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It's a rarity in the world of arts these days, but Orchestra Nova San Diego ended its 2010-2011 season in the black and has pre-sold 75% of its capacity with subscriptions for their 2011-2012 Nova Classics series. They're hiring, not laying off employees.


The adventurous ensemble is getting ready to roll out the red carpet for its first Pops! Concert of the season on October 2, and its Nova Classics season opener on October 22. The Nova Experience begins once you enter the door and are immersed in the lobby experience that sets the stage for the evening's concert, which includes creative programming, multimedia presentations, and unsurpassed musicianship.

Under the leadership of chief executive officer Beverly Lambert, artistic director and conductor Jung-Ho Pak, and board president Sam Dychter, the Orchestra is implementing a new artistic and business model that is focused on providing a new paradigm for the business of performing classical music.

Artistically, the words "concert" and "orchestra" are rarely used by Orchestra Nova these days, replaced by "the Nova experience" (or "Nova 2.0" this season) which focuses on providing an entertaining and theatrical experience for guests that transports them from their ordinary world into a fantasy world for a few hours.

This season, doors to the lobbies for the Nova Classics series will open at 6:00 where guests will be warmly welcomed and immersed into a world that is wrapped around the theme of the evening's music.

The program A Taste of Spain will feature classical music relative to Spain in the hall, with the sounds beginning prior to the performance and during the intermission, when "the lobby will be filled with sensory experiences for the entire family": a flamenco dancer teaching the flamenco in one corner; a Spanish guitarist playing as he strolls through the lobby; a wine-tasting demonstration in another corner; a display of Spanish artwork; and a tapas bar in another corner.

In keeping with the carnival/festival atmosphere, attendees will also have a chance to get their photo taken with a life-sized cutout of Jung-Ho Pak. Seriously!

Nova Goes Green will feature "Beethoven's Symphony No. 6" (Pastorale) and a newly commissioned composition called "Surf" that will be complemented with surfing video. The lobby activities will be centered on caring for the planet Earth.


Originally known as the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Nova San Diego was founded in 1984. Jung-Ho Pak was announced the Artistic Director and Conductor for the 2006-2007 season, bringing with him a fresh new vision for the orchestra. Even while conducting the San Diego Symphony, Pak has created unusual programs like the eccentric Lightbulb Series, which sometimes featured a French chef preparing food onstage while the Orchestra performed.

The Orchestra turns up at various venues downtown, in La Jolla, and Rancho Santa Fe, as well as embarking on occasional short tours. Their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah has become a local holiday tradition at area churches and the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

In early 2008, Tyler Richards Hewes, a 2002 graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University's Performing Arts program, was named executive director of the Orchestra. Prior to his appointment, Hewes was the production manager for Mainly Mozart and manager of the Mainly Mozart Orchestra Festival, both in San Diego.

2009 found the Orchestra based in a new venue, Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall in Sorrento Valley. Also in 2009, “Guests gave us the highest marks possible in a professionally administered audience survey,” according to Beverly Lambert, “the highest rating possible awarded by the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture, a $275,000 grant from the Irvine Foundation, professional musicians, the best, who support and respect Jung-Ho Pak, our artistic director and conductor, whose revolutionary vision for classical music is bringing people in from all walks of life."

"We’re one of the few successes among arts organizations in the country today.”

Image Watch Lambert and Jung-Ho Pak discuss last year's successes and the excitement about the upcoming season: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ22_d...

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