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Image for Gabriela Montero, piano
Gabriela Montero, piano
December 5, 2021 at 3pm
About the Concert

Philharmonic Society of Orange County and Irvine Barclay Theatre Presents

Gabriela Montero, piano
Sunday, December 5, 2021 | 3pm


Eclectic Orange Series sponsored by:
Jelinek Family Trust

This concert is sponsored by:
Dr. Steven Sorenson and IBEX Foundation


This performance will include one 15-minute intermission.



The Program

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Sarcasms: Five Pieces for Piano, Op. 17 

Allegro rubato
Allegro precipitato

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Piano Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 14   

Allegro ma non troppo
Scherzo. Allegro marcato

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 36

Allegro agitato
Non allegro—Lento
L’istesso tempo—Allegro molto


Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Piano Sonata in F-sharp minor (1924)


Charlie CHAPLIN (1889-1977)
“The Immigrant,”with improvised piano score by Gabriela Montero

Restored by Lobster Films and Cineteca di Bologna under the aegis of Association Chaplin

© Film Preservation Associates Inc., 2012
© Lobster Films


In 1904 the thirteen-year-old Prokofiev—unbelievably talented and spoiled rotten by his doting parents—entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory.  He would stay there for ten years, and it appears to have been a match made in hell. Young Prokofiev thought the faculty conservative and incapable of teaching him anything, and the faculty thought him a petulant and undisciplined child (there was probably some justice in both those views). Prokofiev had begun composing very early, and his own music matched the steely brilliance of his playing. The young composer seemed to take particular delight in assaulting audiences with music that bristled with harsh dissonances and driving energy. One critic said that Prokofiev’s music made an audience’s hair “stand on edge,” while another described it as “musical mud.” Rather than being troubled by such reactions, Prokofiev welcomed them: once, when one of his pieces was jeered by an audience, he came back on stage, bowed deeply to the catcalls, and sat down and played an equally assaultive encore.

In the years 1912-14, just as he was finishing his studies at the Conservatory, Prokofiev composed a set of five very short pieces that he called Sarcasms (that choice of title by itself tells us something about the young composer). Each of these pieces is full of energy, all of them can be dissonant, and all are characterized by a breezy insouciance, as if Prokofiev is having fun being as brilliant and difficult as possible. His friend, the composer and scholar Boris Asafyev, described the Sarcasms as “more taunting, more trenchant than the verses of the early Mayakovsky...the horror of them is more terrifying and powerful.”

In the early twenty-first century, audiences may not find this music “terrifying,” but they will still be impressed by its energy, freshness, and boldness.  Curiously, in the years immediately after the Sarcasms Prokofiev’s music began to show a new classical restraint and balance, and the First Violin Concerto, the Classical Symphony, and the Third Piano Concerto have become some of his most famous works.  The Sarcasms, though, show us the young composer in all of his deliberate daring.


The young Prokofiev took delight in his reputation as an enfant terrible, exulting when his music sent audiences toward the exits in droves. The second decade of this century saw the composition of his brutal ballet Scythian Suite, the imposing Second Piano Concerto, and Sarcasms. From these same years came the Second Piano Sonata, written in 1912 when the composer was 21.  When Prokofiev played this sonata in New York City, a critic wrote: “The fingers are of steel, the wrists are of steel, the biceps and triceps are of steel.”  Modern ears, however, find the Second Piano Sonata much friendlier. Despite a sometimes percussive style, this sonata—especially in the Andante—features some of Prokofiev’s loveliest writing for the piano.

The sonata is in four movements, but it began life as a one-movement sonatina, which Prokofiev adapted as the first movement of the sonata. This Allegro ma non troppo is full of contrasts: its powerful beginning gives way to a floating, flowing second subject, and Prokofiev contrasts these two ideas throughout. The brief Scherzo is a driving perpetual-motion in its outer sections, a dance in the center. The Andante is especially appealing: over a rocking rhythm, the main idea sings gently, rises to a climax, and falls back to a quiet close.  The concluding Vivace sounds very typical of early Prokofiev, with its percussive manner, energy, and bright colors.  In an unexpected touch, Prokofiev brings back the lyric second theme of the first movement before the vigorous close, full of massed and powerful chords.


Though he was famed for performances of music by other composers, Rachmaninoff made a point early in the twentieth century of playing recitals only of his own music. By 1913, when he turned 40, Rachmaninoff felt that he needed new repertory and decided to compose a new piano sonata. He took his family to Rome that summer, and—working in a room that Tchaikovsky had once occupied—he sketched two works: a choral symphony based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Bells and the Piano Sonata No. 2.  Late that summer he returned to the family estate at Ivanovka, near Moscow, and completed both works.           

Rachmaninoff’s setting of The Bells met with success (the composer called it his own favorite among his compositions), but the sonata—which Rachmaninoff premiered in Moscow on December 3, 1913—had a cooler reception. Audiences and critics alike found it difficult—reserved, detached, intellectual—and the composer himself came to agree with them: after performing it for several seasons, he withdrew it from the stage.             

