March 4, 2022
Pasadena, CA – The Pasadena Symphony continues its 2021/22 season on Saturday, March 19 with Mozart Symphony No. 40. Mozart’s stormy symphony headlines a colorful program with Grieg’s hugely popular Piano Concerto and Adam Schoenberg’s “Finding Rothko.” Highly sought-after conductor Brett Mitchell leads the orchestra as Artistic Partner for this emotionally-charged repertoire with both matinee and evening performances at 2:00pm and 8:00pm at Ambassador Auditorium.
The concert’s program opens with Emmy Award-winning and Grammy-nominated composer Adam Schoenberg’s “Finding Rothko,” described by the Aspen Times as a “colorful orchestration, rich in textures and a sense of power similar to the painter’s work.” Los Angeles-based Schoenberg is one of the top 10 most performed living composers in the U.S., and the Pasadena Symphony is honored to welcome him as one of the 2021/22 season’s Composers Showcase artists.
Renowned Cuban pianist Aldo López-Gavilán takes center stage for the romantic Piano Concerto written by Edvard Grieg, “the Chopin of the North,” for his beloved wife Clara. Hailed as a “genius” by the Seattle Times, López-Gavilán will ignite Grieg’s masterpiece with his “dazzling technique and rhythmic fire.” In the second half of the program, conductor Brett Mitchell will make the brilliance of Mozart shine with his revelatory exploration of the intensely emotional Symphony No. 40.
The Pasadena Symphony holds the safety of its audience, staff and musicians as its top priority. In order to provide the safest possible experience for all concertgoers, all patrons who are eligible must have received a COVID-19 booster dose in addition to being fully vaccinated in order to attend this performance. Masks are now optional inside the venue. Covid-19 protocols for concerts at Ambassador Auditorium are evolving with LA County Health Department guidelines and will be updated here: pasadenasymphony-pops.org/safety.
Make it an occasion to remember and enjoy dinner in the outdoor, tented Rusnak Symphony Lounge, yet another addition to the elegant concert experience the Pasadena Symphony offers. 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, a full bar and fine wines from the Michero Family serving Riboli Family Wines, plus music 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 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) 793-717,2 or at the Ambassador Box Office starting at noon on concert days.
- What: The Pasadena Symphony presents Mozart Symphony No. 40
Brett Mitchell, conductor
Aldo López-Gavilán, piano
Adam Schoenberg Finding Rothko
Grieg Piano Concerto
Mozart Symphony No. 40
- When: Saturday, March 19, 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 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.
- 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.
Hailed for presenting engaging, in-depth explorations of thoughtfully curated programs. He concluded his tenure as Music Director of the Colorado Symphony in June 2021. Prior to this appointment, he served as the orchestra’s Music Director Designate during the 2016-17 season. He leads the orchestra in ten classical subscription weeks per season as well as a wide variety special programs featuring such guest artists as Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, and Itzhak Perlman.
In August 2021, Mr. Mitchell was named an Artistic Partner with the Pasadena Symphony for their 2021-22 concert season. In September 2021, he was named Artistic Director and Conductor of Oregon’s Sunriver Music Festival, beginning a three-year term in August 2022.
Mr. Mitchell is also in consistent demand as a guest conductor. He made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony in July 2019 and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in September 2019. Highlights of his 2018-19 season included subscription debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and return appearances with the orchestras of Cleveland, Dallas, and Indianapolis. Other upcoming and recent guest engagements include the Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, National, Oregon, and San Antonio symphonies, the Grant Park Festival Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Mitchell also regularly collaborates with the world’s leading soloists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Itzhak Perlman, Rudolf Buchbinder, Kirill Gerstein, James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich, Leila Josefowicz, and Alisa Weilerstein.
From 2013 to 2017, Mr. Mitchell served on the conducting staff of The Cleveland Orchestra. He joined the orchestra as Assistant Conductor in 2013, and was promoted to Associate Conductor in 2015, becoming the first person to hold that title in over three decades and only the fifth in the orchestra’s hundred-year history. In these roles, he led the orchestra in several dozen concerts each season at Severance Hall, Blossom Music Center, and on tour.
From 2007 to 2011, Mr. Mitchell led over one hundred performances as Assistant Conductor of the Houston Symphony. He also held Assistant Conductor posts with the Orchestre National de France, where he worked under Kurt Masur from 2006 to 2009, and the Castleton Festival, where he worked under Lorin Maazel in 2009 and 2010. In 2015, Mr. Mitchell completed a highly successful five-year appointment as Music Director of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, where an increased focus on locally relevant programming and community collaborations resulted in record attendance throughout his tenure.
