On June 25 at 7.30pm, the Culver City Symphony returns to the Robert Frost Auditorium to close the 2021/22 season. The company will perform Beethoven Symphony No 5 and the Emperor Concerto, conducted by the Principal Guest Conductor, Andrew Shulman with past Parness Concerto Winner and now established professional piano soloist, Rufus Choi. Stephen Turk is a cellist with the Symphony, as well as president of the board. So, Turk wears many hats and during COVID, has had to put out many fires. “I joined the orchestra, then known as the Marina del Rey Westchester Symphony Orchestra, when I arrived in Los Angeles in 1980,” Turk told the News. “At that time it was a largely volunteer, community orchestra. It has been a privilege to be part of the growth and development of the Orchestra as it has become a professional symphony orchestra. We moved to Culver City during the internet boom, as Culver City became a technology and creative hub, and around the same time the County started the Marina del Rey summer concerts, with our Orchestra featured on Symphonic Thursdays. I grew up in England and, prior to moving to Los Angeles, had played in school, youth and university orchestras in Manchester and Oxford and a local orchestra in Bristol.” Turk said that there have been many highlights during his time with the Symphony thus far. “Most relate in some way to our work supporting younger musicians,” he said. “Our Parness Concerto Competition has provided a steady stream of talented young soloists, and our late Music Director and Conductor, Frank Fetta, became friend, coach and mentor to some of the best. I remember a violinist, Nigel Armstrong, who progressed from our competition to the world-famous International Tchaikovsky Competition, where he won two prizes. The night before he left for Moscow, he ‘practiced’ by performing the Tchaikovsky concerto with our Orchestra in Veterans’ Auditorium.” After two very difficult years for everyone involved in the performing arts, Turk is ready for this June 25 performance. “Our June 25 concert is first and foremost a celebration of our return to the concert stage, which is why we decided to ‘throw the doors open’ and make it free to everyone,” he said. “It’s also dedicated to the memory of Maestro Frank Fetta, who passed last October, and we are celebrating his life the best way we know – some of the greatest music ever written, performed by Frank’s orchestra. Our piano soloist, Rufus Choi, was himself one of those Parness Competition winners who became a close friend of Frank and regularly performed with him and with our Orchestra.” Still, the pandemic and lockdowns have presented challenges, not least to personnel. “Most of our regular Orchestra members are excited to be back,” Turk said. “We have lost a few, through retirement and moves, but we have a deep bench to draw from and you will see mostly familiar faces on the stage.” When the June 25 performance is over, there’s more to come over the summer. “Next month we move to our summer venue in Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey,” Turk said. “We have concerts scheduled on July 14 and Aug. 4. Then we will turn our attention to our 2022-23 Culver City season, which will feature a series of guest conductors who are candidates for the permanent Music Director position. We will also feature the winners of our 2019 Parness Concerto Competition, who would normally have performed with the Orchestra in 2020-21. That should be rather fun, as these young musicians have continued to mature over the past three years and will be performing at an even higher level.” Go to culvercitysymphony.org for more info.