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SM Symphony To Do Beethoven’s 9th Sunday: Free concert celebrates orchestra’s 60th anniversary

The Santa Monica Symphony will perform  Beethoven’s spectacular Ninth Symphony, with a chorus of 200 singing its “Ode to Joy,” in celebration of its 60th anniversary on Sunday,

May 29, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

The free concert is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. There are no reservations and it is first come/first seated  seating.

There will be a pre-concert talk in the meeting room at the Civic at 6:45 p.m. by Professor Raymond Knapp of UCLA.

On stage for the performance of Beethoven’s  9th will be the full symphony orchestra, a combined chorus of 200 singers, and four soloists, all under the baton of music director and conductor, Allen Robert Gross. 

The Santa Monica College Concert Chorale, directed by Dr. James E. Smith, and the combined choirs of Occidental College, directed by Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein, will perform in tandem.

The soloists will be Elin Carlson, soprano, Tracy Van Fleet, mezzo-sporano, Jonathan Mack, tenor, and Jinyoung Jang, bass-baritone.

The concert will open with orchestral excerpts from Wagner’s ’Die Meistersinger’.

Of Beethoven’s nine symphonies, the Ninth with its “Ode to Joy” is generally thought to be his greatest.   Ironically, he was completely deaf when he composed it.

Staging it is a major undertaking as it requires an enormous chorus, four soloists, and virtuoso instrumentalists.  Maestro Gross conducted it ten years ago on the 50th anniversary of the  Symphony.

The Symphony’s free concerts are made possible by the City of Santa Monica and the Symphony’s corporate and private sponsors.

The SMC Concert Chorale was founded 30 years ago by its director, Dr. James E. Smith, Chairman of the Santa Monica College Music Department.

The Chorale includes both SMC students and members of the community, who range in age from teens to seniors.Parking is $8 in the City’s Civic Auditorium off Main Street.

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