April 18, 2022
Pasadena, CA – The Pasadena Symphony concludes its season on Saturday, April 30 with the four most well-known notes in Classical music – Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Relentless, emotional and triumphant all describe Beethoven’s most famous symphony, which will be led by internationally renowned conductor Keitaro Harada, who currently serves as Music Director of the Savannah Philharmonic and Associate Conductor of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and who is making his debut with the Pasadena Symphony as part of its search for a new Music Director. The program opens with the world premiere of In Nomine by Composers Showcase artist Brett Banducci, performed by the orchestra’s Principal Horn James Thatcher. Technically dazzling and intellectually probing, pianist Ran Dank delivers passion and pyrotechnics with Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Dank replaces pianist Valentina Lisitsa who was previously scheduled to perform. Performances will be held at 2:00pm and 8:00pm at Ambassador Auditorium.
Dank recently performed at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., with the Portland Symphony, and in recitals at the San Francisco Performances Series, Gilmore, Ravinia, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel and Weill Halls, Steinway Hall, Gardner Museum, Kennedy Center and the Yale School of Music. His performances have garnered critical acclaim from The New York Times and the Washington Post.
The Pasadena Symphony holds the safety of its audience, staff and musicians as its top priority. The Pasadena Symphony requires all concertgoers to be fully vaccinated, including a booster dose for those who are eligible, to attend concerts at Ambassador Auditorium. Masks are now optional inside the venue. Covid-19 protocols for concerts at Ambassador Auditorium are evolving with L.A. County Health Department guidelines and will be updated here: pasadenasymphony-pops.org/safety.
To learn more about the music, come early for Insights – a free pre-concert dialogue with Conductor Keitaro Harada and Composer Brett Banducci, which begins one hour prior to each performance. Patrons who arrive early can also enjoy a drink or a bite in the outdoor, tented Rusnak Symphony Lounge. A posh setting along Ambassador Auditorium’s beautiful outdoor plaza, patrons enjoy uniquely prepared menus for both lunch and dinner at each concert by Claud & Co and a full bar and fine wines from the Michero Family serving Riboli Family Wines before the concert and during intermission. In order to provide the safest possible experience, all food must be pre-ordered. For more information, visit: bit.ly/symphony-dining.
All concerts are held at The Ambassador Auditorium, 131 South St. John Ave, Pasadena, CA. Single tickets start at $35 and may be purchased online at pasadenasymphony-pops.org, by calling (626) 793-7172 or at the Ambassador Box Office starting at noon on concert days.
- What: The Pasadena Symphony presents Beethoven Symphony No. 5
Keitaro Harada, conductor
Ran Dank, piano
James Thatcher, horn
Brett Banducci In Nomine (World Premeire)
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3
Beethoven Symphony No. 5
- When: Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm
- Where: Ambassador Auditorium | 131 South St. John Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105
- Cost: Tickets start at $35.00
- Parking: Valet parking is available on South St. John directly past the auditorium for $20. 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 Green 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.
- Proof of Vaccination: The Pasadena Symphony is committed to providing the safest possible setting for the community and will require all concertgoers to be fully vaccinated, including a booster dose for those who are eligible to attend concerts at Ambassador Auditorium. For protocols, visit: pasadenasymphony-pops.org/symphony-covid-safety/.
The Pasadena Symphony Association
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. The multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein, leads the POPS as Principal Pops Conductor, succeeding Marvin Hamlisch.
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 seven performing ensembles, with over 400 gifted 4th-12th grade students from all over Southern California. The PYSO Symphony has performed at venues across the globe as well as on the television show GLEE.
The PSA provides people from all walks of life with powerful access points to the world of symphonic music.
Conductor Keitaro Harada maintains a growing, international presence throughout North America, Asia, Mexico and Europe. With home bases in the United States and Japan, the 2020-21 season marked his tenure as Music & Artistic Director of the Savannah Philharmonic and Associate Conductor of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. Harada’s broad scope of musical interest in symphonic, opera, chamber works, pops, film scores, ballet, educational, outreach, and multi-disciplinary projects leads to diverse and eclectic programs.
Recent and upcoming highlights include the symphony orchestras of Houston, Seattle, NHK, Yomiuri Nippon, Osaka, Hawaii, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Memphis, Louisiana, Charlotte, West Virginia, Tucson, Phoenix, Virginia, as well as the Osaka Philharmonic, Kanagawa Philharmonic, Nagoya Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic and Orquesta Filarmónica de Sonora (México).
No stranger to the operatic cannon, Harada returns next season for Puccini’s La bohème with North Carolina Opera, for whom he has previously led productions of Pagliacci, Carmen and Britten’s Turn of the Screw. In 2017, he conducted Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar for Cincinnati Opera, as well as run of Carmen for Bulgaria’s Sofia National Opera and Ballet that reprised with a Japan tour in fall 2018. In past seasons and as Associate Conductor of Arizona Opera, he led productions of Don Pasquale, Le Fille du Regiment and Tosca. As a 2010 Seiji Ozawa Fellow at Tanglewood, Harada conducted critically-acclaimed performances of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.
Having completed his fourth season as Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops, Harada regularly assisted Music Director Louis Langrée, conducted the CSO and POPS, and collaborated with James Conlon and Juanjo Mena.
