Dear Friends,

I hope this newsletter finds you safe, healthy, and adjusting to new normals. The past seven months have been a whirlwind. As I concluded my first season as Music Director of New West Symphony and entered my second, we quickly reinvented ourselves to adapt our current and future programming to digital platforms. We learned a lot along the way, and I'm thrilled to announce our reimagined season, Global Sounds. Local Cultures.
New West Symphony's 2020-21 Season: Global Sounds. Local Cultures.
New West Symphony, Anne Akiko Meyers & Michael Christie by Eugene Yankevich 
This season, we will present eight mini-festivals, held from October through June, that highlight the music, cultures and family traditions throughout Greater Los Angeles, while emphasizing connections with orchestra repertoire. These are all digital concerts, paired with engaging complementary content, to be available streamed or on-demand. In addition to NWS’s concerts, our mini-festivals will include Meet the Artist/cultural expert interviews, curated playlists, food and lifestyle explorations, restaurant discounts, and after-party invitations.

The opening concert, A Tour of Japan with Anne Akiko Meyers, premieres online on Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET. We recorded it on the stage at our regular hall Kalvi Theater at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center in Thousand Oaks, CA as well as outdoors at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA, the regional home of New West Symphony.

Tune in to Spectrum News 1's coverage of our recording sessions, for a look at the process.

The concert features Los Angeles-based violinist Anne Akiko Meyers performing the Bach Concerto for Two Violins in D minor with New West Symphony concertmaster Alyssa Park and over 20 NWS musicians. It also includes Michio Miyagi’s Haru No Umi (“Sea in Spring”), Toru Takemitsu’s Three Film Scores, Shinichi Yuize’s Concerto No. 2 for Koto and Strings (3rd mvt.), Schubert's Ave Maria, Beethoven's Für Elise, and Mozart's Notturno K. 237, plus performances by Pasadena-based Makoto Taiko, a Japanese drum ensemble; San Diego-based koto performer Reiko Obata; and pianist Benjamin Krasner. The program is inspired by Japanese educator and musician Shinichi Suzuki, who founded the Suzuki Method of teaching music, combined with the mesmerizing sounds of Japanese traditional music and music from Japan over recent decades.

An All-Access Passport for A Tour of Japan includes, in addition to the concert, On the Veranda with Hirokazu Kosaka, artistic director of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (Friday, October 16 at 7 p.m. PT), and Meet the Artist with Anne Akiko Meyers, Reiko Obata, and Hunter Loyd (Saturday, October 17 at 7 p.m. PT).
Single tickets, All-Access Passports, and digital memberships for the full season are now available.

Music allows humans to tell stories, share traditions and express our complex emotions. Like a kaleidoscope, as a melody or rhythm is shared, it subtly or dramatically reflects the vibrancy of that time and place. Classical music wouldn’t be the same without the global influences that have left their indelible mark on the art form. Our new season spotlights the vivid cultural influences that have shaped classical music and SoCal itself.

I cannot thank our orchestra musicians enough for their enthusiasm and passion which helped us realize this season, as well as our CEO Natalia Staneva and the NWS team for their hard work in ever-changing circumstances.

You can watch my season announcement with Natalia here.
Program details will be released four weeks prior to the streaming dates at

A Tour of Japan
Sunday, October 18, 2020, 3 p.m. PT

A Tour of India
Sunday, November 15, 2020, 3 p.m. PT

Violins of Hope
Sunday, January 24, 2021, 3 p.m. PT

Black History Month
Sunday, February 14, 2021, 3 p.m. PT

A Tour of South Korea
Sunday, March 7, 2021, 3 p.m. PT

Persian Festival
Sunday, April 11, 2021 3 p.m. PT

A Tour of Mexico
Sunday, May 2, 2021, 3 p.m. PT

A Tour of China
Sunday, June 13, 2021, 3 p.m. PT
Photos of Reiko Obata and Makoto Taiko by Eugene Yankevich 
Other Recent Highlights
Live Online Events

Throughout the Spring and Summer, while we were planning our new season, we reacted to the changing times of the coronavirus pandemic with some inventive online programs.

We were thrilled to be recognized by City Lifestyle: “New West Symphony overcame technical difficulties and learned how to offer online programs and classes, including music imagery and mindfulness, virtual concerts celebrating Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, and a fundraiser featuring a ‘battle of the sections’ with patrons contributing to their favorite team.”

You can watch our Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Memorial Day programs here, along with a few other videos we produced, including a "“Sections 101” with music expert David Ravetch.

Usually my job is to help orchestra sections cooperate, but we threw that out the window for New West Symphony’s online gala in June, when we challenged the orchestra sections to compete for the honor of being named “The Best Orchestra Section in the History of the World," while competing to raise the most money for the orchestra.

You can watch the event and learn more here.
Michael Christie's Jukebox

I decided to use some of my time at home to assemble playlists of some of my favorite performance videos into a series called Michael Christie's Jukebox. From Europe's greatest concert halls, the world's iconic rock venues and the new homes for music that are informing and changing the world, "The Jukebox" became a fun place to get to know artists you love or may not know yet, alongside vintage recordings that are the soundtrack of our lives.

On several episodes I invited some of my friends and colleagues all over the world to join me as guests, via Zoom, including Kevin Puts, Reena Esmail, Olga Kern, Ricky Ian Gordon, Mark Adamo, and John Corigliano.

You can watch Michael Christie's Jukebox here.
Wishing you comfort and musical nourishment this season, albeit in a different way than we imagined.

All the best,
Ron Merlino, MusicVine
646*825*9585 |

Christina Jensen, Jensen Artists
646*536*7864 |