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Daily Pilot

Classically Trained: Philharmonia Orchestra to visit O.C.

By Bradley Zint

12:09 PM PST, November 8, 2012

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Thanks to the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, the British will be coming to Costa Mesa — and they're bringing their violins with them.

The Philharmonia Orchestra opens the 2012-13 visiting orchestra season Nov. 14 with a performance of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony and Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique." The London-based ensemble is under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, formerly of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he still serves as conductor laureate.

Then another London-based orchestra and chorus, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Monteverdi Choir, will perform more Beethoven works the following week. Set for Nov. 19 is the "Missa Solemnis." For Nov. 20 are the Ninth Symphony and "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage" cantata.

The groups will be led by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

The latter orchestra is a relative newcomer to London's busy classical scene, having formed in 1989 to bring the music of the 19th and early 20th centuries "an equivalent stylistic fidelity and intensity of expression characteristic of [Gardiner's] renowned period-instrument orchestra, the English Baroque Soloists."

All three concerts take place at 8 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive.

Dean Corey, a Beethoven expert and the longtime president of the Philharmonic Society, will give a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. each evening.

The concerts are part of the Irvine-based Philharmonic Society's British orchestra series — the next of which is the BBC Concert Orchestra on Feb. 12 — and the "Beethoven: The Late Great" multiyear exploration.

Tickets start at $30. For more information, visit http://www.philharmonicsociety.org or call (949) 553-2422.

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'Sundays at Soka'

The Pacific Symphony heads south Nov. 18 for the first of its "Sundays at Soka" series at Soka University's Performing Arts Center.

The 3 p.m. performance features violinist Nigel Armstrong for Mozart's Concerto Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major. The orchestra will also play Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor. Carl St.Clair will conduct.

The private university in Aliso Viejo has an acoustically impressive and intimate venue. The Pacific Symphony played at the grand opening for the 1,000-seat hall in September 2011.

Tickets start at $48. The hall is at 1 University Drive.

The Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings also performs 3 p.m. Nov. 17 at Concordia University in Irvine. Led by Irene Kroesen, the all-strings ensemble's repertoire includes Saint-Saëns' "Carnival of the Animals" and Handel's "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale." Admission is free.

The Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra is having its fall concert Nov. 18 as well.

Set for 4 p.m. at Meng Hall on the Cal State Fullerton campus, it will include Rimsky-Korsakov's "Capriccio Espagnol" and an original composition by James Taylor, a member of the Pacific Symphony's French horn section.

Maxim Eshkenazy leads from the podium. Tickets are $12.

For more information on all the concerts, visit http://www.pacificsymphony.org or call (714) 755-5799.

BRADLEY ZINT is a classically trained musician. Email him story ideas at bradley.zint@latimes.com.