The Vallejo Symphony begins it's 80th season under the direction of Maestro David Ramadanoff with a Fall concert Saturday, October 8 at 8 pm at the Empress Theatre in downtown Vallejo.  The season concludes Sunday, March 25, 2012 at Lander Hall at Touro University in Vallejo.

With a history dating back to 1931, The Vallejo Symphony is the seventh oldest symphony in California. The last two concerts of their season were canceled last year because of budget issues. The symphony was headed into the red, and rather than let it just happen, the board cancelled the remainder of their 79th season.  The board took the time to address funding needs, reconnecting with the symphony’s audience and the community and rethinking the symphony’s  direction.

The October concert, "Ludwig in Paradise" will feature Beethoven’s “The Creatures of Prometheus,” “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Rodrigo with guest artist Paul Psarras on guitar, and Symphony No. 8 by Beethoven. Psarras has appeared with the San Francisco Symphony and conductor/composer John Adams in the nativity oratorio El Nino. Psarras is also a member of the Pacific Guitar Ensemble. The pre-concert "Know the Score" talk begins at 7pm.

The spring concert, “Love, Death, and Dance,” on March 25, 2012, at Lander Hall at Touro University will feature the overture to “Semiramide” by Rossini, “Pavane” by Faure and Symphony No. 4 by Brahms. The pre-concert "Know the Score" talk begins at 2pm.

While the decision to cancel the season was extraordinary and painful, and the process of restructuring the season difficult — there are many who believe the symphony to be stronger and better for the challenge.

Vallejo Symphony

"…the Vallejo Symphony is 'an undiscovered jewel'…” -Jeff Dunn, San Francisco Classical Voice

"…the musicians and Ramadanoff shaped a heroic and occasionally surprising sound that would have been the equal of a large metropolitan symphony with a huge annual budget." -Richard Bammer, Vacaville Reporter


Interview with Paul Psarras

Guitarist, teacher, member of the Pacific Guitar Ensemble

The Vallejo Symphony will be performing “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Rodrigo at The Empress Theatre in Vallejo on Saturday, October 8th featuring guitarist Paul Psarras

Born:  San Francisco

Resides in: Daly City

Favorite Food:  Greek food
Favorite Composer: Beethoven

Relationship Status/Children: Girlfriend, no kids

What's the first music you remember hearing?

Probably my dad singing to me/us. (I'm a twin.) My dad played a little bit of guitar and piano.

Who influenced your music?

My musical influences are very broad from Greek folk music to flamenco, classical, rock and middle eastern.

When did you know you wanted to be a musician?

I played and loved music from a very young age and I got paid to play music on a fairly regular basis from the age of about 15 or 16. I made the decision to pursue music full time in college.  I remember one of my early teachers saying to us "you don't have to tell a music major to be a music major, they already know it."

What drew you to the guitar?

I played my dad's guitar because it was around the house and I started taking lessons around 15 when I started learning about Greek music.

What genres of music do you like to listen to?

In addition to the above, I also like baroque lute music.

What was your best moment on stage?

I definitely felt great this past summer when I took second place at the Sierra Nevada Guitar Competition.

Tell us about your teaching?

I am now teaching at Pacific Union College in Napa and I have a few private students.

For young musicians out there, do you have a practice tip to share?

Yes! Be efficient. It's not how long you practice but what you do with the time you have.

When you’re not making music, what do you like to do to relax?

I like to read or watch movies, also exercise.

What are you thankful for?

I would just like to say that I am extremely grateful to my teachers and mentors over the years. I have been close to almost all of them and there are too many to list here but, in particular, David Tanenbaum, Sergio Assad and Richard Savino.  While I was at the conservatory in San Francisco we would go out every Wednesday and talk about everything from guitar to life to baseball and everything in between.