Campus News


Soka Performing Arts Center Announces 2017-18 Season, Featuring Three New Series

Aliso Viejo, CA Soka Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce some highlights of the upcoming 2017-2018 season which begins in September. Series packages go on sale Tuesday, June 13, 2017, and single-event tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Further details will be announced in early June with information available then on



“We have an exciting and eclectic mix of events this season,” notes General Manager David Palmer. “The success of the World Music Series in our Black Box Theatre last season gave us a great new venue to feature artists from around the world as well as local musicians in a more intimate setting. Also, we are adding three new series to our package offerings, two to introduce fans to up-and-coming artists in the classical world and contemporary genres, and one that is a throwback to favorite music of Baby Boomers.”

In collaboration with the Colburn School in Los Angeles, the new Colburn @Soka: Artists on the Rise Series features outstanding young soloists and ensembles, specially chosen by the Colburn faculty for their artistry and professional potential. For the TenPints New Music Series, in cooperation with TenPints Entertainment, Soka Performing Arts Center is presenting up-and-coming, local and touring musicians and bands to encourage the creation and discovery of new music in contemporary genres like rock, folk, hip hop and pop.

Also new for 2017-18 will be the Pop Classics Series, featuring artists that helped make popular music history in the 60s and 70s. First up will be An Evening with Roger McGuinn. As one of the founders of The Byrds, everyone will recognize his signature 12-string Rickenbacker sound and memorable vocals on hits like “Mr. Tambourine Man.” In February, take a trip down memory lane with folk music icon Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary. Then celebrate one of America’s most beloved singer-songwriters as Jim Curry Presents the Music of John Denver.

The International Symphonies Series for the 2017-18 season is comprised of two outstanding orchestras from Europe. The series begins in November with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and will feature pianist Dmitry Masleev performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. February brings the return to Orange County of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Neeme Jarvi with a program featuring violinist Benjamin Beilman. This year the Sundays @Soka with Pacific Symphony Series will highlight the great works of Beethoven, Ravel and Mozart. An audience favorite, Pacific Symphony’s conductor and music director Carl St.Clair brings his vast knowledge of musical history to life with both his comments and baton.

The Chamber Music Series features five outstanding pianists this year, as well as three events that feature premier guitarists. Solo piano recitals have become one of the hallmarks of the Chamber Music Series at Soka Performing Arts Center. This year, veteran piano soloists will include Emanuel Ax and Garrick Ohlsson. Young piano soloists will include Chopin Competition winner Seong-Jin Cho, rising star Behzod Abduraimov, and the future Gold Medal winner of the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition which takes place on June 10, 2017. Ensembles will include the Escher String Quartet with special guest guitarist Jason Vieaux, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet performing a new commission by guitarist Pat Metheny. Of special note, guitarist Paul Galbraith will perform a solo guitar recital on his eight-string Brahms guitar.

The Soka Jazz Festival and the Jazz Monsters Series return for another exciting year of great jazz. This year, the Jazz Festival will feature vocalist Diane Schuur, trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, hard-bop jazz group The Cookers and West Coast jazz by the Phil Norman Tentet. Grammy Award winners Billy Childs and Paquito d’Rivera will team up for a very special, first-time public performance in our Jazz Monsters Series. Other jazz artists include the Don Brown Trio, trumpeter Sean Jones and his ensemble, and the return of an audience favorite, pianist Kenny Barron and his quintet.

Kicking off the World Music Series is Music of Uganda with Samite, the world-renowned musician and humanitarian who will perform on authentic African instruments. Middle Eastern music with Niyaz featuring Azam Ali and Indian fusion music with Kiran Ahluwalia both mix traditional songs and instruments with contemporary styles and instruments. The World Music Series will close with a soon-to-be-announced Grammy-winning Latin rock group.

The season will also include special engagements by the founder of Windham Hill Records, guitarist Will Ackerman, the return of Celtic legends The Chieftains, and special holiday events in December. Visit for current offerings and information on upcoming events, as well as to sign up for the Soka Performing Arts Center email list to receive updates and reminders for all events.

Those who purchased 2016-17 season series packages will be able to renew their packages beginning May 9. For new buyers, packages will be available for sale starting on June 13. Single-event tickets for all scheduled events will go on sale on July 11. At that time, the Create Your Own Series packages will also be available for those patrons who like to mix and match their musical genres and styles. Just select a minimum of four events to receive discounted ticket prices for an entertainment package of your own design. Community Connections events are not available for inclusion within Create Your Own Series packages, or for any Soka discounts or vouchers. Call the Box Office with any questions at (949) 480-4ART (4278).