Watching live music can only add to the carefree spirit of the summer season, as enjoying a good groove or a sumptuous symphony makes the spirit soar. This summer, Pasadena has a particularly entertaining array of concerts and outdoor events that are sure to create magical musical memories for years to come.
The Rose Bowl kicks off the summer concert season this weekend with Saturday and Sunday performances by Korean pop sensations BTS. Fresh off of “Saturday Night Live” last month, the seven-member group has sung and danced their way across Asia since 2013 before suddenly breaking big in America in recent months. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bowl’s Arroyo Seco neighbors are more annoyed by the high-pitched shrieks of the group’s teenage fans or the roaring rock of the Rolling Stones when that band reschedules its tour stop upon singer Mick Jagger’s return from heart surgery. Visit ticketmaster.com.
The Rose Bowl will also play host to a unique nonmusical event throughout July when it presents “Apollo 11: An Immersive 360 Adventure” from July 5 through July 29. Marking the 50th anniversary of astronaut Neil Armstrong’s lunar mission and first steps on the moon, the groundbreaking event tells the historic story with a full cast and is presented in a spectacular lunar dome with 40,000 square feet of video projections. The immersive experience takes visitors from the thrill of the countdown to the enormous Saturn V rocket launch and the unforgettable journey to the moon.
Pasadena is also home to three world-class orchestras, and summer marks their hottest season of the year. The Pasadena POPS is in full force with its annual Summer Concert Series at the LA County Arboretum in Arcadia.
This year’s five-concert season includes “Great American Songbook: Icons from Tin Pan Alley, Broadway & Hollywood” (June 22), “Rhapsody in Blue” (July 13), “Michael Feinstein Sings Cole Porter” (Aug. 3), “Music of Elton John Starring Michael Cavanaugh” (Aug. 24) and “MGM Movie Classics: Wizard of Oz 80th Anniversary” (Sept. 14).
The POPS will also team with country music superstar Dwight Yoakam in its third annual summer concert festival “Live at the Arboretum”. Hear his hits “Streets of Bakersfield,” “Fast As You,” “Honky Tonk Man,” and “Guitars, Cadillacs” and many more in this innovative night. But on top of that, the POPS annually give back to the community with a free “Music Under the Stars” concert in front of Pasadena City Hall. This year’s “Stars” event takes place June 1 and features guest singers Finn Sagal and Valerie Perri plus the JPL Chorus in a celebration of music from Broadway, Hollywood and the Great American Songbook. Visit Pasadenasymphony-pops.org.
Another area orchestra that puts a big spin on the classical genre is MUSE/IQUE, under maestra Rachael Worby, combines a core symphony with an inventive array of musical styles and, often, dance performances. This summer’s shows are themed “Moving/Pictures” (July 6), “Train/Glory” (Aug. 3) and “Band/Together” (Aug. 24), with all performances held on the grounds of the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. Visit muse-ique.org.
The third ensemble of musical masters is California Philharmonic, which presents grand shows throughout the year at Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles under the astute direction of beloved maestro Victor Vener. This summer’s series of shows include “Beethoven Meets the Beatles” (June 30), “Bastille Day” (July 14), “Space: A Giant Leap” (July 28), “Carmen Goes to the Movies” (Aug. 11) and “The Emperor’s Roundup” (Aug. 18). Visit calphil.com.
Of course, there are plenty of area hotspots that are home to great music all year round, and their summer schedules are also packed with fun. Glendale’s Alex Theatre brings the rock and roll memories of the longtime former Rose Parade TV commentator to life this Saturday, May 4, with “Bob Eubanks: Backstage with the Beatles.” Visit alextheatre.org. And on May 16 Johnny Mathis performs ath the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Visit pasadenacivic.visitpasadena.com.
Not to be outdone, huge area favorite Glendale Cruise Night fills Brand Boulevard with classic rock and classic cars on July 20. Visit glendalecruisenight.com.
The Rose nightclub has proven to be the most consistent booker of classic rock acts and touring comedians in the area, and its summer schedule is packed once again. Art Alexakis of Everclear (May 9), Little River Band (June 2), John Hiatt (June 22) and Sinbad (July 12) are just four of the many who will be taking the large venue’s stage. Visit wheremusicmeetsthesoul.com.
The Rose Bowl is located at 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena.
Pasadena POPS performs its summer series at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, located at 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. Its “Music Under the Stars” show will be at 8 p.m. June 1 at Pasadena City Hall, 100 Garfield Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 793-7172 or visit pasadenasymphony-pops.org.
MUSE/IQUE performs at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. Call (626) 539-7085 or visit Muse-ique.com.
The California Philharmonic performs at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave. , Los Angeles. Call (323) 850-2000 or visit calphil.com.
The Alex Theatre is located at 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Call (818) 243-2611 or visit alextheatre.org.
The 26th Annual Glendale Cruise Night takes place from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20, on Brand Boulevard, between Broadway and Milford Street, in Glendale. Visit glendalecruisenight.com.
Pasadena Civic Auditorium is located at 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. Call (626) 795-9311 or visit pasadenacivic.visitpasadena.com
The Rose is located at Paseo Colorado, 245 E. Green St., Pasadena. Call (888) 645-5006 or visit wheremusicmeetsthesoul.com.