‘Second Saturdays’: California Symphony sets lineup for free virtual concert series this fall

The California Symphony's “Second Saturdays” kicks off at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 with “Bravo for Beethoven250,” featuring soloist Adam Golka. (Photo by Jurgen Frank, courtesy of colbertartists.com)

The Walnut Creek-based California Symphony has postponed what was to be its live 2020 fall season to 2021 and will instead be presenting a free streaming series of four “Second Saturdays” events beginning Sept. 12 and concluding on Dec. 12.

Each of the four one-hour video presentations will consist of a live performance preceded by a conversation about the program between Donato Cabrera, California Symphony music director, and the participating musicians.

The series, partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, will be viewable on the symphony’s YouTube channel and also on Walnut Creek’s public access TV, Comcast Channel 28.

Cabrera noted in his announcement statement that the programming will focus on music for soloists and small ensembles.

“We’re also fortunate that our programming mission so easily translates from the stage to the screen,” he said. “I can’t wait to whet your appetite with these intimate video presentations until we meet again in the concert hall.”

“Second Saturdays” kicks off at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 with “Bravo for Beethoven250,” featuring soloist Adam Golka performing both the Piano Sonato No. 30 in E Major and the No. 21, the famed “Waldstein Sonata,” in observation of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Cellist Joshua Roman will be the featured soloist on the third of four California Symphony “Second Saturdays” concerts this fall. (Photo courtesy of Hayley Young)

The series continues at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 with a “Virtuoso Vibrations” program pairing violinist Robyn Bollinger and the California Symphony Wind Quintet.

A solo violin work by former California Symphony resident composer Kathryn Balch is on the program, along with works by Bach and Bartok, and the Quintet will play “Aires Tropicales,” an Afro-Caribbean jazz-inflected work by American composer Paquito D’Rivera.

The “It’s a Cello-bration!” program at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 features star cellist Joshua Roman performing a range of works for his instrument and the California Symphony String Quartet playing works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Higdon’s arrangement of “Amazing Grace.”

The series closes at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 with a “Season in Song” holiday concert with Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, tenor Nicholas Phan and the California Symphony Brass Quintet.

For more information, go to www.californiasymphony.org.

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