Four Concerts of the 2013-14 Symphony Pops Series Announced

Maestro Michael Berkowitz leads the Santa Rosa Symphony in diverse collection of music from swing to Broadway and holiday favorites to classic rock n’ roll.

The Santa Rosa Symphony and Wells Fargo Center for the Arts unveiled their 2013-14 Symphony Pops Series comprising four Sunday afternoon concerts in the Ruth Finley Person Theater at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. “This is the 9th season of the Symphony Pops,” said Rick Nowlin, the Center’s Executive Director, “and we are thrilled to see this partnership with the Symphony grow into a series that has been embraced by the community.” From Benny Goodman to Broadway and from holiday cheer to the Beatles, Principal Pops Conductor Michael Berkowitz leads the Santa Rosa Symphony in a diverse collection of music showcasing acclaimed soloists, favorite classic and contemporary tunes, and the leading Beatles tribute band. One hour before each concert, audience members are invited to a free talk with Maestro Berkowitz as he provides insight into the afternoon’s program, and shares personal anecdotes and memories from his storied career working on Broadway with Liza Minelli, Henry Mancini and Marvin Hamlisch, among many others.

“We are fortunate to have Michael Berkowitz returning for another season as Principal Pops Conductor,” said Alan Silow, Executive Director of the Santa Rosa Symphony.  “His panache, charisma, and extensive knowledge of popular music are key to making this series a hit with audience members.”

The season begins October 27th with The King of Swing: Benny Goodman at the Symphony featuring guest clarinetist Ken Peplowski. Peplowski, known by many as the heir apparent to the late Benny Goodman, has recorded over 400 CDs with such artists as Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops, and Madonna, in addition to touring with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and even performing with Benny Goodman when Goodman came out of retirement in 1984.

On December 15th, the Pops series presents A Very Merry Holiday Pops featuring the Santa Rosa Symphonic Chorus. More than 60 of Sonoma County’s finest voices make up the chorus, which this year is celebrating 76 years of singing. Together with the Santa Rosa Symphony, they’ll present special arrangements of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” “Sleigh Ride,” “O Holy Night,” “Jingle Bells Forever,” and “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies,” in a concert that will also feature an audience sing-along.

Three Phantoms in Concert, featuring Mark Jacoby, Gary Mauer and Craig Schulman, on February 23rd brings three of Broadway’s leading tenors to the stage to sing the best of the Broadway tunes. Each soloist has played the title role in the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mega-musical “The Phantom of the Opera,” and the program includes favorites from “Phantom,” “Les Miserables,” “Miss Saigon,” “Guys and Dolls,” and more.

The Return of the Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Beatles culminates the season on April 27th with the most authentic Beatles sound you can experience today in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles groundbreaking tour of the United States. “Never has the music of the Beatles sounded as good as this night with the live orchestra,” says Newport News. Together with the Santa Rosa Symphony, this leading Beatles tribute band—with original members of the Broadway sensation “Beatlemania”—received rave reviews following their Pops concert at the Center in 2006.

“The Ruth Finley Person Theater is a wonderful venue for Pops music,” says Maestro Michael Berkowitz. “There’s a very special intimacy to the room and the acoustics are fantastic. I’m especially looking forward to performing in the Theater after this summer’s renovation, which will create more space on stage for the performers, and will result in improved sightlines, sound, and comfort for audience members.”


2013-2014 Symphony Pops Series

Symphony Pops Season Package ($109 – $255) are available now.  Packages include all four concerts on Sundays at 3pm and the pre-concert talks beginning at 2pm. Single tickets ($32 – $80) go on sale August 5th to members of Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, and August 23rd to the general public. Tickets and information are available through Wells Fargo Center for the Arts by calling 707-546-3600, online at, or in person at the ticket office at 50 Mark West Springs Road in Santa Rosa (open daily, noon to 6pm).