Campus News


Soka Performing Arts Center Announces Opening Season

Exterior of Soka Performing Arts CenterAliso Viejo, CA – David Palmer, General Manager for Soka Performing Arts Center, has announced the Opening Season for Soka University’s new 1000-seat performing arts center with acoustics designed by Yasuhisa Toyota (who also designed the acoustics for the Walt Disney Concert Hall.)

The season will begin with a Grand Opening black tie concert and reception with the Pacific Symphony and pianist Horacio Gutierrez on Sept. 17th.

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 “The opening of a new hall is always an exciting event. Having the opportunity to sound the first tones in Soka's new concert hall is truly an honor for me and my colleagues of Pacific Symphony. This grand opening concert will mark the birth of a new place where music's beauty can be respected, enjoyed and cherished. September 17th will be a great day for Soka, Orange County and Southern California.”    Conductor Carl St.Clair      

The Center is offering a subscription Orchestra Series and Chamber Series:

Orchestra Series

•           Tuesday, 4-Oct-11 – 7:30 pm             St. Petersburg Symphony w/Xiayin Wang, piano

•           Thursday, 16-Feb-12 – 7:30 pm          Pacific Symphony – Family program

•           Saturday, 28-Apr-12 – 8:00 pm          Pacific Symphony w/Karen Gomyo, violin

Chamber Series

•           Thursday, 29-Sep-11 - 7:30 pm          Woven Harmony - Robert Bluestone, classical guitar

•           Saturday, 5-Nov-11 – 8:00 pm           New Zealand String Quartet

•           Thursday, 9-Feb-12 – 7:30 pm            Tokyo String Quartet

•           Sunday, 18-Mar-12 – 7:00 pm            Emanuel Ax – Solo Recital

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•           Select any FOUR (4) events from our season and save 15%

The Opening Season will also include the Jazz Monsters jazz series along with a new Soka Blueport Jazz Festival on October 28-30 featuring Trio da Paz.  A variety of other events will round out the season, including the Peking Acrobats and Uncommon Time: Kenny Endo/Abhijit Bannerjee/John Santos .  A complete list of scheduled performances and online ticket sales can be found at .

“My first impression when walking into the Soka Performing Arts Center was “Wow…This is incredible!” says General Manager David Palmer with a smile.  “This is one of the most beautiful halls that I’ve ever been in.”  Interested future concert goers can get a “sneak peek” at the new Center by taking one of Soka University’s daily walking tours, offered at 10 am and 2 pm Monday – Saturday and departing from Founders Hall.  Register for free tours online at    A five-minute video with Palmer is available online at

Soka University is a private, four-year liberal arts college and graduate school located on 103-acres overlooking a wilderness park in Aliso Viejo, CA.  SUA offers a 9:1 student/faculty ratio and study abroad for every undergraduate student.  Soka University is founded upon the Buddhist principles of peace, human rights and the sanctity of life and is open to top students of all nationalities and beliefs.  About half of SUA's students come from the US and half from more than 40 other countries.  SUA offers free tuition to eligible admitted BA students whose annual earned family income is $60,000 or less.

Scheduled Events for 2011-2012

Saturday, 17-Sep-11 – 8:00 pm     Pacific Symphony - Grand Opening w/Horacio Gutierrez - Piano

Friday, 23-Sep-11 – 7:30 pm         Jazz Monsters

Thursday, 29-Sept-11 – 7:30 pm    Woven Harmony – Robert & Rebecca Bluestone

Tuesday, 4-Oct-11 – 7:30 pm         St. Petersburg Symphony w/Xiayin Wang - Piano

Sunday, 23-Oct-11 – 3:00 pm        Water is Rising

Wednesday, 26-Oct-11  6 pm        City of Aliso Viejo 10th Anniversary State of the City Address

Friday-Sunday, 28-30-Oct-11         Soka Blueport Festival featuring Trio da Paz

  • Friday – 28-Oct @ 7:30
  • Saturday – 29-Oct @ 3:00
  • Saturday – 29-Oct @ 7:30
  • Sunday – 30-Oct @ 3:00

Saturday, 5-Nov-11 – 8:00 pm      New Zealand String Quartet

Friday, 18-Nov-11 – 7:30 pm        Jazz Monsters

Saturday, 10-Dec-11 – 7:00 pm    Aliso Viejo 10th Anniversary Holiday Show

Saturday, 14-Jan-12 – 8:00 pm    Peking Acrobats

Friday, 20-Jan-12 – 7:30 pm        Jazz Monsters

Saturday, 4-Feb-12 – 8:00 pm     Uncommon Time:  Kenny Endo/Abhijit Bannerjee/John Santos

