FVSO April 27, 2024 FULL Program Notes
Feb. 15, 2024 3:01 pm

FVSO April 27, 2024 FULL Program Notes

Notes written by Erik Leveille and Kevin Sa?tterlin

Concert with Baritone Maximillian Krummen

Titan 
Evan Williams (b. 1988)

Drawing from inspirations as diverse as Medieval chant to contemporary pop, the music of composer and conductor Evan Williams (b. 1988) explores the thin lines between beauty and disquieting, joy and sorrow, and simple and complex, while often tackling important social and political issues. Williams' catalogue contains a broad range of work, from vocal and operatic offerings to instrumental works, along with electronic music.

His music been performed and commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, Quince Ensemble, and by the Cincinnati, Toledo, Detroit, Seattle, and National Symphonies. His work has received awards and recognition from the American Prize, the National Federation of Music Clubs, ASCAP, and Fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. In 2018, he served as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's inaugural Classical Roots Composer-in-Residence. He currently serves as the Steven R. Gerber Composer-in-Residence for the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Williams holds degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Bowling Green State University and Lawrence University. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Composition at the Berklee College of Music, where he teaches composition, conducting, music technology, harmony, and counterpoint.

Titan was written to accompany performances of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1, "Titan." The fanfare employs themes from throughout the first, third, and fourth movements of that symphony, with particular emphasis on the minor "Fre?re Jacques" from the third movement, transforming the somber bass solo into a pulsating groove.

Titan was commissioned by April Ann Brock and Kevin Su?tterlin for the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra.

High Ashes for Baritone and Orchestra 
Stella Sung (b. 1959), composer
Ernest Hilbert (b. 1970), poet

Dr. Stella Sung has won both national and international recognition as a composer. Her works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall in Boston, and the Sydney Opera House, among many other venues. She utilizes digital and multimedia applications in her symphonic music, as well as compositions for dance, ballet, and film. She is the director of the Center for Research for Education, Arts and Technology and Professor of Music at the University of Central Florida. 

Poems by Ernest Hilbert. 

Ernest Hilbert is the author of the poetry collections Sixty Sonnets, All of You on the Good Earth, Caligulan-selected as winner of the 2017 Poets' Prize-and Last One Out. His fifth book, Storm Swimmer, was selected by Rowan Ricardo Phillips as the winner of the 2022 Vassar Miller Prize and appeared in 2023. His poem "Mars Ultor" was included in Best American Poetry 2018, and his poems appear in Yale Review, American Poetry Review, BOMB, Harvard Review, Parnassus, Sewanee Review, Hudson Review, Boston Review, The New Republic, American Scholar, and the London Review. In 2023 he was awarded the Meringoff Writing Award for Poetry from the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers. 

In 2000, Hilbert graduated with a doctorate from the department of English Language and Literature at Oxford University, where he edited the Oxford Quarterly. While there, he studied with Jon Stallworthy-biographer of Wilfred Owen and Louis MacNeice and editor of the Norton Anthology of Poetry-and James Fenton, then Professor of Poetry at Oxford. He later served as poetry editor of Random House's magazine Bold Type in New York City and editor of the Contemporary Poetry Review, published by the American Poetry Fund in Washington DC. In 2003, he hosted an evening of readings at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, entitled "The Future Knows Everything: New American Writing."

He lives in Philadelphia where he works as a rare book dealer and book reviewer for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Visit him at http://www.ernesthilbert.com

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfaring Journeyman)
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

While Gustav Mahler is chiefly remembered now as one of the great symphonists of the late Romantic/early Modern (or any) era, his affinity for the human voice informed his career-long role as a conductor of opera, as well as one of the masters of lieder, or art songs. Songs for one or more voices and a single keyboard instrument predate the Romantic era, but it was the settings of the poetry of Heine, Goethe, Mueller, and others by Schubert and Schumann that elevated the genre from pleasant salon music to works that were an intimate and profound elucidation of the text. 

In 1884, the young Gustav Mahler was assistant conductor at the opera house in the city of Kassel. He began an ill-fated affair with one of the sopranos in the company, Joanna Richter. Richter ended the liaison on New Year's Eve of that year. Mahler had already begun writing his own poetry - strongly influenced by his intensive study a collection of German folk songs and poems published in the early 19th century as Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy's Magic Horn)-and in the following month, whittled his original six songs to a set of four for voice and piano which he titled Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. This is usually translated as "Songs of a Wayfarer," but Gesellen has a specific meaning at that time-it means a journeyman, or one who has not completed the path from apprentice to master. This is significant not so much for accurately describing Mahler's place in the world at the time, but that it enhances the song cycle's overarching theme of alienation and separateness-cut off from his beloved, from society, and even from the splendors of Nature, the protagonist of these songs similarly lacks a true and solid place in the world. 

Mahler leaned heavily on thematic material from these songs in the composition of his first symphony (the second song and fourth song are used in the first and third movements of the symphony, respectively), and as he undertook multiple revisions of the symphony after its unsuccessful premiere in 1889, Mahler created a version of the Lieder for voice and orchestra which is now the version most often heard. 

The first song, "When My Darling Is Married," is filled with bitter irony, as the protagonist informs us that the happy celebration is her marriage to someone else. The work contrasts a lilting motif in the winds and triangle and a lugubrious lament from the vocalist and strings (the lament, in fact, is the opening motif slowed by more than half). A delicate, tremulous evocation of nature resounds with trills and bird song, but the song sinks back into grief as the singer mourns that even sleep only brings more reflection on his sorrow. Our narrator greets the new day with renewed resolve with "I Walked Along the Fields This Morning." The sun is shining, and dew still glistens on the grass. A finch chirps, "Hey, you! Good morning! Isn't it? Isn't it a beautiful world?" Bluebells tinkle in joyful assent, and our protagonist dares to hope that his happiness might be able to begin, too. With a sad cry of "no, no!" the gloom of isolation returns as he declares that his joy will never blossom. 

The overall delicacy of the first two songs is shattered by the opening of the third, which describes the singer's pain as a glowing knife cutting deep into his chest. The song ends in bleak despair as our protagonist declares that it would be better for death to close his eyes than to constantly be reminded of his lost beloved. A halting funeral march intoned by the flutes and harp introduces the final song, "The Two Blue Eyes of My Darling." In a numbed monotone, our narrator states that the eyes of his beloved have sent him out into the world alone, without companions or comfort. Nature intervenes again in the form of a linden tree along the road. In the folk mythology of that era, the linden was a sign not only of wedded bliss, but something of a spiritual portal that connected the living and the dead. Furthermore, it was used in German Romantic poetry as a symbol for temptation of suicide. Taking refuge under the fragrant boughs while the blossoms shower down upon him, the protagonist declares that there, he knows nothing of the world, and all is good again: "All, all! Love and sorrow, and world, and dream!" Whether Mahler means mere sleep, or transcendent union with nature, or the sleep of death is not clear, but sorrow has the final word as the flute and harp dirge has the final, uncertain word. 

Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht

Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht,

Frohliche Hochzeit macht,

Hab' ich meinen traurigen Tag!

Geh' ich in mein Ka?mmerlein,

Dunkles Ka?mmerlein!

Weine! wein'! Um meinen Schatz,

Um meinen lieben Schatz!

Bla?mlein blau! Bla?mlein blau!

Verdorre nicht! Verdorre nicht!

Voglein sa?a?! Voglein sa?a?!

Du singst auf gra?ner Heide!

?Ach, wie ist die Welt so schon!

Zika?th! Zika?th!"

Singet nicht! Bla?het nicht!

Lenz ist ja vorbei!

Alles Singen ist nun aus!

Des Abends, wenn ich schlafen geh',

Denk' ich an mein Leid!

An mein Leide!

When my love has her wedding-day

When my love has her wedding-day,

Her joyous wedding-day,

I have my day of mourning!

I go into my little room,

My dark little room!

I weep, weep! For my love,

My dearest love!

Blue little flower! Blue little flower!

Do not wither, do not wither!

Sweet little bird! Sweet little bird!

Singing on the green heath!

'Ah, how fair the world is!

Jug-jug! Jug-jug!'

Do not sing! Do not bloom!

For spring is over!

All singing now is done!

At night, when I go to rest,

I think of my sorrow!

My sorrow!

Ging heut' Morgen a?ber's Feld

Ging heut' morgen a?ber's Feld,

Tau noch auf den Gra'sern hing;

Sprach zu mir der lust'ge Fink:

?Ei du! Gelt?

Guten Morgen! Ei, Gelt? Du!

Wird's nicht eine schone Welt?

Zink! Zink! Schon und flink!

Wie mir doch die Welt gefa?llt!"

Auch die Glockenblum' am Feld

Hat mir lustig, guter Ding',

Mit den Glockchen, klinge, kling,

Ihren Morgengrua? geschellt:

?Wird's nicht eine schone Welt?

Kling! Kling! Schones Ding!

Wie mir doch die Welt gefa?llt!

Und da fing im Sonnenschein

Gleich die Welt zu funkeln an;

Alles, alles, Ton und Farbe gewann!

Im Sonnenschein!

Blum' und Vogel, groa? und klein!

?Guten Tag! Guten Tag!

Ist's nicht eine schone Welt?

Ei, du! Gelt? Schone Welt!"

Nun fa?ngt auch mein Gla?ck wohl an?

Nein! Nein! Das ich mein',

Mir nimmer, nimmer bla?hen kann!



I walked across the fields this morning

I walked across the fields this morning,

Dew still hung on the grass,

The merry finch said to me:

'You there, hey -

Good morning! Hey, you there!

Isn't it a lovely world?

Tweet! Tweet! Bright and sweet!

O how I love the world!'

And the harebell at the field's edge,

Merrily and in good spirits,

Ding-ding with its tiny bell

Rang out its morning greeting:

'Isn't it a lovely world?

Ding-ding! Beautiful thing!

O how I love the world!'

And then in the gleaming sun

The world at once began to sparkle;

All things gained in tone and colour!

In the sunshine!

Flower and bird, great and small.

'Good day! Good day!

Isn't it a lovely world?

Hey, you there?! A lovely world!'

Will my happiness now begin?

No! No! The happiness I mean

Can never bloom for me!

 


Ich hab' ein gla?hend Messer


Ich hab' ein gla?hend Messer,

Ein Messer in meiner Brust,

O weh! O weh!

Das schneid't so tief

In jede Freud' und jede Lust,

So tief! so tief!

Es schneid't so weh und tief!

Ach, was ist das fa?r ein boser Gast!

Nimmer ha?lt er Ruh',

Nimmer ha?lt er Rast!

Nicht bei Tag,

Nicht bei Nacht, wenn ich schlief!

O weh! O weh! O weh!

Wenn ich in dem Himmel seh',

Seh' ich zwei blaue Augen steh'n!

O weh! O weh!

Wenn ich im gelben Felde geh',

Seh' ich von fern das blonde Haar

Im Winde wehn! O weh! O weh!

Wenn ich aus dem Traum auffahr'

Und hore klingen ihr silbern Lachen,

O weh! O weh!

Ich wollt', ich la?g' auf der schwarzen Bahr',

Konnt' nimmer die Augen aufmachen!


I've a gleaming knife

I've a gleaming knife,

A knife in my breast,

Alas! Alas!

It cuts so deep

Into every joy and every bliss,

So deep, so deep!

It cuts so sharp and deep!

Ah, what a cruel guest it is!

Never at peace,

Never at rest!

Neither by day

Nor by night, when I'd sleep!

Alas! Alas! Alas!

When I look into the sky,

I see two blue eyes!

Alas! Alas!

When I walk in the yellow field,

I see from afar her golden hair

Blowing in the wind! Alas! Alas!

When I wake with a jolt from my dream

And hear her silvery laugh,

Alas! Alas!

I wish I were lying on the black bier,

And might never open my eyes again!

 

Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz 


Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz,

Die haben mich in die weite Welt geschickt.

Da mua?t' ich Abschied nehmen

Vom allerliebsten Platz!

O Augen blau, warum habt ihr mich angeblickt?

Nun hab' ich ewig Leid und Gra?men!

Ich bin ausgegangen in stiller Nacht,

Wohl a?ber die dunkle Heide.

Hat mir niemand Ade gesagt, Ade!

Mein Gesell' war Lieb' und Leide!

Auf der Straa?e stand ein Lindenbaum,

Da hab' ich zum ersten Mal im Schlaf geruht!

Unter dem Lindenbaum,

Der hat seine Bla?ten a?ber mich geschneit,

Da wua?t' ich nicht, wie das Leben tut,

War alles, alles wieder gut!

Alles! Alles!

Lieb und Leid, und Welt und Traum!


The two blue eyes of my love 


The two blue eyes of my love

Have sent me into the wide world.

I had to bid farewell

To the place I loved most!

O blue eyes, why did you look on me?

Grief and sorrow shall now be mine forever!

I set out in the still night,

Across the dark heath.

No one bade me farewell, farewell!

My companions were love and sorrow!

A lime tree stood by the roadside,

Where I first found peace in sleep!

Under the lime tree

Which snowed its blossom on me,

I was not aware of how life hurts,

And all, all was well once more!

All! All!

Love and sorrow, and world and dream!

 

Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)


Symphony No. 1 in D major 

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

"The highest ecstasy of the most joyous strength of life and the most burning desire for death: these two reign alternately in my heart; yes, oftentimes they alternate within the hour."

So wrote the 19 year old Mahler to his school friend Josef Steiner, and this vertiginous dichotomy would remain a constant throughout his life and his compositions, no more so than in his first symphony, composed in a burst of activity from January to March of 1888, while Mahler was second conductor at the Leipzig City Theater, but then revised repeatedly until Mahler settled on the four-movement form that is still heard today in 1896. 

Early audiences were confused and even offended by this ambitious first essay in the symphonic form, for multiple reasons. Mahler was a study in stark contrasts not only to the regions of his heart. On the one hand, he had been steadily working his way from opera house to theater to symphony hall developing a reputation as an exacting maestro with a particular concern for fealty to the score. On the other, there was no composer of the Austro-German symphonic tradition whose music was so nakedly, intimately subjective and personal. Mahler also famously wrote that every symphony should be a world unto itself, but his works are as much an exploration of the inner landscape of the soul and psyche than of the universe without. Everything, therefore, was grist for Mahler's mill; in the First Symphony alone, we hear references to and echoes of Beethoven's 9th, Liszt and Wagner, two of Mahler's own Wayfarer songs, bird calls, country and city dances, nursery rhymes, and klezmer band music that reflects his own Jewish heritage. 

Furthermore, Mahler himself seems to have had difficulty whether he was writing a symphony or a tone poem. At the disastrous first performance in Budapest in January 1893, Mahler presented his work as a "Symphony in Five Movements and Two Parts." The work was described as programmatic, but aside from some very general remarks sent to a friendly music critic that were published the day before the premiere, the mystified audience was given no clue as to what the programmatic narrative was supposed to be. After that, Maher decided that the work was a depiction of the sorrowful narrator of his Wayfarer songs in a more heroic mode; he therefore adopted the title Titan from the Bildungsroman by the famed German Romantic novelist, Jean Paul and changed the subtitle to "Tone Poem in the form of a Symphony." Exasperated by the continued poor reception of the work, Mahler removed the original second movement (subtitled Blumine), scrapped the Titan moniker, and the work simply became Symphony No. 1 in D major. Mahler kept returning to this work throughout his life, even tinkering with the orchestration before leading the New York Philharmonic in the symphony's American premier in 1909. 

Wie ein Naturlaut-like a sound of nature-is one of the score notations at the opening of this work, and Mahler breathes life into the world of his symphony with a brilliant touch of orchestration, one that seems to evoke the entire cosmos itself. The strings intone a pianissimo sustained A, seven octaves in range, from high, whistling harmonics in the violins to the lowest ranges of the cellos and basses. It's as if Mahler has taken the inchoate "nebula" of sound with which Beethoven opens his Ninth Symphony and stretches it out until it seems timeless. Out of this primordial aura emerges the figure of a descending fourth in the woodwinds. This will become the principal figure of the symphony. Joining it are quiet fanfares that bubble up in the clarinets and offstage trumpets, cuckoo calls, and a tender theme in the horns. Menace makes an appearance as well in the form of an ominous, creeping theme in the low strings heralded by a dark roll of the timpani. Mahler gradually brightens the tempo, and the cuckoo call seamlessly segues into the primary theme of the movement, which is the melody from the second of the Wayfarer songs, "Ging heut' Morgen a?ber's Feld." The mood overall is one of delicate joy and an almost childlike innocence, but the ominous theme and a two-note sighing figure gradually intrude, then dominate, then rise to a moment of genuine terror. Unlike the sorrowful end of the Wayfarer song, however, the darkness is banished with an explosion of D major triumph. The horns whoop for gladness, and the Wayfarer melody resumes in higher spirits than ever and accelerates to a giddy conclusion that is cheekily interrupted by the timpani pounding out the descending fourth that opened the work. 

The second movement is perhaps the most traditional in terms of the German symphonic form. It takes the form of the Minuet and Trio that were invariably a part of the works of Haydn and Mozart, but Mahler swaps out those old courtly dances for a lusty, foot-stomping country Laendler in glittering A major and contrasts it with a suave, elegant waltz in F major. Mahler cleverly uses a solo horn as our guide from the countryside to the ballroom and back again. 

Symphony movements in the form of funeral marches were certainly nothing new-the second movement of Beethoven's Eroica is certainly the most famous example of this-but nothing could prepare audiences for the macabre, discomfiting Grimm's fairy tale world of the third movement. Mahler wrote that his original inspiration was a famous woodcut by Moritz von Schwind entitled "The Hunter's Funeral Procession" in which the corpse of a hunter is borne by cortege of woodland creatures, some carrying banners, some playing instruments, some shedding (very possibly crocodile) tears. This bit of folk Schadenfreude doesn't account for the weird amalgam that ensues, however. Over a grim, soft cadence in the timpani (which is again the descending fourth figure, over and over), a lone double bass scrapes out Fra?ere Jacques. Other low-register instruments join in the mock solemnity before the oboe gives the game away with a tart, thumb-nosing counterpoint. Two Jewish melodies then appear, one swaying and melancholy, the other more jaunty and complete with a boom-chick accompaniment from the bass drum, cymbals, and the clicks and clatter of the violins tapping the stick of the wood against their strings. The grotesquerie is relieved by an appearance of the "Lindenbaum" music from the last of the Wayfarer songs, a brief oasis of tender poignancy in muted strings, woodwinds, and harp. The funeral march returns more briskly paced and with an especially nasty edge. Paired trumpets sneer out a mock dirge in schmaltzy harmony and the klezmer band wails. The march subsides into gloom and ends with hollow, ghostly thuds.

A scream of pain (again an echo of Beethoven's 9th, this time the last movement) opens the massive finale-a musical element that Mahler would bring back in his second Symphony, the Resurrection Symphony, as well. Out of the cacophony rises a stern march, characterized by two four note figures, one rapidly descending, one more slowly rising. Both are derived from Liszt's Dante Symphony, and Mahler early on did describe this movement as "from Inferno to Paradise." As the march lurches and gasps into exhausted silence, a lyrical lament takes its place. The march asserts itself again, accompanied by the ominous theme from the first movement. Fanfares in C major and D major interrupt, but the victory is hollow. More reminiscences of the first movement and a passionate restatement of the lament are brusquely interrupted by a harsh three note motif in the violas. The march slowly returns as a fugato, accompanied by the sighing figure from the first movement. The climax of terror from the first movement is dispelled for good time; Mahler expands the D major fanfare music into a chorale (and note that it's based on the same descending fourths that opened the entire symphony) that is proclaimed by the horns, whom Mahler has asked to stand and overpower the entire orchestra. The final measures once again echo Beethoven's 9th, the only music that rivals these final moments for pure, transcendent ecstasy. 


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FVSO March 2, 2024 FULL Program Notes
Feb. 15, 2024 2:50 pm

FVSO March 2, 2024 FULL Program Notes

Notes written by Erik Leveille and Kevin Sa?tterlin

FirstLight
MarkBuller (b. 1986)

MarkBuller, a composer based in Houston, writes music which blends rich lyricismwith bold gestures and striking rhythms. He has written a wide variety ofpieces, from tiny miniatures for solo instruments to operas and works for largeorchestra. He has been privileged to write for a number of world-classensembles and organizations, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, HoustonGrand Opera, Houston Chamber Choir, ROCO (River Oaks Chamber Orchestra), andApollo Chamber Players. His flexibility as a composer has led to some uniqueprojects commissions: four operas for Houston Grand Opera -- including apastiche opera -- with libretti by Charles Anthony Silvestri and Euan Tait; aseries of poignant art songs and a major choral work also for HGO, setting wordsby veterans and by Leah Lax; and several dozen very short pieces for variousforces, entitled Quarantine Miniatures, which celebrate the community ofmusicians who displayed resilience in the face of COVID-19.

Inrecent years, Mark's comic song cycles have gained some notice, beginning withTombstone Songs, which sets hilarious epitaphs from the U.S. and U.K.. One-StarSongbook explores terribly sophomoric one-star Amazon reviews of literarymasterworks, maintaining the original poor grammar and spelling.Schlechtesa?bersetzunglieder sets to music the texts of famous Schubert liederafter having been mangled by Google Translate. And an upcoming cycle, TheBeginner's Guide to Conspiracy Theories, is a series of "mad scenes"which once again turns to found texts, setting screeds about the Illuminati,JFK, Goop and other peddlers of pseudoscience, and QAnon.

Recentperformances include a second work for the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Spano,The Parallactic Transits; a large-scale Mass in Exile with librettist Leah Lax,for the GRAMMY-winning Houston Chamber Choir; a new chamber version ofTombstone Songs at the Moscow Conservatory; and Drives, and a chamber opera forHGO with librettist Euan Tait.

Originallyfrom Maryland, Mark studied as a pianist before earning his Doctor of MusicalArts degree from the University of Houston, where he studied with MarcusMaroney and Rob Smith. He currently teaches at Lone Star College and isDirector of Education and Chair of Composition Studies at AFA.

FirstLight is afanfare for orchestra, commissioned by Kevin Sa?tterlin and April Ann Brock as agift to the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. The title is intended to evoke themoments just before and after the appearance of light in the east, when after along dark the patient observer begins to notice the first subtle shades ofgrey. The idea came from a March 2020 trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Parkin western Texas, when my father, brother and I undertook to climb the state'shighest peak. After two hours of driving in the pitch-black between El Paso andthe park, we arrived and began to prepare for the hike, unable to see even themerest outline of the mountain. Amid howling, freezing winds, the scenegradually became grey, and then, from the very peak and slowly descending, thesunrise turned the mountain a vibrant, almost violent orange. To me, thissudden onset of light mirrors the adrenaline thrill of a quiet sunrise,offering the promise of sunrise and a new day. Musically, then, this provides adramatic framework for the piece: beginning in the darkness, surrounded bywind, then seeing a gradually-lightening landscape surrounding us.

FirstLight isthe second in a planned trilogy of short works for orchestra set over thecourse of a night and day. The first, The Parallactic Transits, waswritten to celebrate Robert Spano's tenure at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestraand evokes the movement of celestial bodies across the night sky.

Latin Kauyumari    
Gabriela Ortiz (b. 1964)

Latin Grammy-nominated Gabriela Ortiz is one of the foremostcomposers in Mexico today and one of the most vibrant musicians emerging on theinternational scene. Her musical language achieves an extraordinary andexpressive synthesis of tradition and the avant-garde by combining high art,folk music, and jazz in novel, frequently refined and always personal ways. Hercompositions are credited for being both entertaining and immediate as well asprofound and sophisticated; she achieves a balance between highly organizedstructure and improvisatory spontaneity.

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of the LosAngeles Philharmonic, called her recent work Teenek "one of the most brilliant I have ever directed. Its color,its texture, the harmony, and the rhythm that it contains are all somethingunique. Gabriela possesses a particular capacity to showcase our Latinidentity."

Ortiz has written music for dance, theater,and cinema, and has actively collaborated with poets, playwrights, andhistorians. Indeed, her creative process focuses on the connections betweengender issues, social justice, environmental concerns, and the burden ofracism, as well as the phenomenon of multiculturality caused by globalization,technological development, and mass migrations. She has composed three operas,in all of which interdisciplinary collaboration has been a vital experience.Notably, these operas are framed by political contexts of great complexity,such as the drug war in Only the Truth,illegal migration between Mexico and the United States in Ana and her Shadow, andthe violation of university autonomy during the student movement of 1968 in Firefly.

