Coming Soon: 2018 Summer Concert Ticket Sale!



The Cal Phil's Summer Concert Series will be returning for it's 15th season at The Music Center's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. Join us for another summer of Sundays featuring beautiful music, world-class musicians, and the amazing Maestro Victor Vener.


In honor of Independence Day the Cal Phil’s “Made in America” concert will feature great works of music written on our Nation’s soil.

Featuring: Kevin Earley and Aldis Hodge
Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits: New York New York, Come Fly with Me, Luck Be A Lady Tonight, My Way, and more... starring Kevin Earley
Aaron Copland: Lincoln Portrait Narrated by Aldis Hodge
Antonin Dvorák: New World Symphony


Take flight with some of the most ravishing operatic music ever written and soar into the music of the night! Come indulge in the most popular and sensuous vocal music of all time!

Featuring: James Barbour, Jamie Chamberlin, Nathan Granner, Marya Basaraba & Cal Phil Chorale
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Music of the Night, All I Ask of You, Think of Me, Sunset Blvd., With One Look
Giacomo Puccini: Excerpts from La Bohème and Turandot including Nessun Dorma


Witness fresh new innovative choreography to the ground-breaking “Rite of Spring” as reimagined by Maestro Victor Vener and Alyson Stoner in her street hip-hop style!

Featuring: Harvey Pittel & Alyson Stoner
Maurice Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe, Suite No. 2
Manual de Falla: Three Corner Hats, Suite No. 2
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite, The Rite of Spring, Featuring Dancer Alyson Stoner
John Williams: Escapades for alto saxophone and Orchestra from Catch Me If You Can


Relive some of your most favorite cinematic experiences through the music of John Williams, composer of the most popular and recognizable soundtracks, who has been nominated for over 51 Academy Awards and has won 24 Grammys!
As an especially fun and rare treat, Maestro Vener has selected 9 members of the orchestra to play their instruments, some of which are rarely heard solo!

Featuring: Katia Popov, Dennis Karmazyn, Michael Arnold, Marie Matson, Valerie King, Loren Marsteller, Fred Greene and Miles McAllister
Music from: Star Wars, E.T., Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter & The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra


Celebrating the Leonard Bernstein Centennial with excerpts from his most adored and ground breaking musical, West Side Story! To top it off, one of greatest and most famous symphonic works of all time, Beethoven’s 9th! Not to be missed!

Featuring: Orson Van Gay II, Emily Dyer, Cedric Berry, Nandani Maria Sinha, Marya Basaraba & Cal Phil Chorale

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Ode to Joy

Leonard Bernstein: On the Town, Candide and West Side Story Suite including Somewhere, Maria, Tonight, One Hand One Heart and more


Want access to the best seats in the house? Even though tickets aren't on sale yet, get a jump on reserving your seats for the 2018 Summer Concert season! Fill out our online form and we'll contact you as soon as tickets are available!

**Patrons do not apply! Your seats are already reserved.

Music Animated At The Brand Library & Art Center


By Christina Linhardt
Cal Phil Staff Writer


On January 27th, 1756, one the world's greatest master's of music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was born. Two hundred and sixty two years later, Maestro Victor Vener, conductor of the California Philharmonic, threw the great composer a fitting natal tribute at the breath taking Saracenic Brand Library and Art Center. Formerly a private mansion, built in a combination of Moorish, Spanish and East Indian architectural style, The Brand is an extension of the Glendale Public Library, complete with a respelendent view over looking the city.

The concert was created in conjunction with Brand Music Librarian Blair Whittington, and the Cal Phil's Outreach Program. Cal Phil Executive Director, Gina Bacon began the Outreach Program at the end of the summer season 2017. Ms. Bacon was so proficient in promoting the event that the Recital Hall overflowed with audience members of all ages, with not an open seat, spilling into standing room only, with people lining up along the side walls. Fortunately there was space in front of the stage where Gina was able to guide the youngsters of the crowd to sit on the ground. Children between the ages of 2 and 8 sat actively engaged and even a bit entranced with the live musicians in front of them. Maestro Vener contracted not only the creme de la creme of the California Philharmonic, but truly internationally renowned orchestral and solo players, Concert Master Katia Popov, principal cellist Dennis Karmazyn, violist Ben Bartelt and principal oboe Francisco Castillo.


