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    Pacific Symphony’s 2024-25 season will honor conductor Carl St.Clair
    • February 22, 2024

    The Pacific Symphony’s 2024-25 season, announced today, Feb. 22, will honor the 35-year tenure of conductor Carl St.Clair while the orchestra continues its search for an eventual successor.

    St.Clair, 71, took over the podium in February 1990 after a two-year search. In September 2022, he announced that his contract had been extended for at least two more seasons but that he had also asked the orchestra to begin the search for his replacement. Various guest conductors seen as contenders for the role have led the orchestra since then, and more are on tap to conduct the Pacific Symphony next season, but no further succession plans or a timeline have been announced. St.Clair’s stint as music director is the longest for an American conductor at a major U.S. orchestra.

    Carl St.Clair waves to the audience during the Pacific Symphony’s Symphony in the Cities concert at Oso Viejo Community Park in Mission Viejo on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Antenore, Contributing Photographer)

    Carl St.Clair conducts the Pacific Symphony and the Pacific Chorale for the “Concert for Healing” at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Conductor Carl St.Clair leads the Pacific Symphony in a rehearsal at the then-new Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in August 2006. (File photo by Mark Avery, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Carl St.Clair conducts the Pacific Symphony in a summer outdoor concert at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater in August 1998. (File photo by Kelly A. Swift, Contributing Photographer)

    Carl St.Clair gestures to the audience at the conclusion of a Pacific Symphony concert in December 2016. (File photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)



    Highlights of the upcoming season include a semi-staged performance of Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” (the first opera of the composer’s Ring Cycle), a collaboration with Pacific Chorale on Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and Verdi’s “Requiem” and the world premieres of a new piano concerto by Adolphus Hailstork and an orchestral work by composer-in-residence Viet Cuong.

    “It’s not just a celebration of the music we’ve cherished over the years, but a heartfelt homage to the enduring relationship I’ve shared with Pacific Symphony,” St.Clair said of the 2024 season in a statement released by the symphony. “This landmark 35th anniversary season is a testament to our collective journey — a tapestry of our shared experiences, our growth and our unyielding commitment to excellence.”

    The season kicks off Sept. 26-28 with St.Clair leading the Pacific in a program that will include Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,” featuring pianist Claire Huangci, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.

    On Oct. 17-19, the orchestra will perform “Classical Spooktacular,” a Halloween-themed program that will include Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” and Pacific Symphony’s first performance of Bunch’s “The Devil’s Box.”

    St.Clair will return to the podium Jan. 9-11 for “Nature in Music,” which will include Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and Richard Strauss’ “Alpine Symphony” accompanied by visuals of majestic mountains.

    Two new works commissioned by the Pacific Symphony will make their world premieres Feb. 6-8. Performances of Hailstork’s piano concerto and Cuong’s orchestral work, both still unnamed, will be preceded by “Slava!” by Leonard Bernstein and followed by “Pines of Rome” by Respighi.

    The Pacific Chorale, under the direction of Robert Istad, and the Southern California Children’s Choir, led by Lori Loftus, will team up with the Pacific Symphony from Feb. 27 through March 1, 2025, for a program topped by “Carmina Burana” and also featuring Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D Minor and Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium.” Pacific Chorale will return June 5-7 to join the Pacific Symphony for Verdi’s “Requiem.”

    “Curse of the Ring,” which will include Wagner’s “Das Rheingold,” will be presented April 10, 12 and 15, 2025.

    The Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey will join St.Clair and the Pacific on May 8-10, 2025 for “Cathedrals of Sound,” a program that will include Gregorian chant, Bach’s Sinfonia in D Minor, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 and the orchestra’s first performance of Guilmont’s Symphony No. 1.

    Related links

    Philharmonic Society of Orange County announces ambitious 2024-25 season
    12 notable stage musicals coming to Southern California in early 2024
    South Coast Repertory Managing Director Paula Tomei to step down after 44 years
    Pacific Symphony director Carl St.Clair encourages search for successor, extends contract
    Arts preview: Carl St.Clair and his mentor Leonard Bernstein: ‘The cowboy’ and ‘Mr. B’

    Guest conductors will also have the baton for a number of performances in the 2024-25 season. Valentina Peleggi will conduct Brahms’ Violin Concerto and other works Nov. 14-16, Rune Bergmann will be at the podium for the Art of the Spanish Guitar program Dec. 5-7, Paolo Bortolameolli will lead the symphony and violinist Jennifer Koh in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 on March 20-22, 2025, and Eduardo Strausser will have the baton as the symphony plays a program of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”). The appearances by these guest conductors, and others last season and this one, are in effect auditions for the role of music director, said Eileen Jeanette, the symphony’s senior vice president of artistic planning and production.

    “My understanding is that everyone who is a guest on our podium is being considered for the position of Music Director,” Jeanette in a statement issued by the symphony.

    Subscriptions for the 2024-25 season are currently available and tickets for special concerts are currently accessible only with a subscription. More information is available through Pacific Symphony Patron Services at 714-755-5799 or by going to

    ​ Orange County Register