Press Release

New West Symphony

Emma Pell FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 17, 2017
(805) 435-2778




New West Symphony Presents "Fantastique" Led by Guest Conductor

Kynan Johns and Featuring Soprano So Young Park and

California Lutheran University Vocal Ensembles


(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – March 17, 2017) — The New West Symphony performs its fifth concert in its Masterpiece Series, “Fantastique” a concert that journeys from spiritual love to unrequited love. The California Lutheran University Choir and Aretė Vocal Ensemble, and soprano So Young Park perform Gloria by Poulenc, a jazzy and modern mass.  Symphonie fantastique by Berlioz imagines hallucinogenic dreams of a man who loves from afar. The performance is led by guest conductor Kynan Johns, a candidate in the New West Symphony’s music director search.


California Lutheran University Vocal Ensembles

The Cal Lutheran University Choral Ensembles includes the Cal Lutheran University Choir and Areté Vocal Ensemble.   The Choir has earned an enviable reputation in their home state and throughout the Western United States for their commitment to performing the finest in choral literature from all eras in their original languages, embracing innovative new music as well as music expressing a multi-cultural perspective.  Rounding out the Cal Lutheran Choral Ensembles is Areté Vocal Ensemble, an innovative ensemble of vocal artists founded by Dr. Wyant Morton in 2009. The singers include Cal Lutheran students, alumni, faculty, and other professional level singers in the Thousand Oaks area. With an ear for the new, the unknown, and the unconventional, Areté strives to expose its audiences to exciting and adventurous music in formats that make the music accessible and alive. Dr. Wyant Morton is in his 25th year as conductor of the California Lutheran University Choral Ensembles; Morton joined the faculty at Cal Lutheran in 1992 where he is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities. 

“I am delighted to have again been asked to prepare my choral ensembles at Cal Lutheran University to perform with the New West Symphony,” said Dr. Wyant.  “The Cal Lutheran Choir and Areté Vocal Ensemble have enjoyed our past collaborations with New West the past two seasons and are very excited to perform Poulenc’s Gloria with Maestro Kynan Johns this season.  We present many concerts each year, but having the opportunity to sing with a fantastic symphony orchestra is a special treat for us.  The singers have been working very hard and look forward to bringing Poulenc’s amazing music to life with New West.”


Dr. Wyant continues, “The Gloria is a special work.  While the choir sings the timeless sacred words from the Mass, the music often feels more worldly.  Poulenc was clearly influenced by his contemporaries like Stravinsky and Satie, however, he was also clearly influenced by popular music, jazz and even vaudeville. Perhaps the combination of the traditional, the modern and the popular is what makes this music so attractive and appealing.”


Guest Artist Soprano So Young Park

Placido Domingo protégé and LA Opera soprano So Young Park makes her New West Symphony debut. The LA Daily News wrote of her turn in LA Opera’s Die Zauberflöte, “And it is worth noting that the longest sustained ovation of the night went to the Queen of the Night, sung with string-of-pearl clarity and stratospheric high notes by emerging star So Young Park.”  A native of Seoul, Korea, Ms. Park trained as a LA Opera Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist, and performed the role of Gossip in The Ghosts of Versailles, and on its 2-time GRAMMY Award® winning recording on PENTATONE. Maestro Placido Domingo also invited Ms. Park to perform alongside him as a soloist for his concert at the Seoul Olympic Gymnasium.


“I am thrilled to make my debut with the New West Symphony as the soprano soloist in Poulenc’s Gloria.  Poulenc is one of my absolute favorite composers and I am excited to perform one of his greatest works with such an incredible organization. This orchestral piece is phenomenal; you don't want to miss it!” said Ms. Park.


Ms. Park performs internationally throughout the US, Canada, Asia and Europe, and in many of the greatest venues: Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Walt Disney Concert Hall and Seoul Olympic Stadium. Ms. Park earned her Master’s Degree from the New England Conservatory and her Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Seoul National University.


More information on Ms. Park can be found at:


Guest Conductor Kynan Johns

Kynan Johns makes his conducting debut with the New West Symphony, and he is the fifth candidate being considered for the role of Music Director.  A protégé of Lorin Maazel and Zubin Mehta, Maestro Johns has conducted the Israel Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and has performed at Covent Garden, La Scala, and Palau de les Artes (in Spain).


“I look forward to this collaboration with the New West Symphony, performing some of my favorite pieces,” said Maestro Johns. “Berlioz, a hopeless romantic, always fell in love with the unattainable. A doomed love prompted his most inspired and ground-breaking first symphony, Fantastique, at the tender age of 26. This unprecedented piece,” continues Maestro Johns, “would ultimately inspire Liszt, Wagner and all the tone-poets that followed.”


More information on Maestro Johns can be found at:


The Music

Gloria for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra

Francis Poulenc

(b. Paris, 1899; d. Paris, 1963)

Composed in 1959.


Gloria is a modern mass, with influences from jazz and popular music of the day. The Gloria opens with a brilliant fanfare for full orchestra as preparation for the entry of the voices. The sentiment of the movement is one of joy tinged with a touch of nostalgia, one of Poulenc's most characteristic moods. Of the lighthearted Laudamus te, Poulenc recalled, "The second movement caused a scandal; I wonder why? I was simply thinking, in writing it, of the Gozzoli frescoes in which the angels stick out their tongues; I was thinking also of the serious Benedictines whom I saw playing soccer one day."


Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14a

Hector Berlioz

(b. Côte-Saint-André, France, 1803; d. Paris, 1869)

Composed in 1830.


Berlioz composed Symphonie fantastique over heartache he experienced from unrequited love. As he described this piece, “A young musician of morbid sensibility and ardent imagination poisons himself with opium in a fit of amorous despair. The narcotic dose, too weak to result in death, plunges him into a heavy sleep accompanied by the strangest visions, during which his sensations, sentiments and recollections are translated in his sick brain into musical thoughts and images. The beloved woman herself has become for him a melody, like a fixed idea which he finds and hears everywhere.”


Detailed program notes can be found at:





Program Details

Performances are being held on the following dates and venues:


Friday, April 7, 2017 at 8:00pm at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, located at 800 Hobson Way, Oxnard, CA 93030. The program will be repeated on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at  8:00pm at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, located at 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362.

Ticket prices range from $30 - $120 and can be purchased by calling 866-776-8400 or visiting


About the New West Symphony

Founded in 1995, the New West Symphony is a professional orchestra that draws its players from the rich talent pool of professional Los Angeles-area musicians. The Symphony is the resident company of the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, and Barnum Hall in Santa Monica.  It presents six Masterpiece Series concerts annually, performing major works from the symphonic repertoire with internationally-acclaimed artists as guest soloists.  It also provides quality outreach and educational opportunities for the communities it serves through its annual Symphonic Adventures concert programs for youth, its traveling Music Van, and its New West Symphony Harmony Project of Ventura. More information is available at or follow us on Facebook at