The program began with Maestro Vener doing what he does so well; sharing his wealth of knowledge about the subject with the audience in an accessible, entertaining yet informative way. "Are you ready to celebrate Mozart's birthday?" he began, jubilantly igniting the crowd. To give chronological perspective, he explained that Mozart was born 20 years before the United States began. Young Wolfgang, known as "Wolfie", was born in Salzburg to a famous musician father. He had a sister Maria Anna or "Nannerl", who, it has been ascertained was as skilled a musician as her younger brother, perhaps even better, however, at that time, being female, there was no option for being a "professional musician." The Maestro alluded to the topical subject the Women's March and the ongoing trials, in response to an audience member's question about Anna Maria Mozart. By age 5, young Wolfie wrote his first Andante for piano, by age 8 his first symphony and by age 12 his first opera. His father, Leopold, was the ultimate stage dad, forcing Mozart to play piano, organ and viola for kings and princes and popes, traveling about Europe in cold carriages hobbling along cobblestone roads, eventually contributing to poor health. It is not entirely proven what Mozart died of at the young age of 35, and he does not have a tombstone as he was buried in a common grave on a rainy day in the St. Marx Cemetery on the outskirts of Vienna on December 7, 1791.


But Mozart's music lives on, as it did at the Brand Library on January 27, 2018 with the Cal Phil Quartet's vibrant and masterful performance. The instruments instantly filled the recital hall, as they began with the Mozart Oboe Quartet in F, the oboe played by Francisco Castillo richly soaring over a bed of lush oak toned strings. He sailed smoothly through the runs in the final Rondeau movement, with his string cohorts accompanying along with great precision and warmth. The second piece on the program was Mozart's Divertimento #2 for violin, viola and cello, again executed exactly and flawlessly with such cohesive ensemble playing. For the final piece, the Allegro movement of Divertimento KV 563, Concert Master Katia Popov announced that it was chosen, so as to give an example of Mozart's later writing and growth. The first two pieces were written during his youth, picked to cater to the young audience at the Brand.

Still possessing the signature charm and grace of Mozart, the melodies of the Allegro moved into more intricate variations and textures. Throughout the performance,the children in the audience were transfixed, excitedly wanting photographs with and autographs from the musicians and the Maestro after the concert. And the parents can feel satisfied, that due to the Mozart Effect, they gave their children an extra high dose of brain juice that day, not to mention benefiting their own cognition as well. Over two and half centuries later, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart still has invaluable gifts to bestow upon us all.


Meet the Musicians: Armen Ksajikian


Armen Ksajikian's life seems to be that of adventure and fables, with his cello carrying him forth like a trusty steed. His career consists not only of great traditional successes but also of many one-of-a-kind experiences. "I'm the only cellist who has played his own death scene," he can proudly boast. But we'll get to that in a moment. Armen was born in a country that no longer exists, the Soviet Republic of Georgia, in a town called Sukhumi (now considered the capital of the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia) to Armenian parents.

During his formative years, his uncle, renowned cellist Sevan Pogosyan moved into their humble abode and would practise in the living room while a toddler Armen would play with his toys. "The way Armen's looking at me, he's going to be cellist," his uncle declared to Armen's mother. "Christina," Armen says to me, "I'm a 5 year old kid. There's nothing else happening in the room, of course i'm looking at him! It was like a pre-arranged marriage." Strict cello lessons in Russian ensued and he had to address his uncle as "Mister" Pogosyan, but fortunately only during tutelage. After training, they would go back to being family.

Coincidentally, years later, Uncle Sevan turned out to be the longest serving cellist in the Cal Phil, though that is not how Armen became involved with the orchestra. It was principal cellist, Dennis Karmazyn who recruited him from the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In his youth, Armen dreamed of attending the Moscow Conservatory, but his family chose to leave the Soviet Union after his father, a dentist, was investigated by the KGB on false accusations. (Yet another story worthy of it's own novel.) First they immigrated to Italy, before coming to Los Angeles, where they "wandered the hard streets" of Hollywood looking for work. His mother, former Armenian dance company performer, and a licensed medical professional in the Soviet Union, took a minimum wage job at a convalescent hospital, keeping the family afloat. And a 19 year-old Armen, whose only English words were: "My name is Armen, can I audition?" hit the pavement, landing a spot in the American Youth Symphony, when conductor Mehli Mehta heard where he had studied in the Soviet Union.