Based in Mexico, Ortiz's music has beencommissioned and performed all over the world by prestigious ensembles,soloists, and orchestras, such as: the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,Gustavo Dudamel and Esa Pekka Salonen, Zoltan Kocsis, Carlos Miguel Prieto, theKroumata and Amadinda Percussion Ensembles, the Kronos Quartet, Dawn Upshaw,Sarah Leonard, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Pierre Amoyal, Southwest ChamberMusic, the Tambuco Percussion Quartet, the Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra,the Malmo Symphony Orchestra, the Orquestra Sima?n Bolivar, the Royal ScottishNational Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and the RoyalLiverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. Recent premieres include Yanga and Teenek, both pieces commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonicand Gustavo Dudamel, Luciernaga (Firefly, her third opera) commissionedand produced by the Universidad Nacional Auta?noma de Mexico, a?nicamente la Verdad (Only the Truth, her first opera) withLong Beach Opera and Opera de Bellas Artes in Mexico. Ortiz currently teachescomposition at the Universidad Nacional Auta?noma de Mexico in Mexico City andas a Visiting Professor at Indiana University. Her music is currently publishedby Schott, Ediciones Mexicanas de Ma'sica, Saxiana Presto, and Tre Fontane.

Ortiz has been honored with the National Prize for Arts and Literature,the most prestigious award for writers and artists granted by the government ofMexico and has been inducted into the Mexican Academy of the Arts. Other honorsinclude the Bellagio Center Residency Program, Civitella Ranieri ArtisticResidency; a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; a FulbrightFellowship; first prize in the Silvestre Revueltas National Chamber Music Competition;first prize in the Alicia Urreta Composition Competition; a Banff Center forthe Arts Residency; the Inroads Commission (a program of Arts Internationalwith funds from the Ford Foundation); a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation;and the Mozart Medal Award.

Born in Mexico City, her parents weremusicians in the renowned folk music ensemble Los Folkloristas, founded in 1966to preserve and record the traditional music of Mexico and Latin America. Shetrained with the eminent composer Mario Lavista at the Conservatorio Nacionalde Ma'sica and Federico Ibarra at the Universidad Nacional Auta?noma de Mexico.In 1990 she was awarded the British Council Fellowship to study in London withRobert Saxton at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 1992 she receiveda scholarship from the UNAM to complete her Ph.D. studies in electroacousticmusic composition with Simon Emmerson at The City University in London.

Among the Huichol people of Mexico, Kauyumari means "blue deer." The bluedeer represents a spiritual guide, one that is transformed through an extendedpilgrimage into a hallucinogenic cactus called peyote. It allows the Huichol tocommunicate with their ancestors, do their bidding, and take on their role asguardians of the planet. Each year, these Native Mexicans embark on a symbolicjourney to "hunt" the blue deer, making offerings in gratitude for having beengranted access to the invisible world, through which they also are able to healthe wounds of the soul.

Ortiz tells us, "When I received thecommission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic to compose a piece that wouldreflect on our return to the stage following the pandemic, I immediatelythought of the blue deer and its power to enter the world of the intangible asakin to a celebration of the reopening of live music. Specifically, I thoughtof a Huichol melody sung by the De La Cruz family - dedicated to recordingancestral folklore - that I used for the final movement of my piece, Altar de Muertos (Altar of the Dead),commissioned by the Kronos String Quartet in 1997.

"I used this material within theorchestral context and elaborated on the construction and progressivedevelopment of the melody and its accompaniment in such a way that it wouldsymbolize the blue deer. This in turn was transformed into an orchestral texturewhich gradually evolves into a complex rhythm pattern, to such a degree thatthe melody itself becomes unrecognizable (the imaginary effect of peyote andour awareness of the invisible realm), giving rise to a choral wind sectionwhile maintaining an incisive rhythmic accompaniment as a form of reassurancethat the world will naturally follow its course.

"While composing this piece, I noted onceagain how music has the power to grant us access to the intangible, healing ourwounds and binding us to what can only be expressed through sound.

"Although life is filled withinterruptions, Kauyumari is acomprehension and celebration of the fact that each of these rifts is also anew beginning."

ThisMidnight Hour
Anna Clyne (b. 1980)

Described as a "composer of uncommongifts and unusual methods" in a New York Times profile and as "fearless" byNPR, GRAMMY-nominated Anna Clyne is one of the most in-demand composers today,working with orchestras, choreographers, filmmakers, and visual artists aroundthe world. Clyne was named the 8th most performed contemporary composer in theworld and the most performed living female British composer in 2022. Clyne hasbeen commissioned and presented by the world's most dynamic and revered arts institutions,including the Barbican, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Los AngelesPhilharmonic, MoMA, Philharmonie de Paris, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, SanFrancisco Ballet, and the Sydney Opera House. Her music has opened such eventsas the Edinburgh International Festival, The Last Night of the Proms, and theNew York Philharmonic's 2021 - 2022 season. Clyne often collaborates on creativeprojects across the music industry, including Between the Rooms, a filmwith choreographer Kim Brandstrup and LA Opera, as well as the Nico Project atthe Manchester International Festival, a stage work about pop icon Nico's lifethat featured Clyne's reimagining of The Marble Index for orchestra and voices.Clyne has also reimagined tracks from Thievery Corporation's "The Cosmic Game"for the electronica duo with orchestra, and her music has been programmed bysuch artists as Bjork.

Several projects have explored Clyne'sfascination with visual arts, including Color Field, inspired by the artwork ofMark Rothko and Abstractions, inspired by five contemporary artworks. InJanuary 2023, Clyne presented a three-part series for BBC Radio 3 called "TheArt of Music with Anna Clyne." Recent projects in collaboration with the danceworld have included the world premiere of choreographer Pam Tanowitz's danceset to "Breathing Statues" for the Royal Ballet in London and performances ofDANCE by the San Francisco Ballet with choreography by Nicolas Blanc.

Other recent collaborators include suchnotable musicians as Jess Gillam, Martin Frost, Pekka Kuusisto, and Yo-Yo Ma.In 2022 - 2023. Clyne serves as Composer-in-Residence with the PhilharmoniaOrchestra and the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, as well as the HelsinkiPhilharmonic Orchestra starting in the 2023 - 2024 season. Past residenciesinclude the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra,L'Orchestre national d'a?le-de-France, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.Clyne's music is represented on several labels and her works "Prince of Clouds"and "Night Ferry" were nominated for 2015 GRAMMY Awards. Her cello concerto "DANCE,"recorded by soloist Inbal Segev, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and MarinAlsop, has garnered more than eight million plays on Spotify. Clyne's music ispublished exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes.

Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey& Hawke, This Midnight Hour isboth something of a noirish, gritty cityscape and a psychological journey thatexplores realms both disturbing and hauntingly, nostalgic. According to thecomposer, her inspiration was a pair of poems as well as the darkly poeticplaying of the lower strings of the ensemble that premiered the work in 2015,the Orchestre national d'Ile de France: the terse La Musica by Juan Ramon Jimenez- "Music - /a naked woman/running mad through the pure night" as well as a stanza from Harmonie du Soir (Harmony of theEvening)  by that bard of the netherworldof the heart and psyche, Charles Baudelaire

                                    "The seasonis at hand when swaying on its stem
                                    Everyflower exhales perfume like a censer;
                                    Soundsand perfumes turn in the evening air;
                                    Melancholywaltz and languid vertigo!"

Thework erupts in the low strings and woodwinds with propulsive, motoric rhythmsthat evoke a blind hurtling through dark city streets, where menace lurks fromevery turn and imposing structures loom overhead. Cascades ofdownward-spiraling arpeggios sweep across the orchestra with stereophoniceffect. Baudelaire's musical fever dream is evoked with a Parisian waltzwheezed out on a raspy, asthmatic accordion (note the grinding dissonance ofthe viola section playing a quarter-tone apart from each other). Finally, achorale, by turns mournful and consoling, arises in the woodwinds while a lone,distant trumpet adds bluesy inflections. The delirium has finally broken,although the final moments indicate that the darkness has perhaps not beenentirely dispelled.

Piano Concerto #3 in D minor
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

InOctober of 1906, Sergei Rachmaninoff and his wife moved from Moscow to Dresden,where he spent much of his time composing rather than on the concert stage as apiano soloist. That didn't stop the entreaties that came from around the world,and in 1909, Rachmaninov agreed to his first tour of America. During the summermonths, he began work on his third piano concerto-a work that makes suchdemands on the technique and stamina of the soloist that Rachmaninoff brought asilent practice keyboard with him on his trans-Atlantic voyage so that he wouldarrive thoroughly prepared. After a solo recital performance in Philadelphia,Rachmaninoff traveled to New York City and premiered his new concerto with theNew York Symphony under Walter Damrosch in late November, and then-to his greatsatisfaction-gave another performance in January 1910 with the New YorkPhilharmonic, led by none other than Gustav Mahler. The Third piano concerto,perhaps owing to the extreme challenges it presents, did not immediately enterthe repertoire, but was popularized by Vladimir Horowitz in the 1930s, and thenVan Cliburn's electrifying and prize-winning performance of the Third at thefirst International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958 brought the work to evengreater prominence.

Thework's opening gives no hint of the virtuosic tour-de-force to come; after amere two measures of the most unassuming orchestral accompaniment imaginable,the piano enters softly, unwinding a long, tranquil melody that evokes thechants of the Russian Orthodox church. A full statement of this theme is thentaken up by the orchestra. The piano returns, immediately developing the themeand breaking off into cadenzas. The second theme is heralded by a soft martialfigure and blossoms into life in the hands of the soloist. The principal themereturns with increasing thematic variation and development; as the movementbuilds in roiling intensity, the theme itself is compressed into a two-notemotif. The solo piano then unleashes a titanic solo cadenza, in whose wake thesecond theme is tenderly evoked in a dreamy reminiscence. A final cadenzaushers in a brief, subdued coda in which the principal theme tiptoes away intosilence.

TheIntermezzo opens, after the briefest of introductions, with a poignant solooboe. The strings take up this theme, full of the composer's melancholylyricism and expand upon it.  The pianobursts in with a stormy interruption, then takes up the principal melody. In anhomage to Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto, a contrasting waltz-like themefollows, with the piano adding brilliant filigree with dizzyingly fleet tripletpassagework. The recapitulation of the principal theme is even more darkly huedthan its initial presentation, an arresting, brief cadenza and clamorousresponse from the orchestra ushers in the dazzling Finale. Over a dactylic(long, short-short) pulse, the piano launches into a fanfare-like theme, whichthe careful listener will note, is directly derived from the accompanimentalfigure that opens the entire concerto. This cyclic treatment of previousthematic material continues throughout the Finale; after an expectedlycontrasting second theme, Rachmaninoff goes off on a long, tangential episodein the distant key of E-flat major. A set of variations on what appears to be anew theme is, in fact, a co-mingling of the second theme of the first movementand the principal theme of the Finale. A mighty coda caps the work, luxuriatingin D major triumph before racing to a thrilling conclusion.

- Comments

FVSO February 3, 2024 FULL Program Notes
Jan. 23, 2024 4:24 pm

 FVSO February 3, 2024 FULL Program Notes

Notes written by Erik Leveille and Kevin Sa?tterlin

Roar!
Maria Grenfell (b. 1969)


Maria Grenfell was born in Malaysia, and completed composition studies in Christchurch, New Zealand. She obtained a master's degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and a doctorate from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she was also a lecturer. Her teachers have included Stephen Hartke, Erica Muhl, James Hopkins, Morten Lauridsen, Joseph Schwantner, and Samuel Adler. Maria Grenfell's work takes much of its influence from poetic, literary, and visual sources, and from non-Western music and literature. 

Her orchestral music has been commissioned, performed, or recorded by all the major symphony orchestras in Australia and New Zealand. Her chamber music has been performed by musicians such as members of eighth blackbird, the Australia Ensemble, the Vienna Piano Trio, New Zealand Trio, ACO Collective, and numerous other ensembles. Her work is broadcast regularly in Australia and New Zealand, is released on ABC Classics, Kiwi-Pacific, and Trust CDs, and is available from the Australian Music Centre, SouNZ New Zealand Music Centre, and Reed Music. In 2013 Maria won Instrumental Work of the Year for Tasmania at the Australian Art Music Awards for her septet Ten Suns Ablaze, commissioned by the Australia Ensemble, and in 2017 her double concerto Spirals won the Tasmanian award for Orchestral Work of the Year. Her music was commissioned for the documentary film Quoll Farm, which aired in 2021.

Maria is an Associate Professor at the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music and co-ordinates the composition stream. She was Head of the Conservatorium from 2018-2019. She is regularly involved in mentoring young composers through various composer development programs throughout Australia. She served on the Board of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from 2009-2018. She has given guest lectures at the University of Houston (USA), Auckland University (New Zealand), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), and the University of Melbourne (Australia). In 2013 Maria was Visiting Professor of Composition at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. In 2019 Maria was Kerr Composer in Residence at the Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio. She lives in Hobart with her husband, guitarist David Malone, and they have two children. (Sourced from https://www.mariagrenfell.com.au/about)

Roar! was commissioned by the West Australian Orchestra in 2004 for use in their educational concerts. This five-minute playful, cheeky romp is reminiscent of Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals and Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. The sections of the orchestra are presented in the guise of a visit to the circus. A brief brass fanfare serves as welcome and introduction (Ladies and Gentleman!); first up are the monkeys, presented in a playful, syncopated and suitably slightly goofy dance in the woodwinds; trapeze artists and swans are delicately evoked with a meandering waltz in the strings; lions and tigers growl and bristle with a battery of percussion. An exuberant, jazzy solo from the xylophone then leads the entire menagerie in a sassy dance that ends with another flourish in the brass. 

Bonecos de Olinda
Clarice Assad (b. 1978)

A powerful communicator renowned for her musical scope and versatility, Brazilian-American Clarice Assad is a significant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop, and jazz genres and is acclaimed for her evocative colors, rich textures, and diverse stylistic range. A prolific Grammy Award - nominated composer with more than 70 works to her credit, she has been commissioned by internationally renowned organizations, festivals, and artists and is published in France (Editions Lemoine), Germany (Trekel), Brazil (Criadores do Brasil), and the U.S. (Virtual Artists Collective Publishing). An in-demand performer, she is a celebrated pianist and inventive vocalist who inspires and encourages audiences' imaginations to break free of often self-imposed constraints. Assad has released seven solo albums and appeared on or had her works performed on another 34. Her music is represented on Cedille Records, SONY Masterworks, Nonesuch, Adventure Music, Edge, Telarc, NSS Music, GHA, and CHANDOS. Her innovative, accessible, and award-winning VOXploration series on music education, creation, songwriting, and improvisation has been presented throughout the world. Sought-after by artists and organizations worldwide, the multi-talented musician continues to attract new audiences both onstage and off. (Sourced from clariceassad.com)

Bonecos de Olinda was commissioned by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra for their concert tour of Brazil in 2019. As Assad describes on her website, Bonecos de Olinda are giant, hollow figurines made of sundry materials that are paraded through the streets during the Carnival of Olinda, which takes place in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco. These figures have their roots in European Catholicism, where similar figures of saints featured prominently in religious festivals and crossed the Atlantic during the colonial period. Nowadays, the figurines often depict historical and popular figures in Brazilian history, they are accompanied by street musicians who fill the air with frevo and maracatu dance rhythms. 

The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto
Chen Gang (b. 1935)
He Zhanhao (b. 1933)

Western colonialism in China meant the influx of Western musical traditions as well, and in 1927, Leipzig Conservatory graduate Cai Yuanpei established the National Conservatory of Music, which would be renamed the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1956. Two students there, Chen Gang and He Zhanhao, couldn't help but notice that the Bach and Beethoven they learned were met with puzzlement and indifference by most Chinese audiences, but they responded eagerly to Western instruments playing traditional folk melodies and the Shaoxing opera style known as yueju. 

He Zhanhao, who had an extensive background in both of those traditional art forms had become a violinist at the Conservatory had already begun transcribing, arranging, and performing Chinese melodies on Western string instruments, and Chen Gang, who was from a family of musicians and whose ambitions to join the military were thwarted by bad eyesight, became a composer. Determined to blend Chinese and Western music traditions together in a way that would immediately appeal to the public, they began collaborating in 1958 on a violin concerto that would utilize Western instruments and orchestral writing to frame the melodies, pentatonic harmonies, rhythms, and vocalizations of yueju. 

They took as their inspiration an old Romeo and Juliet-like folk tale based on the lovers Zhu Yintai and Liang Shanbo. Determined to make a different life for herself, the teenaged Zhu Yintai leaves her family and village disguised as a boy to enroll in school. Along the way, she meets fellow student-to-be Liang Shanbo and they quickly become soulmates, although Liang remains unaware of his friend's identity and feelings. They spend three happy years together in school, and upon parting, Yintai invites Shanbo back to her village to court her "sister." Zhu Yintai returns home to find that her father has betrothed her to the son of a wealthy merchant. When Shanbo belatedly arrives, he realizes his friend's true identity and his feelings turn instantly from fraternity to deep love. Both lovers vehemently resist and protest the arranged marriage, but Yintai's father will not be moved. The wedding date is set, and Liang Shanbo falls into such a state of grief and despair that he dies. As Zhu Yintai's wedding procession approaches her beloved's grave, a furious storm and whirlwind erupts. As the Earth cracks open Liang Shanbo's tomb, Yintai throws herself into its depths. As the tempest subsides, the lovers, now transformed into butterflies, rise out of the grave and fly off together. 

The concerto was premiered in May of 1959 by the conservatory orchestra and 18-year-old violinist Yu Lina. It was well-received, but as the Cultural Revolution engulfed Chinese society, the work was condemned as "feudalist" and not heard again until the late 1970s when music conservatories were reopened. The concerto quickly regained popularity and is now regarded as one of the finest examples of Chinese/Western musical hybrids. 

The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto is performed as an uninterrupted single movement, but it is divided into seven sections, each depicting a part of the folk tale. Delicate tones in the harp introduce a trill in the flute, which unfolds into a folklike melody which will later become the "butterfly" theme. The oboe and the strings then intone the primary theme of the concerto before it is taken up and rhapsodically expanded upon by the violin soloist into a cadenza (a section in which only the soloist plays in a very virtuosic fashion) which explores the instrument's uppermost register, as it is echoed by the piano. A bright Allegro in E major joyfully ushers in Zhu Yintai and Liang Shanbo's adventures and exploits together as fellow students. The violin leads the way with rapid passagework delineating pentatonic scales contrasting with percussive double stops and ricochet bow strokes. This high-spirited merriment ends as their schooling ends and the two sadly part. 

In the following Adagio assai doloroso, the violin laments together first with the orchestra, and as a duo with the cello, depicting the parting words of Yintai and Shanbo. As the tale takes its fateful turn, a descending four-note theme and the ominous sound of the gong emerges from the depths of the orchestra, building in intensity, speed, and volume to a bombastic, fanfare-like interlude. The violin responds defiantly with an impassioned, vehement cadenza as Yintai sees her dreams and future dashed, while angry, brusque, interrupting chords in the orchestra voice her father's steadfast refusal to yield. Silence falls as Liang Shanbo belatedly appears and realizes Zhu Yintai's identity. The violin tremulously takes up the love theme again, and the cello responds this time with fervent emotion. The following Presto risoluto is extraordinary and the most evocative of the Shaoxing operatic style. Chinese percussion instruments set the relentless pace and rhythm as the tale builds to its tragic climax, while the violin again depicts the lovers' turmoil and passion with a virtuosic tour-de-force. The opening of Liang Shanbo's grave and Zhu Yintai's final plummet into its depths is heralded by a titanic outburst in the timpani. As the transfigured lovers flutter out of the tomb, the flute once again takes up the butterfly theme; violin and orchestra entwine in a final exultant presentation of the love theme. A brief poignant coda from the violin and airy harmonics in the orchestral strings end the tale on a note of peaceful resolution. 

Chinese Sights and Sounds [????] (Selections)
Bao Yuankai [???] (b. 1944)

"It was in 1990 when I began to restudy various Chinese folk songs, dance music, ballad music, traditional operas, and instrumental music. My plan was to compose orchestral works based on the best tunes selected from our musical tradition in order to make the colorful and charming Chinese traditional folk music to be enjoyable for all people in the present world. I supposed that the new works should be both Western in form and Eastern in essence-to combine Chinese folk or traditional music with Western modern musical forms is a practical way to break up the isolation of Chinese music and bring it to the world's stage."-Bao Yuankai, in an interview from Journal of Music in China, Fall 2002 edition. 

Bao Yuankai was born in Beijing in 1944 and was educated from his youth in flute and composition. He later graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in Tianjin. His earliest musical education had exposed him to the Western classical canon (he first heard Schubert's Unfinished Symphony as a fifth grader) as well as the traditional music of his own culture. His professors at the Central Conservatory urged him to not merely mimic Western composers, but to forge his own path. That path took a drastic turn during the Cultural Revolution when Bao was imprisoned for five years for the crime of Western influence in his music. His sole consolation during that time was having a sympathetic prison guard who taught him to play the guitar. This experience opened the world of Spanish folk music to Bao and he became fascinated with the music of composer Isaac Albeniz. It was after his release from incarceration and resuming his musical education at the Tianjin Conservatory that Bao found his true inspiration - the Hungarian composer, musicologist, and folk music archivist Bela Bartok. Bartok, along with his friend and fellow composer Zoltan Kodaly, traveled throughout the remote villages of Eastern Europe and as far as Turkey and North Africa collecting, transcribing, and recording traditional folk melodies. Having immersed himself in those rustic tunes, Bartok forged his own harmonic and rhythmic language that was both distinct from traditional Western harmony and from the "twelve tone" harmonic system which dominated classical music from Germany and Vienna in the first half of the twentieth century. 

Beginning in 1980, Bao embarked on his own journey to collect and transcribe melodies from the deep reservoir of Chinese folk music. In 1991, he composed Chinese Sights and Sounds, a suite of 24 folk tunes arranged for an orchestra comprised solely of Western instruments. Through the innovative use of vibrato, glissandos (slides from one note to another), pizzicato (both plucking and strumming the strings), and even shouts from the musicians, Bao's music emulates both the vocal style of Chinese folk music and opera as well as traditional Chinese instruments. 

Jasmine is lushly scored for strings and presents the melody with a quartet of strings rather than the entire ensemble. The folk song, Jasmine, has been popular in China since ancient times. From the many variants of Jasmine, Bao chose the one from the Nanpi region in Heibei province, near his parent's hometown. The lyrics describe a girl who compares herself to a jasmine flower, giving it the fantasy of romance and displaying her dreams and feelings about love. 

With lively percussion, wild glissandos in the strings, strummed pizzicatos, and literal yelps from the orchestra, the galloping rhythms of Song of the Wrangler vividly bring this equestrian character to life. This is a popular Yunnan folk song, portraying the nomadic people's lifestyle. Its text translates to: 

The first month of the year is the right time to ride a horse. We ride the horses and pasture them in the grasslands. The bigger horses run in the front, with the ponies following. In February there is a lot of rich grassland for pasturing. Ponies run to the deep mountains to eat. If horses eat no weeds, they will not grow fat. If grass has no dew to absorb, it will not grow.

When people cut firewood they do not cut vines. A good woman will not fall in love with a man who wastes time. An aspiring man is like an evergreen that persists throughout the year, while a useless man whiles away his precious time. When people hoe the soil they do not hoe the rocky places. A good man will not fall in love with a lazy woman. A smart girl can do everything while a lazy girl does nothing.

A gentle flourish of flute, harp, and percussion introduces the lovely melody of Beautiful Scenery of Wuxi, which alternates between the strings and woodwinds, with a particularly pensive solo turn for the English horn. The folk song describes the beauties of Wuxi City, and is characteristic of popular music, since ancient times, of Jiangsu Provinces. The scenery is a source of inspiration for poets, painters and musicians. It is set in the old teahouse in Wuxi city. While enjoying lakeside scenery, guests are listening to the singer playing Erhu and singing local music. The singing helps travelers enjoy the quiet southern China life. The song's text translates to:

I got a feeling, want to sing and play for you all, you listen carefully, let me sing a song named The Scenery of Wuxi, listen carefully gentlemen.

Small town Wuxi city, from ancient to modern, a total of four gates, once in January of the Republic of China, a new gate called Guangfu was built.

People come and go in Wuxi, the trains are so convenient. a warehouse is under the Tongyuan bridge, whose modification is quite refreshing, the lively market like Shenjiang.

Go out for a walk in Spring, the top choice must be Mei garden, it is comfortable to go boating; pulling the boat by the Tai lake, It is amazing to see a whole garden with plum blossom.

The first good scenery, should be considered Guitou Zhu, best place to spend a summer, zigzag mountain road is elegant, with water by the mountain.

