Terrence Wilson

Terrence Wilson

September 29, 2022

Pasadena, CA – The Pasadena Symphony opens its 95th season with Mozart & Saint-Saëns on Saturday, October 22, 2022 at Ambassador Auditorium with both matinee and evening performances at 2:00pm and 8:00pm. Internationally recognized for his energetic presence, imaginative programming and compelling musicianship, conductor Vinay Parameswaran will kick off the 2022-23 Symphony series as one of six Artistic Partners to take the podium this season as part of the orchestra’s Music Director search.

“The conductors we have selected as Artistic Partners during our search for a new Music Director have curated each concert for you to enjoy what the Pasadena Symphony is known for – the diversity of high art and entertainment that is accessible to all,” says CEO Lora Unger adding “we strive to create a socially vibrant concert-going experience where people feel invited, uplifted, and most importantly, where people feel joy.”

To open the program, the Symphony ushers in their third annual Composer’s Showcase, featuring work by emerging and established living composers with Nokuthula Ngwenyama’s thought-provoking Primal Message, which plays on the idea of humanity’s first message in a bottle hurdled into space 25,000 light years away. Deemed as “one of the biggest pianistic talents to have emerged in this country in the last 25 years” (Baltimore Sun), the Pasadena Symphony is excited to welcome back Terrence Wilson for Saint-Saënswidely popular Piano Concerto No. 2. The evening caps off with Rossini’s Overture to La Scala di Seta and finally, Mozart’s tempestuous Symphony No. 39.

The Pasadena Public Health Department recommends all guests either be fully vaccinated or obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to entry to Ambassador Auditorium, but it is not required. Masks are strongly recommended but are not required. As conditions in the community evolve, the Pasadena Symphony reserves the right to update policies with a focus on public safety. For the most up to date venue safety protocols, visit pasadenasymphony-pops.org/symphony-covid-safety/.

The Pasadena Symphony provides a vibrant experience specially designed for the music lover, the social butterfly or a date night out and the inner epicurean in us all. Celebrate opening night in style in the luxurious Symphony Lounge, yet another addition to the delightful and elegant concert experience the Pasadena Symphony has to offer. A posh setting along Ambassador Auditorium’s beautiful outdoor plaza, patrons enjoy uniquely prepared menus for both lunch and dinner, fine wines from The Michero Family, plus music before the concert and during intermission.Ambassador Auditorium

All concerts are held at Ambassador Auditorium, 131 South St. John Ave, Pasadena, CA. Subscription packages start at as low as $99, with single tickets starting at $40. Both may be purchased online at www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org or by calling (626) 793-7172.


If You Go
  • What: The Pasadena Symphony presents Mozart & Saint-Saëns

Vinay Parameswaran, conductor
Terrence Wilson, piano

Nokuthula Ngwenyama     Primal Message for String Orchestra, Harp and Percussion
Saint-Saëns                       Piano Concerto No. 2
Rossini                               Overture to La Scala di Seta
Mozart                                Symphony No. 39

  • When: Saturday, October 22, 2022 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm
  • Where: Ambassador Auditorium | 131 South St. John Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105
  • Cost: Tickets start at $40.00
  • 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.

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.


Vinay Parameswaran

Internationally recognized for his energetic presence, imaginative programming, and compelling musicianship, Vinay Parameswaran is one of the most exciting and versatile young conductors on the podium today. American born and of Indian descent, Parameswaran is the Associate Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra. In this role, he leads The Cleveland Orchestra in several dozen concerts each season at Severance Hall, Blossom Music Festival, and on tour. He also serves as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra.

Highlights of the 20-21 season included Parameswaran’s classical subscription debut with The Cleveland Orchestra, his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and return appearances with the Toledo Symphony. In May of 2021, Parameswaran was a recipient of a Career Assistance Award by the Solti Foundation U.S. Recent highlights have included debuts with the Detroit Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, Tucson Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Vermont Symphony, and the Eugene Symphony.

In the summer of 2019, Parameswaran made his classical subscription debut with The Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival in a program of Ives, Bernstein, and Rachmaninoff. He also led The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra on an acclaimed four-city European tour that included a performance at the Musikverein in Vienna.

Parameswaran came to Cleveland in August of 2017 following three seasons as associate conductor of the Nashville Symphony, where he led over 150 performances.  During the 2016-17 season, Parameswaran made his subscription debut with the Nashville Symphony conducting works by Gabriella Smith, Grieg, and Prokofiev.

In the summer of 2017, Parameswaran was a Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. He has participated in conducting masterclasses with David Zinman at the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, as well as with Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

Equally at home in both symphonic and operatic repertoire, Parameswaran has led performances of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love with Curtis Opera Theater.  In Cleveland, he has assisted Franz Welser-Möst on productions of Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. Parameswaran is the conductor on the album Two x Four featuring the Curtis 20/21 ensemble alongside violinists Jaime Laredo and Jennifer Koh, featuring works by Bach, David Ludwig, Philip Glass, and Anna Clyne.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Parameswaran holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music and political science from Brown University, where he graduated with honors.  At Brown, he began his conducting studies with Paul Phillips.  He received an Artist Diploma in conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with renowned pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller as the Albert M. Greenfield Fellow.

Terrence Wilson

Acclaimed by the Baltimore Sun as “one of the biggest pianistic talents to have emerged in this country in the last 25 years” pianist Terrence Wilson has appeared as soloist with the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Washington, DC (National Symphony), San Francisco, St. Louis, and with the orchestras of Cleveland, Minnesota, and Philadelphia and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Conductors with whom he has worked include Christoph Eschenbach, Alan Gilbert, Neeme Järvi, Jesús López-Cobos, Lawrence Renes, Robert Spano, Yuri Temirkanov, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and Gunther Herbig.

