Arts & Entertainment

California Philharmonic Marks 25th Anniversary of Presenting Summer Concert Seasons in 2020

The California Philharmonic will return to the Walt Disney Concert Hall this summer. – Courtesy photo / Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0)

2020 is an exciting year for the California Philharmonic, celebrating two momentous anniversaries – Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday and its 25th anniversary of presenting summer concert seasons.

In 1995, Music Director Victor Vener founded the California Philharmonic Orchestra that soon attracted 4,000 to 5,000 music lovers to concerts at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and the infield of Santa Anita Park in Arcadia during summer concert seasons. Soon those summer seasons also included Sunday matinee performances at The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

Maestro Vener’s mission of always including his “Four Essential Elements” — entertainment, enlightenment, education and excitement — in each performance he conducts has built an enthusiastic and loyal following. 

“I am so gratified that the combination of classical and popular music has, for all these years, brought enjoyment to so many audiences,” Vener said.  “The programming invites all ages and all levels of music knowledge.”

The Maestro and Cal Phil return to The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sunday, June 21 to begin the 25th Summer Season with a signature concert celebrating classical masterworks and today’s classics with its own “Beethoven Birthday Bash.” Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 “Ode to Joy” features the 200-voice Cal Phil Chorale directed by Chorus Maestra Marya Basaraba joined by L.A. Daiku Director Jeffrey Bernstein. The afternoon will also include memorable music from “Cats,” “Oklahoma!” and “Frozen II” featuring soprano Jamie Chamberlin, tenor Nathan Granner, mezzo-soprano Danielle Bond and baritone Michael B. O’Halloran.

Sunday, June 28’s concert enchants music lovers with “Lords, Thrones & Sorcerers,” music from Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “Beauty and The Beast,” and more.  Music from the motion picture “The Red Violin” will be performed by Elizabeth Pitcairn on the actual Red Violin, the Mendelssohn Stradivarius, that inspired the film.

“Bernstein and the Classics” on Sunday, July 26, celebrates the award-winning music of Leonard Bernstein with his Overture to “Candide,” “Symphonic Dances from ‘West Side Story’” and “Symphonic Suite from ‘On the Waterfront.’” The concert includes Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” Cal Phil Composer Emeritus Roger Allen Ward’s “Harp Concerto” featuring soloist Maria Casale, Cal Phil Principal Harpist and Gold Medal winner of the 1989 USA International Harp Competition, and Mozart’s “Oboe Concerto” with soloist Francisco Castillo, Cal Phil Principal Oboe and winner of the Costa Rica National Award.

“Olympic Greats, Wars and Warriors” on Saturday, Aug. 8 celebrates movie memories made by Academy Award-winning composer John Williams, including “The Raiders March,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Star Wars” called “the greatest movie score of all time” and winning the 1978 Academy Award, along with his “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” for the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics that won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition in 1984. The concert includes Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” Verdi’s “Requiem, Dies Irae,” Tchaikovsky’s exhilarating “1812 Overture” with the Cal Phil Chorale directed by Maestra Marya Basaraba.

“The Fiery Passions of Spain, Bolero” on Sunday, Aug. 23 will close Maestro Vener and Cal Phil’s 25th Summer Season.  Selections include “Man of La Mancha,” the USC Conquest March from Alfred Newman’s score for “Captain from Castile,” “Spanish Eyes,” “Lady of Spain,” Chabrier’s “España, rhapsody for orchestra,” de Falla’s “Three Cornered Hat,” Ravel’s “Bolero” and Rodrigo’s “Concierto Aranjuez” featuring Flamenco and classical guitarist composer Adam Del Monte.

“It is my privilege to lead our board of directors into another summer of quality entertainment,” said Kevin Baines, Chairman of the California Philharmonic Board of Directors.  “The programming, the world class musicians and guest artists that eagerly accept the maestro’s invitation and, of course, Victor’s charming way imparting little-known tidbits about the composers makes the afternoon so special.”

“Talks with the Maestro,” a pre-concert exchange between the Maestro and concertgoers, will again be held before each concert this summer at The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. Vener shares insider information about the composers and music featured on each program, as well as insight about music history, the instruments of the orchestra and even the featured artists performing that afternoon.

A five-concert season subscription starts at $165. For more information, visit

February 14, 2020

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