The second finest spring under Heaven, at the foot of mountain Hui, the spring water is clear and can be used for tea, Xi mountain is next to Hui mountain, at the foot of two mountains there is a clay Buddha store.

Yellow Poplar Shouldering Pole prominently features a solo bassoon and ends with a flourish of brass. This is a song from southeastern Sichuan, usually used in the Lantern Festival as background music for dance performances or concerts in a play. The lyrics are humorous, showing the young man bearing the pole, and happily observing the girls' hair styles and pretty clothes:

Yellow polar shouldering pole is flexible, I carry a pack of rice with the pole and go to Youzhou city.

It is said ladies in Youzhou are beautiful, all of them are good at braiding.

The first girl twists the braid into a dragon-coiled shape, the second girl fastens her hair with a flower-shape hairpin.

Only the third girl does a great work, with a braid called lion rolling silk ball.

The Little Cowherd (or: The Cowherd Boy) is originally from a folk-dance opera in northern China. The main characters in the lyrics are a shepherd boy and a country girl. The girl goes up to the boy, asking for directions. The boy raises a few questions for the girl with which the lyrics begin. They begin to sing and dance. The tune is bright and smooth, the dance is vivid, lively, and witty. 

Who built the Zhaozhou Bridge? Who decorated the marble balustrades on the bridge? Who rode a donkey over the bridge? Who rolled a cart up a groove?

Ban Lu built Zhaozhou Bridge. A wise man decorated the marble balustrades. Guolao Zhang rode the donkey over the bridge. An old man Chai rolled a cart up a groove.

Blossoming for Rainwater is a popular love song. Its translation goes as follows:

A man is like a dragon flying in the sky, while a woman is like a blossom on the ground. If the dragon does not turn over there will be no rainwater, if it does not rain, the blossoms will not grow red.

Bartok himself would certainly nod approvingly at the rustic, rambunctious Song of Riddles scored for strings alone, with a wonderfully swaggering dance tune contrasted with a soulful contrasting lyrical melody. This humorous song uses a musical "tongue twister" in order to represent antiphonal singing between sisters. The conversation and melody are lively, and the tempo is fast-paced. The folk song has only eight measures; in the last two measures there is a slight easing, which reflects children's joyful playtime. The text translates to:

Little girl, little girl, come, you guess what we say, what is long, which is long enough to reach heaven? What is long, which grows in the sea? What is long, which is sold on the Long Street? What is long, which is right in front of the young lady?

Little girl, little girl, come, you say what we guess, the Galaxy is long, which is long enough to reach heaven, the lotus is long which grows in the sea, the noodle is long, which is sold on the Long Street, a silk thread is long, which is right in front of the young lady.

Little girl, little girl, come, you guess what we say, what is round, which is round enough to reach heaven? What is round, which grows in the sea? What is round which is sold on the Round Street? What is round which is right in front of the young lady?

Little girl, little girl, come, you say what we guess, the moon is round to reach heaven. The lotus leaf is round, which grows in the sea, the rice cake is round which is sold on the Round Street, and the mirror is round, which is right in front of the young lady.

Pulling out a Reed Catkin is a song from northern Jiangsu province. The music depicts a rustic countryside atmosphere. 

Call me then I came, pull out a reed catkin, fragrance rose and magnolia blossom, butterflies attracted to flowers and sisters look, mandarin ducks tumbling and lovers guess, my sweet lover, hibiscus and peony flowers blossom in the moonlight.

Cut golden wheat and plant, pull out a reed catkin, wash clothes and harvest mulberry, fear to do laundry after dusk, harvest mulberry and be afraid of dew wet moss. my sweet lover, the next month hibiscus and peony flowers blossom in the moonlight.

Lively fish hop in the net and needs to carry, pull out a reed catkin, diligent sister and brother compete, sister wins and brother sing mountain song, brother wins and sister gives a kiss, my sweet lover, the next month hibiscus and peony flowers blossom in the moonlight.

The Melody of Bamboo (or: Bamboo Flute Tune) is a popular song in the southern Jiangsu province. The song is about love and is used in the music of the Peking opera. The melody is soft and gentle, and is characteristic of southern folk music.

A straight Bamboo-flute, sent to brother as a Xiao [Chinese Instrument], Xiao to mouth, mouth to Xiao, play Xiao with a flower tune. Ask my lover if this Xiao is good or not?

Happy Sunrise resounds with powerful brass. This is a song sung by children in Sichuan, when they are hiking and gathering firewood. The song shows them facing towards the sun with one hand holding the ax, bearing their poles on their shoulders and singing. It expresses the children's optimistic nature and their love for mountain life.

The sun comes out and we are happy, carrying the pole and go to the mountains.

Handing with an axe , do not afraid of tigers and leopards.

Do not care about the cliffs, busy with cutting wood and singing.

Climbing one mountain and another, this happens again and again.

As long as we are diligent, no need to worry about wearing and eating.

The dark-toned, dramatic Lanhuahua unfolds a melancholy melody that alternately soars in the upper strings and positively thunders in the timpani and tam-tam. This is a narrative song from northern Shaanxi. Lyrics are a powerful indictment against the feudal practice of arranged marriages. The young woman Lan Huahua is praised for rebelling against this practice, and for instead pursuing a happy marriage. Sadly, her rebellion ends in her death.

Blue silk thread and Green silk thread, Mrs. Lan gave birth to a child named Lan Huahua, who is adorable.

In May only sorghum grows fast and tall in the field, Mrs. Lan's daughter is the most beautiful girl among the villages, she is the only good one.

In January the matchmaker comes and in February the engagement is confirmed. In March Mr. Zhou pays the money and in April Huahua is going to marry to Mr. Zhou.

Three teams play the winds and two teams play the percussion, I am leaving my lover and am carried to Mr. Zhou's house.

I look around after arrival, and I see Mr. Zhou who is so skinny and old enough to die.

If you die early then die, after you die I can leave right away.

I get the lamb and carry the cake, I run to my lover's home desperately.

I see my lover and have lots to say to him, our love defies the limits of heaven and death.

Dialogue on Flowers concludes this selection from the suite with two contrasting melodies, one briskly rhythmic with skittering strings, the other led by a lyrical solo flute. The piece freely translates to "Can You Guess What Flower It Is?" The song was originally called Flowers (Fan Dui Hua), and was popular during World War II in China. It is a new folk song, using one of Heibei's traditional pieces, Flowers, coupled with new words. The entire song is filled with various sound effects and rhythm, depicting the various flowers. The song embodies a bright and lively image through the dotted rhythms and syncopations, and the singer's imitation of a drum beat sound. A slow song, Kite Flying, is inserted during the middle section, evoking a sunny day in March and girls having fun with kites. The slow song Kite Flying reveals the girls' youthfulness, and features a beautiful and soft tune.

What flower will bloom in January? Winter jasmine will bloom in January, who will wear the winter jasmine? Heroes in the army will wear it; heroes in the army will wear it.

What flower will bloom in February? Begonia will bloom in February. Who will wear the Begonia? Explosion heroes will wear it, explosion heroes will wear it.

What flower will bloom in April? Peony will bloom in April. Who will wear peony? The supporter of the military will wear, the supporter will wear it

Early March is the Qingming Festival, sisters go for a walk, and bring kites with them.

The older sister wears in green, the younger sister wears in garnet red, with a mid-waist skirt.

Hold the kite spindle and cast the line, kites fly in the wind.

The older sister flies a butterfly kite, which has two lively eyes, and whose body carries a bow.

The younger sister flies a centipede kite, which shakes its head and lashes its tail in the air, and is livelier than a dragon in the water.

The older sister collects kite lines, the little sister carries her centipede kite, they go home happily.



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FVSO Wins 2023 American Prize
Nov. 20, 2023 10:58 am

 

Fox Valley Symphony Orchestras was named winner of the2023 American Prize for Orchestral Performance in the professional division.

The win comes on the heels of anotherAmerican Prize victory. Earlier this year, Music Director Kevin Sa?tterlin wonsecond place for Conducting in the professional division of the American Prize.The two awards are the first time the American Prize has honored Fox ValleySymphony Orchestra.

"In the American Prize, we competed against manyorganizations from across the country, some with significantly larger budgetsand seasons than ours," said Sa?tterlin. "I hope our musicians are as proud as Iam of our work together over the past five 


years. To be selected as the winneris a huge deal, and such a big honor. It's time to celebrate!"

Executive Director Jamie LaFreniere said, "I am so proud ofthe efforts put in across the board. Our musicians rise to the challenge eachtime they are on stage, playing not only difficult standard repertoire but alsonew compositions which can be very difficult."

Sa?tterlin agrees, adding, "I trulybelieve that the varied and diverse programming has helped us become a betterorchestra. We have performed music from such a vast background, with extremelywide ranging technical and musical challenges. We have been finetuning ourexisting colors, experimented with entirely new color and sound palettes,deepened our rich string sound, have improved our rhythmic integrity, widenedour dynamic range, researched various styles, elevated our expressiveness, andfocused on making music with a purpose-always. Rehearsals are always hard work,but also always a lot of fun."

Outside of rehearsals, FVSO puts astrong emphasis on building community within the Fox Cities communities. "Buildinga culture of trust, kindness, care, and grace allows us all to go deep," saysSa?tterlin. "Only if we go deep can we present music that is true, andgenuine, and powerful. This prestigious international award validates all ofour hard work and confirms that we're on the right path!"

 

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FVSO November 11, 2023 FULL Program Notes
Oct. 25, 2023 2:37 pm

FVSO November 11, 2023 FULL Program Notes

Notes written by Erik Leveille and Kevin Sa?tterlin

FestiveOverture: William GrantStill (1895-1978)

WilliamGrant Still, who became known as 'the Dean of African American composers,' wasborn in Mississippi, raised by his mother and grandmother in Little Rock, and initiallypursued a degree in medicine at Wilberforce College in Ohio before embarking ona career in music. His training and early professional experiences wereeclectic; he studied first at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, spent time inNew York City as both an arranger for bandleader Paul Whiteman and blues masterW.C. Handy as well as an oboist in Broadway pit orchestras. Still returned toformal studies at the New England Conservatory where he was mentored by thetraditionalist George Whitefield Chadwick and the avant-garde sensation EdgardVara'se.

Stillwent on to a career distinguished by multiple firsts. He was the first African Americanto have both a symphony and an opera premiered by professional American orchestras,and in 1936 he took to the podium as a guest conductor of the Los AngelesPhilharmonic. The Festive Overture was completed in December of 1944,and was written for a composition contest. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestrawas celebrating its 50th anniversary by inviting composers acrossthe country to submit celebratory concert overtures for consideration by theirpanel of judges, which consisted of Cincinnati's music director Eugene Goossens(himself a composer), renowned conductor Pierre Monteux, and composer, writer,and critic Deems Taylor. Still's charming, optimistic work won unanimously, earninghim the CSO's Jubilee Prize and a $1000 war bond, and was premiered the followingmonth.

Afanfare of brass and percussion ushers in the amiable principal theme in whichthe violins lope and glide unhurriedly over the bar lines. Playful muted trumpetsand interjections from the glockenspiel and tambourine add color and contrast.A new theme, begun in the lower strings, is more songful and yearning, and featuresa lyrical solo for violin. Still follows classical sonata form by developingboth themes in a terse development, and the delightful recapitulation gives astar turn to the xylophone before reaching its affirmative, brassy conclusion.

TheseWorlds in Us
Missy Mazzoli (b. 1980)

"...it occurredto me that, as we grow older, we accumulate worlds of intense memory within us,and that grief is often not far from joy. I like the idea that music canreflect painful and blissful sentiments in a single note or gesture."

With that kernelof thought, composer Missy Mazzoli-one of the most acclaimed and performedcomposers of her generation, particularly in the world of opera-created TheseWorlds in Us, her first work for orchestra, which won the ASCAP YoungComposers Award and Yale University's Woods Chandler Prize. It was premiere bythe Yale Philharmonia in March 2006.

The work wasinspired by the poem "The Lost Pilot" by James Tate, and by her father, who wasa soldier in the Vietnam War. An excerpt from the poem that resonates withMissy Mazzoli especially in the creation of this work follows:

My head cockedtowards the sky,

I cannot get offthe ground,

and you, passingover again,

fast, perfect andunwilling

to tell me thatyou are doing

well, or that itwas a mistake

that placed youin that world,

and me in this;or that misfortune

placed theseworlds in us.

Even in thisearly work, Mazzoli's wide-ranging musical experiences and influences - from classicaltraining to punk and electronica and Balinese gamelan music - find voice inunique orchestral colors as diverse as a melancholy yet lovely melody in theviolins (the anchor of the work) which continually dissolves into long, keeningglissandos (slides, produced by continuously sliding a finger up or down on asingle string), as if the tune itself is disintegrating; vibraphonereverberations blending with the reedy sighs of melodicas, and underneath all,a percussive pulse that at times consciously invokes military cadences yetabove all conveys a sense of subtle restless urgency.

ALincoln Portrait
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

Aaron Copland isso revered as the quintessential voice of traditional American classical music-theheartland and prairie translated into those wide-spaced, open harmonies, and infectiouslyfolky-yet-spiky rhythms-that it's easy to forget how unlikely a figure he wasto assume that role. A star pupil of the legendary Parisian teacher ofcomposition Nadia Boulanger in the '20s, Copland was the son of Jewishimmigrants, a gay man, and after returning to the United States in the 1930sand witnessing the plight of his fellow Americans during the Great Depression,a person of considerable socialist political leanings (he supported theAmerican Communist Party's presidential candidate in 1936). Copland's politicalsympathies, in fact, informed his change of musical language to one thatincluded the harmonies, rhythms, and melodic style of the Americas.

Copland is so ensconcedin our national cultural firmament that it is easy to forget his worldview ranhim afoul of Wisconsin's own notorious red-baiting senator, Joseph McCarthy.The work featured on tonight's program was to be performed at the 1953inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower, until a congressman from Illinois recalledCopland's political leanings. The performance was canceled, and Copland foundhimself hauled not once, but twice in front of McCarthy's Senate PermanentSubcommittee on Investigations in May of that year. Copland skillfully parriedthe questioning but continued to be hounded for another two years by J. EdgarHoover's FBI, until it was finally decided there was insufficient evidence withwhich to charge him.

This anecdotesheds light on the origin of A Lincoln Portrait. In 1942, conductorAndre Kostelanetz commissioned Copland, Virgil Thomson, and Jerome Kern to allwrite patriotic works as America plunged into World War II. Copland originallywanted to set his work to the words of that great chronicler and poet of theCivil War, Walt Whitman, but when Kostelanetz suggested a political figure, hesettled on the other great wordsmith of the era, the sixteenth president of theUnited States. Viewed in the light of Copland's beliefs in a society thatfocused on the well-being of 'the common man,' A Lincoln Portrait is notonly a clarion call against the fascism that engulfed Europe in the 1930s and1940s, but a summons for this nation to live up to its highest ideals.

As to the pieceitself, Copland's own admirably direct and succinct notes for a performance bythe Boston Symphony are perhaps the most appropriate: "The first sketcheswere made in February, and the portrait finished on 16 April 1942. I workedwith musical materials of my own with the exception of two songs of the period:the famous 'Camptown Races' which, when used by Lincoln supporters during his Presidentialcampaign of 1860, was sung to the words, 'We're bound to work all night, boundto work all day. I'll bet my money on the Lincoln hoss...,' and a ballad that wasfirst published in 1840 under the title 'The Pesky Sarpent,' but it is betterknown today as 'Springfield Mountain.' In neither case is the treatment aliteral one. The tunes are used freely in the manner of my use of cowboy songsin Billy the Kid. The composition is roughly divided into three mainsections. In the opening section I wanted to suggest something of themysterious sense of fatality that surrounds Lincoln's personality. Also, nearthe end of that section, something of his gentleness and simplicity of spirit.The quick middle section briefly sketches in the background of the times helived. This merges into the concluding section where my sole purpose was to drawa simple but impressive frame about the words of Lincoln himself."

Symphony #3 in E-flatMajor, "Eroica", Op. 55
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

"I am far fromsatisfied with my past works: from today on I shall take a new way."

Beethoven's pupilCarl Czerny recounted these words of his mentor to his close friend, violinistand mandolinist Va?clav Krumpholz in 1802. That was a year of crisis and transformationfor Beethoven; while he had completed his sunny and good-humored SecondSymphony, his ever-worsening hearing drove him to the brink of despair, and he evencontemplated suicide. In his famed "Heiligenstadt Testament" written to his brothersKarl and Johann in October of that year, Beethoven poured out his grief and desolationthat he, THE composer and piano virtuoso of the moment, the one who was seen inVienna as the sole worthy heir to the aged Haydn and the deceased Mozart, dreadedhuman interaction because he couldn't hear a shepherd singing and piping in thedistance, and could scarcely follow along in a spirited discussion, lest hisdread and secret malady be revealed, to his shame and humiliation. Beethovenconfesses that were it not for his art, he would have ended his life. Heemerged from this emotional abyss scarred but determined not to relinquish hislife until he had expressed the entirety of his creative impulse.

Beethoven beganwork on his third symphony shortly after he emerged from this trial by fire. Hewas a fervent adherent to the French Republican ideals of "Liberte, Fraternite,a?galite," and the embodiment of those principals in the dawn of the 19thcentury on the Continent was the military genius, Napoleon Bonaparte. Beethovenno doubt liked to see himself as a peer of Bonaparte-a man of the future whowould transform society. Beethoven called his new symphony "Buonaparte," butwhen the great man (predictably) declared himself emperor in 1804, Beethovenflew into a rage and scratched out Bonaparte's name with such fury that one cansee the holes in the paper in the surviving manuscript. His new dedication waspenned "to the memory of a great man."

Theautobiographical and socio-political aspects of this landmark work, however,tend to overshadow the true revolutionary character of the "Eroica," which isthe music itself. Critics and audience members who attended its premiere inApril 1805 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna were left startled, perplexed,and vexed. The most sympathetic critics acknowledged the sheer audacious geniusof what they had just heard, but fretted that Herr Beethoven was hopelesslyovertaxing the ears and attention spans of his listeners. No wonder-the "Eroica"is twice the length of most symphonies at the time (one wag in the galleryseats at the premiere catcalled, "I'll pay another Kreuzer if only the thingwill stop"), thematically and contrapuntally dense, dissonant, and brash in affect.

Beethoven ushersin his 'new way' from the opening two measures; whereas his first and secondsymphonies opened with Haydnesque slow introductions, this work launches intoaction with two bracing E-flat major chords before introducing the mostunlikely of heroic themes-the cellos introduce a pleasant but somewhat prosaictune that is really nothing more than the outlining of an E-flat major arpeggio(three or more notes all belonging to the same harmony being played one afterthe other) while the upper strings tap out a Classical-era accompaniment ... untilthe fifth measure. The cellos drop to a 'wrong' C#-sharp, and the first violinsrespond with an insistent, syncopated rhythm on G. That moment, which is bothharmonically and rhythmically dissonant, opens the wormhole by which Beethovenexpands the proportions of the first movement of a symphony beyond the scope ofanything previously conceived. The titanic development section features a newmelody in the distant key of E minor, rhythmic distortions that nearly fracturethe sense of the triple meter in which the movement is written, and mostfamously, the horns recapitulating the primary theme two measures early (youare welcome to imagine the whole orchestra's subsequent fortissimo chastisementof their 'wayward' colleagues as No! NO! NOW!!!). The recapitulation resolvesthe C#-sharp tension by presenting the theme in the enharmonic (same sounding) keyof D-flat, and the concluding coda is really a new development section, but theconcluding measures end in confident affirmation.

The followingAdagio is marked "Marcia funebre"; contemporaries of Beethoven's, Frana?ois-JosephGossec and Luigi Cherubini had written similar movements inspired by the FrenchRevolution, but Beethoven was the first one to include such a movement as partof a formal symphony. Over double basses imitating a military drum cadence, thestrings intone a solemn lament in Beethoven's "fate" key of C minor which issubsequently taken up by the oboe. Brief attempts towards consolation areinterrupted by anguished and vehement cries. True relief is afforded in acontrasting section in C major which is alternatively comforting andceremonially heroic. The return of the funeral march is interrupted by amassive, striving fugue (a musical composition in which one or two themes arerepeated or imitated by successively entering voices and contrapuntally developedin a continuous interweaving of the parts), and the conclusion of the movementis truly extraordinary. The march theme itself is broken up into fragments andinterrupted by gasping pauses, as if the music itself is dying.

The thirdmovement is only the second time that Beethoven marks "Scherzo" (joke) insteadof "Minuetto," the old courtly dance that had been a mainstay of Baroque dance suitesand featured regularly in the symphonies of Haydn and Mozart and their contemporaries(the first time being his Symphony No. 2). Beethoven labeled the third movementof his symphony as a minuet, although he already changed the character fromstately to frenetic and fleet-footed. As with the rest of the "Eroica," here heexpands a dance form into proportions previously unimagined. The movementbegins almost inaudibly, with the strings introducing something of a pianissimoMorse code between two alternating notes. Out of this emerges a melody in theoboe, first piping persistently on one note, then running down a scale, thenlilting to its end. This odd tune is presented again before suddenly roaringfrom pianissimo to fortissimo (in one measure!) in the entire orchestra,modified with hemiolas (Beethoven shifts the sense of the meter from ONE-two-threeto one-TWO-three). The Classical Menuetto was always contrasted with a Triosection, and Beethoven adheres to that structure, but here, the Trio isheralded by a trio of noble hunting horns (the first Beethoven symphony thatuses more than two horns), which are complemented with cantering strings and meanderingsin the woodwinds. The return of the scherzo is interrupted by Beethoven mischievouslybreaking into duple meter for four measures, and a final coda ends in fortissimotriumph.

The character ofthe final movement of a symphony changed as the form evolved; at first, it wasbarely an afterthought-a light frippery after the more substantive movementsthat proceeded it. By the time Mozart penned his final three symphonies, thefinale had accrued significantly more weight, with the last movement of hisSymphony No. 41 concluding in a blaze of glory with the most complexcounterpoint that had ever been written for a symphony orchestra at that time.For his symphony written in a 'new way', Beethoven turned to the theme andvariation form, one that would serve him well for the rest of his artisticlife.

In 1801, he hadwritten a simple contradance that he featured in the Finale of his ballet musicfor The Creatures of Prometheus. He liked that tune well enough to useit for a set of piano variations and it became the clay out of which Beethovenshaped the apotheosis of his new symphony. It had the added benefit of anassociation with a kind of self-sacrificing heroism- Prometheus, after all, wasthe demigod in Greek mythology who took pity on the plight of humanity andstole fire from heaven to warm and light the way for his fellow creatures.Quite a contrast from the self-declared hero of the Revolution who revealedhimself to be just another self-aggrandizing tyrant.

Beethoven addshis own rough, brusque humor into the mix-a rumbustious, querulous introductionleads to a pregnant pause, and that much ado turns out to be about ... not much.Pizzicato (plucked) strings introduce a comically bare skeleton of a theme,that then engages in a back-and-forth echoing with the woodwinds before beingpunctuated by three crisp notes in the winds, brass, and timpani. In the thirdvariation, we finally realize the big joke - the theme is in fact just the bassline for the melody which we now hear, and from there, Beethoven unleashes hisformidable skills with an extended fugato section and then to a gloriouslyswaggering march in the Hungarian style, a trick he no doubt learned from hisformer mentor Haydn. Another tremendous climax is reached, but then Beethovencasts aside all joking and bravura. In the next set of variations marked PocoAndante, the contradance theme is imbued with poignancy, tenderness, andpathos. In his Heiligenstadt Testament, Beethoven laments to his brothers thathe is heartbroken that they and others perceive him to be angry and misanthropic,and that despite his demeanor he wished nothing more than to do good, and thesemeasures convey this yearning and aspiration perfectly. The final coda erupts inBeethovenian joy - horns triumphantly call and whoop over a veritable beehiveof exuberant tremolos (the rapid repetition of a musical tone to produce atrembling, wavering sound) in the strings, and a series of resonant chords thatecho the opening of the symphony brings this symphony's questing spirit to itsemphatic conclusion.

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FVSO Opening Night set for September 23, 2023
Aug. 24, 2023 3:59 pm

Bringing New Orleans jazz to your Fox Cities P.A.C. on September 23, it's The Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. The Music Director of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Kevin Sa?tterlin and Rodney Marsalis, the founder/CEO of Marsalis Mansion Artists and The Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass share their excitement about the upcoming collaborative performance and talk about the power of music to unite people.


CLICK HERE: Purchase your tickets to The Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra 7:30 p.m. performance on September 23 here.