As an opera conductor, Mr. Mitchell has served as music director of nearly a dozen productions, principally at his former post as Music Director of the Moores Opera Center in Houston, where he led eight productions from 2010 to 2013. His repertoire spans the core works of Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute), Verdi (Rigoletto and Falstaff), and Stravinsky (The Rake’s Progress) to contemporary works by Mark Adamo (Little Women), Robert Aldridge (Elmer Gantry), Daniel Catán (Il Postino and Salsipuedes), and Daron Hagen (Amelia). As a ballet conductor, Mr. Mitchell most recently led a production of The Nutcracker with the Pennsylvania Ballet in collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra during the 2016-17 season.
In addition to his work with professional orchestras, Mr. Mitchell is also well known for his affinity for working with and mentoring young musicians aspiring to be professional orchestral players. His tenure as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra from 2013 to 2017 was highly praised, and included a four-city tour of China in June 2015, marking the orchestra’s second international tour and its first to Asia. Mr. Mitchell is regularly invited to work with the highly talented musicians at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the orchestras at this country’s high-level training programs, such as the National Repertory Orchestra, Texas Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, and Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Born in Seattle in 1979, Mr. Mitchell holds degrees in conducting from the University of Texas at Austin and composition from Western Washington University, which selected him in as its Young Alumnus of the Year in 2014. He also studied at the National Conducting Institute, and was selected by Kurt Masur as a recipient of the inaugural American Friends of the Mendelssohn Foundation Scholarship. Mr. Mitchell was also one of five recipients of the League of American Orchestras’ American Conducting Fellowship from 2007 to 2010.
Praised for his “dazzling technique and rhythmic fire” in the Seattle Times and dubbed a “formidable virtuoso” by The Times (London), Cuban pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán excels in both the classical and jazz worlds as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber-music collaborator, and performer of his own electrifying jazz compositions. He has appeared in such prestigious concert halls as the Amadeo Roldán (Cuba), Teresa Carreño (Venezuela), Bellas Artes (Mexico), Carnegie Hall and Jordan Hall (U.S.), Royal Festival Hall (U.K.), Nybrokajen 11 (Sweden), The Hall of Music (Russia), and Duc de Lombard et Petit Journal Montparnasse (France), as well as venues in Canada, Santo Domingo, Colombia, Spain, Greece, Hong Kong, Burkina Faso, Germany, and Austria.
López-Gavilán’s recent North American engagements include The Florida Orchestra; the Colorado Springs, Chicago, and Boulder philharmonics; the Chautauqua, West Michigan, Mobile, and Santa Fe Youth symphony orchestras; Canada’s Maison symphonique de Montréal; New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center; Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts; the Kennedy Center and the Kreeger Museum in Washington, DC; the Chamber Music Society of Detroit; the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles; and two venues in Washington State, the Edmonds Center for the Arts and Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. In the U.S. he has performed with such conductors as Michael Butterman, Josep Caballé-Domenech, Michael Francis, Scott Speck, and his wife Daiana García.
His U.S. concert activity in the 2020-21 season includes a May 8 virtual recital sponsored by Detroit’s CameraMusic, in which he performs his own works in partnership with his brother, Harlem Quartet first violinist Ilmar Gavilán. On May 21 López-Gavilán will perform his piano concerto Emporium in a return engagement with the West Michigan Symphony. Two U.S. tours with Harlem Quartet are planned for 2021-22. Also scheduled for that season is the debut of his new trumpet concerto: Commissioned by New York’s Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, it will be premiered by that orchestra and the renowned trumpet soloist Arturo Sandoval at Carnegie Hall on February 19, 2022.
López-Gavilán was born in Cuba to a family of internationally acclaimed classical musicians, his father a conductor and composer, his mother a concert pianist. At the age of five, he had written his first musical composition. His mother introduced the budding prodigy to the piano at the age of four, and he began formal piano studies at seven. His first international triumph came at the age of eleven when he won a Danny Kaye International Children’s Award, organized by UNICEF. He made his professional debut at age twelve with the Matanzas Symphony Orchestra and later went on to perform Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba. Parallel to his classical abilities, López-Gavilán developed remarkable skills in improvisation. He was invited to perform in the world-famous Havana Jazz Festival with the legendary Chucho Valdés, who called him “simply a genius, a star.”
His recording career began in 1999 with the CD En el ocaso de la hormiga y el elefante, which won the 2000 Grand Prix at Cubadisco as well as awards in the jazz and first-works categories. In 2005, he was invited to join a group of prestigious Cuban pianists to create an album and documentary in honor of Frank Emilio, Amor y piano. He was also included in a DVD set, Cuban Pianists: The History of Latin Jazz.
