’s major orchestras. At home in opera houses, McGegan shone new light on close to twenty Handel operas as the Artistic Director and conductor at the Göttingen Handel Festival for 20 years (1991-2001) and the Mozart canon as Principal Guest Conductor at Scottish Opera in the 1990s.

His 15/16 season features appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (with which he has appeared annually for 20 years), St. Louis, BBC Scottish, RTÉ National, and New Zealand Symphonies; the Cleveland Orchestra/Blossom Music Festival; the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Caramoor and Carnegie Hall, and the Juilliard School. Under McGegan this season, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra performs Scarlatti’s La gloria di primavera at Carnegie Hall and throughout California’s Orange County.

McGegan’s extensive discography features eight releases on Philharmonia Baroque’s label, Philharmonia Baroque Productions (PBP) including the 2011 GRAMMY® Award-nominated recording of Haydn Symphonies nos. 88, 101, and 104.

English-born Nicholas McGegan was educated at Cambridge and Oxford. He was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to music overseas.” Most recently, McGegan was invited to join the board of Early Music America. Other awards include the Halle Handel Prize; the Order of Merit of the State of Lower Saxony (Germany); the Medal of Honour of the City of Göttingen, and a declaration of Nicholas McGegan Day, by the Mayor of San Francisco in recognition of his work with Philharmonia Baroque. In 2013, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Music.

Visit Nicholas McGegan on the web at

Blake Pouliot

Twenty-three-year-old Canadian violinist Blake Pouliot is the Grand Prize winner of the 2016 Orchestra Symphonique de Montréal (OSM) Manulife Competition, as well as the 1st Laureate of the Canada Council for the Arts’s 2015 Musical Instrument Bank Competition. A charismatic and multifaceted performer, Mr. Pouliot has garnered many accolades as a concert violinist, starred in two successful films, made numerous television appearances, and performed as keyboardist in an award-winning pop band.

Since his solo orchestral debut with the Toronto Trinity Chamber Orchestra at age 11, Mr. Pouliot has performed as soloist with orchestras including the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra (Colorado), North York Concert Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Colburn Orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; and with conductors including Sir Neville Marriner, Nicolas McGegan, Tito Muñoz, Carl St. Clair, Alain Trudel, and Hugh Wolff. Mr. Pouliot has also performed recitals in Chicago, Los Angeles, and was featured on Rob Kapilow’s What Makes it Great? series at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  Upcoming performances include debuts with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko; recital engagements at the National Arts Centre, Northern Arts & Cultural Centre and Orford Arts Centre, a solo engagement and a South American tour with the YOA Orchestra of the Americas in July 2017,

Mr. Pouliot has been featured on national radio by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and received the Canada Council for the Arts’s Michael Measure Prize in 2013. As a result, he toured Canada that summer performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Mr. Pouliot has also had the honor of performing a private recital for Canadian Prime Minister Stephan Harper in 2012.

As an actor, Mr. Pouliot has appeared on Canadian television programs Flashpoint and Warehouse 13. He has also performed as the narrator in Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf with the American Youth Symphony at Royce Hall in Los Angeles in 2013. In 2012, as a member of the pop band S03 (Sum of Three), he performed in venues in and around Toronto as the city’s Battle of the Bands champions. A composer as well as a performer, Mr. Pouliot earned first prize for his piano composition, Starlight on Water, at the 2010 Canadian Contemporary Music Festival.

Mr. Pouliot has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Banff Centre Master Class Program, the National Arts Centre Young Artists Program, the Starling-DeLay Symposium at The Juilliard School, and the Canadian National Music Festival, where he won first prize for strings as well as the interdisciplinary Grand Prize. He has participated in master classes with many internationally renowned musicians including Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, James Ehnes, and Leila Josefowicz, and has served as concertmaster of several orchestras, including the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, the New Music Festival Orchestra at the University of Toronto, and the Colburn Orchestra. Mr. Pouliot studied violin in Canada with Marie Berard and Erika Raum, and he completed his training as an associate of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He is currently a Professional Studies Certificate candidate at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, California, where he studies with Robert Lipsett, the Jascha Heifetz Distinguished Violin Chair.

Mr. Pouliot performs on the 1729 Guarneri del Gesù, on generous loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.

Sherezade Panthaki

Soprano Sherezade Panthaki’s international success has been fueled by superbly honed musicianship; “shimmering sensitivity” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “astonishing coloratura with radiant top notes” (Calgary Herald); a vocal color “combining brilliance with a dark, plum-like tone” (The Wall Street Journal), and passionately informed interpretations, “mining deep emotion from the subtle shaping of the lines” (The New York Times). An acknowledged star in the early-music field, Ms. Panthaki has developed strong collaborations with many of the world’s leading interpreters including Nicholas McGegan, Simon Carrington, the late John Scott, Mark Morris, Matthew Halls, Nicholas Kraemer, and Masaaki Suzuki, with whom she made her New York Philharmonic debut in a program of Bach and Mendelssohn.

Highlights of her current and recent seasons include Handel’s Messiah with Bach Collegium Japan (Tokyo), National Symphony Orchestra (Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.), National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa, Canada), Calgary Symphony, and Nashville Symphony; Handel and Bach oratorios with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco; several productions with the Mark Morris Dance Group, including Handel’s L’allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and the title role of Galatea in the company’s premiere performances of Handel’s Acis and Galatea; Handel’s Saul with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto; Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Houston Symphony; Bach’s St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, and Brahms Requiem with the late John Scott and the Choir and Orchestra of St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, New York City; numerous Bach cantatas and Mozart Requiem with Music of the Baroque (Chicago); Handel’s Solomon with the Radio Kamer Filharmonie in Holland; Handel at Carnegie Hall with William Christie and the Yale Philharmonia; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and solo cantatas with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York city; Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate and Requiem with the Washington Bach Consort (Washington D.C.); and solo concerts of Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi cantatas with the Rebel Baroque Orchestra. She is a frequent soloist with the most accomplished early music ensembles in New York, including the Choir and Orchestra of Trinity Church Wall Street (with whom she performed on a Grammy nominated recording).

Born and raised in India, Ms. Panthaki holds an Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, where she won multiple awards, including the prestigious Phyllis Curtin Career Entry Prize, awarded to launch the career of a student who demonstrates exceptional promise and talent as an artist. She earned a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Ms. Panthaki is an active and passionate music educator, frequently called upon to present vocal masterclasses at Universities and Arts Schools across the United States. She teaches as an adjunct voice professor at Yale University.

Recent Acclaim for the Pasadena Symphony and POPS
“The Pasadena Symphony signals a new direction…teeming with vitality…dripping with opulent, sexy emotion.” Los Angeles Times. 

“…full of pulsating energy from first note to last… the strings were lushly resonant, the wind principals were at the top of their games, and the brass rang out with gleaming vigor.” –Pasadena Star News.
Formed in 1928, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS is an ensemble of Hollywood’s most talented, sought after musicians.  With extensive credits in the film, television, recording and orchestral industry, the artists 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 (PYSO) comprised of five performing ensembles, with over 250 gifted 4th-12th grade students from more than 50 schools all over the Southern California region.  The PYSO Symphony often performs on the popular television show GLEE.

The PSA provides people from all walks of life with powerful access points to the world of symphonic music.