Rebecca Roling
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Diversity in Music and Internationally-Acclaimed Performers
Highlight New West Symphony 2018/2019 Concert Season

New Season to Open in October with 120th Birthday Salute to George Gershwin;
Special World Premiere of Commissioned Work in Honor of
Thomas Fire Victims and First Responders to be Performed in January

 [Thousand Oaks, CA – September 24, 2018] –  Internationally-acclaimed guest artists, world premiers of commissioned new works and a special tribute to the victims and first responders of the Thomas Fire will highlight the New West Symphony’s 2019/2019 masterpiece concert season, it has been announced.

“We’ve expressly designed our programming in a way that will bring our diverse communities together through shared experiences of live music,” said Executive Director Natalia Staneva. “Our audiences will hear favorite works by beloved composers Bernstein, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin but will also have the frill of being the first to hear new works by contemporary composers Robin Frost and Jeff Beal.”

The season will open October 6 and 7 with a 120th birthday salute to George Gershwin.  Pianist Kevin Cole makes his New West Symphony debut performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, while two-time GRAMMY® winner soprano Sylvia McNair will also make her New West Symphony debut singing numbers from the beloved Gershwin Songbook. Led by guest conductor Michael Christie, the concert will also include Leonard Bernstein’s jazzy suite from the ballet Fancy Free  and Darius Milhaud’s rollicking Le boeuf sur le toit.

Among the other highlights of the New West Symphony’s 2018/2019 season will be the world premiere in January of a commissioned work from EMMY award-winning composer Beal (best known as the composer of the theme for the hit series House of Cards) honoring the community strength arising out of Thomas Fire.

The audiences will experience Brahms’ majestic First Symphony (November); Mozart’s elegant Violin Concerto No. 5 and Beethoven’s exuberant Seventh Symphony (January); Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto and Schumann’s Fourth Symphony (April) and Tchaikovsky’s daunting Violin Concerto (May).

In addition to those performing at the October concert, New West Symphony debut artists this season will include pianists Martina Filjak and Yulianna Avdeeva; violinist Karen Gomyo; cellist Julie Albers; contralto Avery Amereau; and conductor Mikhail Agrest. Making a return appearance in November will conductor Fawzi Haimor, one of the three finalists for the position of new Music Director of the Symphony.  Staneva says that the appointment of the new music director will be made by early 2019 in anticipation of the Symphony celebrating its 25th anniversary season in 2019/20.

The New West Symphony will perform six pairs of concerts between October 2018 and May 2019. Saturday evening concerts are held at the Kavli Theatre in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza with Sunday afternoon concerts taking place at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center. Again this year, one hour prior to each concert musicologist David Ravetch will conduct an entertaining presentation on what ticket holders will be hearing.

Season subscriptions range in price from $168 to $618 for all six concerts;  Single ticket prices range from $34 to $124.  Further information can be found at

About 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 and Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.  It presents six Masterpiece Series concerts annually, performing major works from the symphonic repertoire with internationally-acclaimed artists as guest soloists.  The Symphony provides many educational opportunities for local youth through its annual Symphonic Adventures concerts, its traveling Music Van, and the Laby Harmony Project in Ventura. For more information go to and follow them on Facebook at

Season highlights are below, and more information can be found at

Rhapsody in Blue
Saturday October 6, 2018 | Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Sunday October 7, 2018 | Oxnard Performing Arts Center

The New West Symphony opens its 24th season with a 120th birthday salute to George Gershwin. Rhapsody in Blue, composed at the height of the Jazz Age, was Gershwin’s attempt at fusing classical music with jazz. Pianist Kevin Cole makes his New West Symphony debut with this beloved work. Leonard Bernstein’s jazzy suite from the ballet Fancy Free is a hat-tip to his 100th birthday year. Darius Milhaud’s rollicking Le boeuf sur le toit pays homage to the venerable Parisian café that was the haunt of artists, writers and musicians during the Jazz Age. Opera star turned chanteuse, two-time GRAMMY® winner Sylvia McNair, brings her inimitable stylings to the Gershwin Songbook in her New West Symphony debut. The orchestra will be led by guest conductor Michael Christie.

The Romantics
Saturday November 17, 2018 | Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Sunday November 18, 2018 | Oxnard Performing Arts Center

Music Director Finalist Fawzi Haimor leads a program of two works from the romantic era featuring the talents of Cleveland International Piano Competition Gold Medalist, Martina Filjak, in her New West Symphony debut. It also marks the Symphony’s first performance of American composer Edward MacDowell’s virtuosic, Liszt-inspired Piano Concerto No. 2. Closing the program is Johannes Brahm’s majestic First Symphony, which took Brahms 14 years to complete, and which, with its soaring final movement chorale, has often been called the Beethoven 10th.

Rhythmic Traditions
Saturday January 26, 2019 | Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Sunday January 27, 2019 | Oxnard Performing Arts Center

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s classically elegant Violin Concerto No. 5, ”Turkish”, earned its nickname due to a suddenly “exotic’ sounding interjection in the final movement. Award-winning violinist, Karen Gomyo makes her New West Symphony debut with this most popular of Mozart’s violin concertos. Ludwig van Beethoven’s propulsive and exuberant Seventh Symphony brims with joyful, dancelike movements and rhythmic vitality. Richard Wagner called it the “apotheosis of dance.” Beethoven himself called it “one of the happiest products of my poor talents.” A New West Symphony commissioned work from Jeff Beal will receive its world premiere.

Northern Lights
Saturday March 2, 2019 | Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Sunday March 3, 2019 | Oxnard Performing Arts Center

Sir Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto was his final major work. Written in 1919 at the end of the Great War, the Concerto was Elgar’s lament for a lost world following the devastation of the war. Julie Albers, principal cello of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, makes her New West Symphony debut with this most eloquent and passionate work. The First Symphony of Jean Sibelius was an immediate success following its premier in 1900. Full of sweeping melodic invention, rhythmic vitality and imbued with the aura of his Finish homeland, the Symphony launched Sibelius’s career on the international stage.

Indescribable Beauty
Saturday April 6, 2019 | Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Sunday April 7, 2019 | Oxnard Performing Arts Center

First Prize Winner at the 2010 Chopin Piano Competition, Yulianna Avdeeva makes her New West Symphony debut with performances of Frédéric Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto. Chopin composed both of his piano concertos as calling cards for his move from his native Poland to Paris, meant solely to show off his virtuosity at the keyboard. Robert Schumann’s Fourth Symphony is overflowing with German romanticism with great sweeps of melodic invention and pulsing rhythms. Schumann structured the four movements of the Symphony to be played without pause, linking them in a continuous whole.

Russian Troika
Saturday May 4, 2019 | Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Sunday May 5, 2019 | Oxnard Performing Arts Center

The final concert of the season features an all-Russian program that includes the return of the extraordinary violinist Philippe Quint playing Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s daunting Violin Concerto. The program, conducted by Mikhail Agrest, opens with lively and tuneful Polovtsian Dances from Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor. The Symphony is joined by mezzo soprano Avery Amereau and the Los Robles Master Chorale for the final work of the season: Sergei Prokofiev’s powerfully evocative score to Sergei Eisenstein’s dramatic movie Alexander Nevsky.

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