But Rachmaninoff remained interested in this sonata, and in 1931 he decided to revise it, believing that he had located the source of the problem: “I look at my early works and see how much there is that is superfluous. Even in this sonata so many voices are moving simultaneously and it is too long.”  Rachmaninoff cut the original version severely, removing altogether passages that he believed “superfluous” and clarifying textures. Rachmaninoff had little success with this version, but another Russian pianist did. Vladimir Horowitz, acting with the composer’s approval, created his own version by reincorporating some of the passages Rachmaninoff had excised from the original version.             

At the present concert, the Second Sonata is performed in Rachmaninoff’s 1931 revision. The three movements are played without pause, and the movements depend on musically-related ideas: themes from the opening Allegro agitato reappear in later movements. Listeners who come expecting the big Rachmaninoff “tune” may be disappointed, for this dramatic music makes its case through the logic of its musical argument rather than with engaging melodies. The sonata-form first movement opens with a great downward flourish that leads immediately to the main theme; the more lyric second subject, marked meno mosso, arrives in a dotted 12/8 meter.  The main theme will reappear in both the wonderful, dark slow movement (Non allegro) and the dynamic finale (Allegro molto).            

Throughout, this music demands a pianist of transcendent skill, able to cope easily with complex technical problems yet still generate the vast volume of sound this sonata demands.  Many have noted that this music seems full of the plangent sonority of ringing bells, and this is only natural, given Rachmaninoff’s fondness for the sound of bells in general and the fact that he was working on the Poe setting at the same time he wrote this sonata.

Program Notes: STRAVINSKY: PIANO SONATA (1924)

We somehow believe that Igor Stravinsky burst to instant fame with the premiere of The Firebird in 1910, but in fact his path to success was slow. His family had wanted him to study law, but the lure of music was much too strong, and soon the young man abandoned his legal studies and came into contact with the Rimsky-Korsakov family. He showed some of his compositions to that great composer, who was at first not at all encouraging, though he advised Stravinsky to study privately rather than enter a conservatory.  As part of his first attempts at composition Stravinsky wrote the Piano Sonata in F-sharp minor in 1903, when he was only 21. Stravinsky found the formal structures of classical music difficult, and he wrote this sonata in part to attempt to master them; he showed the manuscript of the sonata to Rimsky, who gave him advice on refining those forms. The sonata was performed several times by the pianist Nicolas Richter in St. Petersburg–these were the first public performances of any music by Stravinsky.   

And then Stravinsky forgot about this piece. He was developing very rapidly as a composer in these years, and when he left Russia and made his home in Western Europe, he left the manuscript for this sonata behind and believed that it had disappeared. In fact, he hoped that it had disappeared: late in life he recalled this sonata and said that it had been “lost—fortunately lost.” Stravinsky did not know that his manuscript had ended up in the State Public Library of St. Petersburg, and in 1973—two years after his death—it was published with the permission of the composer’s widow Vera.

No one hearing this music without knowing its composer would guess that it is the work of the man who would go on to create The Rite of Spring and Symphony of Psalms. The sonata is a fairly conservative work in classical structure, as might be expected from a young composer working to master those forms. The opening Allegro is a sonata-form movement built on a firm chordal opening subject and a flowing second idea.  The Scherzo, marked Vivo, is in ternary form: its quick-paced opening section gives way to a central episode built on the steady flow of quarter-notes. The Andante is not, as its title might suggest, a moderately paced movement, and in fact some parts of it move ahead at a brisk tempo. This movement proceeds without pause into a finale based on a variety of ideas and set at a number of different tempos before the sonata comes to its firm conclusion on a coda in F-sharp major.

Program notes by Eric Bromberger


by Ariane Todes     

There are 40 seconds in The Immigrant that encapsulate exactly why I fell in love with Charlie Chaplin, just as millions across the world have done before me. As the boat bringing the Tramp and his fellow immigrants nears the United States, the Statue of Liberty comes into view—Charlie bites his lip with emotion, but the moment is broken as the stewards pen them in like cattle. Charlie asserts himself in typical slapstick fashion: the kick to the backside of the authority figure.

Hope, emotion, irony, rebellion, courage, childishness, comedy—all crammed into one little sequence. In all his films, Chaplin constantly flits like this between aspects of the human spirit and bigger social issues, using infinite shades of light and dark. Without speaking a word, he says the most profound things about us.            

His sympathy is always with the underdog, in this case beleaguered people coming to the U.S. When filming started in 1917, the U.S. Immigrant Act had just been passed, restricting the entry of “undesirables,” people from Asia and the illiterate, so the issue was very real. And yet he also allows us to laugh at the seasick old man, murderous gamblers and the difficulties of trying to eat during a storm.       

Chaplin’s own arrival in the U.S. was far more agreeable. He first went in 1910 on the SS Cairnrona, aged only 21 but already an up-and-coming star of the London music hall, as part of Fred Karno’s prestigious vaudeville troupe (alongside Stan Laurel of later Laurel and Hardy fame). Variety wrote of his performance in The Wow-Wows, or A Night in a London Secret Society, that “Chaplin will do all right for America.” 

His first North American tour lasted 21 months, and he returned only a few months later, in October 1912, never to live in his homeland again. His comedic talent was spotted by Keystone Film Company scouts and in September 1913 he signed a contract for $150 a week as an actor.   

From that point, his rise was meteoric. In 1916, he joined Mutual with a salary of $675,000 to make 12 two-reel comedies—which would include The Immigrant—making him one of the best-paid people in the world. In June 1917, he signed to First National to make eight films for $1m, with his own studio and total control over his own films. He was living the archetypal American dream.