From there, Mr. Ksajikian played in the pit of the Civic Light Orchestra for numerous Broadway musicals starring legendary Golden Age actors.  A solo in La Cage Aux Folles led to studio contracts, and Armen has played on over 1,200 scores, 38 of which were John Williams', the classic ET being his first studio job. Armen Ksajikian and his antics (such as using a real hook while playing on the score of Hook) also show up on director Steven Spielberg's home videos, as Mr. Spielberg personally films all the scoring sessions on his own home camera. In the popular entertainment arena Mr. Ksajikian has worked with groups like The Eagles, Scorpions, Incubus, Earth Wind & Fire, The Academy Awards, Dancing with the Stars and Duke Ellington Orchestras. Armen has appeared as a soloist with the Nacional Orchestre du Brazil, Pacific Symphony, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, where he has held the position of the Associate Principal since 2000.

While playing in the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Armen met his former wife publicity director Vanessa Butler. The two were married on the Hollywood Bowl stage, a rare honor they share with Percy Grainger and Ella Viola Ström. This very stage also led, quite unexpectedly, to Armen's major motion picture on-camera debut. One night, having been rightfully upset about a work situation, he furiously bowed his cello with a look of savagery. A casting director in the audience spotted him, and next thing he knew, he found himself on a plane to Florida to co-star in James Cameron's True Lies,  opposite Jaimie Lee Curtis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, playing the limousine driver of Tia Carrere. Post filming, Mr. Ksajikian returns to studio work, only to play on the score of the film, as he watched  his character die on screen. Only in Hollywood.

Speaking of Hollywood, Armen is the cellist of the cult classic Armadillo String Quartet, known for their collaborations with Peter Schickele, premiering a quartet by "P.D.Q. Bach" (Schickele's comedic alias) at Carnegie Hall, as well as being the only ensemble to have performed the complete string quartets of Joseph Haydn in a 34-and-1/2-hour marathon! (He did dose off a couple times while bowing). Yet Armen is most proud of having performed with the Hiland Mountain Women's Prison String Orchestra, coaching the female inmates, as well as soloing with their ensemble. 

Armen says he is "a sucker for playing in unusual places" such as when the Armadillo String Quartet played in the Grand Canyon during a white water rafting trip, or playing at a raptor center in Alaska, and of course at the Women's Correctional Facility in Alaska, so the Cal Phil's unique concert venues such as the Arboretum or Race Track interested him. "I like Vic's taste of talking to the audience and acknowledging the people around him. He shows the utmost respect," he says of the Maestro. "The orchestra repertoire doesn't go by labels. It's not about classical, or jazz, or baroque or pop, it's just about music." Armen Ksajikian, like the California Philharmonic, defies labels, and makes it all just about the music.

Meet the Musicians: Fred Greene


Fred Greene has played the contrabass tuba with the California Philharmonic for 15 years, gallantly holding down the low end of the orchestra. Tuba players might be a bit of an enigma to the general public, leaving one to wonder, where do they come from and why did they choose the tuba in the first place?

Fred grew up in Northern California, in the small town of Red Bluff, known as The Victorian City on the River. At the time the population was about 7, 000 and there was hardly any classical music to be had. So he played electric bass guitar in rock bands to connect with audiences. "I feel comfortable with the bass line," Fred explains. He had started his brass playing with trumpet in the 3rd grade, but by the time he reached junior high school he'd moved on to the baritone horn. "I was tired of playing the tune all the time." A statement some might find surprising. In high school he made his way to the sousaphone. 

The Greene family had more of a science background than musical. Fred's father was a surgeon and his two brothers became physicists. Fred's mother would joke that Fred's thesis was the only one she could understand of her three sons. His family was very supportive of his following a music career though, but nevertheless wondered what he would be able do. Fortunately, he was able to do quite a lot.

Fred went to the University of Southern California as a music performance major but graduated in music education. The reason he switched was due to a phenomenon most brass players are well aware of and have experience in, but the rest of the world might not even consider; the condition of his lip. For those who don't know, brass instruments create the notes by using the embouchure in conjunction with the valves. The shape of the mouth affects the note. After a cut from shaving, Fred developed an infection on his mouth. It healed, but he worried about the future. If this was his livelihood, could he be out of commission whenever an irritation occurred. So he got his degree in Music Education and set out to work in the Santa Ana School District. However, his Elementary School teaching career from 1983 to 2007 ended up being part time, as orchestras and studio calls pulled him back into professional performing. Mr. Greene has performed with such Southern California Orchestras as The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Los Angeles Opera, The LA Chamber Orchestra, The Pasadena, Long Beach, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Pacific Symphonies. And of course is principal tuba of the California Philharmonic.