"This is our opening night concert, so we can't wait to be back at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Whether this is your first time or your twentieth year with us, we hope you will join us for future performances. I look forward to seeing you all season long!" - KEVIN Sa"TTERLIN - Music Director

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra has been since the beginning, a Resident Partner to the Fox Cities P.A.C., co-presenting with the Center on numerous public performances featuring world-class talent over the years. Kevin's first concert with the orchestra was on May 11, 2019, coming on board as the music director that summer.

Many of us have an idea in our heads when someone mentions the word "orchestra." Kevin and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra are looking to expand and surpass expectations, offering something new and unexpected each performance. "That's what concerts and live performances are all about," Kevin remarked. "For us, it feels different every single time it is played, even after a week's worth of rehearsal. Music is alive and should be experienced in the moment."

Kevin commented on the September 23 performance, saying, "As with most of our collaborations, it started with a mutual connection! Our principal tuba, Marty Erickson, works with Rodney and tours with his group." He added, "Marty, who was a soloist last season, told me about the performances and how much fun the music was for these concerts, and I couldn't wait to add it to our season." This collaboration with the big brass band is introducing audiences to new kind of musical experience, uniting lovers of classical music and jazz. "We love taking the orchestra in new directions, and this gives us a chance to perform music we otherwise would never get to play," Kevin remarked. "We also love to surprise our audience with something new! Our musicians love exploring new music and performing with new guest artists, and every time, everyone on stage learns something new and comes away with new understandings."

Audiences are sure to enjoy a concert experience filled with high energy. "When you think of New Orleans jazz, you may think of a small ensemble performing, but imagine that same energy shared with a full orchestra," Kevin elaborated. "I can't wait to hear this sound in Thrivent Hall. We will play a few classical pieces on our own, and then many with Rodney's group when we get together. We're hoping the audience loves the mix we have in store for them."

A mix it'll be, as Kevin also mentioned that there is a special new piece that he commissioned for the orchestra from composer Christopher Ducasse. Frequent Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra patrons may know the name Christopher Ducasse as the orchestra has played the music before. "I won't know what my favorite piece is until I hear us play together for the first time," Kevin said. "There is something magical about that interaction and you never know what new places the music and the musicians will take us. Our two groups together will make this a memorable and exciting night of music."

The other side of making September 23 an incredible night of music is The Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass, led by the founder and CEO of the ensemble and Marsalis Mansion Artists LLC, Rodney Marsalis. The group was formed more than 35 years ago playing on the streets of New Orleans in the French Quarters. As the big brass group travels internationally, Rodney is responsible for helping to guide the musical direction and to build connections for the other artists on the roster. The musicians in the ensemble are just as equally proficient in classical as they are in jazz styles. As Rodney explained, classical musicians were expected to have excellent improvisational skills. Even for musicians today, music should always be performed differently each time, so it's never the same way twice. "You are spontaneously creating music, and that is what makes a connection with any audience, no matter what genre you are performing."

"I love seeing new connections being made between people," Rodney shared when talking about his favorite part of being in an ensemble. "We put people from all walks of life onstage and perform for people all around the world. Music is music. If it is inspiring and has soulfulness any genre, classical, jazz, pop, rock, blues, etc., can reach any audience and move them to tears or inspire them to dance."

"There is an imaginary barrier that we draw around each other as human beings and the arts help to dissolve those false barriers and highlight our common humanity. Music has a unique ability to unite individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. By showcasing the rich tapestry of human emotions, we strive to foster a sense of unity, empathy and understanding among our audiences." - RODNEY MARSALIS - FOUNDER/CEO THE RODNEY MARSALIS PHILADELPHIA BIG BRASS AND MARSALIS MANSON ARTISTS LLC

Using the power of music, Rodney and his big brass group actively work to reach the youth by providing mentorship and opportunities to work with young musicians, showing that they are so much more than a musical ensemble. Rodney commented, "During our residencies and performances, we dedicate time to engage with students and offer valuable guidance and inspiration. By sharing our own journeys and experiences, we hope to ignite a spark within the next generation, encouraging them to pursue their dreams fearlessly." They also connect with students from around the world by using technology and social media platforms to offer live streams, interactive workshops and engaging content. To Rodney, it's important that The Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass' music is accessible to aspiring musicians globally. "We want to show them that with dedication, passion and a relentless pursuit of excellence, they can reach their goals," he added.

For aspiring musicians, Rodney offered some words of encouragement: "First and foremost, believe in yourself and your capabilities. The journey of a musician is not always easy, but with resilience, determination, and a lifelong commitment to learning, you can overcome any obstacle. Never stop honing your craft." He added that there needs to be a commitment to dedicating countless hours to practice, continual experimentation with diverse musical styles and genres, as well as an active pursuit of opportunities for growth and development. "Foster strong connections with fellow musicians and industry professionals; collaboration and networking can open doors to new opportunities."

"Embrace the power of authenticity. In a world filled with noise and imitation, it is your unique voice and individuality that will set you apart. Stay true to yourself, embrace your strengths, and let your passion shine through your music." - RODNEY MARSALIS - FOUNDER/CEO THE RODNEY MARSALIS PHILADELPHIA BIG BRASS AND MARSALIS MANSON ARTISTS LLC

Speaking specifically to the September 23 performance alongside the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, Rodney expressed how excited the ensemble is for the collaboration. "We are thrilled about this upcoming partnership," Rodney said, adding, "One of our Associate Artists, Marty Erickson, has a long-time affiliation with Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. We will feature him at the concert, and we will play many other pieces from different genres with the orchestra, adding a special New Orleans treat at the end. Oh, I think I have said too much! People will have to come to the show to see it!"

Rodney expressed that it is the group's primary goal to leave a lasting impression on the audience, one that transcends the boundaries of time and place. "We hope that our performance ignites a spark of inspiration within each listener, uplift their spirits, and invigorate their love for music," Rodney further commented. "Thank you to Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra for hosting us, and we look forward to working with them and meeting their audience!"

Written by Philomena Dorobek, Brand Storyteller

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

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FVSO Announces Dr. Luis Fernandez to Conduct Youth Orchestra
July 7, 2023 9:18 pm

We are excited to announce that Dr. LuisFernandez has been selected to lead the Youth Orchestra!

Maestro Fernandez comes to YO with anoutstanding background as an educator, performer, and conductor. We have beenfortunate to have him with us as our 1st violin coach in past seasons, a rolethat Maestro Fernandez plans to continue in addition to conducting.

We are excited to have his voice on our teamand look forward to how YO will thrive under his leadership!

Luis Fernandez was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where he began violinand orchestra studies through the El Sistema music program.

After immigrating to the United States, he earneda Doctor of Musical Arts in instrumental performance and conducting at the University of Miami.

Dr. Fernandez has performed with many orchestrassuch as Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho SymphonyOrchestra, Miami Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Florida Grand Opera,Miami City Ballet, Naples Philharmonic, Amarillo Symphony, and Lubbock Symphony(as associate concertmaster). Currently, he performs with Fox Valley SymphonyOrchestra, Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra, and is concertmaster of the WeidnerPhilharmonic Orchestra.

Active as a teacher as well as a performer, Dr.Fernandez has been on the faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (Michigan) since2008 and has been invited to implement the teaching techniques of Venezuela'srenowned El Sistema in Bolivia, Cuba, Colombia, and Mexico. He was previouslydirector of the violin program at St. Philip's School (Coral Gables, FL), andserved on the faculty of the Community Arts Program and of Greater Miami YouthSymphony. In 2013 he served as Assistant Professor of Violin at the Universityof Florida. He has taught general music at Valencia Elementary (Portales, NM),where he instituted an after-school strings program, and general music andstrings at Badger Elementary School (Appleton, WI). He was also previously onthe faculty at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music (Milwaukee, WI). 

Dr.Fernandez presently holds the Robert and Joan Bauer Endowed Professorship inStrings and Music Education at University of Wisconsin Green Bay.

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FVSO's Free Family Concert is on track for July 15
June 29, 2023 1:35 pm

 


GRANDCHUTE, WI - The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra is ready for their seventh Brats,Beer, and Beethoven event at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox CitiesStadium.  This free event will be held on Saturday, July 15 at 7:30pm, andis presented by Community First Credit Union and Community Foundation for theFox Valley Region.

"Thisis our gift back to the community. We want everyone to feel welcome andcomfortable. It is a free event where your whole family can come and enjoy theconcert, grab your favorite Timber Rattlers snacks, let the kids play and runaround, and enjoy a huge fireworks display at the end of the night," said JamieLaFreniere, Executive Director of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. "Absolutely everyone belongs here, and it is designed to bring us alltogether."

The musical selections this year will range from Beethoven and Sousa to Queen,The Moody Blues, and Journey.  Fox Valleyaires Men's Barbershop Chorus andMacDowell Male Chorus will perform this year, too.

Brats, Beer, and Beethoven is a free event with no chargefor parking or admission to the stadium.  The parking lot opens at5:00pm.  The gates to the stadium open at 6:00pm with the show beginningat 7:30pm.  All seating for the event is based on first-come, first-serveavailability.  There will be food and beverages available for purchasefrom the concessions stands with fireworks scheduled at the end of the night.

"FVSOis also happy to bring back their open rehearsal hours during the daytime hoursfor a more sensory-friendly experience," said LaFreniere. "For those withspecial needs who have a hard time with large crowds and don't want the noiseof fireworks, we love having them join us earlier so they can still get toenjoy a free concert."

Please contact FVSO at
info@foxvalleysymphony.comto make specialaccommodations for the daytime rehearsal.

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Change to March 11, 2023 Program: Announcing Eunghee Cho
Mar. 9, 2023 2:24 pm

Sadly, there has been a change to our program for thisweekend. Due to illness, Benedict Klockner is no longer able to perform. We're delighted and grateful that world-class cellist Eunghee Cho from Houston has agreed to step in last minute.We're also very excited that composer Jose Elizondo will be withus.

Eunghee Cho, biography

Born in Davis, California,Korean-American cellist Eunghee Cho was awarded Second Prize and thespecial award for Outstanding Chinese New Piece Performance at the Alice &Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition (China). He has alsoearned top prizes in the Gustav Mahler Prize Cello Competition (Czech Republic),AEMC International Chamber Music Competition (Italy), Chamber Music YellowSprings Competition, USC Solo Bach Competition, the Borromeo String QuartetGuest Artist Award, MTNA National Chamber Music String Competition, New EnglandConservatory's Honors Ensemble Competition, and Sacramento Philharmonic LeagueConcerto Competition.

A committed teacher, Eungheecurrently serves on the cello and chamber music faculty of University ofHouston's Moores School of Music, where he also directs the Moores CelloEnsemble and CelloFest Houston. He has been invited to present masterclassesfor Towson University, La Jolla Music Society, Walnut Hill School for the Arts,Artis Naples, Royal Conservatory of Music, and Martha's Vineyard Chamber MusicSociety, and is the Artistic Director of Mellon Music Festival in Davis, CA aswell as the Houston Chapter of Music for Food. Eunghee has also been invited toserve on the summer teaching faculties of Texas Music Festival, MontecitoInternational Music Festival, Heifetz International Music Institute, andFestival Internacional de Ma'sica Naolinco.

He has appeared as soloistwith numerous orchestras around the country including the SacramentoPhilharmonic, Cape Symphony, Atlantic Symphony, Symphony by the Sea, Davis Symphony,and Sacramento State Symphony Orchestras. He held the Joyce & DonaldSteele Chair as Principal Cello of the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra as wellas Principal Cello of Boston Festival Orchestra, and has performed as PrincipalCello with Dallas Chamber Symphony, Cape Symphony, Unitas Ensemble, andSymphony by the Sea. Eunghee has actively participated in classes at thePiatigorsky International Cello Festival and Academie Musicale de Villecroze inFrance, and has worked closely with distinguished musicians such as RalphKirshbaum, Kim Kashkashian, Steven Doane, Colin Carr, Myung-Wha Chung,Jean-Guihen Queyras, and members of the Guarneri, Emerson, Tokyo, Orion,Brentano, Borromeo, and Shanghai Quartets.

As an avid chambermusician, Eunghee has collaborated in performances with artists such as MidoriGoto, Inon Barnatan, David Shifrin, Maeve Gilchrist, Elton John, Keith Murphy,Alec Benjamin, Frana?ois Salque, and with members of the Borromeo StringQuartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Calder String Quartet, Silk RoadEnsemble, A Far Cry, and Aaron Diehl Trio. He has also performed as a guestartist with A Far Cry, Da Camera Society, and the Chamber Music Society ofSacramento. Previous festival engagements include La Jolla Music Society'sSummerFest, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Taos School of Music, Keuka LakeMusic Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Festival International d'Echternach,and Rencontres Franco Americaines de Musique Chambre in Missillac, France.

As a passionate adventurerof contemporary music, he has collaborated directly with composers inperformances of their works including with Frank Ticheli, Jose Elizondo, AndrewNorman, David Froom, Michael Gandolfi, and Gabriela Lena Frank. Eunghee's ownarrangements have been commissioned and premiered by Sphinx Organization, NewEngland Conservatory's Cello Choir, Holes in the Floor, Rasa String Quartet,Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Mellon Music Festival, Moores Cello Ensemble, andMusic for Food.

Eunghee graduated magnacum laude and as a Steven & Kathryn Sample Renaissance Scholar from theThornton School of Music at the University of Southern California with aBachelor of Music in Cello Performance and a Minor in Biology. He completedboth Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees at New EnglandConservatory under the tutelage of distinguished pedagogues Laurence Lesser andPaul Katz. His previous instructors include Andrew Shulman, Andrew Luchansky,Richard Andaya, and Julie Hochman. Away from the cello, Eunghee enjoysneighborhood pick-up soccer, everything about dogs, and dawdling in localcoffee shops.

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Youth Orchestra Student Nolan Henckel Wins Competition
Mar. 3, 2023 11:43 am

This weekend is a big deal for a lot of our student musicians as they tackle solo and ensemble. But one of our students has decided to skip S&E this year for a very good reason.


Horn player Nolan Henckel participated in a competition for high school andcollege students sponsored by the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble. Though competition was strong, Nolan took home first place with a cash prize and an opportunity to solo with theensemble. 

His performance is Saturday, March 4th and he will perform Morceau deConcert by Camille Saint-Saens.  

Band director Mike Arendt founded the Lakeshore WindEnsemble, and Mike was a student of Nolan's grandpa, Richard (Dick) Henckel. Mikehas a daughter who plays cello, and Laura Kenney Henckel, Nolan's mother, taught her in her teens. Yet another layer of connection is that Laura is also teaching her two daughters!

The connections don't end there. Mike Arendt taughtJeremiah Eis (band director at Xavier Middle School) who taught Nolan in middleschool. Jeremiah is now the conductor of the Lakeshore Wind Ensemble and willbe up on stage with Nolan for his concerto debut.

It is hard to believe there can be so many connections, but we are truly blessed to have such an amazing and collaborative music community here in the Fox Cities. 

Best wishes this weekend, Nolan. We know you will be amazing!

Nolan's Biography:

Nolan Henckel, age 17, is a Junior at Xavier High School inAppleton, Wisconsin. He began playing the horn in 3rd grade, and he quicklyadvanced, despite his young age. He briefly studied with Don Krause (Neenah) beforemoving on to study with Andy Parks (DePere). Nolan began studying with Dr.Bruce Atwell, professor of horn at the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, inJanuary 2019 and continues to study in his studio.

Nolan has participated in the Wisconsin State MusicAssociation's (WSMA) Middle Level State Honors program (6th through9th grade) and High School State Honors program (10th and11th grade). He has also participated in the WSMA District Solo andEnsemble Festival, qualifying for State Solo and Ensemble Festival competitioneach year since 6th grade.

Nolan has been an active band member at Xavier as well asbeing a member of the Fox Valley Youth Orchestra and the Lawrence CommunityWind Ensemble. He has spent the last two summers at Lutheran Summer Music (LSM)Academy, the nation's premier faith-based music academy for high school students,in Valparaiso, Indiana. LSM is a four-week program providing advanced musicalinstruction and numerous performance opportunities. In addition to studyinghorn, Nolan has explored composition and conducting.

Nolan comes from a very musical family. His parents, Laura(cello) and Michael (trumpet), are both very active musically, as are hissiblings, Kayla (violin) and Dylan (vocal tenor). The previous generation alsoincludes Laura's mother, Carol Leybourn Janssen (piano), and Michael's father,C. Richard Henckel (horn).  One of thehorns Nolan uses today was his grandfather's.

In addition to playing the horn, Nolan enjoys video games,watching football (the Denver Broncos, not the Packers), cheeseburgers, andspending time with his two cats, Arlong and Snickers.

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Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra Welcomes Rachel Richards
Aug. 26, 2022 3:06 pm

Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestras (FVSYO) is delighted to announce Rachel Richards will be joining their team as Youth Orchestras Executive Director. Effective immediately, Richards will help lead three groups in the Youth program of Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra: Philharmonia, Concert, and Youth Orchestra. Their season is set to begin in September, and they are looking forward to another season of increasing education opportunities for music students in the Fox Valley region.

"I have witnessed the importance of creating memorable music experiences that promote lifelong learning and music-making," says Richards, who has been a music educator in the Appleton Area School District since 2005. "The Fox Valley Youth Orchestra program serves as a powerful resource for the young musicians that currently participate and the generations that will follow."

Richards is also a well-established fan of FVSO. "The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra has remained near and dear to my heart since my youngest years," says Richards. "Attending concerts served as my first exposure to live orchestral music and demonstrated what could be accomplished when a community comes together with a shared purpose."

For more information on Youth Orchestra auditions, visit www.foxvalleysymphony.com.

About Rachel Richards:

Rachel Richards has a Bachelor of Music from St. Norbert College and a Master of Arts in Education from Marian University. She is currently the Orchestra teacher in Appleton Area School District and teaches at Wilson Middle School, Highlands Elementary, and Odyssey/Magellan Magnet School. 

Her conducting experience also includes New Horizons Music Fox Valley Orchestra and Oshkosh Youth Symphony's Philharmonia program. Richards is the volunteer coordinator for All City Strings Festival, an annual event in Appleton.

Richards is a bass and bassoon player and performs regularly with Green Bay Civic Symphony and the Appleton City Band. She has also performed with the Weidner Philharmonic, Sheboygan Symphony, Kimberly Theatre Program, UW Fox Valley Theater Program, St. Norbert College Community Band, VENTO Winds, Wisconsin Symphonic Winds, and UW Fox Valley Band.

Richards' awards include a Marshall Moss Endowed Scholarship and a Tony Winters Instrumental Music Award from St. Norbert College.

About the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra: 

The Symphony's mission is to build bridges of accessibility to orchestra music and to make a positive impact on the lives of everyone in our community. Founded in 1966, the non-profit provides the community with orchestra concerts, community outreach programming, and three Youth Orchestra programs. Music Director Dr. Kevin Sa?tterlin leads the adult orchestra, with Dr. Mark Dupere conducting Youth Orchestra, Greg Austin conducting Concert Orchestra, and Adam Brown conducting Philharmonia. Youth Orchestras serve students from middle school through high school and accept students from all regions of the Fox Valley. There are full scholarships available for all three youth groups.


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"Fa's Nou" by Christopher Ducasse and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra
June 23, 2022 1:04 pm

 


We are excited to share thisperformance with you from our April 2022 concert at the Fox Cities PerformingArts Center. Music Director Dr. Kevin Suetterlin leads the full Fox ValleySymphony Orchestra in their season finale, which started with this amazingpiece.


WATCH THE VIDEO HERE!

"Fa's Nou" is a HaitianCreole title that translates to "Our Strength". This composition byChristopher Ducasse for the Full orchestra was commissioned by Dr. KevinSuetterlin and April Ann Brock as a gift to the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra,in honor of Prof. Dominique-Rene de Lerma.

Fa's Nou is a mixture of westernEuropean classical music and Haitian Folk Rhythm. The core rhythm of Fa's nou isthe "Yanvalou". Yanvalou, a Rhythm, and Dance of Haiti get its nameafter its associated movements. It is one of the most important rhythms inHaitian folklore, it is sometimes linked to "Knowledge","Patience", "Healing" and "Strength".

With a combination of epic sound andYanvalou, Fa's Nou expresses the strength and power that we can demonstrate whenwe work together. All the good we can bring to the world, and all the greatnessthat we can achieve. Inspired by the National Mantra of The Republic of Haitiwhich says "L'union fait la force" (Unity is Strength).

ABOUT CHRISTOPHERDUCASSE:

A native of Port-au-Prince Haiti,Christopher attended Holy Trinity Music School where he learned voice, violin,and piano. Christopher became a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra of HolyTrinity in 2007 and conducted their main choir "Les Petits Chanteurs"for three years beginning in 2011. He was a BLUME HAITI Scholar in the Haitianstudent exchange program at Lawrence University in 2015, and in 2017 he joinedSilver Lake College of the Holy Family to get a Bachelor in Choral in MusicEducation. Christopher is currently getting a master's in music in ChoralConducting at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Christopher was the Winner of the WCDAConducting Competition in 2018. He has also composed vocal and instrumentalpieces that have been performed by various groups, most notably PetitsChanteurs and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Holy Trinity Music School, theLawrence University Cello Ensemble, and the Silver Lake College of the HolyFamily Chorale. Christopher sings baritone, in addition, to play piano andviolin, and does some photography as a hobby.

Learn more at his website: https://www.christopherducasse.com/home

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FVSO Set for Summer Auditions!
June 20, 2022 3:34 pm

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Dr.Kevin Sa?tterlin will audition for the following positions for the 2022-23season.

Section Violin 

Assistant Principal Horn


Auditions will be held on Sunday, July 17, 2022, atLawrence University's Music/Drama Building, Shattuck #46 in Appleton, WI. Thetimes will be between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. Please contact the Fox ValleySymphony Personnel Manager (info below) for additional audition information.

Resumes must be sent by July 10, 2022.

General Audition Information

All resumes will be considered. Following receipt of yourmaterials, we will email you detailed information regarding the auditionprocess. An excerpt list will be provided. Audition times will be assignedafter your registration is received.

To reserve a time slot for an audition, please provide thefollowing information.

? Single page resume

? Contact information including address, phone, and email

Send all materials to:

Fox Valley Symphony Personnel Manager

Carrie@foxvalleysymphony.com

The Fox Valley Symphony performs 5-8 subscription concertsand other daytime and evening services. Our performance venue is the Fox CitiesPerforming Arts Center in Appleton, Wisconsin.

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Dr. Kevin Sa?tterlin Renews Contract with Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra
Apr. 12, 2022 1:04 pm

 

Appleton,WI - The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestras (FVSO) is delighted toannounce Dr. Kevin Sa?tterlin renewed his contract as Music Director for anotherthree years, starting with the 2022-23 season.

Photo: by Graham Washatka

Sa?tterlin became music director andconductor of the ensemble in 2019 after the departure of Brian Groner, who hadbeen with the orchestra for 25 years.

Dr. Sa?tterlin is currently Directorof Orchestral Activities and Opera at Concordia College, co-Music Director ofSinfonietta Memphis, Principal Guest Conductor of the Qingdao Concert HallSymphony in China, Director of Orchestra and Conducting Studies at LutheranSummer Music, and Artistic Director of the Northern Valley Youth Orchestras (Fullbio is below).

FVSO musicians received the newsduring their March concert cycle, and Concertmaster Yuliya Smead commented, "Hismusicality and enthusiasm is contagious, and he makes rehearsals andperformances incredibly enjoyable. Kevin creates a unified ensemble while stillrespecting the individuality of each player. I am really looking forward tomany years of wonderful music making under his baton."

"Kevin has an innate sense of how toguide the orchestra to their best performance while also telling a story to ouraudience with each piece," says Executive Director Jamie LaFreniere. "His focuson diverse composers and guest artists allows us to make everyone feelrepresented and welcome as he continues to build bridges through music. It hasbeen wonderful to see people respond to him on the stage, in the hall, and inour community."

"In his short tenure, Kevin has demonstrated remarkableleadership," says Mike Lokensgard, FVSO Board President. "The ensemble hasrarely sounded better, and his selection of repertoire has been exactly what weneed to attract a new generation of audience members. We are lucky to have himand are eager to see and hear what the Symphony will be able to achieve overthe next three years under his guidance."

For more information on the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra,visit www.foxvalleysymphony.com.

About Dr. Kevin Sa?tterlin:

Dr.Kevin F.E. Sa?tterlin is an internationally sought-after conductor andpedagogue. He belongs to Beyond Artists, a coalition of artists that donates apercentage of their concert fees to organizations they care about. He supports"WIRES" (Australian Wildlife Rescue) and the "Memphis Music Initiative" throughhis performances.