His wild success is even more surprising given the intense poverty and hardship in which he grew up. The son of music hall entertainers, he was brought up by his mother Hannah Chaplin, but when he was only seven, she had a breakdown and he was sent to the Lambeth Workhouse with his older brother Syd. He spent much of his childhood shuttling between various institutions for destitute children, and the care of his alcoholic father, also Charles.               

Maybe as an escape from all of this, he developed a bug for performing and joined the Eight Lancashire Lads clog-dancing troupe, touring England with them at the age of ten. By 13, he had abandoned education, although he remained an auto-didact throughout his life and enjoyed peppering his writings and interviews with unusual words that make him sound somewhat pretentious.

He was also passionate about music from an early age, writing in his autobiography about the moment he fell in love with it: “I suddenly became aware of a harmonica and a clarinet playing a weird, harmonious message...It was played with such feeling that I became conscious for the first time of what melody really was. My first awakening to music.”         

His musicality was self-evident—when he was still working with Karno on tour in Paris in 1909, Debussy came to see him backstage and told him: “You are instinctively a musician and a dancer.” Nijinsky once told him, “Your comedy is balletic, you are a dancer.”

Chaplin taught himself violin, cello and piano, as he explains: “Since the age of sixteen I had practiced from four to six hours a day in my bedroom. Each week I took lessons from the theater conductor or from someone he recommended. As I played left handed, my violin was strung left handed with the bass bar and sounding post reversed. I had great ambitions to be a concert artist, or, failing that, to use it in a vaudeville act, but as time went on I realised that I could never achieve excellence, so I gave it up.”

He even plays the violin in two films—the 1916 The Vagabond and 1952 Limelight, but over time his interest in music transferred towards composing, and he wrote beautiful, evocative scores for his feature films, as well as later in life going back to score many that originally featured a live accompanist. At one point, he even owned a music publishing company, which published his tunes, including “Oh, that cello.”         

A studio press release written in 1917, just after The Immigrant was finished, stated: “His chief hobby, however, is found in his violin. Every spare moment away from the studio is devoted to this instrument. He does not play from notes excepting in a very few instances. He can run through selections of popular operas by ear and if in the humor, can rattle off the famous Irish jig or some negro selection with the ease of a vaudeville entertainer. Chaplin admits that as a violinist he is no Kubelik or Elman but he hopes, nevertheless, to lay in concerts some day before very long.”               

Indeed, the idea for The Immigrant was initially a musical one, he wrote: “Even in those early comedies I strove for a mood; usually music created it. An old song called Mrs. Grundy created the mood for The Immigrant. The tune had a wistful tenderness that suggested two lonely derelicts getting married on a doleful, rainy day.”

Inspired by this tune, Chaplin worked on the café scene of the second half of The Immigrant. One of the luxuries of his situation was that he could keep filming over and over again, improvising until he was happy—this scene took 384 takes (his sidekick Edna Purviance reportedly became sick from eating so many beans). It was only when that was finished, and he was looking for ideas for a second reel that he invented the backstory on the boat. By the time that was filmed, he had 40,000 feet of film to reduce to 1,800, a task that took four days and nights.

The film went on to become one of Chaplin’s most popular films, and his only short film selected by the Library of Congress in 1998 for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”—alongside several of his later features.

In 1917, when The Immigrant came out, films were silent, and accompanied by a pianist, organ or an orchestra, depending on the size of the venue. They either improvised or worked off cue sheets provided by the film company—Chaplin supervised these for his early films.

Everything changed in 1927 with the release of Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer. New technology meant that you could hear the actors speak and music became integral to the film. Handsome actors with squeaky voices were suddenly out of work (as parodied in Singin’ in the Rain) and the many musicians who had worked in cinemas lost their work.

Chaplin resisted. He knew that the Tramp’s power, which made him beloved from Argentina to Zimbabwe, depended on him never speaking. In 1928, he started work on City Lights as a silent film, but featuring his own sound track for the first time (though heavily aided by Arthur Johnson). He compromised further with Modern Times, which started filming in 1934 and featured sound effects and Chaplin singing a nonsense song at the end.

Chaplin never learnt to read music, but in his scores for City Lights and Modern Times, he demonstrates an innate musical sense of pace, rhythm and structure, and an understanding of how drama and music relate to each other. He wrote: “I tried to compose elegant and romantic music to frame my comedies in contrast to the tramp character, for elegant music gave my comedies an emotional dimension. Musical arrangers rarely understood this. They wanted the music to be funny...I wanted the music to be a counterpoint of grace and charm.”

While the encroachment of sound was problematic for Chaplin, it meant that Los Angeles became a magnet for composers and musicians from all over the world, some fleeing for their lives from the Nazis (Schoenberg, Korngold, Waxman, Rózsa, for example), or as political dissidents (Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov)—and some just to make a buck in the new market.

The self-taught former cockney urchin with aspirations to high culture was like a kid in a sweetshop. Illustrious artists would often stop at his studio just off Sunset Boulevard or come to dinner, and Chaplin’s autobiography is full of wonderful anecdotes about these encounters.