López-Gavilán’s second album, Talking to the Universe, was a success with audiences and critics alike. In 2006, he gave a concert of his newest works that was later turned into his third album, Soundbites. Two years later he was included in a documentary on the history of Latin jazz in Cuba titled ¡Manteca, Mondongo y Bacalao con Pan! It was in that same year that he recorded his fourth CD, Dimensional, which allowed him the flexibility for more musical experimentation. He was also hired to compose the music for a TV documentary titled El Proceso: la historia no contada. In 2009 he released his fifth album, López-Gavilán en vivo, and finished his first live concert DVD, Más allá del ocaso, which included orchestral selections and jazz compositions. He also composed original music for the film Casa vieja by acclaimed Cuban director Lester Hamlet.
During the past decade, López-Gavilán’s collaborators have included some of the greatest artists in the classical, popular music, and jazz fields. The late conductor Claudio Abbado invited him to perform with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela in 2006, in a special concert dedicated to the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. Maestro Abbado subsequently invited him to perform Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in Caracas and Havana.
In 2009 López-Gavilán was invited by popular Cuban singer-songwriter Carlos Varela to join his band for a tour of Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay; his acoustic arrangements of Varela’s music won many accolades from critics and fans. In 2010 he joined the São Paulo Jazz Symphonic Orchestra to perform his music in a concert that was recorded and broadcast on national television in Brazil.
López-Gavilán’s Carnegie Hall debut took place in November of 2012, when he was invited to participate in the hall’s prestigious Voces de Latino América festival. That same month he played a two-piano concerto with his colleague Harold López-Nussa in Miami. In May of that year he released his sixth album, De todos los colores y también verde.
In 2014 López-Gavilán toured the U.S., appearing at Florida’s Miami Dade County Auditorium, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and he completed an ASCAP film music workshop under the direction of Robert Kraft at New York University. He also toured extensively in Europe, South America, Canada, and the U.S. with Carlos Varela, for whom he wrote all the string arrangements for an award-winning documentary, The Poet of Havana, that won many awards and was televised for several months by HBO Latino in the U.S.
A milestone in López-Gavilán’s professional and personal life came in early 2015, when he partnered with Harlem Quartet—co-founded by his brother Ilmar, the quartet’s first violinist—for concerts in Calgary, Seattle, and Phoenix. That same year he was invited to play with his jazz quintet at the Centro Cultural Kirchner in Buenos Aires; performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá; and closed the year with a sold-out concert at the Teatro del Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana.
His partnership with Harlem Quartet continued in the summer and fall of 2016 with a U.S. tour that included concerts and residencies at the Rockport (MA) Chamber Music Festival, Chautauqua Institution, Santa Fe College, Las Vegas’s Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, and L.A.’s Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
Since December 2014, when a new era in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba was announced, López-Gavilán has played a continually active role in the cultural exchange between the two countries. In April 2016, through Obama’s President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, he was part of the group of Cuban musicians who collaborated in Cuba with such renowned U.S. artists as Joshua Bell, Usher, Dave Matthews, and Smokey Robinson, A few weeks later López-Gavilán’s music was used to showcase Chanel’s Cruise 2017 Collection—the first fashion show to take place in Havana in recent times—and he partnered with American trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling in a concert at Havana’s Teatro del Museo de Bellas Artes.
Under Joshua Bell’s direction, López-Gavilán aided in organizing Seasons of Cuba, a PBS Special that took place at Lincoln Center in December 2016, celebrating a new era of cultural diplomacy with a vibrant program ranging from Vivaldi classics to Piazzolla tangos and beyond. Some of the prestigious artists joining Bell and López-Gavilán were Dave Matthews, the Chamber Orchestra of Havana, singer-songwriter Carlos Varela, and soprano Larisa Martínez.
During 2016 and 2017 López-Gavilán continued headlining sold-out North American performances in various venues all over the U.S., both as a solo artist and with Harlem Quartet. At the Napa Festival in July 2016 he rejoined Bell for his Seasons of Cuba concert, and that same month he premiered Emporium, his first concerto for piano and orchestra, with Nevada’s Classical Tahoe Orchestra led by Joel Revzen.
In early 2018 López-Gavilán continued to tour extensively in the US, making his debut with the Florida Orchestra under the renowned British conductor Michael Francis. A few weeks later he returned to Florida to play Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major in four concerts with the South Florida Symphony Orchestra led by Sebrina María Alfonso. In the fall of 2018, López-Gavilán became the first Cuban pianist to play at Piano aux Jacobins, a highly celebrated piano festival in Toulouse that has presented such keyboard giants as Sviatoslav Richter, Alfred Brendel, Martha Argerich, and Murray Perahia.
López-Gavilán began the year 2019 with three performances of Rhapsody in Blue at The Florida Orchestra under the direction of Thomas Wilkins, its former resident conductor. He continued his North American tour in the spring of that year with concerts in Covington, LA; Chicago, IL; Montreal, QC; Napa, CA; Boston, MA; and Colorado Springs, CO. He also performed with his jazz quartet and a renowned group of guests at the iconic Teatro Marti in Havana. The concert was filmed for a concert DVD and streaming special, López-Gavilán Live at Teatro Martí.
