Playing the sounds of Broadway

Orange Coast College Symphony conductor Maxim Kuzin leads the orchestra during a recent concert. The symphony will perform “The Sound of Broadway” on Feb. 29 and will perform Beethoven’s 7th Symphony and other works on May 9 to celebrate the composer’s 150th birthday.

The Orange Coast College Symphony and Choral Ensembles are set to have their first of four concerts of their spring season on Feb. 29 in the Robert B. Moore Theatre.

Conducted by noted Ukrainian-born music director Maxim Kuzin, the symphony and choral ensemble are producing “The Sound of Broadway,” an orchestral medley of music and songs from classic American musicals of the early and middle 20th century.  

The performance will feature music that was previously not performed by any other orchestra, all from legendary composers such as George Gershwin and Cole Porter. Kuzin was able to work closely with Michael Miller, a sheet-music collector with what is probably the largest collection of sheet music in the country— if not the world.

“This program is special,” Kuzin said. “Immediately the idea came to me to do a concert based on what [Miller] has that no one else has.”    

According to the UC Santa Barbara’s library website, Miller and his wife Nan’s Beverly Hills home holds a collection of 10,000 pieces of sheet music in addition to their 60,000 recordings, 9,000 books and 5,000 vocal scores.

Miller will be on stage during the concert.

Nan Kappeler, a viola player in the symphony who, like nearly half the members, is not a student at OCC, said she is excited about Miller’s presence.

“I think it’s fascinating that we have Miller coming down from Beverly Hills to introduce this music and that we have access to this,” Kappeler said.

Kuzin said he appreciates the fact that OCC allows him to work not only with, but for the community and sees the upcoming concert as an opportunity to reach new music appreciators within Orange County.

“We are trying to build bridges with audiences that may not [be] likely to attend our concerts,” Kuzin said. “We want to expand the interest in the program and what we do.”

Admission is $15, a price that helps pay for the quality of music and musicianship in the organization, according to those involved.  

“I think a lot of people don’t realize that a community college would have the resources. They think you have to go to [big universities] to hear the best concerts,” Kappeler said.

The OCC Symphony and Choral Ensemble are also planning their next show, a celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 150th birthday, by performing Beethoven’s 7th Symphony and other works on May 9.

Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for the public.   

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