He describes dining with Rachmaninov at the house of the pianist Horowitz: “Rachmaninov was a strange-looking man, with something aesthetic and cloistral about him...Someone brought the topic round to religion and I confessed I was not a believer. Rachmaninov quickly interposed: “But how can you have art without religion?” I was stumped for a moment. “I don’t think we are talking about the same thing,” I said. “My concept of religion is a belief in a dogma—and art is a feeling more than a belief.” “So is religion,” he answered. After that I shut up.”

Chaplin nearly produced a film with Stravinsky, inventing at dinner with the composer a passion play about the crucifixion, set in a night club, surrounded by a baying mob and businessmen making money out of the entertainment. The only person upset by the scene is a drunk, who gets thrown out. ‘I told Stravinsky, “they throw him out because he is upsetting the show.” I explained that putting a passion play on the dance floor of a night-club was to show how cynical and conventional the world has become in professing Christianity. The maestro’s face became very grave. “But that’s sacrilegious!” he said.’

Stravinsky (who had written Le Sacre du printemps in 1913) subsequently changed his mind and wrote to Chaplin about doing the film, but by then Chaplin’s attention had moved on.

There are no direct references in Chaplin’s writings to Prokofiev, but the composer mentions him in his own diaries, referring to a meeting in France in 1931: “Tomorrow we dine with Charlie Chaplin. I never met him in my life before. It will be interesting to see him.”

Chaplin’s own immigration story did not end happily ever after in the U.S. On September 18, 1952, aged 63, he and his family set sail to London for the world premiere of Limelight. The next day, the U.S. Attorney General revoked his re-entry permit subject to an interview about his politics and moral behavior. He had been under the eye of J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, since 1922—his files stretching to 1900 pages.       

Sequences such as kicking the officer in The Immigrant, the prescient anti-fascism of The Great Dictator and anti-capitalist sentiment of Modern Times may have opened him up to this paranoia, as well as the generally humanist and anarchic subtexts of his films—especially during the 40s and early 50s, when the U.S. was in the grip of its “Red Scare.”

He never took American citizenship and was politically active supporting Soviet-American groups during the Second World War, but ultimately, there is no proof that he was an active Communist. (Claims about his morality were on firmer ground, though —until he was married to Oona O’Neill in 1945, he was prolific with women and had a particular fixation on very young ones.)

It later emerged that the Immigration and Naturalization Service would not have had enough evidence to exclude Chaplin on his way back, but by then he had decided not to attempt to return, and continued with his family around Europe. He eventually settled in Corsier-sur-Vevey in Switzerland, where he died in 1977, at the age of 88.

In 1972, he was given an honorary Oscar and returned to the U.S. for the first time to accept it— receiving a 12-minute standing ovation from the best-known faces of Hollywood. It was recognition and a resolution of sorts, but a bitter one.

Chaplin films most often end with him picking up his cane, dusting off his hat and walking into the sunset on his own, with a resolute hop-skip (spoiler alert: The Immigrant is a rare exception). He may have been the most famous man on the planet, and one of the wealthiest, but maybe he ultimately remained The Immigrant.

About the Artist


Photo by: Anders Brogaard

Gabriela Montero’s visionary interpretations and unique compositional gifts have garnered her critical acclaim and a devoted following on the world stage. Anthony Tommasini remarked in The New York Times that “Montero’s playing had everything: crackling rhythmic brio, subtle shadings, steely power…soulful lyricism…unsentimental expressivity.”            

Recipient of the prestigious 2018 Heidelberger Frühling Music Prize, Montero’s recent and forthcoming highlights include debuts with the New World Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas), Yomiuri Nippon Symphony in Tokyo (Aziz Shokhakimov), Orquesta de Valencia (Pablo Heras-Casado), and the Bournemouth Symphony (Carlos Miguel Prieto), the latter of which featured her as Artist-in-Residence for the 2019-2020 season. Montero also recently performed her own “Latin” Concerto with the Orchestra of the Americas at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie and Edinburgh Festival, as well as at Carnegie Hall and the New World Center with the NYO2. Additional highlights include a planned European tour with the City of Birmingham Symphony and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla; a second tour with the cutting edge Scottish Ensemble, this time with Montero’s latest composition Babel as the centrepiece of

the programme; her long-awaited return to Warsaw for the Chopin in Europe Festival, marking 23 years since her prize win at the International Chopin Piano Competition; and return invitations to work with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony, Jaime Martin and the Orquestra de Cadaqués for concerts in Madrid and Barcelona, and Alexander Shelley and the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada.   

Celebrated for her exceptional musicality and ability to improvise, Montero has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras to date, including: the Royal Liverpool, Rotterdam, Dresden, Oslo, Vienna Radio, and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestras; the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, NDR  Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Zürcher Kammerorchester, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and Australian Chamber Orchestra; the Pittsburgh, Detroit, Houston, Atlanta, Toronto, Baltimore, Vienna, City of Birmingham, Barcelona, Lucerne, and Sydney symphony orchestras; the Belgian National Orchestra, Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, and the Cleveland Orchestra, orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin, and Residentie Orkest.          