Thursday, 9-Feb-12 – 7:30 pm    Tokyo String Quartet

Thursday, 16-Feb-12 – 7:30 pm  Pacific Symphony – Family Concert

Friday, 24-Feb-12 – 7:30 pm       Jazz Monsters

Friday, 16-Mar-12 – 7:30 pm       Jazz Monsters

Sunday, 18-Mar-12 – 7:00 pm     Emanual Ax – Solo Recital

Friday, 13-Apr-12 – 7:30 pm        Jazz Monsters

Saturday, 21-Apr-12 – 8:00 pm    First Person: Seeing America – Ensemble Galilei w/Neal Conan

Saturday, 28-Apr-12 – 8:00 pm    Pacific Symphony w/Karen Gomyo, violin


Series Packages 

Orchestra Series

  • Tuesday, 4-Oct-11 – 7:30 pm       St. Petersburg Symphony w/Xiayin Wang 
  • Thursday, 16-Feb-12 – 7:30 pm    Pacific Symphony – Family Concert
  • Saturday, 28-Apr-12 – 8:00 pm     Pacific Symphony w/Karen Gomyo

Chamber Series

  • Thursday, 29-Sept-11 – 7:30 pm  Woven Harmony – Robert & Rebecca Bluestone
  • Saturday, 5-Nov-11 – 8:00 pm      New Zealand String Quartet
  • Thursday, 9-Feb-12 – 7:30 pm     Tokyo String Quartet
  • Sunday, 18-Mar-12 – 7:00 pm      Emanual Ax – Solo Recital

Special & Unique Artists (S.U.A.) 

  • Thursday, 29-Sept-11 – 7:30 pm                Woven Harmony – Robert & Rebecca Bluestone (5-day residency/outreach program for schools & community)

What is creativity?  How does creativity affect MY life?  Does art have a practical application?  Enjoy the unique and heartfelt interaction between classical guitarist Robert Bluestone and his wife, renowned fiber artist Rebecca Bluestone, as they explore the connections between their individual work and how it helped them through Rebecca’s battle with cancer and opened their eyes to the power of the arts.

  •  Sunday, 23-Oct-11 – 3:00 pm      Water is Rising: Music & Dance Amid Climate Change  (2-day residency/ outreach program for schools)

What happens when your country is slowly disappearing as the oceans rise due to global climate change?  Meet and hear how the residents of the Pacific Atolls of Tokelau, Tuvalu and Kiribati approach life and face the inexorable fate of their beloved land as the water rises and reclaims the land back into the sea.  Their joy, and unyielding spirit are infectious and never to be forgotten.

  •  Saturday, 14-Jan-12 – 8:00 pm    Peking Acrobats

Unforgettable artistry, unimaginable strength, amazing dexterity, awesome entertainment.

  •  Saturday, 4-Feb-12 – 8:00 pm     Uncommon Time: Taiko, Tabla & Timbale with master percussionists Kenny Endo, Abhijit Banerjee, and John Santos (2-day residency)

Blend the sounds of Japanese Taiko, Indian Tabla and Latin Timbale into a unique and exciting rhythm that will have you moving to an entirely new beat.

  •  Saturday, 21-Apr-12 – 8:00 pm   First Person: Seeing America – Ensemble Galilei w/Neal Conan (4-day residency/ outreach program for schools & community)

First Person: Seeing America combines iconic photographs from The Metropolitan Museum of Art – searing pictures of the Civil War and haunting portraits from the Great Depression – with the music of Ensemble Galilei and narration by NPR’s Neal Conan and actress Lily Knight to create a remarkable and powerful performance.

Begin with the strength, diversity and depth of the photography collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art: photographs by Walker Evans, Edward Curtis, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Weegee and Thomas Eakins. Take those images and accompany them with the words of Langston Hughes, Carson McCullers, Damon Runyan, John Muir, Frederick Douglass, and others. The soundtrack is the evocative music of Ensemble Galilei – Bach, traditional music from Scotland and Ireland, and new compositions featuring fiddles, harp, viola da gamba, percussion, whistles and oboe.

Transcendent and soulful music winds around the text as high-resolution images are projected on a large screen in the center of the stage. In their second touring project with Ensemble Galilei, NPR’s Neal Conan and actress Lily Knight brilliantly bring people, events and places to life. What people! The haunted faces of rural Americans as they struggle to survive the Dust Bowl, indelible portraits of Native Americans. The events that shaped a nation – the Civil War, the Great Depression, the immigrant experience. And what places – from the sidewalks of New York to the majesty of Yosemite. Great photographers captured it all – hardship, war and despair, and the gritty determination of extraordinary people in a magnificent land. This is what these extraordinary photographers saw – First Person: Seeing America.

Event Date




Grand Opening



Jazz Monsters



Woven Harmony



St. Petersburg Symphony



Water is Rising



Jazz Monsters Festival



New Zealand String Quart.



Jazz Monsters



Peking Acrobats



Jazz Monsters



Uncommon Time



Tokyo String Quartet



Pacific Symphony



Jazz Monsters



Jazz Monsters



Emanual Ax



Jazz Monsters



First Person - Ens. Gal.



Pacific Symphony


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