San Bernardino Symphony Unveils 92nd Season… and more

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The San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra has created another banner year of beautiful music and is preparing to open their 92nd season.

“Our deeply held goal is to make a lasting impact on people in the community at a time we all need it most,” said Symphony Board of Directors President Dean McVay. “Perhaps more this season than ever before, we hope to move and inspire people through the unifying medium of music.”

To further that goal, the season will include a variety of musical genres, this year venturing a little further along the path of what audiences have come to expect from the region’s longest-running professional symphony.

“We’ve deepened our classical palette in 2021 by opening the doorway for the keystone works of Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Grieg, and Beethoven,” said Music Director and Conductor, Maestro Anthony Parnther. “In addition, we will perform timeless popular classics like Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story and Wynton Marsalis’ A Fiddler’s Tale, celebrate the contribution of female composers with Florence Price’s Piano Concerto, and welcome several outstanding vocalists including international pop icon David Archuleta.”

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But first, as a gift to the community, the Symphony has prepared a free holiday musical event hosted by Maestro Parnther and featuring his favorite seasonal compositions. The event will be accessible through the Symphony’s website on Saturday, December 19 at 7 p.m.

“We couldn’t let the holidays go by without sharing a little musical joy,” said McVay. “When Maestro Parnther offered to host this family friendly event, we were thrilled and we hope the community will be, as well.”

A Hybrid Year

To ensure the safety of all patrons while simultaneously extending the reach and accessibility of regional fine arts, the Symphony’s 92nd season includes both online digital concerts and, later, in-person performances at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts.

Shared McVay, “These unprecedented times have required some creativity in the design of our concert season, and this change allows time for the safe reopening of our venue and provides a full five-concert season patrons can schedule well in advance. What has not changed is our desire to present a number of inspiring concerts performed live and designed to highlight the outstanding skills of the finest orchestra in the region!”

The first three virtual performances will be recorded live, then made available at the scheduled dates and times. These events were designed to maximize the audience viewing experience, including exclusive behind the scenes material available only in this format. Once safely back in the California Theatre, the concert experience will return to the pre-Covid structure, including the Symphony Guild’s beloved post-concert receptions.

The 2021 season opening is scheduled for Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. with “Brass, Bach, and Bernstein.” Featuring soloists Holly Sedillos and Chanlon Kaufman singing the iconic roles of West Side Story’s Tony and Maria, this concert, like the other two virtual performances, will be recorded live and presented digitally, one time only. Also to be performed at this concert are Dukas’ Fanfare from La Peri and Bach’s Ave Maria.

On March 28, 2021 at 3:00 p.m., audiences will enjoy “Tchaikovsky, Mozart, & Grieg for Chamber Orchestra.” Specifically selected for this concert are Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, Grieg’s Holberg Suite, and – with Maestro Anthony Parnther taking the solo role – Mozart’s Concerto for Bassoon.

“I am excited to perform the Mozart Concerto for the first time in nearly two decades,” said Parnther, who will be conducting simultaneously, virtually unheard of for wind soloists. “The bassoon is typically utilized in a supporting role in a symphony orchestra, so this is one of those rare opportunities where we get to witness the bassoon at its utmost: as both a deeply lyrical and virtuosic instrument.”

Added McVay, “It’s not often that a professional orchestra of our size is fortunate enough to have a world-class instrumental soloist at the artistic helm. We are so lucky to have one of the finest bassoon players in the world – who performs weekly in many different capacities, including countless film scores for movie and television – as our Maestro, and this March chamber concert affords the public a glimpse into his other life as a recording artist and soloist.  I’m thrilled to be able to show off our Maestro in this unique way.”

On May 1, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., the Symphony will present “Mozart and Beethoven.” The first half of the program highlights the Symphony’s wind section as they perform excerpts from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute and his Piano Concerto in E flat. In the second half, the orchestra will breathe life into Beethoven’s exuberant Piano Concerto No. 2.

The Symphony anticipates returning to the California Theatre by Fall 2021 and has scheduled two outstanding live, in-person concerts to welcome back patrons.

The first, “Elvis, Wynton, and Strings,” will be performed October 23, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. This concert includes “A Fiddler’s Tale” by American composer/musician Wynton Marsalis, and Michael Daugherty’s Dead Elvis with Maestro Parnther appropriately attired as The King as he performs the solo role.

The 92nd season will close December 11, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. with an eclectic holiday concert entitled “Strauss, Price, and Archuleta.” The concert will include Strauss’ vibrant tone poem, Don Juan, described by the Maestro as “requiring the utmost virtuosity and precision out of every single member of the orchestra.” Also on the playbill is the recently restored version of American composer Florence Price’s Piano Concerto, the first symphonic work written by a Black woman ever performed by a major American orchestra. In the concert’s second half, popular international recording artist David Archuleta will return to perform holiday favorites and original songs of the season with his trademark warmth, charm, and lyricism.

“What I particularly admire about our SBSO musicians is how truly versatile they are as performers, and we are going to put their full ability to the test this season,” said Parnther, adding, “In addition to our classical standards, orchestras are often the backbone of Film Music, Broadway, Jazz, and Popular Music. We look forward to the challenge of switching genres at the snap of a finger all season.” 

Symphony Artistic Chair Dr. Nicholas Bratcher  agrees. “The 2021 season for the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra is a brilliant balance of orchestral masterworks and American classics. Whether it’s hearing the angelic voice of David Archuleta during the holidays, or experiencing the tragic love stories of Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story expressed through music…there truly is a seat for everyone at our concerts. This is a season you don’t want to miss.”

Ticketing Changes

Returning Season Subscribers who were adversely affected by the two Covid-mandated postponements will receive all five concerts at a reduced rate as reimbursement for their previous purchase with their regular seats are automatically held.

 “It is only right that we recognize our subscribers’ purchase of the two postponed concerts, said Symphony Executive Director Dr. Anne Viricel. “In addition, new subscribers will note a reduction in subscription fees, and all will benefit from the whole-household digital ticketing option. We hope our patrons will consider the savings to invite a friend or sponsor local families thus extending the mission to bring accessible music to all.” 

Contact the box office to obtain a new season brochure. Money-saving season subscriptions, along with single tickets, are available now and can be purchased online at www.sanbernardinosymphony.org or by calling the box office at (909) 381-5388, as well as with extremely limited availability at the Theatre on the date of each live in-person event. Single ticket prices range from $30 to $100; students and military with ID are always $15. 

Concluded McVay, “Whether digital or live in-person, this new season will expand upon the momentum experienced over the last year, and we encourage patrons to secure their tickets as soon as possible to ensure seat availability.”

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