Mr. Greene plays in the studios as well, for film, t.v. and commercials. The Trekkies out there are well aware that Star Treks' scores utilize extensive brass and so Fred has had the pleasure of playing on Star Trek Voyager, Enterprise and Deep Space Nine. He has expressed how much fun it was working with such "quirky guys." Composer John Williams also used Fred in his brass section for War of the Worlds and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. As well as symphonic and session playing, true to stereotype, every October, Fred dons his Lederhosen and plays tuba in an oom pah pah band for Oktoberfest celebrations.

Nevertheless, true to his degree, Fred continues to teach music at Chapman University, UC Irvine and Riverside City College. "My wife loves coming to the Cal Phil concerts," Fred says of his spouse, Ana-Maria, Teacher of the Year at Lincoln Elementary School. "My wife loves to come hear the stories," Fred refers to Maestro Vener's engaging explanations to the audience about the pieces the orchestra plays. "Vic is an educated musician, but he's a regular guy. He doesn't put on airs. I consider him a friend as much as a boss." This human quality of the Maestro and the musicians is what makes the Cal Phil an orchestra for everyone to enjoy, from classical music lovers to those new to symphonic sounds.

In his spare time, Fred likes to do different things. Most of his friends outside of work are not musicians, so they like to ride around on electric scooters, play with radio controlled helicopters and shoot pool. "I'm a regular guy," Fred says, exemplifying that we can all enjoy, appreciate and connect with classical music through the California Philharmonic.

Join us at Brand Library for Mozart's Birthday!


Come celebrate the Master of Music's birthday!

Saturday, January 27
10:30 AM - 12 PM

Brand Library & Art Center
1601 W Mountain St, Glendale, California 91201

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27th, 1756, and now, two hundred and sixty two years later, Maestro Victor Vener, conductor of the California Philharmonic, is planning an exclusive lecture-concert to celebrate the special occasion. Ages 4+ and admission is free.

Catering to the youth in the audience, Dr. Vener will talk about the amazing life of child prodigy Mozart and his exceptional accomplishments at a tender young age. The concert will consist entirely of Mozart's music, performed by The Cal Phil Quartet, featuring the orchestra's super-star musicians, concert master Katia Popov, and principal cellist Dennis Karmazyn with solo oboe player Francisco Castillo, and viola by Ben Bartlet.

Don't miss the musical party of the year!

Click here for more information!

Meet the Musicians: Jamie Pedrini


Jamie Pedrini, principal flute, has been with the California Philharmonic not only since it's inception, but since the inception of it's predecessor orchestra. Prior to the Cal Phil, Maestro Vener started the Pasadena Pops, of which Ms. Pedrini was also principal flute. As the original Pasadena Pops dissolved and the Cal Phil was born, Dr. Victor Vener brought Ms. Pedrini, along with many other musicians, to his new ensemble. "Vic is loyal to his musicians, which is a unique feature," she says fondly of the Maestro, with whom she has worked for so many years.

Having journeyed with the orchestra for it's 20 year life span, and having played in all the numerous venues the Cal Phil has performed in, from the Santa Anita race track, to the Ambassador Auditorium to the Arboretum, Jamie Pedrini has the experience to gauge how far the orchestra has come and appreciates what a real "step-up playing in Disney Hall is." She also appreciates how many members in the Cal Phil have also played in the orchestra for such a long time, building a real sense of camaraderie. "I like that Vic relates so well to the audience," she says of Maestro Vener. "He educates the masses on the background of the music, and we (the musicians) learn things when he is giving his pre-talk." She reflects on her experience during concerts. "It's an important service to classical music," she feels, "as he mixes pops and classical, making it accessible and fun." Which seems to be the trademark of the California Philharmonic, making it it's own unique ensemble, doing it's own unique service for the community.

As well as playing for the Cal Phil Ms. Pedrini also is a member of the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, Westwood Chamber Orchestra, the Laguna Pageant of the Masters Orchestra, the Santa Barbara Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, Los Angeles Woodwind Quintet and was a longtime member of the Orange County Master Chorale Orchestra. She has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras as well, including Arroyo Strings, Pasadena Pops, Irvine Symphony, Orange County Master Chorale, Burbank Symphony, Westwood Chamber Orchestra, and the West Coast Symphony. This being Hollywood, like most other instrumentalists in the Cal Phil, she has also played on numerous recording sessions.

