Fox Valley Symphony to Open Season with a Nod to the Classics

September 30, 2012

Kara Patterson

Post Crescent

Much like book clubs have their “must-reads,” the Fox Valley Symphony has its “must-hears” to play for audiences.
The symphony is kicking off its 2012-13 concert season, “Symphonic Spectrum,” with “Legends.” The concert features works by classical music heavyweights Bruckner, Schubert and Liszt and an appearance by German-born pianist Andreas Klein, an internationally known orchestra soloist, recitalist and recording artist who lives in New York.

Klein will join the symphony to perform Liszt’s orchestral arrangement of Schubert’s solo piano composition, “Wanderer Fantasy.” In addition, the symphony will play Bruckner’s “Symphony No. 4.”

“When you look at ‘Wanderer Fantasy,’ you’re dealing both with the legendary writer of songs, Schubert, and this iconic figure of both the piano world and the orchestra world, Liszt,” said Brian Groner, the symphony’s music director. “Andreas Klein is a legend in his own right. And then, when it comes to large-scale symphonies, Bruckner is one of the legendary figures.”

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in downtown Appleton.
Klein has recorded his performance of the solo piano version of “Wanderer Fantasy” on CD.

“It is one of the pieces that is very famous that I have played many times,” said Klein, who said he will play “Wanderer Fantasy” in an orchestral setting for the first time with the Fox Valley Symphony.

Listeners who are familiar with Schubert’s solo piano piece may be surprised with Liszt’s approach to the version for piano and orchestra, Klein said.

“He orchestrated the piece in such a way that it becomes a conversation between the orchestra and the soloist,” Klein said. “It’s not always all about piano. There are some parts in the Liszt version where there is a solo cellist playing, a solo flute line, a solo clarinet line. The music or the melodies are sometimes given to different instruments, and you have more variety of sounds.”
The theme of “Wanderer Fantasy” reflects the traditions of times gone by, Klein said.

“You can imagine how a young man, a craftsman, learns his craft at the shop and eventually when he has learned enough, he is sent out into the world to make his own experiences,” Klein said. “In that sense, that is what a ‘wanderer’ is. It is somebody who goes out into the world to learn and experience different things, and comes back a wiser person. That is what this piece represents to me. When you hear the opening, it is the music of somebody who goes out in the world and has great fun ... and there is drama in the music, and dark, sad, melancholic circumstances you can hear in the music. And towards the end it’s a fantastic return.”

Groner said the orchestra is tackling a Bruckner symphony for the first time on this concert.

The piece stands out especially for fans of brass instruments, he said.

“Bruckner was an organist and a very devout man,” Groner said. “Bruckner, with all his humility, took suggestions from other noted people about how he might improve his work. The version that we are playing is the version of the symphony... that Bruckner himself thought was the best.”

This concert season the symphony is continuing its “Music for a Cause” program to spotlight and help financially support community nonprofits.

To participate in “Music for a Cause,” mention “Neenah-Menasha Emergency Society” or “Music for a Cause” when ordering tickets. The symphony will donate 75 percent of the face value of those designated tickets to the concert’s featured nonprofit organization, Neenah-Menasha Emergency Society.

The symphony draws awareness to its “Music for a Cause” partners through social media, program inserts, displays in the lobby on concert day, and information on an above-stage screen.
“We love to help them get the word out about their organizations,” said Jamie LaFreniere, the symphony’s director of marketing and operations.

The Neenah-Menasha Emergency Society, a volunteer organization, provides emergency financial assistance to residents of Neenah and Menasha when other resources have been exhausted or are not available.

Special focuses include homelessness prevention and aid for students in need.

“A lot of their goals are in line with ours,” LaFreniere said. “They like to give to education programs and that is always one of our big focuses. It’s a good time to be giving back to the community in any way, but when we see somebody specifically targeting education programs, that really catches our attention. It’s really looking at the students and helping further education and arts in the community.”

Rosie Cannizzo, the symphony’s executive director, said the symphony’s 2012-13 season will treat audiences to music that the orchestra either is performing for the first time or has not played for a considerable amount of time.

“Brian (Groner) is thinking of it as a sampling of necessities,” Cannizzo said.

If you go
What: “Legends,” a concert to open Fox Valley Symphony’s 2012-13 season, with pianist Andreas Klein

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, downtown Appleton

Tickets: $29-$59. Student tickets cost $10 the day of the concert with identification. Music teachers receive one free ticket with identification. Group prices are available. To participate in the Fox Valley Symphony’s “Music for a Cause” program, mention “Neenah-Menasha Emergency Society” or “Music for a Cause” when ordering tickets. The symphony will donate 75 percent of the face value of those designated tickets to the concert’s featured nonprofit organization, Neenah-Menasha Emergency Society.

Related events:
A performance and discussion by pianist Andreas Klein starts at noon Tuesday in Perry Hall inside the Communication Arts Center on campus at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley in Menasha.

Klein will work with Lawrence Academy of Music and Lawrence University students during a master class from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday in Harper Hall inside the Music-Drama Center at Lawrence in downtown Appleton.

He will perform a recital with a question-and-answer session to follow from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday at Heid Music in downtown Appleton. These events are free and open to the public.

A pre-concert talk for concert ticketholders begins at 6:40 p.m. Saturday in the PAC’s Kimberly-Clark Theater. A post-concert reception in the PAC’s lobby features light refreshments.

Contact: 920-730-3760

Mark your calendars
A look ahead at the rest of the Fox Valley Symphony’s 2012-13 concert season, “Symphonic Spectrum”
» “Adventures,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3, with harmonica player Robert Bonfiglio
» “The Nutcracker Ballet,” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 1 p.m. Dec. 9
» “Traditions,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26, with violinist Wen-Lei Gu
» “The Magical Music of Disney,” 2 p.m. March 17, includes multimedia
» “Inspirations,” 7:30 p.m. May 11, with pianist Claire Huangci
For a ticket order form, go online For more information, call 920-968-0300.

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