Classically Trained: Spanish flavor, infused with a symphonic taste

After a few weeks off, the Pacific Symphony returns to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa with a Music Unwound series May 5 to 7.

Symphony officials are calling 8 p.m. "Bolero!" concerts to be infused with "sultry flamenco, hot-tempered gypsy violin and the heat of the Spanish sun," all under the baton of guest conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto.

Prieto, a native of Mexico, serves in posts in his native country and the U.S., including being music director of Mexico's National Symphony Orchestra, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the Huntsville (Ala.) Symphony Orchestra. The series will be his third occasion guest conducting the Costa Mesa-based orchestra.

"I am from Mexico but (am) a citizen of Spain," Prieto said in a release. "My mother is from Madrid and three of my grandparents were Spanish ... so I know this music since birth, and feel that we are presenting a very interesting combination of pieces."

Included on the "Bolero!" program is — you guessed it — Ravel's famously repetitive but nonetheless rich piece of the same name, Manuel de Falla's ballet "The Three-Cornered Hat," and Pablo de Sarasate's arrangement for solo violin and orchestra of Bizet's "Carmen" opera.

Russian-American Philippe Quint is the soloist and will be playing on a 1708 "Ruby" Antonio Stradivari violin on loan from the Stradivari Society. Quint is a two-time Grammy nominee, Juilliard-educated musician who's worked with Prieto before.

"He is an incredible violinist as well as a great friend," Prieto said in a release. "We have toured, recorded and performed together around the world."

Dancing onstage during "The Three-Cornered Hat" will members from the Caminos Flamencos, a San Francisco-based nonprofit led by artistic director Yaelisa.

A mini-lesson to the art of flamenco dancing will also take place in the lobby before the concert. In addition, the pre-concert lecture with Alan Chapman begins at 7 p.m.

May 7 will have a Family Musical Mornings series concert featuring Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty" and other tunes. These short, kid-friendly presentations, led by assistant conductor Maxim Eshkenazy, are complete with dancers from the Orange County Ballet Theatre and seek to connect young attendees with the ties between music, dance and storytelling.

The concerts begin at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. A musical carnival is at 9 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., which will have the Pacific Harp Ensemble, founded by Pacific Symphony principal harpist Mindy Ball.

On May 8, the symphony presents its last Café Ludwig concert of the 2010-11 season, dubbed "Music and Art," led by Orli Shaham. The 3 p.m. concert that will have visual images, coffee and treats in the Samueli Theater.

For more information on the concerts or to purchase tickets, visit or call (714) 755-5799.

BRADLEY ZINT is a copy editor for the Daily Pilot and a classically trained musician. E-mail him story ideas at

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