Jamie, one of six sisters, grew up in a family that really nurtured music.  "Everybody played something." Her mother was a piano teacher with a beautiful singing voice and her father, who worked in public service for the government, had a strong tenor voice. "Music was always a real important ethic in our family," she recalls, and though it wasn't necessary to pursue as a career in the field, 3 of the 6 sisters (including Jamie of course) are professional musicians. She is also the cousin of internationally acclaimed opera singer Rodney Gilfrey who has performed as a soloist with the Cal Phil, not to mention the Metropolitan Opera House and The Royal Opera House Covent Garden. "It's a great family," she expresses, knowing the value of being able to share music with each other. And, as many Cal Phil members have, she has passed the musical gene onto her only child, her son, a composer, who is a Berklee College of Music graduate.

In general, passing the music down is a focus of Ms. Pedrini's, not just to her kid, but to the many students she has had the pleasure of interacting with over the years. "I love teaching," she declares. "Giving back is important." She acknowledges that she is fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds, being both a performer and an educator. She teaches flute at the exclusive Chandler School in Pasadena and chamber music at Pasadena City College. Recently, she added an academic class at PCC unrelated to music, that teaches students essential skills they may not receive in school. Life skills, team-work, networking how to study, are all taught by Jamie in this very valuable course. "It uses my brain in a different way. It is mind-expanding." Jamie Pedrini exemplifies how the musicians of the California Philharmonic, like the orchestra itself, are ever-expanding, sharing new gifts and experiences with the community.

Meet the Musicians: Dennis Karmazyn


Dennis Karmazyn
A true friend to the orchestra
by Christina Linhardt

         Dennis Karmazyn, the principal cellist of the California Philharmonic has had a long, impressive career as a world class cellist and continues to just keep getting stronger.  He is also the current principal cellist of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and one of the top studio calls in town, playing on 50 to 75 scores a year, working under the batons of the film industries most acclaimed composers, including James Newton Howard, Jerry Goldsmith and Alan Silvestri, to name just a few. He performed on such classic scores as ET, Raiders of the Lost Arc and Star Wars (also just to name a few). However, his session playing is not limited to the silver screen, as he has recorded on the albums of numerous pop super-stars including, but not limited to, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, Ella Fitzgerald and Barbra Streisand.

So how did such a lustrous career begin? "It's simple," Dennis explains. The music teacher at his public elementary school knew Dennis' dad was a violinist, and as the school orchestra needed a cellist, the teacher gave Dennis a cello and said, "Have your dad get you lessons." So his father took him to friend Nathan Liebenbaum, retired principal cello at Warner Bros., who coincidentally lived across the street from young Dennis' school. Kismet. Mr. Liebenbaum saw immediate potential in Dennis and said he should have lessons everyday, but his father, being a musician, couldn't afford everyday. So Mr. Liebanbaum had young Dennis do odd jobs around the house in exchange for lessons, already teaching him the value of hard work and tenacity. Daily private instruction paid off for Dennis as he started winning local and national competitions as a tween. And then, at age 16, Mr. Karmazyn was a soloist with Los Angeles Philharmonic. His father was a violinist with the orchestra and asked the then Maestro of the LA Phil, Zubin Mehta, if he would listen to his son. Teenaged Dennis played for Maestro Mehta, who liked him so much, he asked him to play a concerto with the orchestra, an opportunity very few musicians will get at any point in their lives, let alone at the age of 16.

Mr. Karmazyn joined the California Philharmonic approximately a decade ago. "Victor has a way with the audience," he says of Maestro Vener. "He's like Leonard Bernstein. He makes the audience feel like they are in his living room. People love him." Continuing with the family orientation of the Cal Phil, Dennis was able to get his son, Maxwell, a violinist and composer involved with orchestra. Maxwell arranged the theme from Schindler's List for cello and violin and father-son duo performed it with the Cal Phil at Disney Hall. Mr. Karamzyn appreciates having such a good time playing with the orchestra and the great relationship he has with conductor Victor Vener.

Being a renowned soloist and chamber artist with Columbia Artists? Management , touring Europe, the US and Canada giving solo recitals, Mr. Karmazyn is so involved with music, he rarely has time to do much else, but he has become involved in contracting and designing houses over the years, building his first house in Sherman Oaks and moving on from there. Being such a giant in the world of music, the California Philharmonic is proud not only to have Dennis Karmazyn as principal cellist, but as a true friend to the orchestra.