A graduate and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Montero is also a frequent recitalist and chamber musician, having given concerts at such distinguished venues as the Wigmore Hall, Kennedy Center, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Cologne Philharmonie, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Herkulessaal, Sydney Opera House, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Lisbon Gulbenkian Museum, Manchester Bridgewater Hall, Seoul’s LG Arts Centre, Hong Kong City Hall, the National Concert Hall in Taipei, and at the Barbican’s ‘Sound Unbound’, Edinburgh, Salzburg, SettembreMusica in Milan and Turin, Lucerne, Ravinia, Gstaad, Saint-Denis, Violon sur le Sable, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Rheingau, Ruhr, Trondheim, Bergen, and Lugano festivals.

Montero is also an award-winning and bestselling recording artist. Her most recent album, released in autumn 2019 on the Orchid Classics label, features her own “Latin” Concerto and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major, recorded with the Orchestra of the Americas in Frutillar, Chile. Her previous recording on Orchid Classics features Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and her first orchestral composition, Ex Patria, winning Montero her first Latin Grammy® for Best Classical Album (Mejor Álbum de Música Clásica). Others include Bach and Beyond, which held the top spot on the Billboard Classical Charts for several months and garnered her two Echo Klassik Awards: the 2006 Keyboard Instrumentalist of the Year and 2007 Award for Classical Music without Borders. In 2008, she also received a Grammy® nomination for her album Baroque, and in 2010 she released Solatino, a recording inspired by her Venezuelan homeland and devoted to works by Latin American composers.

Montero made her formal debut as a composer with Ex Patria, a tone poem designed to illustrate and protest Venezuela’s descent into lawlessness, corruption, and violence. The piece was premiered in 2011 by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Montero’s first full-length composition, Piano Concerto No. 1, the “Latin“ Concerto, was first performed at the Leipzig Gewandhaus with the MDR Sinfonieorchester and Kristjan Järvi, and subsequently recorded and filmed with the Orchestra of the Americas for the ARTE Konzert channel.

Winner of the 4th International Beethoven Award, Montero is a committed advocate for human rights, whose voice regularly reaches beyond the concert hall. She was named an Honorary Consul by Amnesty International in 2015, and recognized with Outstanding Work in the Field of Human Rights by the Human Rights Foundation for her ongoing commitment to human rights advocacy in Venezuela. She was invited to participate in the 2013 Women of the World Festival at London’s Southbank Centre, and has spoken and performed twice at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters. She was also awarded the 2012 Rockefeller Award for her contribution to the arts and was a featured performer at Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Inauguration.

Born in Venezuela, Montero started her piano studies at age four with Lyl Tiempo, making her concerto debut at age eight in her hometown of Caracas. This led to a scholarship from the government to study privately in the USA and then at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Hamish Milne.

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Philharmonic Society of Orange County Donor Listing

The Philharmonic Society of Orange County gratefully acknowledges the following donors for their generous support of the Fund for Music during the past twelve months. These contributions make up the difference between the income generated from ticket sales and the actual cost of bringing the world’s finest orchestras, soloists and chamber ensembles to Orange County and inspiring 100,000 K-12 students each year with quality music programs. Gifts range from $60 to more than $100,000, and each member of the Philharmonic Society plays a valuable role in furthering the mission of this organization.       


The Crean Foundation  •  Chapman University

The Davisson Family Fund For Youth Music Education  •  The William Gillespie Foundation

Thomas J. Madracki Memorial Endowment   •  Orange County Community Foundation

Pacific Life Foundation  •  Gail and Robert Sebring  •  U.S. Bank  •  Wells Fargo •  Anonymous



Donna L. Kendall / Donna L. Kendall Foundation, Donna L. Kendall Classical Series


Dr. and Mrs. Howard Jelinek / Jelinek Family Trust, Eclectic Orange

The Segerstrom Foundation



Donna L. Kendall Foundation

Dr. and Mrs. Howard Jelinek/Jelinek Family Trust, Eclectic Orange Series

Henry T. and Elizabeth Segerstrom Foundation



The Committees of the Philharmonic Society  •  Donna L. Kendall / Donna L. Kendall Foundation

Dr. and Mrs. Howard Jelinek  •  Philharmonic Foundation  •  Barbara Roberts

Mr. and Mrs. Douglas H. Smith 



Sam B. and Lyndie Ersan  •  Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Kohl  •  National Endowment for the Arts

Mr. and Mrs. William F. Podlich  •  Gail and Robert Sebring  •  Ms. Dea Stanuszek



Colburn Foundation  •  The Crean Foundation

Mr. John D. Flemming and Mr. Mark Powell  •  Margaret M. Gates – In memory of family

Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation  •  Steven M. Sorenson MD and the IBEX Foundation  •  Anonymous



Pete and Sabra Bordas

Mr. James J. Brophy

Mr. Gary Capata

Charitable Ventures of Orange County


   Kimberly Dwan Bernatz           

Mr. Warren G. Coy

Marjorie and Roger Davisson

Richard Cullen and Robert Finnerty

The Dirk Family

Karen and Don Evarts

Hung Fan and Michael Feldman

Mrs. Joanne C. Fernbach

Walter Fidler

Joan Halvajian

Maralou and Jerry M. Harrington

Milli and Jim Hill

Valerie and Hans Imhof

Carole Innes-Owens

Helen and Fritz Lin

Haydee and Carlos A. Mollura

The Isidore & Penny Myers Foundation

Elaine and Carl Neuss

Pacific Life Foundation

Lauren and Richard Packard

Richard and Deborah Polonsky

Dr. and Mrs. Chase Roh

The Shillman Foundation

South Coast Plaza

Mr. and Mrs. David Troob

U.S. Bank

     Mr. Stephen Amendt

Dr. Gayle Widyolar



Dr. and Mrs. Richard D. Campbell

Suzanne and David Chonette

Frome Family Foundation


GOLDEN BATON ($3,000+)

