2022-2023 Season

FALL CONCERT: Madrone String Quartet and the New World

Sunday, December 4, 3:00 p.m.
Miossi Hall, Performing Arts Center


Photo of the Madrone String Quartet

The Cal Poly Symphony and the Madrone String Quartet will present a collaborative season opener that features side-by-side performance, captivating chamber music, and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World.

Three of the quartet’s members––Emily Lanzone (violin), Mike Whitson (viola) and Laura Gaynon (cello)––serve as applied faculty in the Cal Poly Music Department.  With guest artist Valerie Berg-Johansen (violin), all four bring rich experience in performance and education to this collaboration.  In addition to performing, the quartet will coach the students of the Symphony in both orchestral and chamber music during the quartet’s residency.

Valerie Berg-Johansen grew up in a family devoted to violin pedagogy.  While serving as a Graduate Teaching Fellow with Eugene Symphony and the University of Oregon, she completed her doctorate in violin performance and violin and viola pedagogy.  She teaches a full private studio in San Luis Obispo, performs often with local symphonies, and serves on the board of Redfish Music Festival. 

Emily Lanzone is concertmaster of the San Luis Obispo Symphony and a member of the Santa Cruz Symphony, Santa Maria Philharmonic and Oregon Coast Music Festival. She is a past member of the Eugene Symphony, San Francisco Conservatory Baroque Ensemble and Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.

Mike Whitson has shared the stage with Itzakh Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, and many others.  He is a regular studio musician, having performed on numerous movie scores such as "Pirates of the Caribbean,” "Despicable Me” and “The Lego Movie,” and performs with numerous ensembles, including the Los Angeles Opera.  

Laura Gaynon has performed on both modern and baroque cello in concert halls across the U.S., Europe, Canada and China. She has performed with the American Bach Soloists, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and with major artists.  She has performed at numerous festivals including the Toronto Summer Music Festival and St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar.


Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (side-by-side)
Mendelssohn: String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80 (Madrone Quartet)
Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”


WINTER CONCERT: Student Soloist Showcase and Studio Ghibli

Friday, March 17, 7:30 p.m.
Miossi Hall, Performing Arts Center


Photo of Joe Hisaishi

Every year, the Symphony holds auditions for student soloists of any major. The prize for some of them - a performance with the Symphony, of course! Come hear this year’s winners and celebrate musical talent from across the University.

The orchestra will also explore Joe Hisaishi’s music from Studio Ghibli films, such as Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro.


Mozart: “Laudate Dominum” from Vesperae solennes de confessore (Sarah Jane Scott, soprano)
Mozart: Bassoon Concerto, mvt. 3 (Davis Lerner, bassoon)
Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1, mvt. 1 (Reenu Kutty, violin)
Maurice: Tableaux de Provence, mvts. 1-3 (Ari Maman, saxophone)
Williams: Theme from Jurassic Park (Jayden Perez, conductor)
Yumin Park: Chronicles
Hisaishi: Music from Howl's Moving Castle, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro

Spring Concert: Scheherazade and Osqueezadeh

Saturday, June 3, 7:30 p.m.
Miossi Hall, Performing Arts Center


Photo of Scheherazade

For its season finale, the Cal Poly Symphony presents an orchestral masterpiece inspired by Persian culture alongside vibrant new compositions that blend Persian and Western European traditions.

The first half of the program will feature works by Bahram Osqueezadeh, a multi-instrumentalist, scholar and composer.  Osqueezadeh will perform his Concerto for Santur and Orchestra and guest vocalist Alireza Shahmohammadi will sing Osqueezadeh’s Rational Insanity.

Osqueezadeh was the co-founder and director of the Drvak Institute of Music in Iran, as well as co-founder of the Drvak Ensemble.  As a soloist, composer and conductor, he has appeared on many radio and television programs in Iran and has toured the country, performing his original compositions.  He received the Gold Award at the Eighth Nationwide Fajr Music Festival and now serves on the faculty at UC Santa Barbara.

Alireza Shahmohammadi is recognized as one of today's renowned singers in Iran and a master of Persian classical music repertoires. He began his musical studies at the age of 8 under the direction of his father and continued his studies with great masters such as Hatam Asgari Farahani’ Mohammad Reza Shajarian and MR.Lotfi . His last concert was a collaboration with the legendary Indian musician Pandit Swapan Chaudhure in Z space, San Francisco. He has fifteen published albums. His last released album “Majnoon” is a collaboration with Theodore Bikel (the actor and singer of Fiddler on the Roof) and Lian ensemble.

After intermission, the orchestra will present Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, an orchestral tour de force based on One Thousand and One Nights.  In this collection of Middle Eastern folk tales, and in the music, Scheherazade avoids death by entertaining her husband with tales of adventure and romance.   Throughout, Rimsky-Korsakov evokes these tales with dazzling orchestral color and lyricism.


Osqueezadeh: Rational Insanity (Alireza Shahmohammadi, vocalist)
Osqueezadeh: Concerto for Santur and Orchestra
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade


Related Content