Ross Goldberg


New West Symphony’s Reimagined 2020-21 Season to Reflect the Diverse Music and Traditions of Communities Throughout Greater Los Angeles

Opening Concert, “A Tour of Japan” with Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, 
Premieres Online October 18 from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Sept. 24, 2020) — In response to ongoing COVID-19 related restrictions, the New West Symphony announced today a totally reimagined season of digital concerts, along with engaging complementary content, reflecting the music, cultures and family traditions found in Greater Los Angeles. The season of “Global Sounds, Local Cultures” will feature eight mini-festivals to be held October through June and made available streamed or on-demand.

“Music allows humans to tell stories, share traditions and express our complex emotions,” said New West Symphony Artistic and Music Director Michael Christie. “Like a kaleidoscope, as a melody or rhythm is shared, it subtly or dramatically reflects the vibrancy of that time and place. Classical music wouldn’t be the same without the global influences that have left their indelible mark on the art form.  The New West Symphony’s reimagined 2020-21 season spotlights the vivid cultural influences that have shaped classical music and SoCal itself.”

Each tradition—with Japanese, Indian, South Korean, Mexican, Persian or Chinese cultural influences, Violins of Hope, or Black History Month—has strong connections to symphonic music of the past and present. Repertoire will include works composed by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Elgar, Gershwin, Mahler, Mozart, Schubert, Vaughan Williams, Scott Joplin, Florence Price, Toru Takemitsu, George Walker, and more. Contemporary composers include Valerie Coleman, Reena Esmail, Shinichi Yuize, and more.

“We hope that audiences everywhere will engage in these entertaining and unique educational online events,” said NWS Chief Executive Officer Natalia Staneva. “While our connections with our audiences have changed to digital platforms for the short term, what hasn’t changed is how tremendously we value our patron relationships.  I am grateful to all of those who continue to support our musicians and the performing arts during the pandemic, including the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library whom we are honored to have as our venue partner for our fall productions.”

The opening mini-festival in October – “A Tour of Japan” – will feature LA-based violinist Anne Akiko Meyers performing the Bach Concerto for Two Violins in D minor with New West Symphony concertmaster Alyssa Park and NWS musicians, conducted by Michael Christie. The program also includes a performance by Pasadena-based Makoto Taiko, a Japanese drum ensemble, San Diego-based koto performer Reiko Obata, and pianist Benjamin Krasner, a New West Symphony Quick Bowman Competition winner. The program is inspired by Japanese educator and musician Shinichi Suzuki, who founded the Suzuki Method of teaching music, combined with the mesmerizing sounds of Japanese traditional music and music from Japan over recent decades.

In addition to the eight streamed concerts, the NWS is making available an “All-Access Passport,” which provides related content to expand the exploration of the music and cultures. Passport content includes Intermission Insights, Entr’acte performances, meet the artist/cultural expert interviews, curated playlists, food and lifestyle explorations, restaurant discounts, after-party invitations, and more.


All concerts and content will be streamed online and/or available to watch on-demand for a limited time. Program details will be released four weeks prior to the streaming dates. More information is available at

A Tour of Japan
Sunday, October 18, 2020, 3 p.m. PT
Presented from Ronald Reagan Presidential Library; streamed online
Michael Christie, conductor
Anne Akiko Meyers and Alyssa Park, violins
Reiko Obata, koto
Benjamin Krasner, piano

Miyake, performed by Makoto Taiko, Pasadena-based Japanese drum ensemble
MICHIO MIYAGI  Haru No Umi (“Sea in Spring”)
TORU TAKEMITSU  Three Film Scores
SHINICHI YUIZE  Concerto No. 2 for Koto and Strings (3rd mvt.)
J.S. BACH  Concerto for Two Violins in D minor
MOZART Serenade in D Major

Concert Sponsors: Adele and James McGinnis

A Tour of India
Sunday, November 15, 2020, 3 p.m. PT

Violins of Hope
Sunday, January 24, 2021, 3 p.m. PT

Black History Month
Sunday, February 14, 2021, 3 p.m. PT

A Tour of South Korea
Sunday, March 7, 2021, 3 p.m. PT

Persian Festival
Sunday, April 11, 2021 3 p.m. PT

A Tour of Mexico
Sunday, May 2, 2021, 3 p.m. PT

A Tour of China
Sunday, June 13, 2021, 3 p.m. PT

Cost for each virtual concert is $15 per household; an All-Access Passport for each mini-festival is $25 per household. Patrons may also select a digital membership for the full season for $160 for all eight mini-festivals. Tickets and memberships may be purchased online at or by phone at (805) 497-5880 or (866) 776-8400.

The public is invited to attend a season preview event with Maestro Christie to learn more about the 2020-21 season and ask questions. The online event will be held on Monday, October 5, at 4 p.m. PT.  Register at

Community partners and advisors who have collaborated with New West Symphony on the development on the 2020-21 season include Ronald Reagan Presidential Library; Hirokazu Kosaka, Japanese American Cultural Community Center; Composer Reena Esmail; and Mark Kligman and Supeena Adler from UCLA’s Department of Ethnomusicology. Season sponsors are Home Helpers Home Care, Karen and Dr. Paul Finkel, Susan Burgos, and Fern & Dr. Arnold Heyman. New West Symphony has received grants to support this season from the Colburn Foundation, California Arts Council, Edison Foundation, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Neiman Marcus Foundation, TOArts, City of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Women’s Club, Meadowlark Service League, City of Agoura Hills, Bank of America Foundation, and others.

Recently completing its 25th anniversary season, the New West Symphony draws its players from the rich talent pool of accomplished Los Angeles-area musicians.  Its mission is to inspire passion for symphonic music through live performances and education initiatives that engage and enrich its diverse audiences. For more information, visit; or connect on Facebook and Instagram. 

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