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Symphony Concert Is an Ode to Romance

First published in the Feb. 3 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

On the heels of a strong turnout for January’s annual Baroque concert, the Pasadena Symphony orchestra sets the tone for a romantic Valentine’s weekend with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto on Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Ambassador Auditorium with both matinee and evening performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Russian American conductor and music director of Chicago Opera Theater, Lidiya Yankovskaya takes to the podium for the Symphony’s ode to romance, which pairs Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” fantasy overture with one of the most-loved violin concertos of all time, written during an emotionally turbulent time in the composer’s life. There’s no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with the most famous love letters ever penned to music.
The concert opens with “Elegia Andina,” a sweet dedication and self-reflection from Gabriela Lena Frank, included in the Washington Post’s list of the 35 most significant female composers in history. From a multicultural background with Peruvian, Chinese, Lithuanian and Jewish descent, Frank explores her roots with pulsing Peruvian rhythms glittering throughout the piece.
Korean virtuoso Chee-Yun, hailed by The New York Times as “a talented instrumentalist, with the kind of high-gloss tone that pulls sensuously at the listener’s ear,” shows off her chops for Tchaikovsky’s technically rigorous and emotionally stirring Violin Concerto. The fiery program concludes with the exotic rhythms of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol,” taking the audience on an aural journey to Spain.
In order to provide the safest possible experience for all concertgoers, the Pasadena Symphony has updated its COVID-19 vaccination requirements for performances at the Ambassador Auditorium. 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.
Children 5 years and older who are fully vaccinated, and adults who have been fully vaccinated but are not yet eligible for a booster, will be allowed to attend. Masks are required to be worn inside the venue at all times, with N95, KN95 and KN94 masks strongly recommended. For the most up-to-date safety protocols, visit pasadenasymphony-pops.org/symphony-covid-safety/.
Make it an occasion to remember and treat your Valentine to dinner in the outdoor, tented Rusnak Symphony Lounge. A posh setting along the auditorium’s beautiful outdoor plaza, patrons can expect to 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 the Ambassador Auditorium, 131 South St. John Ave., Pasadena.
Subscription packages start as low as $99. Single tickets start at $35 and may be purchased online at pasadenasymphony-pops.org, or by calling (626) 793-7172.


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