September 28, 2023

Pasadena, CA – The Pasadena Symphony opens its 96th season on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at Ambassador Auditorium with both matinee and evening performances at 2:00pm and 8:00pm. The six-concert series of Classical Music’s Greatest Hits, will open with Tchaikovsky’s fate-filled Symphony No. 4. Highly sought-after conductor Brett Mitchell returns to kick off the 2023-24 season as one of six Artistic Partners to take the podium this season for the orchestra’s Music Director search.

Pasadena’s most anticipated opening night of the concert season will showcase the fresh talent of Armenian Violinist Diana Adamyan on Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. First Prize winner of the 2018 Yehudi Menuhin International Competition and the 2020 Khachaturian Violin Competition, Adamyan has been deemed “one of the new generation’s most promising and gifted young concert soloists” by The Violin Channel.

The 23/24 season ushers in the Pasadena Symphony’s fourth annual Composer’s Showcase, featuring work by emerging and established living composers. The Kennedy Center’s first composer-in-residence, Mason Bates’ Garages of the Valley will open the program, taking inspiration from the great inventors of our time who dreamed up the digital age in the most low-tech of spaces dotting the landscape of Silicon Valley. The magical intersection between music and technology is a central theme of Bates’ work, including his GRAMMY-winning opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.

The Pasadena Symphony provides a vibrant experience specially designed for the music lover, the social butterfly or a date night out. Celebrate opening night in style in the Symphony Lounge, a posh setting along Ambassador Auditorium’s beautiful outdoor plaza, where patrons enjoy uniquely prepared menus for both lunch and dinner, fine wines from The Michero Family, and music before the concert and during intermission.

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 $42. Both may be purchased online at www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org or by calling (626) 793-7172.

IF YOU GO
  • What: The Pasadena Symphony presents Tchaikovsky 4

Brett Mitchell, conductor
Diana Adamyan, violin

Mason Bates           Garages of the Valley
Mendelssohn           Violin Concerto
Tchaikovsky             Symphony No. 4

  • When: Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm
  • Where: Ambassador Auditorium | 131 South St. John Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105
  • Cost: Tickets start at $42.00
  • Parking: Valet parking is available on St. John Ave 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 may be pre-purchased or purchased onsite. Parking purchased onsite is cash only.
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ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Brett Mitchell
Conductor

Hailed for presenting engaging, in-depth explorations of thoughtfully curated programs, American conductorBrett Mitchell is in consistent demand on the podium at home and abroad. Recent engagements have included appearances with the Dallas, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, National, North Carolina, Oregon, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Vancouver symphonies; the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl; the Cleveland and Minnesota orchestras; the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; the Grant Park Festival Orchestra; and a two-week tour with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Mitchell also regularly collaborates with the world’s leading soloists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Itzhak Perlman, Kirill Gerstein, Conrad Tao, Rudolf Buchbinder, James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich, Leila Josefowicz, and Alisa Weilerstein.

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.

From 2017 to 2021, Mr. Mitchell served as Music Director of the Colorado Symphony in Denver; he previously served as Music Director Designate during the 2016-17 season. During his five-season tenure, he is credited with deepening the orchestra’s engagement with its audience via in-depth demonstrations from both the podium and the piano. He also expanded the orchestra’s commitment to contemporary American repertoire—with a particular focus on the music of Mason Bates, Missy Mazzoli, and Kevin Puts—through world premieres, recording projects, and commissions. In addition, Mr. Mitchell spearheaded collaborations with such local partners as Colorado Ballet, Denver Young Artists Orchestra, and El Sistema Colorado. In summarizing his tenure, The Denver Post wrote that “Mitchell has been a bright and engaging presence over the years, delving into the history of certain well-worn pieces while leading expert renditions of them.”

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 talented young musicians at this country’s high-level training programs, such as the Cleveland Institute of Music, the National Repertory Orchestra, Texas Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, and Interlochen Center for the Arts. He has also served on the faculties of the schools of music at Northern Illinois University (2005-07), the University of Houston (2012-13), and the University of Denver (2019).

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 with Leonard Slatkin at the National Conducting Institute, and was selected by Kurt Masur as a recipient of the inaugural American Friends of the Mendelssohn Foundation Scholarship in 2008. Mr. Mitchell was also one of five recipients of the League of American Orchestras’ American Conducting Fellowship from 2007 to 2010.

