SB Symphony Starts Season with Shakespearean Saga

Photo Credit: San Bernardino Symphony Library.

The San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra is currently preparing for the start of their 93rd performance season which begins with “Romeo and Juliet vs. West Side Story” on March 12, 2022. The concert considers Shakespeare’s iconic tale of tragic love through some unique artistic perspectives.

“I’m excited that the San Bernardino Symphony will have the opportunity to examine the Shakespearean tragedy of Romeo and Juliet through three completely different lenses; that of three colossal talents – Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Bernstein,” shared San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Anthony Parnther.

In the first half, the orchestra will perform the story of young Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet with Sergei Prokofiev’s sweeping ballet, Romeo and Juliet, and the captivating Fantasy Overture by Piotr Illych Tchaikovsky. 

Explained Maestro Parnther, “Tchaikovsky was the first of the three to take a musical ‘swing’ at this material and it resulted in one of the most recognizable melodies of the entire Classical repertoire. Prokoviev creates tremendous drama in his ballet version of the story of which we’ll perform a few select movements, including the tense and angular Montagues and Capulets which has become the most famous excerpt from the work.” 

The concert’s second half will include selections from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein.

“In 1957, Bernstein and Sondheim changed Broadway forever when they combined forces to create West Side Story – the modernized, American retelling of Shakespeare’s vivid tale of star crossed love,” said Parnther, adding, “We’re delighted to perform the work with two veterans of the Bernstein West Side Story, Chanlon Kaufmann and Holly Sedillos, both of whom have performed the roles of Tony and Maria to audience and critical acclaim.”

Sedillos previously performed with the Symphony’s in their 2020 inaugural virtual concert and in “Carmina Burana” in 2019. The Los Angeles native divides her time between the studio and stage. She has played the roles of Maria in West Side Story at the Savoy Theatre in Helsinki, Finland, Jasmine in Aladdin: a Musical Spectacular! at California Adventure, and Consuelo in Adam’s I Was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky with Long Beach Opera, and in Christopher Tin’s Calling All Dawns at Carnegie Hall, and in featured roles in The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Willy Wonka at the Hollywood Bowl. She was also a featured soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s John Adams’s Grand Pianola Music as part of the Soundstage video series at the Hollywood Bowl. She was a soloist throughout Michael Abels’s score for Fake Famous—a 2020 HBO documentary—and Austin Wintory’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate score. She is also a regular soloist for Jeff Russo, Benjamin Wallfisch, Jeff and Mychael Danna, and is featured in upcoming scores by John Powell. She may also be heard on Danny Elfman’s new album and song Sorry. For the past 12 years, she has been a soprano with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and is a regular artist with Jacaranda Music. 

Kaufman, also joins the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra once again, having last been seen 15 years ago performing selections from The Phantom of the Opera under Maestro Carlo Ponti, Jr. No stranger to the score of West Side Story, he most recently appeared as Tony in Los Angeles in 2018.  He also performed for Sir Arthur Laurents, famed playwright and screenwriter who wrote the show, when he was a finalist for the Broadway revival. Some of his other notable roles include the west coast premiere of Light in the Piazza (Fabrizio), Cinderella at the Fireside Theatre in Wisconsin (Prince), Joseph… (Joseph), Fiddler on the Roof (Perchik), My Fair Lady (Freddy), Pirates of Penzance (Frederick), Sweeney Todd (Antony), and he originated the role of Arthur Davies/Captain Hook in the Off-Broadway cast of Lost Boys.  He was also featured as French artist Charles Gounod on the cast recording of Felix and Fanny, the story of the Mendelssohn composers.

Sponsored, in large part, through a generous grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the concert begins promptly at 7:30 p.m. at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts, 562 W. Fourth Street in downtown San Bernardino. 

“This will be a truly enchanting evening and we cannot think of a better way to welcome back our beloved audience than to present a concert based upon such an internationally treasured tale,” shared Symphony Board of Directors President Dean McVay. 

Agreed Maestro Parnther, “This is a concert not to be missed!”

Updated Safety Protocols 

The San Bernardino Symphony Association has updated its COVID-19 safety protocols to align with the California Department of Public Health, now welcoming both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to attend concerts.  

As at the past two live concerts, fully vaccinated patrons may provide an electronic, photo, or paper copy of their vaccination record and a matching government-issued ID. Unvaccinated patrons may bring an electronic, photo, or paper copy of a negative COVID-19 test result received from a completed lab-certified antigen COVID-19 test within 24 hours prior to entering the concert venue, or a negative test result received from a completed PCR COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to entering the concert venue. The BinaxNOW COVID-19 proctored Antigen Home Test (the version requiring a virtual appointment with a medical professional) is an acceptable option when accompanied by healthcare provider documentation. Negative test results must be accompanied by a matching government-issued ID.  

Alternatively, medical documentation of recovery from COVID-19 within the prior 90 days will be accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination or a negative test. Self-administered home tests not conducted under the supervision of a medical professional who has provided documentation are not acceptable. 

Masking is required for all patrons while in the California Theatre. The Symphony’s full Covid-19 safety policy is available on their website.

Six Season Concerts Remain

While the 2022 season is scheduled for all live concerts, it will represent a hybrid in terms of location. This is because state-funded renovations will be underway at the California Theatre. The Symphony will take its next two concerts – a May 14 Chamber Concert featuring the Lyris Quartet and a June 11 classical piano event featuring Robert Thies, as well as a September 10 jazz concert with the Josh Nelson Jazz Quartet – to the theater at San Bernardino Valley College. A community-wide patriotic concert is also planned for performance July 2 outdoors at Valley College, and plans are in place to make this a full day event which will culminate with the evening’s Symphony performance.

The Symphony will return to the California Theatre post-renovations on October 29, 2022 for “Movies with the Maestro” featuring cinema scores including John Williams’ iconic music from E.T. and Star Wars and the Alfred Hitchcock film scores of Bernard Herrmann (Psycho, The Birds, North by Northwest).  The season will end December 17, 2022 with Cirque de Noel featuring the internationally renowned Cirque de la Symphonie troupe performing to orchestral holiday classics.

 “This is truly our biggest year to date,” said Maestro Parnther, “and it only portends the magic that is planned for the future.”

Tickets Available

Tickets are available online at or by calling the box office at (909) 381-5388. 2022 season subscriptions are also now available. Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Patrons are requested to please review the Symphony’s Covid-19 safety policy prior to making their purchase.

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