Jubilee celebrations coming to arts center

The weekend marking the jubilee of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts — known for 24 of its first 25 years as the Orange County Performing Arts Center — falls on the last day of September.

Yet the center's 2011-12 anniversary season actually gets underway at 8 p.m. Sept. 21 with the first performance in its seasonal classical music series.

The Emerson String Quartet's scheduled performance at the Samueli Theater will feature the West Coast premiere of Pierre Jalbert's "String Quartet No. 5," according to a news release from the center.

National Medal of Arts recipient Sonny Rollins will open the center's 2011-12 jazz season with a show at 4 p.m. Sept. 25 in Segerstrom Hall.

Apart from a series of headline performances by the San Francisco Ballet, the commemorative weekend's other highlighted show will be an 8 p.m. Oct. 1 performance by the National Acrobats of China in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

And, in the spirit of opening the center to the wider community and making its programs more accessible to the general public, the center plans to stage a trio of free shows, including some fun and quirky programs aimed at attracting younger audiences:

Polyglot Theatre, an Australian troupe, will stage "We Built This City" shows in the center's plaza at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Oct. 1, and at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 2. The idea behind the interactive, large-scale installation is for the performing artists to involve children and parents in building a city made of cardboard boxes. After its four weekend performances, the following week Polyglot will present some free shows for bused-in schoolchildren, center officials said.

Ozamatli, the Los Angeles-based Grammy-winning urban Latin band, will play a free concert in the center's plaza at 5 p.m. on Oct. 2. The concert, which is being billed as a tribute to Southern California's diverse music scene and heritage, will be part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time project, where museums and cultural institutions throughout the region will celebrate the Southland's postwar achievements in the arts, according to a news release from the Segerstrom Center.

Finally, at 3 p.m. on Oct. 2, organist Cameron Carpenter, who has played in concerts halls across the globe, will give a free recital in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, playing on its built-in William J. Gillespie Concert Organ.

"… This is a center for everybody," Center President Terrence W. Dwyer said in an interview. "We are committed to inclusiveness."

If You Go

What: Tickets for upcoming shows at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Where: 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Phone: (714) 556-2787

More information: http://www.scfta.org

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