MacMillan’s “Fiat Lux” Receives Long-Awaited World Premiere with Pacific Symphony and Pacific Chorale Led by Carl St.Clair

MacMillan’s “Fiat Lux” Receives Long-Awaited World Premiere with Pacific Symphony and Pacific Chorale Led by Carl St.Clair

June 02, 2023

  • June 02, 2023

MacMillan’s “Fiat Lux” Receives Long-Awaited World Premiere with Pacific Symphony and Pacific Chorale Led by Carl St.Clair




Press Contacts:

Pacific Symphony: Jean Oelrich
Mobile: (747) 220-7645

Pacific Chorale: Libby Huebner
Mobile: (562) 208-7993



“Cathedrals of Sound” Program (June 15-17) Also Includes Allegri’s Miserere mei, Deus

and Death and Transfiguration by Strauss


ORANGE COUNTY, CALIF.—June 1, 2023—For the final concert of the 2022-23 Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series, Music Director Carl St.Clair transforms the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall’s stunning acoustics into a “Cathedral of Sound” (June 15-17) in a program that spans five centuries and celebrates spirituality. The mystical Miserere mei, Deus by the Renaissance composer Gregorio Allegri was so popular the Vatican forbade it to be published (though a 14-year-old Mozart secretly transcribed it, having heard it just once). Pacific Chorale Artistic Director Robert Istad conducts the Chorale singing the Miserere a cappella. Then, St.Clair leads Richard Strauss’ eternal tone poem followed by the long-awaited Fiat Lux by Sir James MacMillan, whose moving music draws on his faith and heritage.

The world premiere performances and commissioning of MacMillan’s Fiat Lux were made possible by a generous grant from Howard and Roberta Ahmanson. The concert is generously sponsored by Fieldstead and Company and the National Endowment for the Arts. PBS SoCal, Classical California KUSC, and Avenue of the Arts Hotel provide additional sponsorship. Tickets start at $30. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit

Considered the pre-eminent Scottish composer of his generation, Sir James MacMillan has been hailed by The New York Times as “ceaselessly inventive, evocative, and penetrating.” Scheduled for previous seasons, but cancelled due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, MacMillan’s Fiat Lux (Let There Be Light) premieres June 15-17 with soprano Elissa Johnston, baritone Christopher Maltman, organist David Ball, Pacific Chorale, and Pacific Symphony led by Carl St.Clair. The large-scale work is based on a poem by Dana Gioia, a California poet laureate and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and also incorporates Latin biblical texts. Approximately 30 minutes long, Fiat Lux is a single through-composed movement made up of five sections: “In the Beginning,” “Chorus,” “Litany of Light,” “Light of the World,” and “Hymn: Cathedral of Light.” St.Clair comments, “It is with utmost anticipation that I look forward to conducting the premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s Fiat Lux, when we will all experience not only his beautiful score, but the voices of the Pacific Chorale and the glorious sounds of the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ. Performing this incredible music for the grand finale of the 2022-23 season will be a joyous occasion, one not to be missed.”

Fiat Lux was written in 2020, marking the July 2019 consecration of Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif. A special encore performance will be held on Tuesday, June 20 at Christ Cathedral, celebrating their refurbishment of the Hazel Wright Organ, the fifth largest pipe organ in the world.


Read the composer note for Fiat Lux.



Cathedrals of Sound Performance Details

Thursday-Saturday, June 15-17 at 8 p.m.

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Robert Istad, conductor
Elissa Johnston, soprano
Christopher Maltman, baritone

David Ball, organ
Pacific Chorale—Robert Istad, artistic director
Pacific Symphony


Preview Talk with host Alan Chapman at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.


ALLEGRI: Miserere Mei, Deus
STRAUSS: Death and Transfiguration
MACMILLAN: Fiat Lux (World Premiere)


Additional Concert Details
Tuesday, June 20 at 8 p.m.
Christ Cathedral | Garden Grove, CA


Carl St.Clair, conductor
Elissa Johnston, soprano
Christopher Maltman, baritone
Paul Jacobs, organ

David Ball, organ
Pacific Symphony
Pacific Chorale—Robert Istad, artistic director

Organ Selections featuring Paul Jacobs



About Pacific Symphony 

Pacific Symphony, led by Music Director Carl St.Clair since 1990, has been the resident orchestra of Orange County’s Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall for over a decade. Founded in 1978, the Symphony is the largest orchestra formed in the U.S. in the last 50 years and is not only a fixture of musical life in Southern California, but also is recognized as an outstanding ensemble making strides on both the national and international scenes. In April 2018, Pacific Symphony made its debut at Carnegie Hall, where it was invited to perform as part of a yearlong celebration of composer Philip Glass’ 80th birthday. The Symphony made its first-ever tour to China that year, with performances in five cities, including Shanghai and Beijing. In Orange County, the orchestra presents more than 100 concerts and events each year and a rich array of education and community engagement programs, reaching more than 300,000 residents of all ages. The Symphony has been recognized with multiple ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming and included among the country’s five most innovative orchestras by the League of American Orchestras. The Symphony’s education and community engagement activities have also been recognized by the League, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts.

About Pacific Chorale

The GRAMMY® Award-winning PACIFIC CHORALE, the resident choir at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, is noted for its artistic innovation and commitment to expanding the choral repertoire. It has given the world, U.S., and West Coast premieres of more than 35 works, including numerous commissions, by such lauded composers as John Adams, Jake Heggie, James Hopkins, David Lang, Morten Lauridsen, Tarik O’Regan, Karen Thomas, Frank Ticheli, András Gábor Virágh, and Eric Whitacre. In addition to presenting its own concert series each season, Pacific Chorale enjoys a long-standing partnership with Pacific Symphony, with whom the choir made its highly anticipated Carnegie Hall debut in 2018. The chorus also regularly appears with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with which it won the 2022 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for its contribution to the live recording of “Mahler: Symphony No. 8, ‘Symphony of A Thousand,’” conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, Los Angeles Master Chorale, National Children’s Chorus, and Pacific Chorale. The choir has performed with such leading orchestras as the Boston Symphony, National Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Musica Angelica, among others.


All programs, artists, dates, times, and prices subject to change.