John DeMain Takes the Podium to Open LB Symphony’s 80th Season

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With its majestic brass,  Aaron Copland’s beloved 3-minute Fanfare for the Common Man will begin Long Beach Symphony’s 2014-2015 80th Anniversary Classical Series on Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 8 pm, masterfully led by guest conductor John DeMain, Madison Symphony’s Music Director and former Music Director of Orange County’s Opera Pacific. The Opening Night performance will showcase Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor – his only concerto – interpreted by guest piano soloist, Christopher Taylor, with a thunderous descending opening passage and rhythmic, dance-like finale.  In the second half of the program, audiences will be beguiled by Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with its hauntingly beautiful violin passage, performed by Concertmaster Roger Wilkie who masterfully interprets the musical portrayal of the woman who convinced a Sultan to spare her life by telling him one-thousand-and-one stories of Arabian nights.

In honor of its 80th anniversary, Long Beach Symphony, the 6th largest symphonic orchestra in California, is making its presence felt throughout the city with street banners lining the span of Ocean Boulevard, along the Naples Bridge and in the Long Beach Airport. The city banners depict Symphony musicians, some of whom will be featured soloists during the 2014-15 season, and acknowledges the support of key community partners including, Farmers and Merchants Bank – its POPS! Series Sponsor, the Port of Long Beach – a major sponsor of its free, education programs, and the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The 80th season will not only celebrate the musicians, some of whom perform for the Hollywood Bowl, LA Philharmonic, and with the Hollywood studios, but will also expose local audiences to some of the best and brightest conductors with diverse talents, personalities, and musical backgrounds. Indeed, the 80th season marks an exciting, transitory period for the institution, with an impressive six Classical series and five POPS! concerts, as well as more than 150 free music education programs with Long Beach Unified School District, and a free chamber-music series in venues throughout the community.

“The Symphony is experiencing a transformation and will celebrate by presenting our audiences with great orchestral masterworks, some rarely-heard symphonic gems, and solo performances by our loyal, immensely talented musicians,” states Executive Director, Kelly Ruggirello.  “We are excited to begin the season with what will be a stunningly beautiful Opening Night in celebration of our community, our long-time patrons, and our musicians who have built and will continue to build this great institution.”

Newly-elected Board President, Irv Miller added, “It’s a great time to be President of this wonderful organization.  With experienced new leadership in place, things are humming along.  We’ve achieved financial stability and can focus more of our attention on the search for a new Music Director.  In the meantime, we have a stellar line-up of guest conductors.”

For more information, or to purchase a season subscription, please visit the Symphony’s website at or call 562-436-3203.

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