Soka University in Aliso Viejo will inaugurate the new Soka University Performing Arts Center this fall with a black-tie concert and reception on Sept. 17 featuring Carl St.Clair and the Pacific Symphony, with pianist Horacio Gutiérrez as soloist.
The handsome Soka Performing Arts Center, designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects in Los Angeles, looks especially promising; it features a 1000-seat multi-purpose concert hall with acoustics credited to Yasuhisa Toyota, the same genius behind the sound of Walt Disney Concert Hall. An adjacent building, the Nelson Mandela Hall, has a 180-seat black box theater as part of its accoutrements. Together, they cost $73 million.
After the opening, Soka will offer, among many other events, an ambitious season of classical fare, which includes two more visits by the Pacific Symphony, the St. Petersburg Symphony (from Russia), the New Zealand String Quartet, the Tokyo String Quartet and a solo recital by pianist Emanuel Ax.