Meet the Musicians: Katia Popov


Welcome to our new series "Meet the Musician" where each week we'll go behind the scenes with an exclusive interview with a member of the orchestra. Ever wonder how they got involved with music in the first place? How they became Cal Phil members? What they do in their "spare" time? Check out our new "Meet the Musician" series, conducted by staff writer Christina Linhardt which will be sent out on the weekly e-blast. Just in case you missed it the first time the interviews will then posted on the Cal Phil website, so you can binge read! Just like Netflix, only more exciting!


It is hard not to be star struck by violinist Katia Popov, concert master of the California Philharmonic, as well as the Hollywood Bowl orchestra, for in addition to her accomplishments as a virtuoso, her extensive studio and symphonic playing, she also just happens to look as though she just walked off the cover of Vogue Magazine and onto the concert stage, with her flaxen hair and striking visage. And yet she is a true nuts and bolts crafts-person; gracious, personable,sincere and passionate about the work. "I love it. I love Victor. I love the enthusiasm of the audience." She says about working with the Cal Phil. "And we get to play in this wonderful concert hall. What's not to like?"

Ms. Popov is also a violinist for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, which is in part what brought her to the City of Angels. Born in Sofia, Bulgaria she studied at the Paris Conservatory and then trained under Iona Brown, concert master of the Chamber Orchestra. In addition to the ensembles mentioned above, Katia also is the Principal II Violin of the Long Beach Symphony, founder and first violinist of the Award winning California String Quartet and is the Music Director of the Musical Sunday Afternoons, a popular chamber music concert series in Los Angeles.  She was recommended to the California Philharmonic by Hollywood Bowl Orchestra colleague Dennis Karmayzn (who is also Principal cellist of the Cal Phil) and discovered it to be "a perfect fit", appreciating Maestro Vener's diverse programming. "He caters to everyone's taste," she says of Dr. Vener. "If you don't like the first piece, you will like the second. It's a kaleidoscope, which is the way to go in contemporary times." Very true, as the Cal Phil is often referred to as "the people's orchestra", because it introduces many initiates to classical music, and there is a sense of community at concerts, as well. That feeling of community carries over to the musicians Katia observes. "I really like the players," she says of her colleagues. "It is the friendliest orchestra."

Ms. Popov's love for music began at an early age. Her father was a musician, being an oboe player for the Sofia Radio Orchestra and he often brought three year old Katia to rehearsals, where she loved looking at the violins. She begged her parents to buy her a violin and proved her devotion by picking up sticks and pantomiming practicing the instrument, until convinced, her parents bought her her first violin and at age four, and she was on her way. And what a career it has been thus far. In addition to breaking the glass ceiling by being the first female concert master of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, she has performed as a soloist with the Sofia Philharmonic, the European Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Chamber Orchestra, Redlands Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, the Long Beach Symphony and the Santa Monica Symphony, amongst others. And as Katia's father's career influenced her, so has her career influenced her own daughter, Irina, who grew up watching her mother play for the movies shown at the Hollywood Bowl, and now works in film for Steven Spielberg. It is also worthy to mention Ms. Popov has played on over 600 film scores. As if her schedule isn't full enough (and she has numerous more accomplishments and awards that have not yet been listed) Ms. Popov has an eleven year old son at home, loves sports, skiing, biking, yoga and making jewelry. Her diverse and eclectic abilities exemplifies the mastery of the musicians who play for the orchestra, and definitely do make her a "perfect fit" for the California Philharmonic!

Happy Holidays from the California Philharmonic!

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Wishing to you and all your loved one’s, all the joys of the Season, the abundance, happiness, and peace in a new year filled with hope, and may it sparkle with moments of Love, Laughter and Goodwill!

Happy Holidays!

Thank You to all of the First Responders!


In the past two weeks, thousands of first responders, firefighters, police and civilians have worked to save homes, humans and horses from fires in San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Even though the fight isn't over as firefighters continue to battle The Thomas Fire in Ventura, we want to extend our deepest gratitude and thanks for everything they have done for us!

And remember there are several ways to help in the aftermath of the fires.