Sa?tterlinis Director of Orchestral Activities and Opera at Concordia College, where heand his colleagues received two EMMY awards for 2016's nationally broadcastConcordia Christmas Concert productions. The Concordia Orchestra won theprestigious American Prize competition in 2018-19 under his leadership.Sa?tterlin is Music Director of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra since 2019 andCo-Music Director of Sinfonietta Memphis since 2014, an ensemble that providesfree concerts and educational experiences for the Greater Memphis communities.Perhaps the only orchestra in the U.S. with a co-music directorship model,Sinfonietta Memphis's conductors Dr. Mathias Elmer and Sa?tterlin proudlyrepresent the orchestra's credo: friendship through music. They also co-directThe Sinfonietta Academy for Historically Informed Performance Practice whichwas recently recognized as one of the country's leading period performancepractice institutes. In 2019, Sa?tterlin was named Principal Guest Conductor ofthe Qingdao Concert Hall Symphony in China, and in 2021 Honorary Conductor ofK-Classic Orchestras, a Korean organization dedicated to contributing to worldpeace through musical and cultural exchange. With a great love and passion forteaching, Sa?tterlin is also Artistic Director of the Northern Valley Youth Orchestrasand holds The Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Endowed Orchestra Chair of theLutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival, directing the organization'sorchestral and conducting programs.

Consideringhimself a "citizen of the world," Sa?tterlin has been building musical bridgesacross four different continents and has led his ensembles on many successfulnational and international tours. He has performed and taught across the globeincluding Austria, China, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovenia,Switzerland, and the United States. He has taught at Shanghai Conservatory,Sichuan Conservatory, University of Cape Town, University of Hawaii, LucerneConservatory Switzerland, University of Memphis, and Virginia Tech University.Highlights of his upcoming guest conducting season include engagements with theNational Opera of Chile Chamber Orchestra, Namibia National Symphony Orchestra,Brescia Music Festival Italy, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, and Arizona StateUniversity. Sa?tterlin received his doctorate and master's degrees in orchestralconducting from The University of Memphis and a bachelor's degree in conductingfrom the Hochschule Luzern-Musik, Switzerland.

About the FoxValley Symphony Orchestra:

TheSymphony's mission is to enrich and nurture the human spirit through inclusive symphonicmusic and education. Founded in 1966, the non-profit provides the communitywith orchestra concerts, community outreach programming, and three YouthOrchestra programs. Music Director Dr. Kevin Sa?tterlin leads the adultorchestra, with Mark Dupere conducting Youth Orchestra, Greg Austin conducting ConcertOrchestra and Adam Brown conducting Philharmonia.

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Student Review #3: March 12, 2022 Concert
Mar. 22, 2022 5:55 pm

We asked some of our fabulous Lawrence University students to join us at the March 12 concert and share their thoughts. Our next reviewer is Malcolm Davis. Thank you, Malcolm! 




I always enjoy going to FVSOconcerts, and the March 12th concertwas no different. The program had a great mixture of new, under-performed, andsymphonic classics. The opening work, Louise Farrenc's Overture No. 1 in EMinor was an exciting piece of music.  I can appreciate knowing that whenI attend an FVSO concert, I will have left listening to music I haven't heardbefore such as Farrenc's overture, or Jessie Montgomery's Soul Force. This iswhat makes the Fox Valley Symphony unique and stand out among its' peers.  

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Student Review #2: March 12, 2022 Concert
Mar. 18, 2022 6:07 pm

We asked some of our fabulous Lawrence University students to join us at the March 12 concert and share their thoughts. Our next reviewer is Kathryn Williams. Thank you, Kathryn! 




It was simply a refreshing and fun experiencewatching the Fox Valley Symphony. I loved looking through the program andseeing so many familiar names playing in the orchestra while excitedlysearching and pointing them out to friends. 

It is amazing how the Fox ValleySymphony is able to bring all different parts of the community together onstage, including music and non-music staff at Lawrence, our local luthier,family members of friends, and my former theory professor! 

I just wish I wasstanding at the right place post-concert to say hello to more members! I lovehow we were able to hear from concertmaster Yulia Smead talk about her ownexperiences at the pre-concert talk, 

I hope that there will be moreopportunities to hear from other members because the diverse musicalbackgrounds of individuals is something that makes the Fox Valley Symphony sospecial.


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Student Review #1: March 12, 2022 Concert
Mar. 18, 2022 6:01 pm

We asked some of our fabulous Lawrence University students to join us at the March 12 concert and share their thoughts. Our first reviewer is Gabe Roethle. Thank you, Gabe! 




It's quite refreshing to see and hear a symphonic program whereunderrepresented pieces and composers are given as time and attention as the"big greats." It is too easy for an orchestra to meet the quota of asingle short piece by a minority composer shoved in some corner of the programto leave room for the familiar works. 

It is evident that Maestro Sa?tterlin?, from his pre-concert talk to his on-stagenotes to his energetic conducting, cares less about satisfying and more aboutprovoking; provoking new ways to think about new and old music. 

I was verypleased to hear that next season the orchestra would be performing an entiresymphony by the 19th century French composer LouiseFarrenc, whose Overture No.1 in E minor the orchestra performed in thisconcert. 

Maestro Sa?tterlin? did notshy away from stating plainly and simply why works by composers who were notwhite men had been neglected by the world of classical music for so long, andthe way he spoke about and directed the three pieces on the first half of theprogram (by Louise Farrenc, Jessie Montgomery, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor)shows his and the orchestra's dedication to changing the narrative of the worldof classical music.

As a young, aspiring violinist, I feel obligedalso to comment on the orchestra's performance of Rimsky-Korsakov'sScheherazade, which was every bit as enchanting as the stories on which it wasbased. Concertmaster Yuliya Smead played each of her many solos with cool butever-virtuosic flair. It was a delight to follow along with the cadenzas thatwere part of my audition excerpts for summer festivals. 

I can attest to thecomfort of familiarity that this performance offered, although its placementafter the thought-provoking (though no less beautiful!) first half made melisten to the piece in a different way.

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Beethoven at The Core!
Feb. 8, 2022 8:57 am

Our maestro is very excited to start our Beethoven cycle, and what better way to start than at one of our community concerts for just $10? We want to share this music with everyone in our community and we hope you can join us at The Core on March 1.

The music is joyful and enthusiastic, and EXACTLY what we need as we enter spring after two rather stressful years. We can't wait to celebrate this music with you.

Purchase your tickets now! Seating is limited.

Our very own Erik Leveille from our violin section is also happy to share some notes on the piece. Erik writes program notes for our Ovation books at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center for our season concerts, so we are honored he took some time to do the same for our community series.

FVSO at the Core

Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op.21 

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Forget all of the images ofBeethoven that come to mind- the tragically deaf genius, ill-tempered andmannered, shaking his fist at fate and the universe- when approaching hisoptimistic and confident 1st symphony. Beethoven was not quite 30 in 1799 and1800 when he composed it in Vienna, having escaped a miserable home life inBonn in 1792 to study with Franz Josef Haydn. He had previously attempted asymphony in 1795 but abandoned it, mindful of the towering examples set by histeacher and the departed Mozart, instead steadily building up a collection ofoutstanding works, including his Op. 18 string quartets and the "Pathetique" pianosonata. When he set his pen to composing a symphony again in 1799, it came muchmore easily. The work was premiered in Vienna in April of 1800, along withworks of Haydn and Mozart.

The introductory Adagio moltobegins with a witty harmonic joke that escapes modern ears; woodwinds andpizzicato strings intone a series of chords in the "wrong" key, and there isn'ta "proper" root position C chord (C in the bass) until a downward rush of notesin the violins introduces the crisp, martial theme of the Allegro con brio(this theme features six C's in four measures and ends with a C major arpeggio,just in case we didn't get the joke) which unfolds in standard sonata form withsome Beethovenian touches- brusque sforzandos and highly independent use of thewoodwinds. The lyrical second theme is ingeniously accompanied by anarpeggiated figure that echoes that of the first theme. An energeticdevelopment section is followed by a recapitulation that states the first themein a vigorous fortissimo rather than its initial piano. The surprisingly briskAndante cantabile con moto seems to be a loving homage to the Andante moment ofMozart's 40th symphony, as the first theme echoes the rhythm and imitativevoices of that masterpiece, albeit in a much lighter and insouciant tone.Delicate punctuation from the trumpets and timpani add unusual color andBeethoven continues his harmonic adventurousness by modulating to the remotekey of Db, a ploy he will revisit in the following Menuetto. The Menuetto, awhirlwind Allegro molto e vivace, sets off with a rising scale that willfeature prominently in the final movement. More harmonic surprises are in storeas Beethoven veers into Ab and then Db major before lurching back into C, wherehe sets up a tug of war between the notes Db and D natural. The much calmerTrio features a repetitive theme in the woodwinds accompanied by liquid eighthnotes in the strings. The finale opens again with a joke; after a grand chord,the violins tentatively climb up a scale, adding one more note each time,before rocketing up the scale all at once inn a brilliant mirror of the firstmovement, thus beginning the Allegro molto e vivace that bubbles withHaydnesque wit and energy. The development features more bold harmonic changesand brilliant counterpoint, and the recapitulation and coda bring this earlymasterpiece to an exuberant conclusion.

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FVS Youth Orchestra Announces New Conductor
Apr. 30, 2021 5:07 pm

 

Appleton,WI - Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestras (FVSYO) is delighted toannounce Dr. Mark Dupere will be joining their team as conductor of the YouthOrchestra. Dupere joins conductor Greg Austin of Concert Orchestra and AdamBrown of Philharmonia on the staff and will begin work this spring.  

"His first official act will be to join us for auditions inMay," says Executive Director Jamie LaFreniere, "so he gets to meet all ourwonderful students right away." Though the Youth Orchestra was unable to meetduring COVID-19 restrictions, they are looking forward to being in person againin the fall for rehearsals and concerts and are currently seeking new studentsfor their May auditions.

"We are excited about what Mark will bring to the group andlove his vision for the future," adds LaFreniere. "We just recently added MarisolKuborn to our staff as our first Youth Orchestras Executive Director, and Ican't wait to see what they build together. Both have amazing dedication to ourprograms and unlimited ideas."

For more information on Youth Orchestra auditions, visit www.foxvalleysymphony.com.

About Dr. Mark Dupere:

Mark Dupere is Assistant Professorof Music at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, where he is the Directorof Orchestral Studies. A native of Arizona, he studied cello with Phyllis Youngat the University of Texas at Austin before moving to the Netherlands tocomplete his cello studies with Jaap ter Linden at the Royal Conservatoire inThe Hague. Dupere specialized in Baroque cello and performance practice of theRomantic era. He completed his Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting at MichiganState University with Kevin Noe.

As a cellist, Dupere was a 'NewYoung Artist' at the Victoria Bach Festival, performed in the Leipzig BachCompetition, and was an apprentice with the Orchestra of the Age ofEnlightenment in London. He performed with many groups throughout Europeincluding Anima Eterna Brugge (BE), Arte Dei Suonatori (PL), and the AmsterdamBaroque Orchestra (NL).  Dupere performed in major European concert hallsincluding the Southbank Centre (London), Konzerthaus (Vienna), Concertgebouw(Amsterdam), Thea?tre des Champs-a?lysees, and Opera Royal de Versailles (Paris).Dupere has appeared at various festivals including La Folle Journee Festival(Nantes), Holland Festival (Amsterdam), Le Festival Berlioz (LaCa?te-Saint-Andre), Oude Muziek Festival (Utrecht) and Le Festival L'abbaye auxDames (Saintes). He has worked with directors Mark Wigglesworth, YannickNezet-Seguin, Neeme Ja?rvi, Gunther Schuller, Bruno Weil, Jos van Immerseel,Robert Levin, Elizabeth Wallfisch and Ton Koopman.  As a founding memberof the chamber music ensemble Haagsche Hofmuzieck, Dupere performed and gavemasterclasses throughout Europe and the USA. The group made several recordingsand was a finalist in the International Telemann Competition in Magdeburg,Germany.

Dupere has performed on BBC Radioand Arte TV and has made numerous recordings. These include discs of Debussy,Ravel and Mussorgsky with Anima Eterna Brugge, Marcello Psalms with Voces8 andLes Inventions (FR) and a recording of the complete chamber works of Locatelliwith Ensemble Violini Capricciosi (NL) for Brilliant Classics.

After many years of performing as a professional cellist,Dupere decided to pursue his great passion for conducting and directing. He wasa conducting fellow at the Oregon Bach Festival in 2015 and is the Co-MusicalDirector of the Musica Redemptor Orchestra (Austin, TX), a period instrumentensemble made up of international musicians. He has conducted the HaydnOrchestra (The Hague, NL), the Choir of St John and St Philip in The Hague(NL), the Cypress Symphony (Houston), the Michigan State University SymphonyOrchestra and the Michigan State University Concert Orchestra. Mark enjoysconducting various honor orchestras around the country and most recently, hehas been named a National Semi-Finalist in the American Prize for Conducting.

Dupere is a passionate educator and hopes to impart a loveof music-making and active engagement with audiences in the performance ofmusic from all periods. His areas of research have included: tempo rubato inRomantic chamber music, and pedagogical approaches to teaching periodperformance concepts in the modern music academy.

About the FoxValley Symphony Orchestra:

TheSymphony's mission is to enrich and nurture the human spirit through inclusive symphonicmusic and education. Founded in 1966, the non-profit provides the communitywith orchestra concerts, community outreach programming, and three YouthOrchestra programs. Music Director Dr. Kevin Sa?tterlin leads the adultorchestra, with Mark Dupere conducting Youth Orchestra, Greg Austin conducting ConcertOrchestra and Adam Brown conducting Philharmonia.

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Changes Ahead for Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestras
Feb. 19, 2021 7:06 pm

 

Appleton,WI - Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra (FVSYO) will say goodbye tothe conductor of their top group this spring as Dr. Andres Moran will beleaving the program in April of 2021.

 "I have made the difficult decision to step down asconductor of the Fox Valley Youth Symphony so that I can focus more on my workat UW-Stevens Point and as music director of the Central Wisconsin SymphonyOrchestra," says Moran. "In my time with FVYS, I was continuously impressedwith their level of commitment and dedication to the music and to each other.The orchestra always rose to the occasion in both rehearsals and performance,and I am sure they will continue to do so.

"I want to thank the staff and FVS board for their amazingsupport and collaboration. My decision was made easier knowing that theorganization and the Fox Valley's talented young musicians are in great hands."

"We will definitely miss having him lead our group," saysJamie LaFreniere, FVSO Executive Director. "He took us to the next level withour students and we can't thank him enough for all he's done to get us there.We're looking forward to adding a new conductor who will continue Dr Moran'sfocus of giving our students the best ensemble experience and building lastingmemories."


As part of their planned program growth, the FVSYO isexcited to add Marisol Kuborn to the Youth Orchestra team as its firstExecutive Director. "Marisol has been with our Youth Orchestra as a coach andcoordinator and it has been a pleasure watching her work with our students. Herdedication is incredible, and I know our program will soar with her as a leader,"says LaFreniere. "I am so excited for her to join our team in this capacity."

Born in Santiago, Chile, Marisol Kuborn received a Bachelorof Music and a percussion performance degree from the Conservatory of Music atthe University of Chile.  She has alsoreceived a "Fin du 3eme cycle" (Performance Degree) from the Conservatory ofMusic of Quebec-Montreal in Canada and a "Concours en Percussion" (Master ofMusic & Artists Performance Certificate) from the Conservatory of Music ofQuebec-Montreal, Canada where she also was awarded the "Prix d'excellence"award.  While studying in Montreal,Canada she also received the DESS (Orchestral Performance Degree) from theUniversity of Montreal.

She is a member of the percussion section of Fox ValleySymphony, Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra, and Central Wisconsin SymphonyOrchestra, and teaches Applied Percussion Studies at the University ofWisconsin - Oshkosh. 

The program has one final project planned before Dr.Moran's departure, and is currently working on a virtual Youth Orchestra projectfor March. You can stay updated on their project on Facebook (@FoxValleySymphonyYouthOrchestra)and Instagram (@fvsorchestra).

Aboutthe Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra: The Symphony's mission is to enrichand nurture the human spirit through inclusive symphonic music and education. Foundedin 1966, the non-profit provides the community with orchestra concerts,community outreach programming, and three Youth Orchestra programs. MusicDirector Dr. Kevin Sa?tterlin leads the adult orchestra, with Greg Austinconducting Youth Concert Orchestra and Adam Brown conducting Philharmonia.

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A Pandemic Lullaby
Dec. 18, 2020 2:41 pm

By Heather Watney, FVSO Cellist

Asa cellist and participant in the Fox Valley Symphony's outreach programs, I amfortunate to be able to touch the lives of listeners in direct ways. I am luckyenough to play quartet music (these days all virtually) for children withspecial needs, for adults with special needs or memory challenges, or withlibraries/clubs that want to interact with symphony musicians on a smallerscale. It is these special symphony presentations that mean the most to me -because I can see directly how my music touches other lives, sometimes in profoundways that can't be articulated easily.


Inmid-August Cassie Schwandt, FVS's Director of Community Engagement, asked a fewpeople from the orchestra if they would be interested in trying somethingdifferent and step into a singer/songwriter role to work on a Carnegie LullabyProject with Appleton's Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs. The CarnegieLullaby Project pairs musicians with families, and together they compose andwrite lyrics for a new lullaby that children will have for their whole lives. Familiesand musicians involved in the program, piloted in New York City, have writtenmore than 1,400 lullabies across the United States and around the globe!  

JennieMicke, children and youth advocate at Harbor House, shared with me how hard herorganization works to empower our local communities to be free from domesticabuse through safety, knowledge and engagement. Jennie was instrumental in ourvirtual sessions with mothers as the hub of communication in this lullaby project.She explained to me that writing lullabies with musicians gives familiesrecovering from an abusive situation a chance to be empowered through music asa critical decision maker in the direction a song grows. She led all of us -musicians, mothers and children - through the experience with such grace andgentleness.

Therewere several mothers I could have been paired with, but I ended up with Racheland her daughter. I'm so grateful I was paired with Rachel. The lullaby weworked on wasn't just a project in empowerment for her; it was an importanttime capsule capturing an uncertain moment in Rachel's life. When I heard her story,it gave me pause. It made me wonder if I could really do justice to a song thatwould be a lifelong reminder to her little girl of a mother's love.

Rachelis battling cancer with an unknown outcome at this point. Rachel's opening spokendedication in the lullaby poignantly captures this unknown: "If there evercomes a day that we can't be together, keep me in your heart. I will stay thereforever. I love you today, tomorrow and for eternity." Rachel's song is herlegacy and a reminder for the little love of her life that even if they aren'ttogether, Rachel is still there, no matter what. Lyrics in the song repeat thisloving reminder:

I'm always with you. I'm hereat your side. 
I'm smiling at you when you think you're alone.
through all of your child days and when you are grown.

So,I sobbed. I sat at my piano after our virtual brainstorming sessions ended andsobbed for Rachel, for her daughter, for my own mother going through serioushealth risks, for separation, for uncertain futures. Then I set out to composebut with a tormented heart - how could I possibly write a song that couldreflect this mother's purest love and be a lasting ode of encouragement for herdaughter? I felt like it wasn't enough to just write any song. It had tobe the right song. I spent the next six weeks torturing and questioningmyself, immersed in Rachel's uncertain future, her story and her song.

Our time here's a journey we cannotcontrol, 
so please live a life that brings joy to your soul.

Rachelalso spends time thinking a lot about her daughter's uncertain future andjourney. What happens to her daughter if Rachel dies? She can write a willnaming a desired guardian for her daughter, but in Wisconsin that is noguarantee her daughter won't be placed with her abusive father who lost hisrights for custody. Rachel is, in her own way, also trying to craft a lastingode. She is working hard to bring positive change to Wisconsin law cases wherethe primary parent with sole custody and parental rights has assurances thatthe abusive parent who lost his or her rights cannot regain custody upon thedeath of the primary parent. Rachel clearly has doubts. She asked me, "How do Iprotect my daughter if I die?" I don't know the answer. All I could do is writedown the inspired words Rachel penned for her daughter and find a melody (themost uplifting moment in the song) that reflected a shared message of hope and truthfor Rachel and her daughter, both:

Keep staring your fears in theface like I taught
and overcome all of them. I believe in you!

Theweeks passed and I finally felt the song was done. I had recorded the pianopart myself, but wanted to make sure I found the right voice for Rachel, whohas pain and difficulty with speaking and singing due to treatments. KristyDanielski, a wonderful friend, nurse, mother and amateur singer from Christ theKing Lutheran, provided the singing. Always an empathetic friend who connectsdeeply to songs she considers emotionally moving, she asked me, "How will I getthrough this without crying, Heather?" After practicing it at home she informedme that her own daughter, Autumn, spends quiet time in her bedroom singing thelullaby to herself. It made me smile to know that another mother and daughterwere finding shared succor with this lullaby.

Butthe song still needed more musical heart and warmth. So, I called Fox ValleySymphony violist Jane Finch and asked if she would play all the violin andviola parts I wrote (there may have been chocolate and prosecco involved), andI'd play the cello. She didn't hesitate, which led to multiple hours ofsocially distanced, masked playing and recording in the sanctuary of Christ theKing Lutheran. Her instruments sang in the pandemic-empty space, bringing lifeand joy to the cavernous room. Hearing her play made my heart feel lighter inthis project for the first time. The sun was shining brightly that day, like awarm smile. Jane's playing was indeed the sound of a mother's love behind thatsunshine smile.

My daughter, my darling, I'myour shining guide.

Beforeeach breakout brainstorming session, we started with singing and fun with allthe mothers, musicians and children together. Musician coordinator Sam Taylorfound all these fun songs for us to sing together and dreamed up kids'activities. On one of the days, the children created their own rainsticks andplayed them during a closing song together. Sam played his authentic rainstick,adding to the cacophony of joyful child noises during that particular Zoomsession. I knew I wanted to remind Rachel's daughter of that musical moment andthe rainstick she created with her mom from a toilet paper tube. I asked Sam ifhe would add some rainstick and string bass to the lullaby I worked on withRachel. He was more than willing to help out and was instrumental in helpingcreate the final mix with me. His additions to the lullaby were the finalpieces of the puzzle. NOW the music was done. I felt exhausted and drained, thefast and inspiring creation process having taken an emotional toll on me. Ithink I found Rachel's song.  

Finally,Jennie, Sam and I met with Rachel virtually to help her record her voice anddedication for her daughter. It was the first time she and Jennie heard thewhole song from start to finish with the strings added. We were all in tearswith the shared experience of the musical journey, of the arrival, of thedestination reached. Here was the legacy, completed with her voice - still so beautifuland full of love despite changes due to all her treatments. Here was the giftfor her daughter, the spoken and sung assurance that Rachel's presence wouldcontinue no matter what.

Composingand recording music is kind of like being a mother and giving birth. You hopefor the best, put your heart and soul into it, and hope your song makes ameaningful impact in the world, even if it impacts just one person. If I liveto be 80, Rachel's daughter will just be turning 41, almost the same age I amnow (ok, I'm a few more years older). Even after Rachel and I are both gone, Ihope this song I helped craft will still be in this young lady's life,reminding her that Rachel is always with her, showing her that music has thepower to touch our souls in profound ways. I hope this song will help her drawout beautiful memories like a rainstick craft and the sound of her mother's beautifulvoice. I hope this song has the power to remind her that music can be a shiningsun in a long, dark winter.

Go live a life that's definedby just you.
Your vivacious spirit will carry you through.
Go fill your days with your love and desires.
Be confidant fearless and I'll lift you higher.


Pleaseconsider donating to Harbor House of Appleton and the Fox Valley Symphony to"lift us higher" and ensure enrichment and outreach programs such as the"Carnegie Lullaby Project," Youth Orchestras or the "In Harmony" symphonyoutreach programs can continue into the future. These programs strive andsucceed to empower participants and make meaningful connections in ourcommunity.

Todonate to Harbor House programs please CLICK HERE 

        Todonate to Fox Valley Symphony programs please CLICK HERE


Forinformation on the "Carnegie Lullaby Project" CLICK HERE
 

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An Update on Our 2020-21 Season
June 25, 2020 10:42 am

Asthings continue to change in response to the current pandemic, we want you toknow we have your safety in mind as we plan for the upcoming season. With thatsafety in mind, the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra along with the Fox Cities PerformingArts Center are making the responsible decision to offer alternate programminguntil January of 2021. We both feel it is the right decision to limiting largegatherings.

Wehope to add chamber orchestra performances throughout our community this fall.We are committed to making music, even if it looks a bit different at thistime. These concerts will be presented virtually, and if fall's healthguidelines permit, we will allow small, socially distanced audiences. Staytuned for August 10th when we will announce our plans for the fullseason.

