Maestro in the Spotlight: Weekend Concerts Will Range from 1788 to 1995; With a Surprise

Scott Seaton North State Symphony conductor

Today we speak with Scott Seaton, the North State Symphony’s new music director, whose talents will be featured in his second concert, “Maestro in the Spotlight”, this coming weekend, 7:30 p.m. on Sat. Nov. 14 at Laxon Auditorium in Chico, and 4 p.m. on Sun., Nov. 15 at the Cascade Theatre in Redding.

Hello Maestro. It’s good to talk with you again. Well, you got the job as the North State Symphony’s music director. Congratulations. And now you have your first concert behind you. I attended that concert, and was so impressed. I swear, a few times I could have sworn you nearly levitated.

How will this next concert performed in Chico and Redding – “Maestro in the Spotlight” – compare with the first concert, if at all?

They are two very different beasts, really. The first concert focused on two blockbusters in the world of orchestral music. This next concert set is all about rhythm and a groove that will be evident from the first few seconds of music. From catchy minimalistic jazz in Lollapalooza to the unforgettable Mambo in Bernstein’s West Side Story, this is a program that’s going to make you want to get out in the aisles and dance! Throw into the mix the incredible talent of our Young Artist winner, Brianna Ruiz, and the crazy hi jinks that embodies the music of Franz Joseph Haydn, and you have a program that is absolutely not-to-miss!

It sounds like a fantastic mix, and I promise I won’t miss it.

Now, maybe I should have asked this first, but going back to your first concerts as the North State Symphony’s new music director, how was it to conduct concerts in Redding and Chico?

This is such a treat, and one of the big reasons I was attracted to this particular position. I love, LOVE that the North State Symphony serves two unique communities, not just in terms of people, but also landscape. I must also mention our wonderful performance venues, the Cascade and Laxson, which are two very beautiful spaces that we are fortunate to have in a very centralized location in the hearts of downtown Redding and Chico. I’ve guest conducted many orchestras where the venues are noticeably distant from the city centers and feel very detached from the communities they are serving.

How are you adjusting to your new home?

California is incredible. Really. I love living in such a vibrant place with so much energy and proximity to lots of OTHER places that share those same qualities. It’s all about perspective, really – I spent the last three years pretty far removed from major cities, warm weather, and large bodies of water. Having said that, it’s pretty entertaining for me when I hear Californians talk about how cold it has been in the past week or so!

Well, I suppose it’s all relative, when it comes to the weather. Any surprises about your new home?

Not any that immediately come to mind. Maybe how many incredibly unique dining establishments that I’ve discovered in Chico and Redding, from Upper Crust Bakery in Chico (one of my favorite lunch places!) to Armando’s Gallery House in Redding.

It sounds as if you’ve made a point to investigate what the north state has to offer.

Can you tel us about this coming weekend’s next concerts in Chico and Redding, please?

With music that ranges from 1788 to 1995, this is one of the most diverse programs in the entire season. I’m pretty sure that this rhythm-centered program will not disappoint and will have something for everyone!

What was your inspiration for your selections for this next concert?

I wanted to create a program centered around Bernstein’s West Side Story, which is music that I have been enthralled with from the first time I heard it as a kid. When I first heard it, I was obsessed with the variety of FUN rhythms that made up the music. Anyone who knows anything about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet can also appreciate the story line, too.

What can the audience expect?

Expect to have fun – that is all I expect from any orchestra concert presented by the North State Symphony. I can also pretty much guarantee that in at least one of the pieces, the audience will applaud before the conclusion of the piece … and that’s OK.

Thanks for the heads up, and permission for premature applause. Anything else you’d like us to know?

We are starting something in this concert set that is intended to further demystify the orchestra and what goes on during some of the pieces we play in our subscription series. I’m not going to divulge too much information right now, but, again, this will be a performance you absolutely will NOT want to miss!

Thank you so much for taking time to share a bit about the concerts. And I’m intrigued about your secret orchestra- demystification plan. I guess we’ll have to show up and see (and hear) for ourselves.

If you’re going …
What: “Maestro in the Spotlight” concerts in Redding and Chico

Details: Bernstein: West Side Story Symphonic Dances, John Adams, Kabalevsky, Haydn and Johann Strauss

When and Where: Sat. Nov. 14 7:30 p.m. at Laxon Auditorium in Chico; and Sun. Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. at the Cascade Theatre in Redding.


Tickets: Click here for Saturday’s Laxon Auditorium ticket information or go to CHICOSTATETICKETS.COM; and click here for Sunday’s Cascade Theatre ticket information, or go to CASCADETHEATRE.ORG.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate. Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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