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Soraya Stories

Director Selects | April 3, 2020

By Thor Steingraber

In the past two weeks, our world has changed at a breakneck pace. At the same time, it has crawled from one day to the other without distinction. From the comfort of my home with my trusty dog Charley at my side, it seems as if I’m living a perfect Sunday afternoon, over and over again. I’m sure you know the feeling. But the reality is quite different. From my dining room table, I have been communicating with colleagues and artists near and far. Together we are doing our best to keep our organizations afloat as well as support the arts field at large. The best moments are enjoying online performances from my front row sofa seat. With that in mind, I offer you my suggestions. After all, if I can’t bring you live performances, then I can offer my assistance in recommending a few online concerts. Every Friday while we’re “Safer at Home,” I’ll offer my Director Selects. Read my notes too (because I might reveal a secret or two about next season).



April 8, 2020 at 8AM (PST) | Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performs Strauss

The Royal Philharmonic is a regular at The Soraya. Just last month, on our stage, Pinchas Zuckerman led the orchestra. Two years ago, their rendition of Stravinsky’s The Firebird stands as a highlight across the years. The RPO will stream live this week. You’ll have to put it on your busy social calendar, and you might even consider dressing up. Or combing your hair. Make it a date.



Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra performs Beethoven’s 9th

Rotterdam Philharmonic was just one day short of getting on a plane to start their American tour. They would have been at The Soraya on March 25. Rest assured, the talented ensemble has used their time at home to create this powerful version of Beethoven’s Ode To Joy from their living rooms. You can watch this one over and over again.



Dancers from the Martha Graham Dance Company perform Sharing the Light

The Martha Graham Dance Company will be back. YES! They are part of our 10th Anniversary Season in the spring of 2021. Unlike musicians practicing in their living rooms, dancers have a different challenge. They need room. Well, these determined and talented dancers found a way, and the result is one of the most uplifting things I’ve seen during recent days. You’ll recognize many of the dancers from their previous performances at The Soraya. And you’ll see them again soon.



April 17, 2020 at 4PM | Facebook Live with Artist-in-Residence Niv Ashkenazi

We’re presenting a live online broadcast from The Soraya’s stage on April 17, 2020 at 4 pm. The concert will feature Artist-in-Residence violinist Niv Ashkenazi, who had just released his new CD (copies available on just before the cancellation of Violins of Hope. The CD, as well as this concert, are performed on one of the instruments from the Violins of Hope collection. For this concert, Niv has prepared a 30-minute excerpt from his CD, and I will interview him prior to his performance. For this concert, we’re compliant with all social distancing measures, working from different locations. Two staff members will come to the theater prior to Niv to set-up equipment. Put this on your calendar. It’s historic – in the midst of this crisis, we experience music from a violin that witnessed the last great global crisis, the Holocaust. Detailed instructions about how to join this live event will be coming soon, and will also be available at

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