Inaddition, our orchestra will continue to offer virtual performances, as we havesince March. You can visit our website, Facebook, or YouTube channels to addbeautiful music to your day. We will continue this programming through thesummer.

Wewant to thank our season ticket holders for their support and patience duringthis difficult time. We will hold any current subscriptions until we announcethe new season in August, but please hold onto your tickets as they are stillvalid for rescheduled performances! If you have not yet renewed your seasontickets, your seats will be waiting for you in the spring or even next fall.

Welook forward to being back in our hall and back in our community as soon as itis safe to do so.

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Orchestra Notes: A Brief Update
June 3, 2020 3:45 pm

Hello All,

We just wanted to do a quick check with our leadership team and update you on our orchestra planning.


If you have any questions, please let us know and Kevin and Jamie will answer them in an upcoming video.

We hope you are all staying safe and healthy, and we look forward to being with you again soon.

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2020 Brats, Beer, & Beethoven Canceled due to COVID-19
May 12, 2020 10:58 am

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra has made the difficultdecision to cancel the 2020 Brats, Beer, & Beethoven event. The sixthedition of this popular, free event was to be held on Friday, July 10 atNeuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.

"While this is heartbreaking for us, our number one concernis
the safety of our musicians and our audience," said Jamie LaFreniere,Executive Director for Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. "Once restrictions lift,we will be back to making music in our community. We're already looking forwardto our next Brats, Beer, and Beethoven at the stadium and we will definitelyplan for that next season."

The first Brats, Beer, & Beethoven was held at the homeof the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on July 2, 2015 and was an overwhelminglypositive and successful event. Past events have included performances by theFox Valleyaires, the MacDowell Male Chorus, some special guests, and the FoxValley Symphony Orchestra.

We want to thank our sponsors for their continued support ofthis program:
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

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Our Conductor Search Begins!
Oct. 4, 2018 2:11 pm

This season will be bittersweet for our symphony. As we've said goodbye to our Maestro Brian Groner, we now begin the search for our new music director. Brian left behind an amazing legacy, and we are faced with the challenge of finding another great leader to bring us forward.
     After a long and through search, we've narrowed the field to four finalists, and I can't wait for you to meet them. They are all skilled conductors, dedicated educators, and passionate community advocates. Each will share both new music and classics on their concert. Each will work with a soloist and get to know our orchestra both on and off stage.
     More importantly, we want YOU to get to know them. We will have times during their week in Appleton for you to see them in both formal and informal settings, answering questions, and discussing why they are excited to come to our area and join our orchestra.
     Each concert week will be followed up by our team collecting your thoughts and comments. We will have comment cards and surveys at the hall for each concert, as well as emailed surveys, and website forms. Please feel free to give us your candid feedback, ask questions, and become a part of this process.
     I can't tell you how important this is to all of us. Let us hear from you! We are hoping the person we hire is part of our community, both on stage and off, for a very long time. Please let us know your impressions and help us make a very informed and inclusive decision.
     We would love for you to become a season ticket holder, and then you will receive updates from us throughout the season, letting you know about opportunities to get involved.
  We're grateful for the 23 years of artistry and dedication Maestro Groner contributed to this community, and we look forward to our next chapter under the baton of our new director. 
     Please scroll down to learn more about our first conductor candidate, Howard Hsu, and join us this Saturday, October 6, at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center for our 2018-19 Opening Night!

     -  Jamie LaFreniere, Executive Director
Save the dates!

October 6, 2018: Conductor Howard Hsu
                  Jonathan Bailey Holland-Motor City Remix
                  Samuel Barber - Violin Concerto, Op. 14, Soloist Kelly Hall-Tompkins
                  Johannes Brahms-Symphony No. 2, Op. 73 in D major
                 
November 17, 2018: (No candidate for this concert)
Disney's Pixar in Concert! Enjoy scores from your favorite Disney Pixar films! A visually stunning, high-definition, multi-media family show!

January 26, 2019: Conductor Wesley Schulz
Chris Rogerson - Luminosity
Jennifer Higdon - blue cathedral
Aaron Copland - Clarinet Concerto, Soloist Jorge Montilla Moreno
Sergei Rachmaninoff - Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

March 9, 2019: Conductor Alastair Willis
Mason Bates - Mothership
Dmitry Shostakovich - Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 107 in E flat Major,
Soloist Alexander Hersh
Sergei Prokofiev - Romeo & Juliet, Selections from Suites 1 and 2

May 11, 2019: Conductor Kevin Sa?tterlin
Adam Hochstatter - My Name is Aiden
Jim Pugh - Trombone Concerto, Soloist Thomas Stark
Cesar Franck - Symphony in D minor

------------------------------------------------------------
We start the season on October 6 with Conductor Howard Hsu. We've had a fun week with him visiting Appleton East High School, Lawrence University, 91.1 the Avenue, and getting to know our board and donors. Last night was our first rehearsal with the full group, and we continue with a strings-only rehearsal tonight. We can't wait to get in the P.A.C. hall for the first time on Friday night with special guest violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, friends from our season underwriters at The Boldt Company, and students from Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys & Girls Club. It will be a busy weekend, we we can't wait to share this music with you!
Howard Hsu at the Fox Cities P.A.C. (Photo: Graham Washatka)

Learn a little more about our Conductor Howard Hsu:

HowardHsu is the Music Director of the Valdosta (GA) Symphony Orchestra, and servesas Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Orchestra Studies at ValdostaState University. Under his leadership, the ValdostaSymphony was selected as the 2014 winner of the American Prize in OrchestralPerformance (community division). Hehas performed with world-renowned artists such as RobertMcDuffie, Simone Dinnerstein, Jennifer Frautschi, Wendy Warner, Rachel BartonPine, Stanford Olsen, Alexander Ghindin, Alexander Schimpf, Katia Skanavi, AwadaginPratt, Amy Schwartz Moretti, and the Empire Brass, and has introduced live classical music to thousands ofchildren in the Southern Georgia region. He conducted the world premiere ofJames Oliverio's Trumpet Concerto No. 1: WorldHouse, the U.S. premiere of Ned McGowan's Concerto for iPad and Orchestra (Rotterdam Concerto 2), andhas given the Georgia premieres of Fernande Decruck's Sonata for Saxophone andOrchestra, several of the Debussy/Matthews Preludes,and Jonathan Bailey Holland's MotorCity Dance Mix.Hsu has appeared as a guest conductor with the Hartford (CT) SymphonyOrchestra, Macon (GA) Symphony, New Britain (CT) Symphony, and Bronx (NY) ArtsEnsemble. Hsu received his D.M.A. from the University of Connecticut, his M.M.from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and his B.S. from the WhartonSchool of the University of Pennsylvania.


Visit www.howardhsuconductor.com for more information.

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The 5 Milers + FVSO = Support Your Symphony!
Sept. 7, 2018 12:21 pm

Localfolk group The 5 Milers started in 1962 with a group of friends in high school,and today they are raising money for local charities with their love of music.


RobBillings, one of the founders, remembers how it all started. "I purchased aused six dollar guitar and ask Tom and Terry, 'how do you play this thing?' Wewere only in our sophomore year at Neenah high school, but we were motivated."

Musicfrom the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, and the Weavers inspired them. Oncethey got the hang of it, they were hooked.  

Theirlove of music carried through the years, and even though not all of them arestill living in Wisconsin, they always return home for a few concerts each year,and their fans follow them each time. They've drawn crowds in Neenah, at theFox Cities Performing Arts Center, and other venues around the Fox Cities. "Ouraudiences love the folk music of the 1960s and many sing along," says Billings,"and others simply sit back and remember where they were when they first heardthe music." 

A fewyears ago, they decided to put their love of music, and their growing audience,to use in helping the community. "I had the honor of performing with DoorCounty bluegrass musician Bill Jorgenson, and he had some great advice for us."says Billings. "He encouraged the band to do annual benefits in support ofcauses we really believe in. He was right, and it is such a win-win situationfor us! We get to play the music we love, the audience has a great time, and itall goes toward supporting charities in our own community."

The 5 Milersselect a new group to help each year. Past recipients include HomelessConnections, Old Glory Honor Flights, and Backpack for Kids. This year'srecipient is another local musical group, the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra.Billings approached the symphony first as a recipient, but it soon became clearthe partnership could grow.
 
"We were sohonored they picked us for the benefit this year," says Jamie LaFreniere,Executive Director of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. "But as we startedtalking, Rob had the fantastic idea of having both our groups share the stagefor this special night." The concert is sponsored by gifts from J.J. Keller & Associates and Dr. Monroe Trout and Sandra Lemke.

"We'relooking forward to a fun night of 60s classics," says LaFreniere. "We love topartner with other groups in our community, and bring together different genresand fans of all types of music. We're just lucky to live in a community wherethere are so many choices!"

The concertis on September 13 at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, and proceeds willgo to the symphony. PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS HERE!

"Growing up in the Fox Cities, our group had manymemorable and enjoyable moments," says Billings. "It is our pleasure to try togive back to our community both in our performances and with the money raisedfor charity."

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FVSO Received NEA Grant for Brubeck Outreach
Jan. 30, 2018 12:53 pm

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra was awarded a grantfrom the National Endowment for the Arts to support outreach activitiesassociated with our upcoming concert featuring Grammy-nominated composer andtrombonist Chris Brubeck. 

The $10,000 "Challenge America" grant will underwrite thecosts for Brubeck and Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra musicians to share themusic of modern American legends with veterans and audiences in rural areas, aswell as support Brubeck's appearance with at the symphony's February 3 concertat the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center's Thrivent Financial Hall.

Brubeck's outreach events will include an interactiveworkshop at the Gerold Opera House in Weyauwega focusing on performance andmusic composition with band students from the Weyauwega area.  He'll follow that up with a lecture and performanceat the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King.  TheFVSO's Brass Circle quintet will accompany Brubeck at both appearances.

Photo Credit: Stephane Colbert
"Working with the local youth is part of our mission.Helping to provide the opportunity to be inspired and informed by Chris Brubeckand members of the symphony is very exciting," said Kathy Fehl, ArtisticDirector of WEGA Arts.  "The effort towork with us and other places in the area is wonderful; encouraging kids toconsider a life in the arts is very important."

Brubeck said he hopes that he can contribute to the creativespirit in the young music students.

"We still live in a society where a creative thinker,player, visual artist, dancer, film maker, author or singer can still have asignificant impact. If I can connect with, encourage and inspire one youngperson to pursue their dreams then I feel that the mission wasaccomplished," said Brubeck. "The Arts are a reminder of our wonderful humanpotential."

Brubeck's performance at the Veteran's Home at King inspiredsome memories of his father, jazz musician and composer, Dave Brubeck.

"Through the years, my Dad told me many stories about hisgoing into hospitals and playing music for Veterans which seemed to connectwith them in a special way," said Chris Brubeck. "If the Vets can't come to aconcert, I am happy to go to see them and reach out through music."

On February 3, Brubeck will be featured as the guest artistfor the symphony's "Modern American Legends" concert.  He will also participate in a discussion withFVSO's Sandra Lemke & Monroe Trout Music Director Brian Groner before theconcert in the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center's Kimberly-Clark Theater. 

The NEA Challenge America grant program offers support forprojects that extend the reach of the arts to those whose opportunities toexperience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, ordisability. 

ABOUT THE NationalEndowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independentfederal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity toparticipate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop theircreative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, localleaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supportsarts learning, affirms and celebrates America's rich and diverse culturalheritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in everycommunity across America. Visit arts.gov tolearn more about NEA.  (Source, arts.gov/news)

ABOUT Chris Brubeck
Grammy-nominatedcomposer Chris Brubeck continues todistinguish himself as a multi-faceted performer and creative force.  An award-winning writer, he is clearly tunedinto the pulse of contemporary music. The respected music critic for TheChicago Tribune, John von Rhein calls Chris: "a composer with a real flair for lyricalmelody--a 21st Century Lenny Bernstein."  
  
Chris has created an impressive body of symphonic workwhile maintaining a demanding touring and recording schedule with his twogroups:  the Brubeck Brothers Quartet(with brother Dan on drums), and Triple Play, an acoustic trio featuring Chrison piano, bass and trombone along with guitarist Joel Brown and harmonica playerextraordinaire Peter Madcat Ruth. Additionally, Chris performs as a soloistplaying his trombone concertos with orchestras and has served as Artist inResidence with orchestras and colleges in America, coaching, lecturing, andperforming with students and faculty.

Chris is a much sought-after composer, and has beencommissioned to write many innovative works. Current projects include aconcerto for the Canadian Brass Quintet to be premiered with the LexingtonPhilharmonic in November 2017.  AsComposer in Residence with the New Haven Symphony, Chris premiered Time Changesfor Jazz Combo and Orchestra.  He had twonew commissions premiere in 2016: "Fanfare for a Remarkable Friend" and "Sphere ofInfluence".  His "Affinity:Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra" was written for celebrated guitaristSharon Isbin, and premiered in April, 2015. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied Liberation of Francein June, 2014, Chris and French composer Guillaume Saint-James wrote Brothersin Arts: 70 Years of Liberty, which premiered to much acclaim in Rennes,France. Chris's long list of commissions are varied and range from aRussian-American cooperative project commissioned by the Hermitage Museum andthe National Gallery ("The Hermitage Cats Save the Day"), to theKennedy Center for the National Symphony Orchestra; to concertos written forviolinist Nick Kendall; the exciting trio Time for Three, a song cycle forFrederica von Stade ("River of Song") as well as many chamber andorchestral pieces commissioned by the Concord Chamber Music Society, the MuirString Quartet, 3 commissions from The Boston Pops, and multiple commissionsfrom consortiums including The Boston Pops, Baltimore Symphony, Colorado MusicFestival in Boulder, Indianapolis Symphony, Portland Symphony, Oakland East BaySymphony, and many others. 

His highly acclaimed Concerto for Bass Trombone andOrchestra, has been played by many of the top bass trombonists in the world andwas recorded with Chris as soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra.  It can be heard on the Koch InternationalClassics recording "Bach to Brubeck". He also wrote a second trombone concerto, The Prague Concerto which hepremiered and recorded with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra on the Kochcd, "Convergence".  Reviewingthat disc, Fanfare Magazine wrote "Brubeck's skill both as composer andsoloist is extraordinary." April, 2009 saw the premiere of "Ansel Adams:America", an exciting orchestral piece written by Chris and Dave Brubeck.  It was commissioned by a consortium of eightorchestras and is accompanied by 100 of Ansel Adams' majestic images projectedabove the orchestra.  In 2013,"Ansel Adams: America" was nominated for a Grammy for BestInstrumental Composition. 


Join us for the Concert on Saturday:
February3 at 6:40 pm:  Pre-show lecture in theKimberly-Clark Theatre at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.


February3 at 7:30 pm:  Concert with the FoxValley Symphony in Thrivent Hall at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

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Our NEW Youth Orchestra Conductor
June 9, 2017 12:32 pm

AMAZING NEWS! We finally have our new Youth Orchestra conductor! Mr. Andres Moran is the director of the University ofWisconsin-Stevens Point Symphony Orchestra and a horn teacher. He was aresident conductor of the El Paso Symphony and also music director of the ElPaso Symphony Youth Orchestras. Mr. Moran has a Doctorate of Music from IndianaUniversity and a Bachelor of Music from New Mexico State University. Our coaching team and hiring committee met with Mr. Moranseveral times before making our decision and we are all excited about havinghim join our team next season. He brings with him a great passion for musiceducation, wonderful ideas about engaging our community, and impressivetechnical skills on the podium. "I'm very excited to be joining the Fox Valley YouthSymphony team!" says Mr. Moran. "Throughout the hiring process, I was impressedwith the level of commitment and passion that the staff and board have for thisprogram. I can't wait to start working with our young musicians in the fall,and I look forward to getting to know more members of the Fox Valley communitythrough our performances." Pleasejoin me in welcoming Mr. Moran to the Youth Orchestra!

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Thank YOU on this #GivingTuesday
Nov. 29, 2016 2:08 pm

When the folks at New York's 92nd Street Y gottogether five years ago to find a way to celebrate and encourage generosity,they had no idea their project would one day be embraced by over 40,000organizations worldwide. They couldn't have predicted that over $116 millionwould be raised through social media, and they had to be shocked that their#GivingTuesday would become an international movement - a national holiday ofsharing.

Those of us at the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra take this opportunityon #GivingTuesday to thank our donors, audience members, volunteers andsponsors for their generosity every day of the year.  Thank you for sharing your time, yourresources, your attention, and your efforts with us.  Thank you for understanding that our missionof nurturing symphonic music within our community is fulfilled because of yourgifts.

Thank you on this #GivingTuesday. 


For more information on ways to support the Fox ValleySymphony Orchestra, check out our website 

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Art from the Classroom to the Concert Hall
Nov. 14, 2016 2:28 pm

Students across Appleton have been diving deep into themusic of our upcoming concert.  Big Arts in the Little Apple is acommunity collaboration coordinated in partnership with The Building for KidsChildren's Museum and the Appleton Area School District to give students theopportunity to explore the intersection of music and the visual arts. 

As part of the program, elementary students at 17 schoolslearned about and listened to this autobiographical tone poem by RichardStrauss, and then took that inspiration to their visual arts classrooms tocreate art in response.  Over 600 of these students submitted their work forconsideration and the top 50 to be featured at the Saturday, November 19thconcert when the symphony performs this epic piece.


In addition to the elementary students, high schoolers atthe Appleton Career Academy participated in a Music and Art Fusion Seminardeveloped by Elyse Lucas.  After a few days exploring the piece of musicin depth, these students wrote proposals for the creation of three dimensionalworks of art made with repurposed instruments.  These sculptures will


Don't miss this opportunity to see the creativity of ourlocal students and experience Ein Heldenleben in person with your FoxValley Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, November 19thBuy your tickets online today.





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When Felix Met Ferdinand: How Friendship Produced a Masterpiece for the Violin
Sept. 23, 2016 2:52 pm

Written by Erik Leveille, First Violin for
the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra
"Ishould like to write a violin concerto for you next winter. One in E minor runsin my head, the beginning of which gives me no peace." Felix Mendelssohn's'earworm', as described in a letter from July 1838 to his good friend,violinist Ferdinand David, would become one of the most beloved and instantlyrecognizable melodies in the violin concerto literature.

Travel now further back in time to Berlin,1825: 15 year old violin prodigy Ferdinand David, after two years of study withthe renowned violinist and composer Louis Spohr, is on his first concert tour.There he encounters the equally precocious pianist and composer, 16 year oldFelix Mendelssohn, who had that very year completed his Octet for strings, amasterwork of such assurance and maturity that even Mozart himself had notachieved at that age. 

Both boys hailed from Hamburg, where their families wereacquainted with each other- Ferdinand was even born in the very house whereFelix had been born the previous year. Their meeting in Berlin resulted in afast friendship- a year later, when the Mendelssohns had settled in Berlin,Felix wrote to Ferdinand that "it is of the utmost importance for your futurecareer that you should soon come to Berlin...Would to God that I might soon havethe pleasure of seeing you settled here, for I am convinced that nothing couldbe better for you than life and work in Berlin". After first securing a job ina Berlin theater orchestra, David took the advice to heart. Ferdinand wasthereafter often a guest in the Mendelssohn home, where the two would playstring quartets together(Felix on viola) with David's orchestra colleagues.

WhenMendelssohn was appointed director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig(stillgoing strong to this day!), he invited David to be his concertmaster; theyworked hand in hand to produce one of the finest ensembles of the day. Hesimilarly appointed his friend as violin professor when he founded the LeipzigConservatory in 1843(David would become one of the most important teachers ofthe 19th century- his greatest student, Joseph Joachim, would go onto collaborate with Johannes Brahms in producing his violin concerto). Both menshared a seriousness of mind and reverence for music of the past (Mendelssohngave the first 19th century performance of Bach's St. MatthewPassion, and David produced the first performing edition of Bach's Sonatas andPartitas for solo violin, and was the first to publicly perform Bach'sChaconne) that contrasted with the dazzling pyrotechnics of flamboyantvirtuosos in the mold of Paganini, which Mendelssohn dismissed as "juggler'stricks". David's love of music of the Baroque is still with us today- many ofthe sonatas that he selected for his "High School of Violin Playing" comprisemuch of the later volumes of the Suzuki Violin School, in versions scarcelyaltered from David's originals and performed by violin students worldwide.

We are honored to perform Mendelssohn with
the legendary Itzhak Perlman on
September 28, 2016 at the Fox Cities P.A.C.
Othercommitments prevented Mendelssohn from finally working out his E minor earwormuntil 1844. Felix relied on his colleague not only for technical advice on thesolo part(David was in large part responsible for the great cadenza at theheart of the first movement which was among the first to be written out insteadof improvised by the soloist) but even details of the orchestration. In their correspondence,Mendelssohn is eager to please his friend and even self-deprecating; in aletter fired off before the manuscript went to the publishers he requests somelast minute alterations and exclaims "Thank God the fellow is through with hisconcerto! you will say. Excuse my bothering you, but what can I do?"

The long gestationand close collaboration paid off; the premiere in March 1845 was a tremendoussuccess, though sadly Mendelssohn was ill and unable to conduct. When furtherill health tragically ended Mendelssohn's life two years later at the age of38, Ferdinand David was among the small circle of family and friends whoattended his bedside. David continued to champion his friend's concerto andtaught it to his pupils. Through his advocacy Mendelssohn's masterpiece quicklytook its place of honor as one of the greatest works for the violin. 

We in thepresent day still respond to the concerto's blend of passionate lyricism,intimacy, and puckish high spirits. The musicians of the Fox Valley Symphonylook forward to accompanying the great Itzhak Perlman in this masterpiece bornout of friendship! 

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Music and Visual Arts in Harmony
Sept. 2, 2016 1:54 pm

A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one whoinspires others - Salvador Dali

We are so excited to have the opportunity to perform greatmusic with incredible guest artists throughout our 50th Anniversaryseason, but above that excitement is our sincere hope that this music caninspire our audiences. 

Our first concert artist is Cristian Andersson
For this milestone season, we decided to see if our musiccould inspire our local visual artists as well.  Several artists have beencommissioned to utilize the music of one of our season concerts to inspire thecreation of a piece of art.  These original artworks will be reproduced ina limited, numbered, and signed poster series commemorating out 50thAnniversary Season.

We are lucky to have such talented artists working oncapturing this exciting season. Our first featured visual artist isCristian Andersson.  Cristian has spent countless hours creating abeautiful oil painting inspired by the music of Itzhak Perlman to commemorate ourOpening Night. Otherartists include Emily Reetz, Stephanie Harvey, and Lee Mothes.


Don't miss this opportunity to own a piece of this historicseason.  Individual posters will be available for purchase at eachconcert.  However, right now through our SOLD OUT opening nightperformance with Itzhak Perlman, you have the opportunity to pre-order your setof posters and ensure uniform numbering from all five concerts.


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Sharing Symphonic Music with Local Seniors
Aug. 24, 2016 11:48 am

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra (FVSO) kicked off our Senior Outreach Series on Monday, August 22nd at 3:30pm with an outdoor Brass Quintet performance at the campus of the Rennes Health and Rehab (325 E Florida Avenue, Appleton).

"Rennes is overjoyed to be a part of the Senior Series with the Fox Valley Symphony. Music is a large part of most of our residents' lives but concert accessibly is a challenge that we face frequently. Being able to bring this type of performance to them fills our hearts with happiness and theirs with joy," said Danielle Mosher, Director of Admissions from Rennes Health and Rehab.

This series of small group concerts presented in partnership with local senior living communities seeks to expand the reach and accessibility of our Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra musicians. In addition to reaching the residents of the senior communities hosting the concerts, all of the concerts are free and open to the public.

Other concerts in the series include:

Wind Quartet at Oak Park Place (2205 Midway Road, Menasha) on October 6th, 2016 at 6pm. RSVP to 920.702.0000.

Strings & Wind Holiday Tea at Carolina Assisted Living (3201 W. 1st Avenue Appleton) on December 1st, 2016 at 7pm. RSVP to 920.738.0118.

String Quartet in the Garden at Valley VNA (1535 Lyon Drive, Neenah) on June 13th, 2017 at 6pm with a reception to follow. RSVP to 920.727.5544.

"The power of music is undeniable, especially for aging adults. That is why we are so excited for this Senior Outreach Series where we can reach those who might no longer be able to attend our full concerts," said Jamie LaFreniere, Executive Director for the Fox Valley Symphony.

