Musical Menagerie

Musical Menagerie

Concert offerings run the gamut of artistic tastes

By Carl Kozlowski 05/08/2014

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Homeowners around the Rose Bowl have may be opposed to having the NFL use the stadium as a temporary site for a pro football team, fearing that the noise and traffic flow will disrupt their pristine environs. But they’ll still be have to deal with one crazy week at the beginning of August, as four of the biggest stars in rap and pop music will take Pasadena by storm over the course of three shows.
First, husband-wife superstars Jay-Z and Beyonce team up for an Aug. 2 stop on their “On the Run” tour, offering a double dose of pop royalty to what should be a sold-out audience of more than 90,000 fans. Whether Jay is rapping through “99 Problems” and “New York State of Mind,” or Beyonce is pumping the crowd up with “Crazy in Love” or turning them on with the sultry tracks from her latest CD, it should be a memorable night.

Yet they’ll be challenged for best show of the summer twice during the week after their performance, with Eminem and Rihanna bringing their “Monster” tour to the Rose Bowl for two shows on Aug. 7 and 8. The first show is already sold out, proving that the dynamic duo who share the mike on hits like “Monster” and “Love the Way You Lie” in addition to having dozens of hit songs individually also know how to pack  a stadium. Grab your tickets fast if you want in on the second night’s fun.

Those whose tastes run a bit more toward standards and classical sounds should have no fear. The usual battle for the high-end music fan is being waged once again by the triumvirate of orchestras that Pasadena is blessed to have year-round.

The California Philharmonic (CalPhil) brings another season of musical magic to Santa Anita Park, where their five-show Festival on the Green series kicks off on June 28 with “John Williams & Friends,” featuring music from “Star Wars,” “E.T,” “Schindler’s List,” “Jurassic Park” and more in addition to the “1812 Overture,” “Carmina Burana” and Brahms’ Double Concerto. That blockbuster evening will be followed by “Cowboys & Copland” on July 12, “Magic, Fantasy & Adventure” (featuring the CalPhil Chorale) on July 26, “Movie Masterpieces” on Aug. 9 and closing out with “Broadway & Bolero” on Aug. 23.

Meanwhile, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS revs up its own summer fun at the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens under the leadership of Michael Feinstein, beginning with the June 7 performance of “Feinstein’s Favorites.” Featuring music by Harry Warren, Richard Rodgers, Nelson Riddle, Henry Mancini, Alfred Newman and a world premiere by Andre and George Previn, with Broadway sensations Laura Osnes and Norm Lewis as guest vocalists singing classics from Peggy Lee and Judy Garland, the night will mark a groovy good start to the season.

Following that, Tena Clark’s Leading Ladies of Song will team up on June 28, with a trio of singers led by the legendary Dionne Warwick performing tunes by composer Clark under the guidance of conductor Larry Blank. On July 19, the orchestra will shake things up a bit as Feinstein puts down the baton and picks up a microphone for the tribute show “Michael Feinstein SINGS Gershwin!” featuring some of the best standards in the Great American Songbook, including “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Nice Work if You Can Get It.” 

 The fun continues on Aug. 16, when the POPS will present “Hooray for Hollywood,” a night of classic songs from films, complete with powerhouse guest performances by Maureen McGovern and Debby Boone. And the season comes to a climactic finish on Sept. 6, when the “New York! New York!” show features perennially popular singer Patti Austin and other guests singing the best-loved songs from New York-set musicals. 

But area music aficionados know that there’s one other great option available for inventive summer entertainment: MUSE/IQUE. Headed by former POPS conductor Rachael Worby, the ensemble blends a classical base with other musical genres to create unique experiences, and that should be no different this year. Their season kicks off July 5 with “Glass/Shattered,” an Ella Fitzgerald-themed concert featuring guest singer Nnenna Freelon.

On Aug. 9, MUSE/IQUE continues with “Keys/Unlocked,” a piano-themed show featuring five world-class pianists. And they wrap their season up on Sept. 7, when veteran dance superstar Savion Glover takes the stage. 

Finally, for those on a budget or who just want to enjoy some music that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, head over to Levitt Pavilion in Memorial Park Wednesdays through Sundays starting June 16 for more than 50 free concerts throughout the summer.  

Jay-Z and Beyonce perform Aug. 2 at the Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena. Tickets are $40.50 to $251. Call (800) 745-3000 or visit
 Eminem and Rihanna perform Aug. 7 and 8 at the Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena. Aug. 7 is sold out. Tickets for Aug. 8 are $49.50 to $250. Call (800) 745-3000 or visit
CalPhil performs at 7:30 p.m. June 28, July 12, July 26, Aug. 9 and Aug. 23 at the Santa Anita Park, 285 West Huntington Drive, Arcadia. Tickets are $16 to $88. The programs are repeated at 2 p.m. June 29, July 13, July 27, Aug. 10 and Aug. 24 at Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Tickets are $16 to $100. Call (626) 300-8200 or visit
Pasadena Symphony and POPS performs at 7:30 p.m. June 7, June 28, July 19, Aug. 16 and Sept. 6 at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. Tickets are $35 to $105. Call (626) 821-3222 or visit 
MUSE/IQUE performs at the mall lawn outside Beckman Auditorium at Caltech, 332 S. Michigan Ave., Pasadena. Tickets for members are $10 to $125, and $20 to $250 for nonmembers, with both general admission and reserved seating available. Call (626)844-7703 or visit 

 Levitt Pavilion Pasadena presents more than 50 free concerts in its 2014 Summer Music Festival at Memorial Park, 85 E. Holly St., Pasadena. Call (626) 683-3230 or visit 


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