Pasadena Symphony Artistic Advisor James DePreist is recovering from recent and unanticipated heart bypass surgery and is unable to appear with the orchestra later this month as originally scheduled. American conductor Michael Stern will step in to conduct the Pasadena Symphony's final concert of its Classics Season featuring Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 and Strauss' poignant Four Last Songs with Grammy Award-winning soprano Christine Brewer at Ambassador Auditorium on Saturday April 28 at 2pm & 8pm.
"We never know when life will take us on an unexpected journey," comments Paul Jan Zdunek, Chief Executive Officer of the Pasadena Symphony Association. "Our thoughts are with Maestro DePreist and his wife Ginette during his recovery. We look forward to their visit to Pasadena in the very near future. Although not under these circumstances, we are pleased that Michael Stern was available to step in; he is a consummate musician who has successfully partnered with Christine Brewer before."
Celebrated soprano Christine Brewer is regarded as one of the leading interpreters of Strauss' works, and has performed the lead roles in his operas Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Frau ohne Schatten with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and more. A hallmark of her extensive discography is the critically acclaimed recording of Stauss' Four Last Songs with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the leading roles of both the Tristan Project with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Turandot with Gustavo Dudamel.
She made her debut with LA Opera last month in a leading role of Benjamin Britton's Albert Herring, earning a review from the Los Angeles Times describing her as a "galvanizing…force of nature!"
Conductor Michael Stern is in his seventh season as music director of the Kansas City Symphony. He is also the founding artistic director and principal conductor of The IRIS Orchestra in Tennessee. He has produced a string of recordings and acclaimed commissioned new works by American composers.
"[Michael] Stern has a dynamic stick technique that commands rather than coaxes. Attacks are sharp and aggressive. Rhythms are clean and propulsive. He knows his way to a climax… He is someone we should be seeing more of." – Los Angeles Times
Stern has led orchestras worldwide including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Helsinki Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Tokyo's NHK Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. and more. He also appears regularly at the Aspen Music Festival and has served on the faculty of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.
April 28 marks the final concerts of the 2011-12 classics series and the Pasadena Symphony's second season as the resident professional orchestra of the historic Ambassador Auditorium. Tickets to Brewer Sings Strauss on Saturday, April 28 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm begin at $35 and may be purchased by visiting PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org, calling 626.793.7172 or onsite on the day of the concert.