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It's classical music plus animation: First performances since winning Grammy to be in Ventura County

New West Symphony conductor Michael Christie preparing the orchestra for performances Saturday and Sunday.

Philharmonia Fantastique will be a part of New West Symphony performances in Thousand Oaks and Camarillo.

It’s a Grammy-winning work which marries classical music, and animation to take us inside an orchestra. Philharmonia Fantastique features an animated character which acts a guide, not just entertaining us, but educating us at the same time.

New West Symphony conductor Michael Christie is leading the orchestra in two performances of the 25-minute-long piece this weekend, as part of a bigger program. He said it’s a wonderful work for classical music lovers, but with the animated film, it also serves as a great introduction for those who are new to it.

The work was composed by Mason Bates, who has a special connection to the New West Synphony composer. They won a Grammy together for another project, the opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.

New West Symphony General Manager Sasha Gurevich said this is the first time that Philharmonia Fantastique has been performed since it won the Grammy.

If you’re not familiar with New West, it’s a more than three decade old professional orchestra that’s based in Thousand Oaks. It’s made up of some of Southern California’s best professional musicians, who do movie soundtracks and studio recordings.

The New West Symphony will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, and at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Rancho Campana Performing Arts Center in Camarillo.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.