Summer Concert Series

July–September 2019

The Museum’s popular Summer Concert Series returns this year for its 13th season. Performances are free with Museum admission, and no reservations are required. Concerts are free for Museum members.


Details: Stickers for ensured seating for all guests are distributed in the Main Entrance gallery starting at 5:00 p.m. Members enjoy early seating between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m.; general admission seating begins at 5:45 p.m. Museum membership does not guarantee seating. 

Bassist Marlon Martinez
Absolute Focus's Jas and Kamaljeet Ahluwalia
California String Quartet
Pianist Greg Reitan
Odeum Guitar Duo's Robert Wetzel and Fred Benedetti
Panic Duo's Pasha Tseitlin and Nic Gerpe
Bassist Marlon Martinez

Freedom in the Moment

Marlon Martinez and the Jazz Marlonius Quartet
Saturday, July 13, 6:00–7:00 p.m.

Join bassist Marlon Martinez and the Jazz Marlonius Quartet in an intimate evening of original compositions and jazz classics from the 1950 to 1970s. Martinez looks to music and art of the past and of the present as fuel to communicate timeless life messages. He and his band will explore freedoms of expression through improvisation; their music is not bound to the constructs of written melody, but improvised reflections and commentary on the melody. This freedom in jazz invites all listeners to jump into the realm of intuition, feeling and risk.

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Absolute Focus's Kamaljeet and Jas Ahluwalia

Ragas and Rhythmic Patterns: An Exploration

Absolute Focus (Jas and Kamaljeet Ahluwalia)
Saturday, July 20, 6:00–7:00 p.m.

This husband-and-wife duo returns this summer, drawing on Indian classical music to walk an innovative path that simultaneously explores sublime ragas and intricate rhythmic patterns. Kamaljeet Ahluwalia plays the santoor, an exquisite hammered dulcimer from Kashmir, and Jas Ahluwalia plays the tabla, a pair of North Indian drums that produce a vast range of sounds. Their concert brings a 21st-century perspective to the emotional themes (rasa) visualized in ragamala paintings.

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Pianist Greg Reitan

A Look to the Past: Jazz and the Norton Simon Museum’s Modern Collection

Greg Reitan Trio
Saturday, August 3, 6:00–7:00 p.m.

Walter Hopps was considered one of the most innovative curators of contemporary art. In 1963, at age 31, he became the youngest museum director in the United States when he took the helm at the Pasadena Art Museum. Pianist and Steinway artist Greg Reitan and his trio (Jack Daro, bass, and Dean Koba, drums) present an evening of original compositions and music by notable jazz composers. The concert explores common themes and provides insight into the work of artists promoted and curated by Hopps, including Emerson Woelffer, John Altoon, Larry Bell and others.

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Odeum Guitar Duo's Robert Wetzel and Fred Benedetti

Variations from the Golden Guitar Epoch

Odeum Guitar Duo
Saturday, August 17, 6:00–7:00 p.m.

The Odeum Guitar Duo traces the development of the golden age of the guitar in Spain and Italy by performing various examples of the specific compositional form in music known as the Theme and Variations. The musical selections are composed by the famous guitarists and composers of that glorious guitar epoch, spanning from the 16th-century Spanish Renaissance to the 19th-century Romantic era.

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California String Quartet

Musical Conversations: Lyricisms and Compliments

California String Quartet
Saturday, September 7, 6:00–7:00 p.m.

This delightful and lighthearted program features two similar yet different works: Beethoven’s Opus 18 String Quartet no. 2 and Borodin’s Quartet no. 2. They both show how four musicians can converse musically, whether playfully or melodiously. Beethoven’s work was nicknamed Komplimentierungsquartett (Compliments-Quartet) due to the elegant “conversing” between the instruments. Borodin’s third movement, the “Nocturne,” likely the composer’s most famous work, demonstrates a wondrously lyrical exchange between the instruments.

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Panic Duo's Pasha Tseitlin and Nic Gerpe

The Color of Sound

Panic Duo
Saturday, September 14, 6:00–7:00 p.m.

Panic Duo, featuring violinist Pasha Tseitlin and pianist Nic Gerpe, is an ensemble dedicated to contemporary music. This performance features modern compositions for violin and piano based on artists and their works found within the Museum, including Picasso, Miró and Kandinsky. The program includes world premieres of pieces by composers Dale Trumbore, Hugh Levick and Glen Roven.