With the summer of 2019 came the fulfillment of a longstanding dream of López-Gavilán and his brother Ilmar: recording an album together. López-Gavilán wrote some new material for this special occasion, while several of his existing compositions were arranged for violin and piano by Ilmar. The resulting album, Brothers, contains a number of tracks that will be supported with live concerts by the duo.
López-Gavilán and Ilmar are featured in the documentary Los Hermanos / The Brothers, which tracks their parallel lives and momentous first performances together despite the geopolitical divide. It features a genre-bending score composed by López-Gavilán, performed largely with his brother, and guest appearances by Joshua Bell and Harlem Quartet. A PatchWorks Films production by Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider, Los Hermanos is screening at film festivals worldwide and will be nationally broadcast on PBS in the fall of 2021.
In the fall of 2019, López-Gavilán continued touring in the U.S. but also performed in Bogotá, Paris, and Angoulême—where his new solo album Playgrounds was released by the French label Esprit du Piano. This album represents a new stage for him as a composer and brings together a very wide range of musical styles including jazz, world music, Afro, experimental music, and Cuban sounds and rhythms. In November 2019, López-Gavilán was honored as the composer in residence at Habana Clásica Festival, where many internationally known musicians performed a wide assortment of his compositions.
López-Gavilán and his jazz trio made their Canadian debut in March 2020 with two memorable concerts: one at the Isabel Bader Centre in Kingston, ON, and one at Toronto’s Jazz Bistro. These were the last live concerts López-Gavilán played before COVID-19 brought such activity to a temporary halt. But he has continued composing and performing for his fans in Cuba and worldwide, taking part in several virtual concerts such as Festival Napa Valley’s One Night, Many Voices, which also featured Joshua Bell, sopranos Larisa Martínez and Nadine Sierra, tenor Michael Fabiano, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City. López-Gavilán closed the event with a swinging jazz performance by his band direct from Havana.
Emmy Award-winning and Grammy® nominated Adam Schoenberg (b, November 15, 1980) has twice been named among the top 10 most performed living composers by orchestras in the United States. His works have received performances and premieres at the Library of Congress, Kennedy Center, New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Hollywood Bowl.
Schoenberg has received commissions from several major American orchestras, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Up! and La Luna Azul), Kansas City Symphony (American Symphony and Picture Studies), Los Angeles Philharmonic and Aspen Music Festival and School (Bounce), and San Francisco Symphony (Losing Earth). Additional commissions include works for Carlos Miguel Prieto and Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerry Junkin and the University of Texas Wind Ensemble and Texas Performing Arts, and concertos for Anne Akiko Meyer, PROJECT Trio, and the Dranoff International 2 Piano Foundation.
Recent and upcoming collaborations include the Phoenix Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Boise Philharmonic, Iris Orchestra, Charleston Symphony, Amarillo Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Arkansas Symphony, and the Nu Deco Ensemble. Recordings include Schoenberg’s orchestral works featuring the Kansas City Symphony, an arrangement of When You Wish Upon a Star for Anne Akiko Meyers and the London Symphony Orchestra, and a compendium including his keyboard works by pianist Nadia Shpachenko. Future recordings include his chamber music featuring the Blakemore Trio, and his Symphony No. 2 “Migration” with the University of Texas Wind Ensemble.
Awards & Honors
Adam Schoenberg received two 2018 Grammy® Award-nominations, including Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Picture Studies. He has been Composer-in-Residence with the Fort Worth Symphony (2015-17), Lexington Philharmonic (2013-14), Kansas City Symphony (2012-13), Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University (2012) and the Aspen Music Festival & School’s M.O.R.E Music Program (2010-13). He won several awards, including ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composer Award for his orchestra work Finding Rothko, the Palmer-Dixon Prize from The Juilliard School and the Brian M. Israel Prize from the Society for New Music. Additionally, Adam Schoenberg received the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts & Letters in 2006 and the MacDowell Fellowship in both 2009 and 2010.
An accomplished and versatile film composer, Schoenberg participated in the 2017 Sundance Composers Lab, and has scored two feature-length films and several shorts. Highlights include That Far Corner: Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Angeles (2019 Emmy Award for Best Musical Composition), and Graceland, co-written with his father, Steven Schoenberg, which premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival and received its nationwide theatrical release in the spring of 2013. He also co-composed the new theme package for ABC’s Nightline.
A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Schoenberg earned his Master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Robert Beaser and John Corigliano.
He is currently a professor at Occidental College, where he runs the composition and film scoring programs. He makes his home in Los Angeles with his wife, screenwriter Janine Salinas Schoenberg, and their two sons, Luca and Leo.