This series is made possible through the partnership of our host locations as well as the series sponsor, Home Instead Senior Care. "Home Instead is committed to helping seniors stay engaged and active. We are so excited to partner with the FVSO and hosting senior communities to bring the Senior Series to the Fox Valley," said Cheryl Smith, Appleton Branch Manager for Home Instead Senior Care.

About the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra: The Symphony's mission is to enrich and nurture the human spirit through symphonic music and educational opportunities that enhance the cultural development of our community. Founded in 1966, the non-profit provides the community with quality music, as well as performance and educational opportunities for area musicians. Their 50th Anniversary Season begins on September 28, 2016, at the Fox Cities Performing Arts
Center with special guest artist Itzhak Perlman.

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FREE Community Concert Coming Up July 1
June 20, 2016 10:18 am

Beethoven returns to the ballpark on Friday, July 1.  The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra will hold their second annual Brats, Beer, & Beethoven event at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium on Friday, July 1 at 7:30pm.  The event, presented by Fox Communities Credit Union, is FREE and open to the public.

"We can't believe we get to do this again and we can't thank the Timber Rattlers enough for our partnership! This concert is the perfect way for us to start our 50th season," said Jamie Lafreniere, Executive Director of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. "We get to celebrate a beautiful night of music with our musicians and the community in this amazing outdoor space. With the support of our sponsors, Fox Communities Credit Union, Neuroscience Group, CommunityFoundation for the Fox Valley Region, and Tundraland, this is a free event and we hope it makes it possible for everyone to attend, enjoy the music, and even see fireworks at the end of the night. We're also proud to bring the MacDowell Male Chorus and Fox Valleyaires to the concert this year; the more music the better!"

Parking and admission to the event are free.  The parking lot opens at 5:00pm with the gates to the stadium opening at 6:00pm.  The concert is scheduled to start at 7:30pm and fireworks to follow at 9:00pm.

"We're extremely excited to host the free concert again following the unbelievable success from last year," said
Aaron Hahn, the Timber Rattlers vice president and assistant general manager.  "It's a great way to kick off the holiday weekend and an opportunity to see an amazing group of performers for FREE!"

There will also be a donation drive for musical instruments at two events at the ballpark.  Donate a new or used instrument OR money to go towards the purchase of an instrument to give all children the opportunity to play a musical instrument!

Donations will be accepted at the Timber Rattlers game on Sunday, June 26 when the Rattlers host the Quad Cities River Bandits at 1:05pm.  Be one of the first 1,000 fans to attend this game and you will receive a Cory Chisel Bobblehead.

Fans may also donate to the instrument drive at Brats, Beer & Beethoven on Friday, June 1.  Donations may be tax deductible.

This collection is made possible by the collaborative efforts of Fox Communities Credit UnionWisconsin Timber RattlersCory Chisel, and The Refuge.

"At Fox Communities Credit Union we say "Make Life Happen", and we are excited to be a part of this event to help more people enjoy the sounds of the Fox Valley Symphony, especially kids," said Lynn Marie Hopfensperger, Community Development Officer at Fox Communities Credit Union.  "Fox is happy to be able to make life happen for all of the talented artists we have in the area, we are so rich in the arts, we're proud to be a small part of this."

Seating for Brats, Beer, and Beethoven is first-come-first-serve and food and beverages will be available for purchase from the concessions stands at the ballpark.

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Our Special Young Guest Artist
Jan. 20, 2016 12:42 pm

When you meet a young lady like Masha Lakisova it is an amazing event.  

About a year and half ago a good friend of mine, violinist Michael Shelton, heard Masha play.  He sent me an email saying that he had heard what he described as "the real deal".  Michael is not one to speak glowingly about someone unless he truly means it.  He has very keen ears and high expectations.  

After checking out a couple of YouTube videos of her playing I made arrangements to hear Masha at her teacher's recital.  She played the Schumann Sonata, with her mother Lyudmila (a brilliant pianist).  Needless to say it was stunning.  

After the recital I stayed around a bit to chat and found Masha and her family to be wonderful people.  They are so proud of what Masha is doing. 

Since then we have worked together several times.  Masha has won even more competitions and has been featured on NPR's "From The Top". 

I am thankful that my friend Michael brought this amazing young woman to my attention and am honored to be able to share her gifts with our wonderful audience.

Brian Groner
Music Director
Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra

Join us this Saturday, January 23, 2016 for this special performance!
Masha will perform Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Purchase your tickets online now.

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National Philanthropy Day
Nov. 16, 2015 11:03 am

We all have a soundtrack of our lives - music that reminds us of happy or sad times in our childhood, or other important life events, friends, and family.  What would a wedding be without music? How comforting is the music that accompanies a funeral?

With the recent celebration of Veteran's Day, I can't help but think of how many servicemen and servicewomen have had their spirits buoyed by a USO tour.  Or, how many ceremonies on Wednesday contained music of a wartime period.

That soundtrack takes on new meaning if you or a family member are dealing with autism
or Alzheimer's.  Music becomes exponential in its power to comfort.

Our many cherished donors recognize that music is essential to our mental, emotional and physical health.  In these days leading up to National Philanthropy Day on November 15, we take a moment to recognize the importance of music in our lives and those who help us keep music alive in our community.

Philanthropy is defined as "a love of humanity", and those who support the Fox Valley Symphony care deeply about our community. 

Thank you for buying tickets to our concerts, and even inviting friends. You appreciate the value of symphonic music to our well-being.

Thank you for making a cash donation to make sure the FVSO is able to serve its mission far into the future.

Thank you for attending Youth Orchestra concerts.  You tell the young musicians in our community that they are vital to the sustainability of symphonic music.

Thank you for your tribute to our FVSO musicians through the Chair Sponsor program.  Not only does it provide important funds to the Symphony, but it is a very visible way to show our musicians how important they are to the community.

Thank you for including us in your planned giving arrangements.  You are showing that you care about the artistic vitality of our community for future generations.


We are truly grateful to all of our friends.  Thank you for 49 years of support and "love of humanity".

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A View from the Stage: Marcia Henry Liebenow
Nov. 11, 2015 3:26 pm

Liebenow and Harmon with composer Shirish Korde
We are excited about our concert this Saturday, November 14, 2015 at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Of course, we are always excited about our concerts, but this time, we are having a Concerto for Violin and Tabla. When is the last time you heard that? Exactly. The piece is Svara-Yantra by Shirish Korde with guest artists Marcia Henry Liebenow and Zach Harmon.

As an extra bit of luck, both our guest artists got to meet with the composer last week and work on the piece. Marcia was kind enough to share her experiece with us!

Marcia Henry Liebenow
From Marcia:
This past weekend Zach Harmon and I met with composer Shirish Korde in Massachusetts to rehearse his Svara-Yantra Concerto for Violin, Tabla and Symphony Orchestra. We'll be performing this fantastic piece with the Fox Valley Symphony.

I'm very excited to perform Svara-Yantra. It's an intense and absolutely amazing work, and I'm really looking forward to collaborating with Brian Groner.

I'm also thrilled to work with tabla player Zach Harmon, who is a Wisconsin native. Zach studied in the Masters program at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and studied tabla with Abhiman Kaushal. He performs, records, and teaches around the world.

Zach Harmon, tabla
Zach and I are both faculty artists at the Red Lodge Music Festival in Montana each summer, and I have known his father, composer and jazz pianist John Harmon, for many years. I have premiered a number of John's works at that festival.

Earlier this fall I made arrangements for Zach and I to rehearse the concerto with Shirish at his studio in Worcester, MA. Finding a few days that all of us were available was a challenge, but we were able to carve out a meeting time. Boston is my old stomping grounds. It's where I earned a graduate degree from the New England Conservatory.

On November 1 I flew to Boston and stayed with my brother and his family in nearby Westborough. Zach drove down from his home in Shelburne, VT. My brother and his family are avid musicians, although they pursue other fields for their livelihood. They loved hearing us work through the complex piece at their house!

Shirish is an incredible composer, a wonderful musician, and a genuinely nice man. He helped clarify musical questions we had and worked with us on our interpretation and preparation of his piece.


Zach and I can't wait to rehearse and perform this concerto with the FVSO!

Thanks, Marcia! We can't wait to share the stage with you this weekend!

Also on the program:
Khachaturian: Masquarade Suite
Mozart: Symphony No. 35


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Oct. 20, 2015 1:22 pm

Every now and then, we get a letter in the mail that makes us smile. I just had to share this one! Love it!

Dear Fox Valley Symphony,

We could not carry a note if it possessed the proverbial handle on its back. We have never been exposed to symphonic music, until my suddenly out-of-town boss gave us his tickets to a FVS performance about 15 years ago.    Quite frankly we were surprised we enjoyed it.  I believe we felt the need to play The Grateful Dead extremely loud on the way home, just to be certain we were okay.

We have been season ticket holders for about a decade now and have learned not to be the first ones to applaud.  We enjoy your humor and obvious connection with both the audience and the musicians.  I have found tears rolling down my cheeks, and have seen my other half with tilted head and closed eyes trying to deceipher each instruments' contribution. 

The Celebrate Spring concert was truly one of our favorites.  While Nazer Dzhuryn was amazing, Copland's Appalachian Spring Suite gave sound and substance to unspoken sorrow of loved ones gone, yet later providing hope of their legacy within those remaining.  Ravel's Bolero was quite fascinating to hear unfold, growing in strength and depth along the way. 

While the music sheets you command will always be written in a foreign language to us, we appreciate you building a place which is warm and welcoming for all to experience this music.


Thank you!

No, thank YOU, M, for truly making our day (week, month)! :)

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Austin Larson Returns to the Fox Valley!
Sept. 30, 2015 2:57 pm

We don't always go over the top bragging about our fabulous guest artists, but this time, we really need to make an exception! This weekend, our guest artist is Austin Larson. He is a fine player and he's won many awards (see below), but, even better, he is one of our own! Austin is from right here in Neenah! And still better, Austin was a member of our own Youth Orchestra! We are all so delighted to have him come back home for our Opening Night concert this Saturday!

I talked with some of Austin's teachers, so you could get a little more background on this extraordinary young man:

Don Krause: Don is our favorite horn teacher in the area. Not sure how we got lucky enough to have him teaching our students, but we are certainly glad we can count him as a friend. We currently have six horns in the Youth Orchestra, and Don is coaching all of them!

"Of all the students I ever had, Austin had the most focus and drive of any. A lot of  students practice, but they either don't have focus or don't have the drive. Austin was always trying to improve his performances, even in his lesson assignments. He managed to memorize every solo that he played for solo ensemble year after year. Practice makes perfect was his constant motto! I have had him work with a lot of my students as he has become more successful and is always willing to take the time to help young students improve."

Bruce Atwell: Bruce is our Principal Horn for the Fox Valley Symphony and also teaches at the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh. He works with our board, staff and youth orchestra students to help make improvements across the board. 

"When Don first referred Austin to me as a freshman in high school, my first impression was that he was going to become a once in a generation horn player. His sense of musicianship was already well developed from years of playing the violin and his horn technique was solid and seemed effortless. This raw talent combined with an amazing work ethic pointed to a long and successful career as a musician. His attitude still amazes me. He is still so humble and grateful for all of the success he has achieved. He still calls or texts his former teachers to let us know how he is doing. I can't wait to see where he ends up."

Lynn Lichte: Lynn was our program director for Youth Orchestra while Austin was a student. She was an amazing asset to the symphony and our Youth and Education program. She has since retired, but we miss her every day!

"It was my great pleasure to know Austin Larson while I was the manager of the fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra program.  He was not only a gifted young musician, but a true leader in the orchestra.  This fine young man received the coveted Youth Symphony "Leadership Award" during his senior year and went on to win numerous honors and accolades both nationally and internationally as an amateur and now professional musician.  I believe that I can speak for the entire Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra program in saying that they are proud to claim Austin as one of the brightest and best of their alumni and are thrilled to see him return as the guest artist to open the new concert season!"

We can't wait to have Austin on our stage again this Saturday! It is always a treat to work with talented guest artists, but when it is one of our own students who we've watched grow and succeed, it is a rare gift that we will all cherish!

You can also read the full program notes on our website.

Here is a copy of Austin's bio, so you can be as impressed as we are!

Neenah native Austin Larson has gone on to become one of the most successful young hornists of his generation. A graduate of Neenah High School, Austin was a member of the Fox Valley Youth Symphony for five years and studied with current and former FVSO hornists Bruce Atwell and Donald Krause. Austin has since developed one of the most impressive competitive track records of any hornist. Austin is one of only two people to ever win First Prize in both the University and Professional Divisions of the International Horn Competition of America and has also won First Place in the International Horn Society Premier Soloist Competition, the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition, and the Wisconsin Public Radio Young Artists Competition. On the international stage, Austin was also most recently a finalist in the Jeju International Brass Competition in South Korea. Austin has also appeared as a soloist at many prestigious venues, including the Music For All Symposium, International Horn Symposium, Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival, Wisconsin Public Radio, and with orchestras in both the United States and South Korea.

Currently living in Denver, Austin holds the Assistant Principal Horn position with the Colorado Symphony and has previously held the Second Horn position with Symphony in C in addition to summer positions with the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland and Spoleto Festival Orchestra USA. Austin holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the Curtis Institute of Music and his primary collegiate teachers include Jennifer Montone, Jeffrey Lang, Randy Gardner. A strong believer in music advocacy, Austin has also been involved with numerous charitable organizations, including Appleton-based Horns a Plenty Christmas and has raised funds for music scholarships both at the University of Cincinnati and in the Northeast Wisconsin area. For more information, visit www.austin-larson.com.

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A Letter of Welcome from Our President
Sept. 10, 2015 11:17 am

Jeff Amstutz, FVSO Board President
Welcome to our 49th Season! We are thrilled you are joining us for an exciting year of beautiful symphonic music.

I joined the Board of Directors for the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra [FVSO] several years ago. Music and the arts have always been an important part of my life. I took piano lessons for a decade as a child but the lessons gradually slipped from a priority in my life as I entered college and launched my career. Thanks to my engagement with the Symphony (including trying to play the violin in our first Sinfonia fundraiser), I've started playing the piano again. I'm not very good but it brings me great joy and serenity.

As President of the Board, I'm excited to be working with our talented musicians, staff, sponsors and donors to further strengthen this community gem. The FVSO is experiencing tremendous momentum as we head into our 50th Anniversary in 2016. I'm very passionate about helping make the Symphony as accessible to the community as possible. We took a big step toward that goal this year by launching our Beer, Brats and Beethoven event in collaboration with the Timber Rattlers at Fox Cities Stadium. Thousands of people from our community heard the Symphony for free thanks to the tremendous support of area businesses and donors including the Neuroscience Group and Kimberly-Clark Corporation.

This season marks the 10th Anniversary of our partnership with Thrivent Financialas our Symphony Series underwriter. Thrivent's commitment to the FVSO is a testament to their ongoing passion for the arts in our community. Not only has Thrivent committed significant funding to the Symphony, but they've also shared their time and talent with us as well. Please join me in thanking Thrivent Financial for their leadership. We couldn't do this without them!

We are fortunate to have growing support from area businesses. We deeply appreciate the long-standing and continued support of The Boldt Company as our Lead Season Sponsor along with Community First Credit Union as our Community Partner Sponsor. This year's sponsors include JewelersMutual Insurance Company, NeuroscienceGroup, Secura Insurance, Plexus, Menasha Corporation Foundation, Associated Bank, Godfrey& Kahn, S.C., East Wisconsin Savings Bank, Alta Resourcesand Schenck SC. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We are close to having all of our musicians supported through our Chair Sponsorship program. Please help us ensure that ALL chairs are sponsored now and for future seasons! There are many other ways you can support us, including making the FVSO a part of your planned giving.

Last but definitely not least, a heartfelt thank you to our musicians. Without their awe-inspiring talent, we wouldn't be here today. As I've started to get to know our family of musicians, I quickly learned that many of them have been with us for over 20 years! The level of commitment and passion is palpable with every rehearsal and performance. It is because of you future generations are inspired to carry on this great tradition.

Thank you for joining us for an experience that only an orchestra like ours can provide. It's truly a phenomenon everyone in our community should be able to experience. I look forward to working with you to help make the music live on for all to hear.

Jeff Amstutz
President, Board of Directors

Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra

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Fox Valley Symphony Elects New Officers
Sept. 9, 2015 1:50 pm

Jeff Amstutz, Board President
As the Fox Valley Symphony prepares to entire its 49th season as a community orchestra, we've elected new board leaders.  Our new President of the 17-member Board of Directors is Jeff Amstutz, Creative Director/Principal of A2Z Design.  Addie Teeters, Marketing Communication & Media Relations Manager for Expera SpecialtySolutions, was named President Elect. 

Addie Teeters, President Elect
Other Board Officers include Jane Chaganos, treasurer; Priscilla Daniels, secretary; and Peter Gianopolous, Immediate Past President.  Jamie LaFreniere serves as Executive Director and Brian Groner is the Conductor and Music Director.

"This is an exciting time for the Symphony." says Beth Flaherty, former board President for the Fox Valley Symphony and current President of the board for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. "The organization is focused on a sustainable future and our new leaders are energized and looking forward to preparing for a fantastic 50th anniversary season.  They will continue the work the Symphony has done to ensure a strong future for live symphonic music in the Fox Valley with innovative programming and community involvement being a top priority."

The Symphony's mission is to enrich and nurture the human spirit through symphonic music and educational opportunities that enhance the cultural development of our community.   Founded in 1966, we are a non-profit providing the community with quality music, as well as performance and educational opportunities for area musicians.


Our new season starts on October 3, 2015, at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

There is still time to get your Season Ticket Package, so you can lock in your seat and not miss a single night with us.

Please visit our website for more information about our concerts, or call (920)730-3760 to order your tickets today!

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Thanks for All You Did in 2014
Jan. 12, 2015 11:58 am

Now that we've wrapped up our year-end giving campaign, we just wanted to say THANK YOU!

From the bottom of our basses to the top of our piccolos, we thank you!  You attended concerts, sent donations, sponsored musician chairs, funded outreach activities, and supported youth orchestra programs - we are grateful for your investment in our mission through your generosity.

The Fox Valley Symphony will honor your support by staying true to our mission to nurture the human spirit through symphonic music and educational opportunities that enhance the cultural development of our community.  We will continue to be an integral part of the beautiful tapestry of arts groups that make the Fox Cities a wonderful place to live. 


Thank you for playing with us!

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A View from the Stage: Progress in Philharmonia
Nov. 18, 2014 2:31 pm

(This week's guest blogger is Adam Brown, Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra's Philharmonia conductor.)

This is my third year as conductor of the Philharmonia, and each year has offered its own unique combination of successes, challenges, and opportunities for the students to grow as an orchestra. When I first entered the position in late spring 2012, the students had already gone through their auditions and I hadn't met or heard them (beyond the ones who were there for my interview, many of whom were in the previous year's ensemble). I had to rely on Greg Austin's (Concert Orchestra conductor) experience listening to them try out, as well as his experience with the Philharmonia-level repertoire, to help me prepare for the early fall retreat and the first concert. Greg was, and continues to be, a tremendous resource of expertise and insight into the past performances of pieces in the FVSO library. By around the time the students were preparing for their spring "mini-tour," I was finally starting to feel like I knew what I was doing, more or less! I also knew from my years of teaching that I would soon have to start from scratch, listening to many new members auditioning in (or up, to Concert Orchestra). It was a bittersweet time, offering congratulations and well wishes for good auditions that, if successful, would mean that I would no longer be working with those students.

For the second year, I wanted to build on what I saw as a successful first year while offering some different experiences, especially for students who had been in Philharmonia the year before. I tried to offer more solo opportunities, and watched students step up to leadership roles as they challenged themselves to learn these. I also programmed a piece by a living American composer (Magen Miller Frasier), and made the bold statement that the orchestra could do a "distance rehearsal" using software like Skype, even before I had tried to contact the composer! Thankfully, she was very generous with her time and praise of the students, and even requested permission to put their performance of her piece on her website. It was a great moment for the students to have a direct connection with the music-making process that I hope they always remember.


As this year began with the auditions, I was stuck by two things: how the orchestra overall seemed a bit younger, and how incredibly violin-heavy it was! This presented a challenge selecting repertoire that I thought would complement the sounds and strengths of the other sections, while also being appropriately difficult and different from the previous years. For the first time, I chose pieces that feature guest percussionists, a role that has been graciously filled by members of the Youth Orchestra percussion section. I've also seen the smaller viola, cello, and bass sections rise to the occasion and play with a strong, confident sound that allows for better balance. 

On days when the orchestra has sectionals (three times for each concert cycle), I move from room to room to hear how everyone works together, and I have been continually impressed with the maturity and work ethic the students have shown. The coaches have expressed this much as well, and have appreciated how much is able to be accomplished. I feel like all the hard work and progress is helping make this first concert of the 2014-2015 season become even more polished and excellent-sounding than the past two years!

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A View from the Stage: Collaborative Education
Nov. 11, 2014 11:09 am

(Written by guest blogger Nancy Kaphaem, Cellist for Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and FVSO Education Quartet)

One of the best things that I get to do as a professional cellist and teacher is to play with the Fox Valley Symphony's Artistic Adventures education program for elementary age children.  Collaborating this year with the Trout Museum and the Fox Cities PAC was fantastic.  To consider that a string quartet this fall played in 22 up-close performances for over 700 children total is astounding and incredibly meaningful.  

Experiencing live music can lead to deeper understanding, joy, and a rich emotional range that is beyond words.  I am so privileged to work with other enthusiastic members of the Fox Valley Symphony in this educational outreach and in all of our symphonic concerts.  

Every year I cherish these rich times that bring for all of us, performers, students and our symphonic audience at the PAC alike, priceless experiences of community and deep connection. 

"Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife." 
Khalil Gibran

"Music . . . can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." 
Leonard Bernstein

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A View from the Stage: Our Orchestral Family
Oct. 27, 2014 11:29 am

(written by guest blogger Bruce Atwell, Principal Horn, FVSO)


I have been the principal French horn of the Fox Valley Symphony since 1998. Over the course of those 16 years I have witnessed amazing artistic growth of the orchestra. The Fox Valley now has one of the premier orchestras in the state, something to be very proud of as a community. 

The players come from all walks of life, many are full time professional musicians and many have day jobs but the commitment to music making and to preserving this beautiful art form is universal. This is more than a collection of musicians; it is a family that comes together to present the incredible repertoire of the symphony orchestra to the community. I have seen the response from the audience to our concerts-you can feel the pride and love that is transferred from musicians to audience and back-there really is nothing else like it.

As the musician representative on the board of directors, I am particularly struck by the dedication of the board members who support and run this fine orchestra. I have been an orchestral musician for over 30 years and I have never seen a more committed, caring, and passionate board of directors and staff. 

The Fox Valley must protect and preserve this incredible asset. It should be a point of pride for everyone who lives here. When a community cares about art it creates a wonderful place to live and work.

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A View from the Stage: Heid Music and our Dream Set of Timpani
Oct. 20, 2014 1:47 pm

Our guest blogger this week is Paul Ristau, principal timpanist with the Fox Valley Symphony. Paul tells us a little bit about the set of timpani the FVS currently uses and how we were fortunate enough to get them:

Fox Valley Symphony is extremely fortunate to own one of the best sets of Timpani in the world, manufactured by Adams in Holland, and distributed here in the United States by Pearl Drum Co. They are known as the 'Cloyd Duff' model, named after the world-famous Timpanist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Cloyd Duff. I was fortunate to have studied with him in master classes. He is one of the greatest players ever.

Our set of five currently have a value of $40,000. They are some of the finest Timpani I have ever performed on, period. Years ago, I was fortunate to have worked with our Executive Director during Fox Valley Symphony's transition from performing at Lawrence University to our current home, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

At the time, I was asked to put together a "wish list" of all percussion instruments, being mindful of both quality, tonal excellence, and budget. This was for all equipment, as back then, when at Lawrence, the FVS did not own any of its own percussion equipment. So it was a pretty big deal to get it right. This initial list did not have the Adams Timpani included; as I never thought it could possibly materialize due to the cost.

Paul Heid, owner of Heid Music, called me the very next day. The symphony was working with Heid Music to order the equipment, getting the mission-critical equipment ordered first so we could start our season at the PAC. He told me he saw the list and then asked, "As Timpanist, what would be your dream set of Timpani?"

I remember it like it was yesterday. I told him "The Adams Cloyd Duff Timpani, of course."

He replied "Done."

I said, "What do you mean, done??"

He said he would figure out a way for this to happen...and he did. He worked his magic, as he was also President of NAMM at the time. He went above and beyond, ordered up these same Timpani, showcased them at NAMM, then brought them back to Appleton.