Notable performances during Dank’s 2019/2020 season include appearances at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Hawaii Concert Society, Purdue Convocations, Gina Bachauer Concert Series, two consecutive recitals at the Pro Musica series in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, and a collaboration with Jayce Ogren and the Westchester Philharmonic. In addition, he returns to the Chanel Chamber Music Festival in Tokyo and to the Portland Symphony for a performance of Saint Saens’ 2nd Piano Concerto under the baton of Eckart Preu.
Dank’s recent performances have included recitals at the San Francisco Performances Series, Gilmore, Ravinia, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel and Weill Halls, Steinway Hall, Gardner Museum, Kennedy Center, Town Hall, Yale School of Music, Philips Collection, Morgan Library, Pro Musica in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and Portland Ovations, and have garnered critical acclaim from The New York Times and the Washington Post. Dank has performed as a soloist with the orchestras of Cleveland, Sydney, St. Luke’s, Portland, Eugene, Toledo, Hawaii, Kansas City, Vermont, Charleston, Jerusalem, Valencia, Phoenix, and Hilton Head, among others, working under the batons of Michael Stern, Jahja Ling, Michael Christie, Kirill Karabits, Jun Märkl, Pinchas Zukerman, Jorge Mester, Jaime Laredo, and Ken-David Masur among many others. His chamber music festival appearances have included Santa Fe, Seattle, Chanel in Tokyo, Great Lakes, Bridgehampton, Cooperstown, Mänttä, Bowdoin, Maverick, Skaneateles, and Montreal, and he has collaborated with luminaries including Paul Watkins, Augustin Hadelich, Eugene Drucker, Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, James Ehnes, and The Orion, Shanghai, Takács, and Dover String Quartets. Dank’s recent performance of the monumental set of variations “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!” at the University of Chicago has been selected as one of the top ten performances of 2017 by the Chicago Classical Review.
Dank is an ardent advocate for contemporary music, and has performed in recent seasons Kevin Puts’ piano concerto “Night,” the Tobias Picker concerto, “Keys to the City,” Frederic Rzewski’s “The People United Will Never Be Defeated,” William Bolcom’s Pulitzer-winning set of “Twelve New Etudes,” and has given, alongside pianist and wife, Soyeon Kate Lee, the world premieres of Frederic Rzewski’s “Four Hands,” and Alexander Goehr’s “Seven Impromptus.” This season, Dank and Soyeon Kate Lee will feature the world premiere of multiple Grammy-nominated pianist and composer’s Marc-André Hamelin’s “Tango” for piano four-hands.
Ran Dank and Soyeon Kate Lee have established a series of concerts, Music by the Glass, held in a New York SoHo art gallery, where the audience of young professionals listen, mix and mingle with performing artists who play solo pieces and chamber works accompanied by treats sweet and savory, paired with wines by the glass. Ran Dank is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Naumburg Piano Competition and the Sydney International Piano Competition, and the First Prize winner of the Hilton Head International Piano Competition.
James Thatcher began his professional career at age 16 when he played and studied in Mexico City with his uncle, Gerald Thatcher, former principal hornist with the National Symphony of Mexico. Subsequent instructors have included Fred Fox, Don Peterson, Wendell Hoss, James Decker, Vincent DeRosa and master classes with Hermann Baumann. Mr. Thatcher has been a member of the Phoenix Symphony, the Utah Symphony, the Pacific Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
He is currently principal horn of the Pasadena Symphony, the New West Symphony and the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, but principally he is a studio player, a recipient of the Most Valuable Player Award from the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences and “arguably the most often heard horn player in the world” due to his performances on some 70 to 80 films per year for the last 20 years.
James has the enviable position of being the favored first horn of multiple Oscar-winning composer John Williams performing in such films as Always, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Sleepers (in which he received an on-screen credit), Nixon, Schindler’s List, JFK, Sabrina, Home Alone, Rosewood, Seven Years in Tibet and The Patriot as well as the fanfare for the 1992 Olympics. He also works regularly with other Hollywood greats Jerry Goldsmith, James Newton Howard, Randy Newman, John Barry, James Horner and Alan Silvestri to name a few and can be heard as well on the tracks to Glory, The Rocketeer, Field of Dreams, X-Men: The Last Stand, Spider-Man 3, Ice Age, Polar Express, Beowulf, Dances with Wolves, Toy Story, Cars, Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, Titanic, Pearl Harbor, Transformers, The Simpsons Movie, Night at the Museum, King Kong, Signs, Peter Pan, Hook, as well as Independence Day and the Star Trek films, among others. Most recently, Mr. Thatcher was deemed principal horn in James Newton Howard’s soundtrack of The Last Airbender directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Thatcher has joined Kristy Morrell on the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music as the co-professor of Horn. Notable students include J. Greg Miller.
Brett Banducci is a composer, violist, and educator residing in Los Angeles. Brett is the 2016 recipient of the Andrew Imbrie Music Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A frequent performer with the Pasadena Symphony, Los Angeles Master Chorale Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, and Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, he is a longtime contributing member to the Hollywood Studio Symphony and has played on countless records, films, and television scores— including recent albums by Madonna and Barbra Streisand.
His compositions have been performed and premiered at Brooklyn’s MATA Festival Interval New Music Series, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Los Angeles-based Hear Now Festival, among others. A devoted educator he spearheaded an innovative composition program for the Young Musicians Foundation in 2015. Brett received his DMA from the University of Southern California in 2016. His primary composition teachers have included Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, Morten Lauridsen, and Byron Adams. He has studied viola with Pamela Goldsmith and Keith Greene. Brett currently hosts a dynamic new podcast called Classical Chops Studio. Subscribe wherever you get your favorite podcasts.