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Conductor Rachael Worby returns with new concert series

May 10, 2011 |  1:43 pm

Worby Conductor Rachael Worby, who served as the music director of the Pasadena Pops for 11 seasons before stepping down last year, is starting a new series called Muse/ique that will present concerts in the Pasadena area starting in July.

The series will have its inaugural concert July 30 at an outdoor space near Beckman Auditorium on the campus of the California Institute of Technology. The event will feature soprano Jessye Norman, a frequent collaborator with the conductor. Norman is expected to perform a mix of music including songs by Gershwin and Bernstein as well as spirituals.

The series' first full season will begin in early 2012. Concerts will take place at different venues around Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley and will feature eclectic programming curated by Worby that will include jazz, folk, classical, film, gospel and Broadway music.

Muse/ique will feature a variable-size orchestra ranging from 20 to 80 musicians depending on the event. Organizers are working on concerts for the fall before the full inaugural season begins next year.

Worby said the idea for Muse/ique came from "members of the community who felt I had a kind of vision they wanted to sustain in their community. After awhile you have an instinct for what a community needs and likes."

The conductor was the music director of the Pasadena Pops before stepping down in August at a time when the Pasadena Symphony and Pops was experiencing internal turmoil related to budgetary problems. Worby has stated that her departure was amicable.

Marvin Hamlisch, the Oscar and Tony-winning composer, is taking over as the top conductor of the Pasadena Pops.

Muse/ique has a board of directors of 17 individuals, mostly from the Pasadena area,  Worby said.


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-- David Ng

Photo (top): Rachael Worby in 2006. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Photo (bottom): Soprano Jessye Norman. Credit: Carol Friedman