Philharmonic Opens Season With “Fashion Meets The Phil”

Maestro Steven Kerstein conducts the Burbank Philharmonic. (Photo Courtesy of Burbank Philharmonic)

In an inspired program bringing together fashion and classical music, the Burbank Philharmonic debuts its 23rd season on November 9, at 7:00 p.m., with a free concert at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium. Led by music director and conductor Steven Kerstein, the Philharmonic is comprised of area studio and motion picture soundtrack musicians.

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Soloist Danielle Belen is fitted in her gown, designed by Woodbury University fashion design program seniors. (Photo Courtesy of Burbank Philharmonic)
Soloist Danielle Belen is fitted in her gown, designed by Woodbury University fashion design program seniors. (Photo Courtesy of Burbank Philharmonic)

“Fashion Meets the Phil” features the lush Orpheus in the Underworld (Offenbach), Tzigane (Ravel) with violin soloist Danielle Belen, Excerpts from Carmen (Bizet), Rondo Capriccioso (Saint-Saens) with violin soloist Danielle Belen, An American in Paris (Gershwin) and Baccanalle from Samson & Delilah (Saint-Saens.)

Ms. Belen and Assistant Conductor Bethany Pflueger will model gowns created by seniors in Woodbury University’s fashion design program, along with Concertmaster Carolyn Osborn, Principal Cellist Catherine Biagini and Principal Violist Ilona Geller. Ms. Pflueger will conduct the Carmen excerpts for the program.

“From the beginning, we have been committed to providing world class music free of charge to the community,” says Maestro Kerstein. “But our outreach does not stop there. We support an array of programs, from our Musical Menagerie for young children and our annual Hennings-Fischer Young Artists’ Competition to invitations to dress rehearsals. ‘Fashion Meets the Phil’ is an extension of this tradition.”

The Woodbury seniors designed gowns that pay homage to French couture, so the Philharmonic selected music by French composers or inspired by France for the concert. “When Steve first asked me to play this concert and told me there was a collaboration with the fashion school, I jumped at the chance,” recalls Ms. Belen, who performed Tzigane with the San Francisco Symphony a few years ago and just recently with the Oregon Symphony. For her appearance with the Burbank Philharmonic, Ms. Belen wears two gowns, one for each piece.

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I absolutely love fashion and shows like Project Runway,” the violinist continues. “Woodbury has been very accommodating, listening to my ideas and suggestions. There is a fine balance in designing these dresses to have a modern edge and sense of the avant-garde, while taking into account practicality and the fact that ultimately I have to stand on stage and perform these difficult pieces on the violin – which is quite an athletic activity, may I say!”

Usually, the Burbank Philharmonic performs regular season concerts at Forest Lawn’s Hall of Liberty, but due to scheduling issues, Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium will host the November 9 concert.  Directions to the concert and a link to print free admission tickets can be found on the Burbank Philharmonic website.




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