Although the San Bernardino Symphony has long been known for performing a popular blend of classical music, Maestro Frank Fetta and the Symphony’s Artistic Committee have created their 86th season with concert goers in mind perhaps more than at any time before. They even themed it, “By Request… The music you want to hear!”
“We didn’t choose that title because we were trying to be clever,” said Maestro Fetta. “There are certain types of music that are close to people’s hearts and we can all benefit from something beautiful and relatable. Our mission is to foster a love of music, excite the spirit, and enrich our diverse community and region through live orchestral performances and music education. To that end, we have really tried to listen to our audience members and that’s reflected in the concerts offered this season.”
The magic begins October 4 with “Virtuosity” featuring renowned violinist Roberto Cani. Widely known for his role as Concert Master of the Los Angeles Opera, Cani will play Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Also at that concert, the widely requested Symphony No. 9 From the New World by Dvorzak.
“This is the ultimate season opener that we believe will inspire both our beloved returning audiences as well as new attendees to come and be amazed at the quality of symphonic music available right here in the Inland Empire,” said Fetta.
December 20 will begin what the Symphony hopes is the start of a new tradition for many Inland Empire families. “Home for the Holidays” will include selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Handel’s Messiah, and Anderson’s A Festival of Carols. Maestro Fetta has a few additional surprises planned, including the addition of a chorus of angelic voices to uplift the spirits of all present.
Said Symphony Board President and former San Bernardino Mayor, Dr. Judith Valles, “We wanted to create a concert appropriate for families and friends to come and share a truly enchanting holiday evening. Box office staff told us people were calling every year asking about a local holiday concert; this is our heartfelt response to those many requests.”
On February 7, the Symphony will bring more popular favorites to the southland with “Musical Genius in America.” The line-up includes Ragtime selections from Scott Joplin, a medley of tunes from Duke Ellington, William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony, and Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue interpreted by pianist Yana Reznik. February 6, this concert will also be offered to students in the San Bernardino City Unified School District as part of the Symphony’s student enrichment program.
Added Symphony Executive Director Dr. Anne Viricel, “Our colleagues at the District asked for something supportive of the students’ course of studies. We put our heads together and came up with the concept of uniquely American music to both support and broaden the multi-cultural emphasis during Black History Month.” As in years past, the schools will also be provided with corresponding teaching materials developed in line with California’s Common Core Standards.
April 11, two Symphony musicians – Concert Master Todor Pelev and First Chair Cellist Ana Maria Maldonado – will team up to play Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Violincello. The evening’s concert, “Beethoven, Brahms & Bartholdy” will also include Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s Symphony No. 3, The Scottish Symphony.
“While the addition of our many outstanding visiting performers is always a plus,” said Maestro Fetta, “we have also been asked to showcase some of our own very talented musicians. The April concert will do just that!”
Wrapping an amazing year will be the “Triumphant Season Finale” on May 23. The concert will include Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1 featuring Icelandic horn soloist Joseph Ognibene. An internationally-known recording artist, Ognibene originally hails from Claremont and has been principal horn of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra since 1981.
“We believe this will be an outstanding season full of beautiful music and many exciting surprises,” said Fetta, “and we invite the community to come and enjoy all their San Bernardino Symphony has to offer.”
All regular season concerts will be performed at the historic California Theatre, 562 W. 4th Street, San Bernardino. Both season and individual tickets may be purchased by calling (909) 381-5388 or visiting the Symphony box office at 198 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino. General admission tickets are also available on line at www.sanbernardinosymphony.org, and with limited availability at the theater box office the evening of each event. In addition to the regular concert season, this year, the San Bernardino Symphony will also be featured in concerts in Lake Arrowhead, Loma Linda, Fontana, and other locations throughout the region. Visit their website for more information, www.sanbernardinosymphony.org.
Contributed content by Dr. Anne L. Viricel