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California Symphony

Walnut Creek, CA            

The California Symphony, now in its seventh season under the leadership of Music Director Donato Cabrera, is distinguished for its concert programs that combine symphonic classics alongside American repertoire and works by living composers, for bringing music to people in new and unconventional settings.  Over the last four years, the California Symphony’s audience has nearly doubled and the donor base has increased by +180%. 

The California Symphony presents an annual subscription series at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, which this season expanded from eight to ten performances in response to recent sold-out performances and another year of strong growth in subscriptions and single ticket sales. Outside of the concert hall, the California Symphony actively supports music education as a driver for social change through Sound Minds, which brings intensive music education and academic enrichment to students in the low-income community of San Pablo, CA.

The California Symphony is fully committed to supporting the creation of new work and to providing opportunities for emerging composers. The Young American Composer-in-Residence provides a remarkable opportunity for composers to collaborate with Maestro Cabrera and the Orchestra over a period of three years to create, rehearse, premiere, and record three major orchestral compositions, one during each season of the residence. Through the Young American Composer-in-Residence program alone, we have commissioned and premiered 34 new works since 1991.

According to Mason Bates, Young American Composer-in-Residence from 2007 through 2010, “The California Symphony has one of the most outstanding composer in residence programs in the country.  They have this orchestra-as-laboratory idea, and they let the composer work in ways that almost never happen anywhere else.”  Program alumni include Christopher Theofanidis, Kevin Puts, Pierre Jalbert, Mason Bates, and Dan Visconti.

Founded in 1986 under founding Music Director Barry Jekowsky, our vision is to become a 21st-century orchestra, making classical music relevant to those we serve, bringing in new audiences along the way, and ultimately more fully living up to our name across the state of California.

Les epaces infinis – Pierre Jalbert

Pierre Jalbert was the California Symphony’s Young American Composer-in-Residence from 1999-2002. This piece for chamber orchestra, a quiet meditation on the nature of time and space, was performed by California Symphony on March 19, 2017 at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, CA.

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Artifacts – Katherine Balch

World premiere of Katherine Balch’s Artifacts, a violin concerto composed during her second year as Young American Composer-in-Residence (2017-2020). Performed by California Symphony on May 5, 2019 at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, CA.

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Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2, 2nd movement

This excerpt is included to show the quality and breadth of the ensemble’s ability with traditional repertoire in contrast to contemporary works composed through the Young American Composer-in-Residence program. Performed by California Symphony September 18, 2016 at Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, CA.

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