Before every regular classical concert, patrons are invited to attend a free pre-concert talk, hosted by a local music professor- Don Adkins at the Civic Auditorium and Chris Pratorius at the Mello Center for the Performing Arts. These talks help further your understanding of the music before listening to the live performance and are central to the Symphony's mission of providing life-long education opportunities. Dr. Adkins and Prof. Pratorius explain the unique attributes of the compositions, the composers and the historical context in which the music emerged. Pre-Concert talks start an hour before each concert (6:30 pm at the Civic and 1:00 pm at the Mello), and are free for all ticket holders.
Dr. Don Adkins believes that music is one of the core expressions of our humanity. Don holds a DMA in orchestral conducting, a MM in composition and a BS in music education. He teaches music classes at Cabrillo College, conducts the Cabrillo College Orchestra, and often provides musical direction for musicals in the Santa Cruz area.
Chris Pratorius Gómez is a composer and pianist based in Santa Cruz, California. He has written three one-act operas, a harp concerto, two orchestra works and many pieces for solo voice, choir, chamber ensembles and electronic media that have been performed in San Francisco, Istanbul, New York, Guatemala and other spots around the world. Chris teaches theory, history, composition and piano at the University of California, Santa Cruz and at Cal State Monterey Bay. In addition, he is staff accompanist at The Studio, School of Classical Ballet in Soquel, CA and maintains a private studio.