Abroad, Terrence Wilson has played concerti with such ensembles as the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland, the Malaysian Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He has toured with orchestras in the US and abroad, including a tour of the US with the Sofia Festival Orchestra (Bulgaria) and in Europe with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Yuri Temirkanov.

An active recitalist, Terrence Wilson made his New York City recital debut at the 92nd Street Y, and his Washington, DC recital debut at the Kennedy Center. In Europe he has given recitals at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Lourvre in Paris, and countless other major venues. In the US he has given recitals at Lincoln Center in New York City (both Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall), the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the Caramoor Festival in Katonah, NY, San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre, and for the La Jolla Chamber Music Society. An avid chamber musician, he performs regularly with the Ritz Chamber Players. Festival appearances include the Blossom Festival, Tanglewood, Wolf Trap, with the San Francisco Symphony at Stern Grove Park, and an appearance with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra on July 4, 2015 before an audience of over fifteen thousand.

During the 2017-2018 season, Terrence Wilson appeared as guest soloist with the Alabama Symphony and made his debut with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. He also made his debut with the Richmond Symphony in performances of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. Other highlights of the season included a return appearance with the New Jersey Symphony, and chamber music performances with the Ritz Chamber Players in Jacksonville, Florida.

In the 2018-2019 season, Wilson returns as guest soloist with the Omaha Symphony, gives his debut performance with the Hilton Head Symphony, and performs recitals of the complete sets of Rachmaninoff’s Études Tableaux Op. 33 and Op. 39 in advance of a recording of both sets. He will also appear with the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia.

Also on the horizon for the coming seasons is the commission, premiere performance and recording of a new solo piano work by American composer Michael Daugherty.

Terrence Wilson has received numerous awards and prizes, including the SONY ES Award for Musical Excellence, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the Juilliard Petschek Award. He has also been featured on several radio and television broadcasts, including NPR’s “Performance Today,” WQXR radio in New York, and programs on the BRAVO Network, the Arts & Entertainment Network, public television, and as a guest on late night network television. In 2011, Wilson was nominated for a Grammy in the category of “Best Instrumental Soloist With an Orchestra” for his (world premiere) recording with the Nashville Symphony conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero of Michael Daugherty’s Deus ex Machina for piano and orchestra – written for Wilson in 2007.

Terrence Wilson is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he studied with Yoheved Kaplinsky. He has also enjoyed the invaluable mentorship of the Romanian pianist and teacher Zitta Zohar. A native of the Bronx, he resides in Montclair, New Jersey.



Nokuthula Ngwenyama

“Mother of Peace” and “Lion” in Zulu, Nokuthula Endo Ngwenyama’s performances as orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber musician garner great attention.  Gramaphone proclaims her as “providing solidly shaped music of bold mesmerizing character.”  As a composer, Uptown Magazine featured her “A Poet of Sound.”

As a performer, Ms. Ngwenyama gained international prominence winning the Primrose International Viola Competition at 16.  The following year she won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, which led to debuts at the Kennedy Center and the 92nd Street ‘Y.’  A recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, she has performed with orchestras and as recitalist the world over.

During the 2021-22 season Ms. Ngwenyama collaborated with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio on the premiere of Elegy for piano quartet, lead commissioned by the Linton Chamber Series and supported by the Arizona Friends of Music, Chamber Music Monterrey Bay, Chamber Music Northwest, Chamber Music Tulsa, Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle, the Kennedy Center, Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and the Phoenix Chamber Music Society.  She joined the Oregon Mozart Players with maestro Kelly Kuo performing Dobrinka Tabakova’s ‘Suite in Old Style’ and returned to the Colburn School as an Amplify Artist, premiering Cars Talk for violin, viola, cello and bass.  As a member of the group Umama Womama she joined fellow instrumentalists and composers Valerie Coleman and Hannah Lash to premiere a jointly written trio commissioned by Chamber Music Northwest, Phoenix Chamber Music Society and Clarion Concerts. Primal Message was performed by her and the Orquesta Nacional de España, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the New Jersey, Toronto and San Francisco Symphonies.

Ms. Ngwenyama has performed at the White House and testified before Congress on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  An avid educator, she served as visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.  She also served as director of the Primrose International Viola Competition and is past president of the American Viola Society.  She curates Composer’s Choice, a co-production of ASU/Kerr Cultural Center, Phoenix Chamber Music Society, and Peace Mama Productions (PMP).  It features 21st century music and its creators – from the concert hall to television, game and beyond – in a chamber setting.

Born in Los Angeles, California of Zimbabwean-Japanese parentage, Nokuthula Endo Ngwenyama  (No-goo-TOO-lah En-doh En-gwen-YAH-mah) studied theory and counterpoint with Mary Ann Cummins, Warren Spaeth and Dr. Herbert Zipper at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences.  She also appeared on Sylvia Kunin’s Emmy-nominated ‘A Musical Encounter’ series with host Lynn Harrell and was an orchestral soloist in the American Film Foundation documentary Never Give Up: The 20th Century Odyssey of Herbert Zipper.  She is an alumna of the Colburn School for the Performing Arts (now the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts) and the Curtis Institute of Music, where her theory and counterpoint teachers were Edward Aldwell, Jennifer Higdon and David Loeb.  As a Fulbright Scholar she attended the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris and received a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University.  She is the first composer in residence of the Phoenix Chamber Music Society and plays on a 1597 Antonius and Hieronymus Amati viola from the Biggs Collection.