San Bernardino Symphony to open 91st Season September 14

Photo Tom Pease:  Maestro Anthony Parnther will conduct the inaugural concert of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra’s 91st season on September 14, 2019 at the California Theatre.
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The San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra will open their 91st performance season September 14 under the baton of Maestro Anthony Parnther.

The award-winning Maestro made his debut appearance with the San Bernardino Symphony in October 2017 to conduct Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony as the first of ten conductor candidates. The resulting performance evoked the most rousing and lengthy standing ovation heard in the California Theatre in years with Parnther remaining an audience favorite throughout the search process.

Now, with the Maestro firmly under contract, the Symphony’s opening concert portends to eclipse previous records with one of the most challenging pieces of music in the neoclassical repertoire, Carl Orff’s soaring and dramatic Carmina Burana.

Described as ‘total theatre’ where music, words and movement work together in producing an overwhelming effect, Orff’s masterpiece combines classical Greek tragedy and Italian Baroque musical theatre to create what the composer described as a “scenic cantata.” Based on 24 poems from the medieval collection Carmina Burana: Cantiones profanae cantoribus et choris cantandae comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis (“Songs of Beuern: Secular songs for singers and choruses  to be sung together with instruments and magical images”), it was written between 1935 and 1936 for soloists, choruses and orchestra, it was originally conceived as a choreographed stage work.

Performing the challenging vocals will be soprano Holly Sedillos, counter tenor Darryl Taylor, and baritone Zachary Gordin. The superb Los Robles Master Chorale directed by Lesley Leighton will lend more than 60 voices to the production.

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“The Symphony’s Artist Planning Committee scheduled this opening concert in anticipation of a ‘grand welcome’ to the new music director,” shared Symphony Board President Dean McVay. “Carmina Burana is not an easy piece to pull off, with a huge choir, orchestra, and soloists, and to hand it to our new conductor as his first piece in is a lot to ask, and yet Anthony has embraced this piece wholeheartedly, fearlessly, and will show the Southern California musical community a hint of great things to come under his leadership. What a glorious new beginning for the San Bernardino Symphony!”

Also on the playbill is Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture. Written in 1947, this lively work was notably performed at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow and at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Concert. It was written in just three days at the behest of the conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre to open a concert marking the 37th anniversary of the Soviet Revolution.

In addition, a new piece of music has been prepared to welcome Maestro Parnther and will be premiered at this concert. Arise, for Orchestra and Choir was composed by Michael Barry with lyrics by Katherine Liner as a gift to the San Bernardino Symphony and to the community.

“This inaugural concert is all about recognizing the great community we perform for and imagining possibilities,” said Maestro Parnther. “This concert will touch on many frequencies: Together we will acknowledge San Bernardino’s past, celebrate the present, and reach, hand in hand, for a harmonious future for our great city and orchestra.”

The September 14 concert is the first of six major performances scheduled for the Symphony’s upcoming season. November 16 will see a holiday concert featuring Tony and Grammy award-winning vocalist Jennifer Holliday and renowned cellist Lynn Harrell. January 18, 2020 brings American Legacy: A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. featuring soprano Lettrice Lawrence, bass-baritone Bradley Baker, and tenor Jacob Lusk, along with the powerful sounds of the Selah Gospel Choir. February 22, the Symphony will perform Cirque de la Symphonie bringing awe-inspiring acrobatics choreographed to Classical music to the stage alongside orchestral musicians. A March 15 matinee will highlight works by Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and Grieg, including a solo performance of Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto by Maestro Parnther. The season will close May 2 with From Stage to Screen a tribute to the golden age of Hollywood with movie scores from Bernard Hermann and a tribute to Judy Garland by Emmy-nominated vocalist Angela Ingersoll.

Concert tickets are currently on sale and may be purchased at or by calling (909) 381-5388. Students and active military tickets are just $15. General admission tickets are $30, $45, $55, and $65. Season tickets are also available and offer substantial savings.

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