Help us Support the Victims of the Southern California Fires

Help us Support the Victims of the Southern California Fires


Our hearts go out to everyone currently being impacted by the devastating fires threatening our state. Schools are closed, roadways are shut and nearly 200,000 people have been told to evacuate their homes. California Philharmonic is reaching out to ask you to join us in supporting our fellow Californians by donating.

There are several ways to give. Below are just a handful of ways we urge you to give to help support those in need.

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We are Thankful for you!


2017 has given all of us at the California Philharmonic a lot to be thankful for!

We are thankful for an amazing Summer Concert Series this past season.

We are thankful for the newest additions to our conducting and writing team.

We are thankful for all the opportunities we have had to serve our community

We are thankful for all the amazing music out there that fills our hearts.

But most of all, we are thankful for you!

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving!

Introducing Volunteer Writer, David Wiener

Introducing Volunteer Writer, David Wiener

The Cal Phil is starting a new monthly segment where listeners can dive deep into the beautiful monologues given by Maestro Dr. Vener. These segments will be incredibly insightful, rich with history, and - of course - filled with Maestro Dr. Vener anecdotes. Our first segment will be led by David Wiener who will be interviewing Dr. Vener on specific pieces accompanied by our YouTube videos of each concert.

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DAVID WIENER is a playwright with a Minor in Music from the University of California. He has had over 90 productions in the U.S., England, India, Australia, Wales, Ireland, and Mexico. After completing a Literary Internship at La Jolla Playhouse, he worked as their Dramaturgy Associate during the 07/08 season.

David has been a Board Member of Horton Plaza Theatres Foundation and has been involved as performing arts advisor/developer at several nonprofit arts organizations, including the San Diego Shakespeare Society.

Publication credits include cover and feature articles in American Cinematographer,Producers Guild Journal, Cahiers du Cinema, The Journal of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, California Magazine and a book on Hollywood stunt performers: Burns, Falls, and Crashes (McFarland Press, 1996, Entertainment Book of the Month Club selection).


Check us out on YouTube!


Check us out on YouTube!


Why wait!? You can watch videos of our past concerts on our YouTube page !

We have videos from our previous Summer Concert Series available for your enjoyment! You can watch a video of the entire concert, or just a clip of your favorite pieces! Perhaps you missed the Talks with the Maestro? We have videos of those as well!

We even have playlists so you can relive your favorite concert all over again!

Wagner At The Movies

Rodgers, Hammerstein & The Organ

Shakespeare in Love

World's Best Marches

An Afternoon in Old Vienna with Judith Hill




By Christina Linhardt
Cal Phil Staff Writer 


When I was about your age" Maestro Victor Vener addressed an audience of youth and their parents " I liked baseball. ...I played drums for fun..." Then his brother, 15 years his senior, took him down to the Pasadena Central Library, put headphones over his years and played him a recording of the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro by Mozart. "I went 'wow! I love this stuff!' ". And that was young Victor Vener's first introduction to classical music which started him on the path of career musician and current conductor (for a decade and a half) of the California Philharmonic Orchestra. And so, wishing to give back, and possibly recreate his life altering experience so many years ago for a new generation of classical music lovers, the Maestro personally gave an interactive talk at the South Pasadena Library on October 13, 2017, sponsored by the Friends Of The South Pasadena Library, Inc.


Held in the Library Community Room, which once was the entirety of the Library, bequeathed by Andrew Carnegie funds, the atmosphere of the high beamed wood ceilings and Spanish-Craftsman Art-Deco mix unique to South Pasadena, set the stage for Dr. Vener's workshop on music, conducting and the orchestra. He first asked the audience who had been to a live orchestral concert. Much to my relief everyone in the audience, which consisted mainly of kids 8 to 14 and their parents, (though the youngest was 6 months old) raised their hands. In this modern day and age of pop culture and reality tv, being a firm believer in "the Mozart effect" and the positive influence of classical music on developing brains, I worry that younger generations are not exposed enough. Hence, the importance of outreach programs and funding for the arts.

After sharing his story of his first real contact, the Maestro had his associate, Aline Sardao, a conductor originally from Brazil, show a youtube clip on the large screen of the Cal Phil playing the Figaro Overture. The audience was entranced. Context is everything. I don't know how many hundreds of times I've heard that overture, and yet at that moment, it seemed to come alive, bounce off the screen and dance about with us in the historic hall. To further create a connection with the music, Maestro Vener then asked the audience (yes, the entire audience, he did not let parents off the hook, advising them to "never let your kids do something you wouldn't do") to get up and go to tables where Aline had laid out crayons and paper.