He gave me a call and said, "Hey Paul, your drums are in. Come on down to the store and check them out!"

I walked in the store, in the back storage room where he had them placed, removed the cover of one, saw they were the real deal and started crying. I just could not believe how someone out of the goodness of their heart, could go above and beyond in such a way. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life - and hence why I care for these drums they way I do. 

I will always remember what he did for us, and will be indebted with gratitude to him forever. It was magic.

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REVIEW: Fox Valley Symphony Starts 48th Season Strong
Oct. 6, 2014 1:34 pm

By: James Chaudoir - Post Crescent
The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra kicked off its 48th concert season with a fascinating program of challenging music. This concert also marked the beginning of Maestro Brian Groner's 20th year as conductor.
Opening the program was a spirited performance of Johann Strauss, Jr.'s delightful "Overture to Die Fledermaus." The overture is filled with an assortment of tunes that audiences have come to associate with the composer.
Attention was quickly turned to the feature work of the first half, "Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major" by Sergei Prokofiev, featuring guest artist Claire Huangci. The youthful Huangci wowed the audience with her seemingly effortless mastery of Prokofiev's massive and demanding opus.
The first movement opens with a simply stated yet tuneful solo by the clarinet, played eloquently by principal clarinetist David Bell. This tune quickly gives way to the strings, but the melodic serenity is suddenly ended with the arrival of the allegro section in the strings and the first entry of the solo piano. It was at this point the Ms. Huangci clearly let her presence be known.
Be it brilliant scalar passages or bursts of rhythmic energy, Huangci's clarity of line was always at the forefront. In addition, she has the ability to skillfully execute the intricate weavings of the piano line within Prokofiev's constantly shifting density of orchestral structure.
Two things stood out: her precise touch at the keyboard and expert blending of dynamics, a wonderful fusion of technique and artistry.
The second movement is a set of variations, which opens with the orchestra playing the main theme, a curiously witty melody first heard in the winds. The variations feature the solo piano. It is here where Prokofiev deviates from the gavotte feeling of the theme.
Huangci undoubtedly had a clear understanding of the personality of each variation and showed it in her playing, be it the gossamer trill and glissando that opens the first variation, the rapid scalar runs up and down the keyboard in the second, the wildly syncopated and angular gestures of the third, the beautiful free dialogue between piano and orchestra in the fourth or the frenetic pacing of the final. All these personalities were distinctly executed at the keyboard, making the movement all the more exciting.
The quiet ending of the second movement merges attaca to the finale, Allegro, ma non troppo. Groner's opening tempo was quite deliberate, adhering closely to the "but not too much" advice of the tempo marking.
Unquestionably, this is the true virtuoso movement of the concerto, with multiple climaxes and a brilliant ending. It was also here where Ms. Huangci demonstrated her technical skills to the fullest.
The coda is a musical confrontation between the orchestra and soloist, with both vying for compositional importance. Huangci's energy and concentration allowed her to handle the complex ornamentation, arpeggios, glissandos and other flourishes while cutting through the massive orchestra. Four lively chords scored for piano and orchestra together bring the concerto to a dramatic close.
Beethoven's "Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major (Eroica)" comprised the second half of the evening's program. As we've become accustomed to appreciate over the years, Groner's vision and execution of this masterwork was complete, thought-provoking, and most of all, musical.
The opening of this symphony never ceases to put a smile on my face, two marked E-flat major chords, and a gloriously simple arpeggiation of the tonic triad ... so simple, so lyrical, so Beethoven.
Groner's tempo choice unquestionably played into the heartfelt interpretation of the opening movement. Within the orchestra, the balance of the strings was particularly notable.
The haunting, well-known funeral march theme of the second movement, Adagio assai, is first heard played by the cellos and then given to the solo oboe, played beautifully by principal oboist Jennifer Hodges-Bryan. Also present in this movement was the use of fugue-like passages in the middle section. Groner's ideal choices of tempos and dynamics made the performance of this movement contributed to its success.
The third movement is an animated scherzo, filled with rhythmic energy, and a glorious passage of hunting calls heard in the horn section. The orchestra, and especially the horns, played expressively, paying careful attention to each of Groner's gestures from the podium.
The finale, Allegro molto, offered another set of variations for the evening. The movement itself is quite grandiose, and shows the direction Beethoven is moving regarding importance of the symphonic finale.
Again, Groner was at his best with his conducting, just the right tempo, energy, and clear identity to each of the thematic variations. All of these elements led to the orchestra's rendering a meaningfully expressive performance of Beethoven's masterwork.

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Welcome to Our 2014-15 Season!
Oct. 1, 2014 9:12 am

Thank you so much for being part of the Fox Valley Symphony's thrilling 2014-2015 season.  From the first notes on opening night (the sparkling and energetic Overture to Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss) to the last notes of the finale (brought to you by Liszt's epic tone poem Les Preludes) there will be music that inspires you.

Our orchestra is an amazing group of interesting, creative and talented people.  I hope that you find a chance to speak with some of the musicians of the FVS over the course of the season.  Each player brings something special to the sound; each player brings you their very best on every concert.  They serve both the art of music and our audience admirably.

Warmest Regards,
Brian Groner, Music Director

As I begin my tenure as president of the Board of Directors of the Fox Valley Symphony, I am very excited about this year's concert season and am grateful for the opportunity to help bring this wonderful gift, our symphony, to you.  It is my belief that art and music are some of the sweetest fruits in life.  They touch our soul, inspire us, and bring richness to life.  

In the Fox Valley, we enjoy and celebrate a rich tradition of art and music, and our symphony is one of the biggest reasons why.  From our schools and universities to the performing arts, the symphony is weaved into the fabric of our way of life.   Our symphony and its talented musicians work with many other organizations, businesses, and people.  By supporting and cultivating local musicians and artists in our community, we are not only enhancing our own lives but the lives of our family and friends for generations to come. 

The Fox Valley Symphony is dedicated to bringing education, art, and music to this community, to the next generation, and to you, our symphony family.  We are planning many new social, educational, and fun events this year and hope to see you there.   Our symphony family includes you, and we are very thankful for your patronage and financial support.  For without it, we would not be able to touch the lives of so many.  

Sincerely,
Peter Gianopoulos, Board President

As the season begins to take shape, I am continually amazed by the community effort involved. Our musicians spend hours of practice and rehearsal on each section, our conductor studies the score and our
technical crew plans each detail before opening night. Volunteers and staff work together to ensure everything is in place before the first note hits.

We've been given this incredible opportunity, and it is always met with sincere gratitude.

We are thankful for our sponsors and donors who make our season possible. We are thankful for our board members who help plan and implement our mission. We are thankful to the teachers working with music students in our community to engage future generations of artists and patrons. And we are thankful for you, who attend each concert and show your support with applause year after year as we work toward our 50th Anniversary.

Thank you,

Jamie LaFreniere, Chief Operating Officer 

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Local arts groups collaborate to bring masterwork to the PAC
Apr. 11, 2014 11:07 am

Carl Orff's Carmina Burana has become a classic for musicians and audiences because of its percussive music, hypnotic melodies, lilting passages and all-out, robust orchestration. On Saturday, May 3, more than 200 regional musicians will collaborate to present this classical masterwork in live performance at the Fox Cities PAC.
The rowdy subject matter is set to some of the most beautiful melodies in classical musical literature. The Carmina were songs of medieval traveling students and ex-monks who left universities and monasteries to pursue a roaring life of gambling, drinking and making love. The texts of the songs were discovered in a Bavarian monastery near Munich in the early 20th-century and are a mixture of 13th-century Latin and "low" German. The songs in the Carmina cover a range of topics, as familiar then as they are today: the fickleness of fortune and wealth, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of Spring, and the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust.
The performance culminates the Fox Valley Symphony's 47th season and is a favorite of Music Director Brian Groner. "There is something wonderfully primal about the text and the music of Carmina Burana," Groner said. "When it speaks of power it is bold and over the top aggressive; when it talks of love it is either bawdy or exquisitely tender."
According to newVoices Artistic Director, Phillip Swan, the masterwork is a welcome collaboration with the symphony. "Choral/orchestral collaborations provide a cross-pollination of musical interests," Swan said. "Consequently, it's good for the community to have arts organizations working together to put on quality productions."
For singers & instrumentalists alike, Carmina Burana is a musical challenge because of the range of emotions needed to interpret the composer's music. One movement requires repetitive, full-voiced singing and playing while the next movement requires a gentle, lyrical approach.
"It takes an unusual amount of concentration to maintain the rhythmic intensity Orff demands in the score, and because it is repetitive it can be physically challenging," Groner said. "It's a big sing," Swan said. "The melodies are present an extreme of emotional singing requiring consistent vocal technique as well as artistic interpretation."
Singers in the Lawrence Academy of Music Capriccio Girl Choir in grades 5-7 are excited for the opportunity to sing with a full orchestra, professional soloists (one of whom is a girl choir alumna), and an adult choir. "The girls are learning to listen to how their part fits into the other vocal and symphonic parts," said Director of the Lawrence Academy of Music, Karen Bruno. "Singing with an orchestra allows them the opportunity to hear different timbres with their 'accompaniment.' The girls are used to hearing only the piano, with occasionally one other string or wind instrument, while they sing." 

A FAMILY AFFAIR
For the Hodges family, the performance will be a reunion. Father Mike Hodges is a founding member of newVoices where he sings with his son, Jeremy. Daughter Jennifer Hodges Bryan is an oboist with the symphony and brother Jonathan is a cellist. The family shares a long history of music and fostering musical development.
"We gave our kids outlets for enjoying music," Mike Hodges said. "They all started in violin and in time gravitated toward their own choice of instrument," he said. His wife, Donna, drove the kids to lessons at the Lawrence Academy of Music and checked their practice progress.
Jeremy Hodges says the opportunity to perform together is a normal part of a musical family.
"But in the end it does have a special personal meaning: the people I care most about are with me and sharing the fun," he said.
His father agrees. "I get such enjoyment from performing and to be able to have them on stage with me doubles the enjoyment. There is a sense of pride in watching their accomplishments," Mike Hodges said.
Jonathan Hodges says the different roles family members play allows for unique perspectives. "I am more toward the front of the stage, Jennifer is in the middle, my father and Jeremy are toward the back and my mother is out in the audience. Every spot does sound quite different and can expose different aspects of the performance," he said.
Family members are continuing the tradition as Jennifer Hodges Bryan has her three daughters enrolled in music lessons. "Having them learn an instrument and involved in music is something that I really wanted for them because I think there are several benefits to a child's development when they are involved in music," she said.

HEAR IT LIVE
Both conductors urge area residents to experience the work live, rather than listening to recordings. "You can't reproduce the sound of 200 musicians live by putting it in a little speaker and expect it to sound the same. Hearing this music live is worth unplugging," Swan said.
"Some of the greatest pieces of western civilization's art music combine the forces of chorus and orchestra," Groner said. "There is a power in them that is greater than each standing alone."
Concert information is:

CARMINA BURANA
MAY 3, 7:30 p.m., Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra
newVoices choir
Lawrence Academy of Music Capriccio Girl Choir
Carl Orff's Carmina Burana is an enduring audience favorite, and one of the most recognizable pieces of music ever written for orchestra, chorus and soloists.
Soprano soloist Alisa Jordheim ; tenor soloist Steven Paul Spears ; baritone soloist Chad Sloan

For ticket information, please visit www.foxvalleysymphony.com

- Written by Mary Schmidt of newVoices

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Student Artwork to Shine for Compassion Project
Feb. 28, 2014 4:49 pm

As part of our upcoming Cory Chisel concert, we are proud to be working with the Fox Cities P.A.C. and local high school students to bring another Compassion Project event to our community. "The Art of Compassion" is a silent auction of student art, inspired by the works of local non-profit organizations with all proceeds to be give to those organizations. Students chose to work with NAMI, ARC of the Fox Valley, Harbor House and the Fox Cities Emergency Shelter.

Art Student Sarah Ellisen at work on her project. 
The students have been working hard on their projects, and there are over 120 pieces to bid on in the auction. We are so fortunate to have such a large group of dedicated students and teachers working on behalf of these organizations. 

Chip Noffke, Visual Arts teacher at Appleton East, was kind enough to share his experience with us.

"As an AASD Fine Arts Teacher, I was excited and honored be part of this great opportunity.  Visually listening to our youth is something I do on a daily basis, yet I am still amazed when I see the range of results and compassion that so easily pours from our students.  It is my hope that as you enjoy the answers to this rich question, your hearts and eyes will also be opened to see the possibilities and fullness of our all futures through our young artists' eyes and these four noteworthy organizations.

"In continuation with our last community wide event, Fox Valley youth artists share how "The Fine Arts" continue to be one of the strongest and most diverse communication tools.  Students have once again easily opened our emotional doors and bridged the connections between community, education and humanity through their art which focus on local organizations and the compassion they provide for the Fox Valley.

"NAMI, ARC of the Fox Valley, Harbor House and the Fox Cities Emergency Shelter are four groups that have various roles in our K-12 systems, though often over looked how. Our students had the opportunity to explore the ways in which each organization played a role in helping all ages, genders, and families succeed in coping and overcoming life's left turns.  One common point that had a significant connection with students is that we all knew of somebody that has worked with one of these organizations on some level.  This offered great inspiration for the artists.

"The artists involved were asked to share their interpretation of what compassion looks like for one of the organizations or how their art could offer compassion for somebody working with one of the four organizations.  Artists then used their gifts and talents to visually express their feelings, thoughts, and ideas about each group to bring awareness and support to these service organizations right here in the Fox Valley with amazing results.  Each original art work reflects their unique answers."

Please join us for this special event at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center on Saturday, March 15 at 7:30pm. You can purchase tickets to the concert on our website.

Doors open at 6:30, so come early to see and bid on the art!

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The Compassion Project Joins the FVSO
Feb. 11, 2014 1:23 pm

We are proud to partner with Appleton's Compassion Project for their second event here in the Fox Valley, the Art of Compassion. 

At our March 15 Cory Chisel concert, we will be opening K.C. Theater at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center as our art gallery. Before the concert and at intermission, our audience can view works of art from our local high schools and bid on them in a silent auction. Each piece is inspired by one of our local charities, and the money raised from the auction of each piece will be donated to that specific charity. It is an amazing way for our students to dedicate their time time and art to a charity that is meaningful to them.

Bridget Flaherty, St. Francis Xavier High School student
and musician with Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra
St. Francis Xavier High School student Bridget Flaherty is our coordinator for this project, and we are also lucky to have her as part of our Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra. For the Art of Compassion project, Bridget will be working with the artists and helping to set up the silent auction at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. 

"Having the opportunity to work on a project like the Compassion project not only inspires me but also proves to me that there is hope for my generation," says Flaherty. 

"When deciding what I wanted to work on for my required Junior Service Project at Xavier High School, I knew I wanted to choose something regarding the arts. Music and the arts have been an enormous part of my life since I was young through violin and piano lessons, participation in the Fox Valley Youth Symphonies, and participating in choir and art classes at school. When my mother, Beth Flaherty, suggested the Compassion Project I knew it was the perfect fit. Now that I have a deeper understanding of the purpose of the project and the involvement I have an even greater appreciation for the wonderful thing the project does.  

"I believe the most important aspect of the project is the unification of the Appleton schools through the value of compassion. All the students participating have different perspectives on what compassion means to them, and after reading all 120 of the artist statements, my definition of compassion has broadened. Every piece of artwork is worth more than any amount of money could buy it for because of the thought and hard work put into it by the student artists. 

"This exhibit will not only inspire you, but it will encourage you to step back and ask yourself what compassion means to you, and do your best to live your life with those values."

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Turning Cory Chisel's Music into a Symphonic Celebration
Feb. 7, 2014 3:26 pm


Of course we are excited about our upcoming concert with Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons on March 15. And one of the things making this concert even more special for us is that one of our own musicians, cellist Heather Anderson, is arranging the music for the symphony and Cory! 

Heather has been performing with the Fox Valley Symphony since our 1995-96 season when she was in college. She's also worked with our Youth Orchestras and our Partners in Education program over the years. For this concert, Heather will be arranging parts for the symphony and scores for conductor Brian Groner to play Cory Chisel's popular songs. It is a complex puzzle, and Heather tells us a bit about her experience: 



Heather Anderson working with our Philharmonia students.
"Composing is a funny process for me.  Or maybe what I experience is pretty typical.  I don't know.  For all the analyzing I do - keys, time signatures, form, etc. - none of it matters much in the end.  No amount of analyzing and planning can create the synergy of notes working together to create something that elicits an emotional response from the musicians and audience.  That takes a bit of luck, some artistry and a group that can embrace and interpret a song with zeal.  The more I think about a song and analyze it the harder it is for me to actually "put pen to paper" (or in this case mouse to Finale software) and find the motivation to actually begin writing a song.  It can be very scary to stare at a screen with blank staffs and not be sure which part of that giant elephant to begin eating first.  It can cause anxiety and frustration. 

"Blank canvases, journals or music staffs are scary to look at.   Insecurities don't help.  A lot of us are afraid to fail, but just as big of an inhibitor is being afraid to succeed.  If I dwell on either too much, the muse flees and I can't write anything.  So, where to start?  As a cellist I almost always start with the bass line.  I'll listen over and over. I'll hum it.  Then I'll transcribe it out for our bass section. Then I listen to the melody and start to transcribe it, putting it anywhere to begin with, usually into the violins just to have it be somewhere at first.   But those are still just planning and analyzing.  Those don't reflect energy, style, or the soul of a piece.   Often I get stuck at this point because I am still only using my left brain, still analyzing.  


"Maestro Groner said something to the symphony in a rehearsal once, perhaps 5 or 6 years ago, that has really stayed with me.  We were playing a modern 20th century piece that very few of the orchestra members cared for.  He could sense this and he stopped us.   In a calm, quiet voice he said something along these lines.  "Look, if we don't believe in this piece, how will the audience ever believe in it or enjoy it?  Here's the rub:  You don't know what you like; you like what you know.  People gravitate towards the familiar."   So, we all were charged with listening to that particular piece often at home as a part of the concert preparation process.  This has changed how I approach a lot of music, familiar and new, those that I like and songs I dislike.   So, when arranging one of Cory's songs I listen to it A LOT.  Enough that I dream about it.  Enough that I know the chord changes and melodic variations from one verse to the next by heart.  I'll get fixated on a piece for a week and sing it in the car, at work, in the shower.   I may be a Cory Chisel expert by the end of this composing project!  This week my idee fixe is "Born Again."  Next it'll be "Mockingbird" since I'm starting that one tomorrow.


"At some point during my listening the magic happens.   Ideas just start to pop into my head, unbidden.  I didn't plan to put that melody in the trumpets, but that's what's in my head and, wow, it sounds pretty darn good there!  Harmonies unfold, interesting little timbres pop out in my imagination where, for example, chimes in the percussion section would really accentuate a spot and create a little bubble of excitement.  Often I'm surprised at what my imagination present to me.  Sometimes I'll hear whole sections played, finished in my mind and have to write it down very quickly to remember what I "heard."   But it all starts with a lot of listening to Cory's CD's and really coming to know the song.  And it takes relaxing my mind and being open to the muse, if you will.  And when a song is completed I'll routinely listen and ask myself "how did I do that?"   The answer is:  Relax, listen, and create. 


"I am thrilled Cory will get to hear his music interpreted with an entire symphony orchestra - something usually reserved for huge names like Sting or Metallica.  I am both excited for my peers to play my notes, my work, my interpretations of Cory's tunes and I am equally terrified.  Cory, Maestro Groner and my peers have high expectations because they are all professional musicians and expect a professional level product from me.  And most have never played anything of mine before.  While I have premiered a piece with a few Illinois orchestras in the last few years, most of my peers never even knew I wrote music until they saw my name in the January concert program!  I know that, even if I have some typos for less familiar instruments to me, the other musicians will celebrate the occasion with me and give me excellent constructive feedback so I can improve. Already I have had numerous offers from my peers to look at parts and help me understand their instruments better; they want me to succeed.  This is greatly comforting and buoys my energy.  I'm so excited to share Cory's and my music with them and the audience and have the chance to both compose and play something with my own symphony orchestra, my home team.  This is truly a rare opportunity and I feel blessed to have been trusted with this task by Brian Groner."

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January Reveiw: 2014 Off to a Great Start!
Jan. 27, 2014 1:36 pm

Soloist and Principal Flute, Linda Nielsen Korducki
We had a great first concert of 2014!
Here is our review from James Chaudoir of University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

"Cold weather didn't keep devotees of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra away from their subscription concert, "Celebrating Women Composers," on Saturday night. The music selected formed a rather eclectic program, spanning a wide range of musical history and varying styles.

The concert opened with a rendering of a 2008 composition by the American conductor/composer Diane Wittry, titled "Mists." Scored for full orchestra, the piece featured numerous contrasting colors and emotions, from its dark opening, to its brass-laden climax. While there were occasional moments of musical interest, in all, I found the piece to be rather lackluster, and deficient in continuity.
The orchestra's principal flutist, Linda Nielsen Korducki, was featured soloist for the Concertino for Flute and Orchestra in D major, by Cecile Chaminade.

From its familiar opening melody, and through the technically advanced passages, Korducki demonstrated her complete understanding of the music. She possesses a lovely tone, with great strength in the low register, and balance throughout the flute's entire range. Her articulation was precise as were the rapid scales featured in the concertino's middle section.

A rich fullness was present in the orchestral accompaniment; a nice balance, supporting, but never overriding the prominent role of the flute. It was an absolute joy to hear this time-honored work so beautifully played by an accomplished professional.

The crowning glory of the evening, however, had to be the performance of the "Gaelic Symphony" by Amy Beach. This 40-plus minute composition in four movements can truly be recognized as one of the great symphonies in American musical history.

The orchestra played at its best while closely adhering to conductor Brian Groner's expert direction. The color, harmony, thematic elements and sheer genius of orchestration technique put this work in a class by itself.

The opening movement, Allegro con fuoco, was filled with grand and heroic musical gestures. From the beginning, Beach was able to show her familiarity with orchestration and color, while reducing the full orchestra to many clearly defined solo passages. In the case of the first movement, these were primarily found in the principal horn and clarinet parts, expertly played by Bruce Atwell, principal horn, and Christopher Zello, principal clarinet.

This idea of "featured" solos continues into the second movement, Alla Siciliana; Allegro vivace, in three part form, alternating from the lilt of the siciliano which emphasized the winds, to a sprightly middle section calling attention to the strings.

The third movement, Lento con molto espressione, with the emphasis on expressive. The highlight of this movement was an extended violin solo played beautifully by concertmaster Yuliya Smead. This solo concludes while being joined in duet with the principal cello, again, well played by Laura Kenney Henckel. I can't help but feel that the word "gorgeous" best describes this movement.

The finale, Allegro di molto, was filled with motion and rhythmic energy. It is in this movement where Groner's direction came to the fore. His tempos were exhilarating, and his attention to detail brought out the very best that the score had to offer.
It was evident that the orchestra was feeling the excitement of playing this glorious symphony."

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Celebrating Women Composers - January 25, 2014
Jan. 24, 2014 3:14 pm

Linda Nielsen Korducki
This Saturday, January 25, we start our performance year by celebrating women composers. You will hear pieces from Diane Wittry, Cecile Chaminade and Amy Beach.

Music history, in much the same way as history in general, has tended to neglect the contributions of women.   Think for a moment about Mozart's elder sister "Nannerl", who was often thought of as having an even greater gift than her brother.  When she reached what was thought of as a "marriageable age" she was no longer allowed to perform.  

Another example would be that of Fanny Mendelssohn, the sister of Felix Mendelssohn.  Their music teacher Carl Zelter found Fanny to be the more gifted of the two but today when we say the name Mendelssohn in musical circles we make the assumption that we are referring to the younger Felix.

And so, we are presenting a concert of music written by women to raise awareness of the fact that talent is not based on gender.

The Chaminade is a staple of the flute literature.  It is that wonderful combination of demanding for the performer, and wonderfully attractive for the listener. Our own principal flute, Linda Nielsen Korducki will be our soloist for the piece!


The Gaelic Symphony of the American composer Amy Beach (Mrs. H.H.A. Beach) is beautifully written, quite late German Romantic in style and is a testament to her intellect and persistence.  Her story is an interesting one.  She was a true child prodigy, singing and composing before the age at which most children can speak.  She had a career as a concert pianist, but was not "allowed" to continue performing when she married but was "allowed" one concert of her own compositions per year.  She is known as the first American female composer of large scale compositions. 

We will see you tomorrow!
- Brian Groner, FVSO Music Director

The concert is at 7:30pm at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Join us for a pre-concert talk at 6:40pm and a post-concert party in the lobby!

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