Mr. and Mrs. James Alexiou

Argyros Family Foundation

Diane and John Chimo Arnold

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Marjorie Davis

Mr. Roger Duplessis

The William Gillespie Foundation

Richard Goodman

Carl and Kathy Greenwood

Elizabeth F. Hayward and Robert M. Carmichael

Gary and Betsy Jenkins

Ms. Elizabeth Jones

Cheryl Hill Oakes

Orange County Community Foundation

    The Robert J. and Doreen D. Marshall Fund

Mr. Patrick Paddon

Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Phillips

Chris Quilter

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Elizabeth Reinhold

Mr. and Mrs. James G. Reynolds

Mr. and Mrs. Philip E. Ridout

Ms. Harriet Roop

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Richard and Elizabeth Steele Endowment Fund

Diane and Michael Stephens

Dr. and Mrs. David Stephenson

Dr. and Mrs. Fritz C. Westerhout

Bobbitt and Bill Williams


SILVER BATON ($1,200+)

Dr. and Mrs. Daniel L. Abbott

Dr. Donald Abrahm

David and Frances Nitta Barnes

Ada and Berislav Bosnjak Charitable Fund

Dr. and Mrs. David Casey

Mrs. Linda Lipman Cassuto

Dr. and Mrs. Shigeru Chino 

Mr. and Mrs. Stewart A. Clark

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Clemmer

Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles

Dr. Frank A. D’Accone

Helen Dell-Imagine

Dr. and Mrs. Sidney A. Field

Dan Folwell

Mr. and Mrs. Donald French

Petrina Friede

Philip Friedel

JoAnn and Peter Fuerbringer

Mr. and Mrs. Philip Gold

Dr. Anna Gonosova

Mr. and Mrs. Michael S. Gordon

Shell Grossman

Mr. Robert Hall

Ellen Pickler Harris and Ron Harris

Sigrid Hecht

Anne Johnson - in memory of Tom

Dr. and Mrs. Tae S. Kim

Carolyn and Bill Klein

Hank and Bonnie Landsberg

Vicki and Richard Lee

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Malcolm  

Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Mastrangelo

Elizabeth and John Middleton

Patricia and Ken Morgan

Morgan Stanley Stephanie and Don Harrell

Mr. Carl Neisser

Richard and Dot Nelson

Marlene and Chris Nielsen

Susan Qaqundah

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Rados

Mr. and Mrs. Glen L. Reeves

Eva and Fred Schneider

Dr. Ellis Schwied

Dr. and Mrs. Henry Sobel

Vina Spiehler

Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence S. Spitz

Walter and Masami Stahr

Ann Stephens

Dr. Nancy E. Van Deusen

Kathryn and David Wopschall



CONCERTO ($600+)

Janet Lee Aengst

Mr. and Mrs. Nicolaos Alexopoulos

Kevin and Roan Alombro

Brien Amspoker and Ellen Breitman

Eric S. Blum

Mr. James Carter

Mrs. V. de Reynal

Deborah and Cody Engle

Mr. and Mrs. David Erikson

Mrs. John Felder

Ms. Barbara Hamkalo

Mr. and Mrs. Jon Hartmann

Dr. Daniel E. Haspert and Mr. Gerard Curtin

Ms. Arlene Holtzman

Jean and Shingchi Hsu

Dr. and Mrs. Kevin Ivey

Ms. Sumie Jossi

Kari Kerr

Dr. Nancy L. Kidder

Barbara Klein

Lauren Klein

Ms. Barbara Macgillivray

Katharine Mallin

Dr. Lani Martin and Mr. Dave Martin

Elizabeth Morse

Music 4 Kids

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Niedringhaus

Dr. and Mrs. Eliezer Nussbaum

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Pinto

Ms. Janet Portolan and Ms. Lois Powers

Mr. and Mrs. John Prange

Mr. and Mrs. Tom Rapport

Les Redpath

Richard and Diane Reynolds

Christa Schar

Carol Schwab

Ms. Barbara Sentell

Ms. Diane Stovall

Robert A. and Sandra E. Teitsworth

Mr. and Mrs. Scott Theodorson

Dr. and Mrs. Harvey S. Triebwasser

Sally Westrom

Dag Wilkinson and Caroline Beeson

Mrs. Vina Williams and Mr. Tom Slattery

Ivy Yan

Joanne Yoon

Katharine and Robert Young



SONATA ($300+)