Diana Adamyan
Violin

Diana Adamyan is quickly gaining an international reputation as one of her generation’s most outstanding violinists. After winning the First Prize at the 2018 Yehudi Menuhin International Competition, the world’s most prestigious prize for young violinists, she went on to receive First Prize in the 2020 Khachaturian Violin Competition.

In Summer 2022, Ms. Adamyan makes her debut at the Aspen Festival performing Dvorak with Lionel Bringuier, and with the Boston Pops Orchestra performing Mendelssohn at Boston Symphony Hall. Next season, she returns to the Göttinger Symphonieorchester to perform Beethoven, and the Niederbayerische Philharmonie in Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. She will also make her debut performing Sibelius with the Staatsorchester Darmstadt, and performing Beethoven with the Bruckner Orchester Linz in Munich’s Prinzregententheater, and will return once more to the Göttinger Symphonie in Dvorak. Recent and upcoming engagements also include recitals in Tokyo and France, and her debut with the Deutsche Symphonie Orchester at the Philharmonie in Berlin.

Since winning First Prize at the Menuhin Competition, Ms. Adamyan has received numerous proposals to participate in the concerts around the world, from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, to the Seiji Ozawa Academy in Switzerland, and the Matsumoto International Music Festival in Japan. Following an invitation from Maestro Pinchas Zukerman to participate under his guidance in summer masterclasses of the Ottawa National Arts Center, Ms. Adamyan was invited to appear as a soloist in Gala Concert of NAC, alongside Mr. Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman, Jessica Linnebach and other renowned musicians. Later, she also appeared alongside Mr. Zukerman playing the Bach Double Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic at Cadogan Hall in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Born in 2000 in Yerevan, Armenia, into a family of musicians, Ms. Adamyan currently studies at the Munich University of Performing Arts with world-renowned teacher, Professor Ana Chumachenco, whose distinguished students have included Lisa Batiashvili, Julia Fischer, and Veronika Eberle. Previously, she studied at the Tchaikovsky School of Music (Yerevan) with Professor Petros Haykazyan and at Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory with Professor Eduard Tadevosyan.

Ms. Adamyan is the recipient of a scholarship from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben and under the patronage of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and “YerazArt” organization in Boston. She performed on a violin crafted by Urs Mächler for the Menuhin Competition, and now performs on an instrument made by Nicolò Gagliano in 1760, generously on loan from the Henri Moerel Foundation. 

Mason Bates
Composer

Composer of the Grammy-winning opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Mason Bates is imaginatively transforming the way classical music is created and experienced as a composer, DJ, and curator. As the first composer-in-residence appointed by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, he presented a diverse array of artists on his series KC Jukebox using immersive production and stagecraft. Championed by legendary conductors from Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas and Marin Alsop, his symphonic music is the first to receive widespread acceptance for its unique integration of electronic sounds. Named as the most-performed composer of his generation in a recent survey of American music, Bates has also composed for feature film including Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts.

Appearing on international stages this season is Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra, for animated film and live orchestra. A collaboration with multi-Oscar-winning Gary Rydstrom of Lucasfilm and Jim Capobianco of Aerial Contrivance, the work explores the connection between creativity and technology with the help of a magical Sprite, who flies through instruments as they are played. The film is available to rent or purchase on Apple TV or stream on Apple Music. The Grammy-nominated soundtrack was recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Edwin Outwater for Sony Classical.

Recent and upcoming premieres include Whalesong, conducted by Kwamé Ryan and commissioned by the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall London for radio and television broadcast, and a new work for period instruments for Philharmonia Baroque. In 2022, acclaimed pianist Daniil Trifonov took Bates’ Piano Concert on tour including performances by The Philadelphia Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Spanish National Orchestra and the Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France.

Now in its second production, his hit opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, which one the 2019 Grammy for Best Opera, goes to Calgary Opera and Utah Opera this season. The concert opener Rhapsody of Steve Jobs, based on the opera, saw its premiere performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra followed by performances at Atlanta Symphony. A new opera is in the works based on The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay for the Metropolitan Opera.

Highly informed by his work as a DJ, his curatorial approach integrates adventurous music, ambient information, and social platforms in a fluid and immersive way. Working in clubs under the name DJ Masonic, Bates has developed Mercury Soul, a show combining DJing and classical music, to packed crowds with clubs and orchestras around the country. A diverse artist exploring the ways classical music integrates into contemporary cultures, he serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

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 industries, 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.