Orchestra is back for Everett concert after 19-month hiatus

The Pacifica Chamber Orchestra is scheduled to play Oct. 3 at Archbishop Murphy High School.

Fred Chu is the founder and artistic director of the Pacifica Chamber Orchestra. (Pacifica Chamber Orchestra)

Fred Chu is the founder and artistic director of the Pacifica Chamber Orchestra. (Pacifica Chamber Orchestra)

MUKILTEO — The Pacifica Chamber Orchestra is back.

The award-winning orchestra will open its 2021-2022 season with an Oct. 3 concert at Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett.

The Pacifica Chamber Orchestra, now in its 11th season, performs mostly modern compositions — works by 20th and 21st century master composers.

“We’re still playing some living composers,” said Fred Chu, artistic director of the orchestra. “Our main focus is to introduce this more modern period of time of classical music because there are a lot of masterpieces during that time, instead of focusing on Beethoven and Mozart.”

The Mukilteo-based orchestra hasn’t played a concert in the nearly two years since COVID-19 hit.

The Oct. 3 concert will feature “Two Pieces for String Orchestra, Op. 11” by Oreste Ravanello, Eugene Gooseens’ “Phantasy Sextet for Strings, Op. 37” and “String Sextet in B Flat, String Orchestra” by Ernst von Dohnanyi.

“I chose these compositions because they’re very colorful,” Chu said. “I want to let the audience enjoy the variety, in other words.”

Oreste Ravanello was an Italian composer and organist. “Two Pieces for String Orchestra, Op. 11,” written in 1911, like many of his works, is romantic and melodious. “It’s very passionate, like the opera arias,” Chu said.

Eugene Gooseens was a British-Australian conductor and composer. He wrote “Phantasy Sextet for Strings, Op. 37” in 1945. His compositions were considered avant garde at the time.

The concert concludes with Ernst von Dohnanyi’s “String Sextet in B Flat, String Orchestra.” Though the Hungarian-German composer, pianist and conductor’s work isn’t from the 20th century — most of von Dohnanyi’s compositions were written around 1890 — Chu said he just had to select this piece for the October concert.

“This particular piece by von Dohnanyi is more romantic than the modern avant garde sound,” Chu said. “It’s a very dramatic song and very romantic. I wanted the drama at the end.”

The 2021-2022 season continues with a Feb. 20 performance featuring “Serenade for Strings” by Lennox Berkeley and a June 5 concert featuring “La Campanella” by Niccolo Paganini.

Tickets are $20, with a $5 discount for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased at the door — but with cash or check only.

If you purchased tickets last season for concerts that were canceled because of COVID-19, they will be honored this season.

All Pacifica Chamber Orchestra concerts are held 3 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2301 Hoyt Ave., Everett, unless otherwise noted. Trinity Episcopal Church requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination to attend.

Pacifica Chamber Orchestra is a nonprofit organization that performs subscription concerts in Everett. Each October, the orchestra also plays an outreach, or free performance for students at an Everett elementary school.

In 2019, the orchestra received the Organization Making an Impact — Mayor’s Arts Award “for exceptional chamber music concerts and educational outreach in Everett’s elementary schools that engage and inspire youth.”

Chu said the orchestra’s opening concert is also the outreach performance of the 2021-2022 season. “It’s like one stone, two birds,” he said. Archbishop Murphy students will get to enjoy the concert for free.

Formed in 2010, Pacifica’s is one of, if not the first, conductorless orchestras in the Pacific Northwest. It has 18 members, all of them string players.

A violinist, Chu has served as the concertmaster of the Everett Symphony and the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra.

The orchestra’s home base is Mukilteo Presbyterian Church — but members have rehearsed for this concert at Archbishop Murphy.

Because of COVID-19, “Mukilteo Presbyterian has not yet given us a green light to rehearse there,” Chu said.

The Pacifica’s last concert was held on Feb. 9, 2020. That’s 19 months ago.

“It’s been a long time,” Chu said, who also teaches orchestra at Archbishop Murphy. “I’m so excited to see those musicians come back. We’re all very excited.”

Since then, Chu has been practicing his violin solo in “La Campanella” by Niccolo Paganini — which had been slated for one of the canceled concerts.

“It’s a very, very difficult solo,” he said. “All those months, I’ve been practicing hard, because it’s still so difficult.”

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; sbruestle@heraldnet.com; @sarabruestle.

If you go

The Pacifica Chamber Orchestra will be performing at 3 p.m. Oct. 3 at Archbishop Murphy High School, 12911 39th Ave. SE, Everett. Tickets are $20, or a discounted $15 for seniors and students. Show your Archbishop Murphy ID and get in free. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Cash or check only. More at www.pacificachamberorchestra.org.

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