By Robert D. Thomas
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily
When Rachael Worby — who for 10 years was music director of
the Pasadena Pops Orchestra — unleashed her new organization, Muse-ique, last
year, she promised a radically different programming concept. Last year’s
events (she doesn’t call them concerts) offered a tantalizing taste of her
eclectic vision. The 2012 season — four “Uncorked” events and three summer
programs — fleshes out that vision.
The first “Uncorked” event takes place Monday onstage at the
Pasadena Civic Auditorium — literally. Both the performers and the audience
will be on the stage and a loading bay (everyone will enter from the loading
door to the right of the auditorium; the audience is limited to 300). The
evening begins at 7 p.m. with cocktails and the actual event kicks off at 7:20
As is the case with each of the “Uncorked” programs, Monday
will be unscripted to a degree because they involve conversations between Worby
and her colleagues, in this case, six pianists (thus the title “Ebony Meets
Ivory”): Joanne Pearce Martin, principal keyboard player for the Los Angeles
Philharmonic; Markus Pawlik; Julia Greer; assistant professor of materials
science and mechanics at Caltech; Bryan Pezzone; Kirk Wilson; and Gavin Martin
(Joanne’s husband). They will perform music ranging from Moonlight Sonata to Coltrane, bebop Bach to a 12-hand arrangement
of Stars and Stripes Forever. Also on
the agenda is pop culture analyst/ writer/ performer Sandra Tsing Loh.
The only thing that’s a given about Worby’s programs is that
nothing is a given, but the concept is intriguing. Information: muse-ique.com
Among the innovative aspects of Muse-ique are the locales.
The April 9 event — a Western theme featuring a Worby regular,
singer-songwriter Michael Murphy and several others — will be at the Gene Autry
National Center in Griffith Park. The Oct. 8 program at the Rose Pavilion will
be a mash-up of Beatles’ music including Sgt.
Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (the album celebrates its 45th
anniversary on June 1). The fourth program, Nov. 12, will be held amid the
paper rolls of Castle Press (the latter two locales are repeats from the 2011
locales — Rachael loves recycling something or someone that clicks with the
The summer series begins with a free concert June 23 on the
steps of the Pasadena Civic Center. The other two events will be outdoors at
Caltech’s outdoor Olive Garden, which proved to be a terrific venue last year.
Latin Jazz Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval will return to headline the evening on
July 14; details of the August 18 program have not been announced.
(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.