Richard Alexander

Arts Orange County

Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Bauer

Marianne and Frank Beaz

Dr. Ruth Benca

Richard Bigelow

Ms. Michelle Brenner

Mr. Scott Brinkerhoff

Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Buccella

Mr. and Mrs. Tyke Camaras

Mary E. Chelius

Mr. and Mrs. Wil Chong

Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Collier

Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Compton

Peter Conlon and Deborah Shaw

Susan and Kevin Daly

Reuben H. Fleet Foundation

Dr. and Mrs. Glenn Fowler

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gibson

Dr. Alan L. Goldin

Dr. and Mrs. Mark W. Gow

Bonnie and William S. Hall

Terry Hanna

Mr. and Mrs. Howard C. Hay

Christian Heffelman

The Bryant Henry Family

Mrs. Marlene Hewitt

Ms. Grace Holdaway

Barbara and Don Howland

Eric Jao

Elizabeth M. and Donald P. Johnson

Albert C. Johnston III

Dr. Burton L. Karson

Patty Kiraly

Dr. and Mrs. William P. Klein

Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Kriz

Dr. and Mrs. Gary Lawrence

Dr. and Mrs. Craig Leonard

Elsie M. Little

Kevin and Iryna Kwan Loucks

Louise and John Ludutsky

Ms. Bethany Mendenhall

Dr. Kevin O’Grady and Mrs. Nella Webster O’Grady

Cathy Olinger

Mr. and Mrs. Gus Ordonez

Coralie Prince

Mrs. Margaret Richley

Peter Ridley

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ringwalt

Dr. Stephen Rochford

Dr. and Mrs. Stephen G. Romansky

Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Rosenblum

Mr. Kenneth Rudolf

Mrs. Merilyn Sandahl

Suzanne Sandmeyer and Wes Hatfield

Mr. Paul A. Schmidhauser and Ms. Cindy R. Hughes

Hon. and Mrs. James Selna

Dr. James Shelburne

Sharon Silcock

Ms. Dorothy J. Solinger

Dr. Agnes Szekeres

David and Lois Tingler

Tisbest Philanthropy

Edie Tonkon

Marjorie Tussing

Cory Winter

Victor Wu

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Yates

Ms. Daren Zumberge



Frieda Belinfante, in memoriam

Jane K. Grier

John M. Rau

List current as of 11/22/2021

The Philharmonic Society deeply appreciates the support of its sponsors and donors, and makes every effort to ensure accurate and appropriate recognition. Contact the Development Department at (949) 553-2422, ext. 233, to make us aware of any error or omission in the foregoing list.

Donors to the Philharmonic Forward Campaign

The Philharmonic Society’s campaign is the first of its kind in the organization’s history. It will grow the Philharmonic   Society’s endowment—providing greater opportunities for the presentation of the world’s leading orchestras and other musical performances while expandingour educational and community outreach—and also establish a current needs fund for organizational sustainability and flexibility. We are proud to recognize those who are helping secure the Society’s future with a gift to the Philharmonic Forward Campaign. We are grateful for their support, which will help fuel the Philharmonic Society’s growth and provide a legacy of incomparable music and superb music education programs in perpetuity.


Mr. James J. Brophy

Donna L. Kendall and the Donna L. Kendall Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sebring




Richard Cullen and Robert Finnerty

James and Judy Freimuth



The Davisson Family Fund for Youth Music Education

Margaret M. Gates—In memory of family

Mr. and Mrs. Milton S. Grier, Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. Douglas H. Smith



Pete and Sabra Bordas

David and Suzanne Chonette

Karen and Don Evarts

Milli and Jim Hill

Marlene and Chris Nielsen

Richard and Deborah Polonsky

Diane and Michael Stephens




Mr. Douglas T. Burch, Jr.*

Dr. and Mrs. Richard D. Campbell

Erika E. Faust*

Mrs. Joanne C. Fernbach

Joan Halvajian

Elaine and Carl Neuss

Marcia Kay Radelet

Mr. and Mrs. Philip E. Ridout

Ms. Dea Stanuszek

Dr. Daniel and Jeule Stein



Mr. William P. Conlin* and Mrs. Laila Conlin

Mr. and Mrs. Donald French 

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Fuerbringer

Mr. and Mrs. Noel Hamilton

Dr. and Mrs. Chase Roh


Up to $24,999

Eleanor and Jim Anderson

John W. Benecke

Mr. and Mrs. Jim Burra

Ana and Ron Dufault

Hung Fan and Michael Feldman

First American Trust - Kimberly Dwan Bernatz

Mr. John D. Flemming and Mr. Mark Powell

Duke Funderburke

Carolyn and John Garrett

Karin Easter Gurwell

Maralou and Jerry M. Harrington

Mrs. Alice E. Hood

Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee - Marina Windjammer Group

Judith and Kevin Ivey

Ms. Lula Belle Jenkins

Doris and Jim Kollias

Mrs. Elizabeth C. Kramer

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lewis

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Madracki

Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Mastrangelo

Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Michel

Charles Mosmann

Carl Neisser

Joan Rehnborg

Dr. and Mrs. Henry Sobel

Dr. and Mrs. Julio Taleisnik

Marti and Walter Unger

Gayle Widyolar, M.D.

Sandi Wright-Cordes

U.S. Bank



Leave a Legacy

Estate gifts allow our long-time subscribers and donors to leave an enduring legacy that helps ensure the long-term financial strength of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. Please consider including us in your will, as either a percentage of your estate or a fixed amount. Doing so will support our commitment of presenting world-class programming and music education that enriches the cultural life of Orange County for generations to come. For more information, please contact (949) 553-2422, ext. 233, or email support@philharmonicsociety.org.