As a piece of music was played he asked everyone to draw what it made them feel. The first piece, though he didn't tell the audience, was the 4th movement of Beethoven's 6th. Abstract colors, expressionistic designs, blues and purples appeared on the pages. I even saw a few skull and cross bones. Quite appropriate, for those that don't know, the 4th movement is titled "Tempest & Storm". Then, again not announcing the piece, the William Tell Overture was played. Squeals of recognition rang out in the air, some kids sang along, others danced while they drew or tapped the crayons in rhythm onto the paper. It was a synergistic experience of the music, reminiscent of Wagner's term "Gesamtkunstwerk" meaning "total art work". After, he asked some kids to get up and share their images of what the music evoked for them. "A guy falling off a boat and drowning and then getting run over by the boat." Declared an otherwise sweet looking young lady. A testimony to the transformative power of music. "Mary Poppins", "Santa Claus", "the Statue of Liberty", "a man shooting an apple with a arrow" were all impressions from the William Tell Overture. The Maestro then showed his baton, explaining it means "stick" in French, and clarified how it was indeed different from a magic wand which led to his statement that being a conductor is "the easiest part of the orchestra, second to the triangle, but the hard part is knowing what you want.'s all in the imagination of the conductor and having to know all about all the instruments" shedding light on what a conductor actually does.

Opening it up to final questions at the end, one girl asked if he ever made a mistake. Maestro Vener answered "It's not about making a mistake, which will happen, but how do you fix it." He concluded with the sage wisdom "I'm not going to tell anyone I made a mistake, except my puppy, but he'll lick me anyway, so it's ok." Revealing that through it all, the Maestro knows what truly matters in life. 

After having their paparazzi pictures taken with Dr. Vener, the kids skipped away, in an excited mood, having just had an internal spark lit, a flicker that will hopefully turn into a flame, a torch for classical music that they will carry the rest of their lives, passing onto to yet another generation.

Introducing Christina Linhardt!


Introducing Christina Linhardt!


Christina grew up in the classical music world, commuting between Los Angeles, Vienna, Frankfurt and Zurich during childhood. She was fortunate enough to attend her first opera at Bayreuth at the tender age of 12 (as Gottfried Wagner, great-grandson of Richard, was a close friend of her father). Christina attended Hamilton Music Academy during High School, while playing flute/piccolo for the California Junior Symphony (Peter Meremblum), the LA Philharmonic and the All-State Honor Band. She graduated from USC with a Bachelor's in Music Vocal Arts and works as a chanteuse locally (LA Opera Ring Festival, The Grove, Hollywood Magic Castle) a well as in Dresden, Germany.

As a writer Christina has written concert reviews for SoCal papers and journals, has been published as a playwright for Applause Publishing and wrote and produced the Hollywood FAME Award winning documentary "Guantanamo Circus". Believing in the healing power of the arts, Christinateaches writing and improvisation as therapy workshops to PTSD Veterans at the VA, Alzheimer's patients and At-risk youth through the Imagination Workshop (UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience) and the BRIDGE Theater Program. 





A Note From Aline Sardao


On September 28, 2017, I had the amazing opportunity to attend a field trip to Blair High School in Pasadena. Blair High School holds a program to teach music to severely disabled children. It was through the amazing Valerie Loskota, who volunteers her time to bring joy and hope through music to those kids, that I was able to share this experience with Blair High School’s wonderful students.

I spent one hour teaching the students about how an orchestra works. We did dynamics, accelerandos and ritardandos. I even had a concertmistress. The children sang, danced and smiled while the music carried them away. At the end of our performance there was an explosion of clapping and celebration.

It is incredible to see how powerful music is and the emotion it evokes. I watched as these kids, with very low capability of movements, dance to the sound of me tapping the tambourine. I saw a child, who could barely control the movements of his arms, focus on playing the bell at my cue. It was heartwarming.

I am humbled to have had this opportunity to teach such amazing young students and look forward to more opportunities to help make a difference in these kids’ lives.


Music History with Maestro Dr. Vener


Music History with Maestro Dr. Vener

The Cal Phil is starting a new monthly segment where listeners can dive deep into the beautiful monologues given by Maestro Dr. Vener. These segments will be incredibly insightful, rich with history, and - of course - filled with Maestro Dr. Vener anecdotes.
More information coming soon.

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