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On the Town: Orchestra’s season opener spotlights music winner, original fashion

On the Town: Orchestra’s season opener spotlights music winner, original fashion
At last week's gala opening concert, assistant conductor Michael Stanley presided over the 39-member orchestra fronted by soprano soloist Emily Scott. (David Laurell / Burbank Leader)

This past week, the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra kicked off its 29th season with an opening gala concert held at the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills.

Taking up the baton to fill in for Maestro Steven Kerstein, the philharmonic’s conductor and music director who was under the weather, assistant conductor Michael Stanley presided over the 39-member orchestra fronted by soprano soloist Emily Scott.

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The Australian-born Scott, who was raised in New Zealand, is a recent graduate of the UCLA School of Music. Before earning her master’s degree in vocal performance from UCLA, she completed a residency with the New Zealand Opera, where was she was named a Dame Malvina major emerging artist.

Concertmaster Carolyn Osborn in last minute backstage preparation before last week's season opener.
Concertmaster Carolyn Osborn in last minute backstage preparation before last week's season opener. (David Laurell / Burbank Leader)

She was the grand prize winner in the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2017 Hennings-Fischer Young Artists Competition. Scott performed “Art is Calling for Me” from Victor Herbert’s 1911 comedic opera “The Enchantress.”

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The philharmonic’s 2018-19 opener served as a showcase to blend the talents of Scott and Woodbury University fashion design student Merced Verbena Jackson, who designed the dress Scott wore for the “Fashion Meets the Phil” program.

Among the phil's members who debuted the 2018-19 season with selections by Mendelsson, Mozart and Massenet was clarinetist Michael Arnold.
Among the phil's members who debuted the 2018-19 season with selections by Mendelsson, Mozart and Massenet was clarinetist Michael Arnold. (David Laurell / Burbank Leader)

Established six years ago through a partnership between the university and the orchestra, the “Fashion Meets the Phil” program unites the artistry of textile design and music.

Their next “Fashion Mets the Phil” concert will be presented in February at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium and will feature soprano Esther Tonea and harpist Alyssa Katahara, who will both be wearing gowns designed by Woodbury students.

Next month will mark the 29th anniversary of the establishment of the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra.

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A donor- and grant-supported nonprofit organization, the philharmonic is dedicated to bringing world-class music and providing musical outreach to local students, all free of charge, to Burbank and the surrounding communities.

Merced Verbena Jackson, left, a fashion design student at Woodbury University, with last week's featured soloist Emily Scott who wore a dress she created.
Merced Verbena Jackson, left, a fashion design student at Woodbury University, with last week's featured soloist Emily Scott who wore a dress she created. (David Laurell / Burbank Leader)

Originally founded as the Burbank Chamber Orchestra, a break-off from the now-defunct Burbank Symphony Orchestra, 2002 saw the organization officially change its name to the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra.

Among the special guests in attendance at last week’s season opener were the philharmonic’s president, Karen Craig, treasurer Tim Starks, secretary Tom Lang, and board members Michael Arnold, Dan Bernstein, Helen Kerstein, Joyce Kneisel, Michael Seymour, Steven Trytten and John Echeto.

For more information about the orchestra’s 2018-19 season, various musical programs and support opportunities, visit burbankphilharmonic.org.

David Laurell may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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