Mr. and Mrs. James Alexiou

Dr. and Mrs. Julio Aljure

Diane and John Chimo Arnold

Estate of Edra E. Brophy*

Mr. James J. Brophy

Mr. Douglas T. Burch, Jr.*

Mr. William P. Conlin* and Mrs. Laila Conlin

Pamela Courtial*

Mr. Warren G. Coy

Richard Cullen and Robert Finnerty

Mr. Ben Dolson*

Camille and Eric Durand Trust*

Karen and Don Evarts

Erika E. Faust*

James and Judy Freimuth

Ms. Carol Frobish*

The William Gillespie Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. Milton S. Grier, Jr.

Mr. Edward Halvajian*

Ms. Joan Halvajian

Ms. Marie Hiebsch*

Mr. and Mrs. James R. Hill

Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Hull

Mr. Leonard Jaffe

Judith and Howard Jelinek

Dr. Burton L. Karson

Donna L. Kendall

Hank and Bonnie Landsberg

Mrs. Carla Liggett

Dr. William Lycette

Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Michel

Mr. and Mrs. Bart Morrow

Mr. and Mrs. Michael D. Nadler

Eva Cebulski Olivier

Mrs. Frank M. Posch*

Marcia Kay Radelet

Marjorie Rawlins*

Mrs. Ladislaw Reday*

Elaine M. Redfield*

Mr. Richard M. Reinsch*

Mr. and Mrs. Stephen L. Salyer

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sebring

Mr. H. Russell Smith*

Ms. Dea Stanuszek

Diane and Michael Stephens

Vas Nunes Family Trust*

Betty M. Williams*




Bold type indicates gifts of $50,000 or more.

Please call the Philharmonic Society Development Department if you have included either the Philharmonic Society or the separate Philharmonic Foundation in your will or trust so that we may honor you as a member of the Legacy Circle. For more information, call (949) 553-2422, ext. 233, or visit PhilharmonicSociety.org/Support and click on Secure the Future.     

Esterhazy Patron


The Philharmonic Society is proud to recognize our dedicated patrons who have made a multi-year Esterhazy Patron pledge.  We are grateful for their support, which has been largely responsible for enabling us to present the world’s most acclaimed symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists.

Mr. and Mrs. James Alexiou

Mr. and Mrs. Darrel Anderson

A. Gary Anderson Family Foundation

Mr. Gary N. Babick

Ms. Tricia Babick

Mrs. Alan Beimfohr

Mr. and Mrs. John Carson

Cheng Family Foundation

Mrs. William P. Conlin

Mr. Warren G. Coy

Marjorie and Roger Davisson

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Delman

The Dirk Family

Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Duma

Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Emery

Catherine Emmi

Sam and Lyndie Ersan

Mr. and Mrs. Howard Freedland

Margaret M. Gates—In memory of family

Mr. William J. Gillespie

Mr. and Mrs. Milton S. Grier, Jr.

Maralou and Jerry M. Harrington

Dr. and Mrs. Howard J. Jelinek

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Chapin  Johnson

Drs. Siret and Jaak Jurison

Donna L. Kendall Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. Venelin Khristov

Mr. and Mrs. Roger Kirwan

Capt. Steve Lutz and Shala Shashani Lutz

Professor Robert and Dr. Adeline Yen Mah

Mrs. Michael McNalley

Drs. Vahe and Armine Meghrouni

Mrs. Michael D. Nadler

Elaine and Carl Neuss

Mr. Thomas Nielsen

Milena and Milan Panic

Helen Reinsch

Barbara Roberts

Mrs. Michelle Rohé

Mr. and Mrs. Stephen L. Salyer

Elizabeth Segerstrom

Mr. and Mrs. Douglas H. Smith

Mrs. Eugenia D. Thompson

Mrs. Elaine Weinberg

Mr. and Mrs. George Wentworth

Bobbitt and Bill Williams


Philharmonic Society Board of Directors

John Flemming, Chairman, CEO
Sabra Bordas, Vice Chair
Donna L. Kendall, Immediate Past Chair
Stephen Amendt, Secretary / Treasurer

John W. Benecke, Development
Sabra Bordas, Nominating
Hung Fan, Laguna Beach Music Festival
JoAnn Fuerbringer, Orange County Youth Symphony
Jane K. Grier, Member at Large
Elaine P. Neuss, Artistic and Marketing
Douglas H. Smith, Member at Large
Jean Felder, President, The Committees

Jim Brophy
Gary Capata
Margaret M. Gates
Barbara Roberts
Dr. Steven Sorenson
Kim Weddon
Kathryn Wopschall

Tommy Phillips

Philharmonic Society Administrative Staff

Halim Kim, Senior Director of Development
Okairy Calderon, Patron Stewardship and Special Events Manager
Paige Frank, Development Associate

Jean Hsu, COO / Vice President of Communications
Marie Songco-Torres, Senior Marketing & Public Relations Manager

Drew Cady, Production Coordinator
Kathy Smith, Piano Technician

Sarah Little, Vice President of Education and Community Engagement
Courtney McKinnon, Manager of Volunteer and Education Services
Jennifer Niedringhaus, Education and Operations Associate

Roan Alombro, Vice President of Finance
Jessica Cho, Finance Associate / HR Administrator

Jonathan Mariott, Director of Patron Services
Angelica Nicolas, Marketing & Patron Services Associate / Board Liaison
Randy Polevoi, Musical Concierge