December 14, 2016 

Pasadena, CA – Start your New Year off right with the Pasadena Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor Nicholas McGegan as he delivers Baroque Connections: Bach & Handel, on January 21, 2017 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 quintessential Baroque repertoire. “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, Soprano Sherezade Panthaki will take on four of Handel’s most popular and heart-rending arias. 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).

Colburn artist William Hagen will join the orchestra in the second half of the program for Bach’s Violin Concerto No. 1. A protégé of the Colburn Conservatory’s Robert Lipsett and legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman, William has been hailed as a “brilliant virtuoso…a standout” (Dallas Morning News), having already reached international acclaim at the ripe age of twenty-three. 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 21, 2017 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 Connections: Bach & Handel.
    Nicholas McGegan, conductor
    Sherezade Panthaki, soprano
    William Hagen, violin

    Suite No. 1
    Let the Bright Seraphim
    Tornami a vagheggiar
    Brandenburg Concerto No. 3
    Prophetic raptures swell my breast
    Lascia ch’io pianga
    Violin Concerto No.1
    Water Music Suite No. 2
  • When: Saturday, January 21 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm
  • 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.
  • Sierra Auto 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

William Hagen

Twenty-three-year-old violinist William Hagen is the third prize winner of the 2015 Queen Elisabeth Competition (the highest-ranking American since 1985). Having captured the attention of the Belgian press and public during the competition, William has been hailed as a “brilliant virtuoso…a standout” (The Dallas Morning News) with “an intellectual command of line and score, and just the right amount of power” ( who “plays with an obvious and sincere love for the very act of music making” (North Texas Performing Arts News). Already a seasoned performer on concert stages around the United States and abroad, William’s 2016–2017 season includes debuts with the Oregon and Pasadena symphonies and recitals at Ravinia and the Center for Fine Arts in Brussels, among others.

Since his professional debut at age nine with the Utah Symphony and Keith Lockhart conducting, William has performed with conductors Marin Alsop, Christian Arming, Plácido Domingo, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Fabio Mechetti, Ludovic Morlot, Ward Stare, Michael Stern, Michel Tabachnik, Arie van Beek, and Hugh Wolff; and with the symphony orchestras of Albany, Fort Worth, Jacksonville, St. Louis, and Shreveport; the Utah Symphony; the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; and with the Aspen Philharmonic at the Aspen Music Festival. Abroad, he has performed with the Brussels Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the ORF Radio-Sinfonieorchester, the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra (Bulgaria), and with the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège in a tour of Belgium. He has also performed in Japan with the Yokohama Sinfonietta and the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra. Recent performances include return engagements with the Utah Symphony (Deer Valley Music Festival), Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and the Aspen Music Festival and School; recitals in Brussels, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and at the Colmar Festival (France); and performances with Gidon Kremer, Christian Tetzlaff, and Steven Isserlis as part of the Chamber Music Connects the World festival at the Kronberg Academy (Germany).

Active and enthusiastic as a chamber musician, William has performed with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players in New York City, the Colburn Chamber Music Society in Los Angeles, and at the Aspen Music Festival and School with artists such as Veronika Eberle, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Edgar Meyer, Steven Osborne, Orli Shaham, Robert Spano, Joaquin Valdepeñas, and Joyce Yang. William has also had the privilege of performing Mozart’s Sonata K. 454 with pianist Menahem Pressler in Los Angeles.

A native of Utah, William first heard the violin at the age of 3 and began lessons at the age of 4. At age 10, he entered the studio of Robert Lipsett at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts, commuting to Los Angeles every week for lessons. After studying with Itzhak Perlman at The Juilliard School for two years, William returned to Los Angeles in 2012 to continue studying with Robert Lipsett at the Colburn Conservatory of Music. In Fall 2016, William joins the prestigious Kronberg Academy in Germany. He is an alumnus of the Verbier Academy and the Perlman Music Program, and spent many summers at the Aspen Music Festival and School. William plays on an Andrea Guarneri violin (Cremona, c. 1675.)

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.