Rodgers & Hammerstein, Brahms, Gershwin, Wagner, and More


Southern California means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but if there is a single adjective that best describes the region, I think we can all agree that “diverse” is perhaps the most fitting. Food, entertainment, culture, you name it – if it exists beyond our borders, it has at least a toehold here, too.

That diversity includes the musical options at our disposal and few places have it as good as the Glendale/Pasadena/Northeast Los Angeles tri-city area. Diverse? Check. World class? Double check.

If you’re in a pops mood, the California Philharmonic Orchestra has got you covered this weekend with a concert celebrating the great music of classic Broadway in the guise of Rodgers & Hammerstein and George Gershwin.

On Saturday, Aug. 10 and Sunday, Aug. 11, the Cal Phil will present a program that features beloved highlights from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, South Pacific, and Carousel. Joining them will be George Gershwin’s ode to the City of Lights, An American in Paris, as well as his Rhapsody in Blue. Pianist Bryan Pezzone will be taking the stage as the orchestra’s guest soloist, following up on a dazzling take on Gershwin’s “Piano Concerto in F” last season with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra.

At the other end of the spectrum is Southwest Chamber Music’s ongoing Summer Festival at the Huntington Library. A program of German Late Romantic makes up its weekend program.

The twin pillars of the Southwest concerts are the “Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano, Op. 40” by Johannes Brahms and the “Clarinet Quintet, Op. 146” by a composer who sought to combine the influences of the former composer with those of Bach and Wagner, Max Reger. Heading the programs is a brief chip from Richard Wagner’s workbench, his “Album Leaf for Betty Schott.”

Reger’s densely contrapuntal and often highly chromatic music is a rare find on concert programs, though his “Clarinet Quintet” – his final completed work – is one of the gems of his entire output. A luscious, rich piece with an autumnal, retrospective glow is augmented by the composer’s untimely death by heart attack shortly after the piece’s completion, it is one of the great chamber pieces of the early 20th century, a clarinet quintet that is every bit the equal of Mozart’s and Brahms’.

The California Philharmonic and Southwest Chamber Music concerts will each be held on both days of this weekend. The California Philharmonic’s concerts will take place at Santa Anita Park on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., followed by an afternoon concert at Walt Disney Hall at 2 p.m.

Southwest Chamber Music’s concerts will take place in the loggia of the Huntington Library and are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

For tickets and more information about the Cal Phil, visit or call (626) 300-8200. For Southwest Chamber Music, visit or call (800) 726-7147. They can also be emailed at