October 14, 2017~ New Beginnings with Fouad Fakhouri
Memorial Auditorium, 7:30 pm, 1300 7th, Wichita Falls, TX
Mozart: Overture from Le nozze di Figaro
Marquez: Danzon No. 2
Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite
Brahms: Symphony No. 1
With over two decades of international credits as a conductor and composer, Fouad Fakhouri is committed to actively engaging with audiences through powerful artistic experiences. Known for his “musical accuracy” and “emotional intensity,” his performances have been celebrated for their broad, dynamic and powerful interpretations, which go beyond the score to capture both the essence and spirit of the music.
In June 2016, after a year and half long international search, Fakhouri was named Music Director of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra (Michigan). From 2004 – 2016 Fakhouri served as Music Director and Conductor of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (North Carolina). Previous appointments include Principal Guest Conductor of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra (North Carolina) as well as Music Director and Conductor of the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra where he led the orchestra on its first international tour to Austria and Germany. He continues to be in high demand as a guest conductor. Among his many recent appearances are the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra (Lebanon), Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (New York), Cairo Symphony Orchestra (Egypt) and the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra (Sophia, Bulgaria).
In addition to conducting, Fakhouri is an active composer of a multitude of symphonic, chamber, choral and solo music. His works have been premiered and performed by the English Chamber Orchestra (UK), the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, the Mediterranean Orchestra (Italy) and the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra to name a few.
Fakhouri hails from a musical family whose roots go back four generations. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from the University of North Texas, and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting, as well as a Master of Music in Composition/Theory from the Pennsylvania State University. He earned his Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition from West Texas A & M University.
In December 2014 in recognition of “his impressive career achievements, phenomenal leadership of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (FSO), and dedication to music and the community” Methodist University (NC) bestowed upon him an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. In March 2016 he was inducted into the Fayetteville (NC) Music Hall of Fame and in April 2016, upon the completion of a highly successful 11-season tenure with the FSO, individual symphony donors honored him with establishing “The Fouad K. Fakhouri Endowment for Artistic Excellence” – a $1.1 million fund that will “continue his legacy of excellence forever”.
Fakhouri resides in New York City with his wife Diane Lavelle, an advertising executive, and their daughter Isabella.
Program Notes by Dr. Ruth Morrow
Mozart: Overture from Le nozze di Figaro
Le nozze di Figaro is the first of three operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in which he collaborated with Italian Lorenzo Da Ponte as his librettist. The opera, written and premiered in 1786 after a play by Beaumarchais, tells the story of two servants (Figaro and Susanna) who manage to get married despite the shenanigans and intrigue of their employer and others. The overture Mozart wrote to precede the opera is as busy as are the various characters in the opera itself. While never stating actual themes from the opera, the music of the overture flits from one idea into another, from one part of the orchestra to another, always in motion.
Márquez: Danzón No. 2
Arturo Márquez was born in 1950 in the Sonora region of Mexico. His father was a mariachi musician and father’s father a Mexican folk musician. The family was alive with these musics as well as Mexican salon music of the period. The first of nine children, Arturo was the only one to become a musician, attending the Mexican Music Conservatory and subsequently gaining a MFA in composition in 1990 from the California Institute of the Arts.
Danzón No. 2 was commissioned by the National Autonomous University of Mexico and premiered by the Orchestra Filarmonica de la UNAM in 1994 in Mexico City. It is dedicated to his daughter, Lily. Based on the rhythms found in the danzón couples dance originating from Cuba, Marquez’s Danzón No. 2 was inspired by a visit to a dance hall in Veracruz, Mexico, where this dance style also flourishes. Slower elegant themes juxtapose with themes of greater rhythmic urgency. The piece gained worldwide popularity after its inclusion in the 2007 European and American tour if the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venazuela under Gustavo Dudamel. As heard on Weekend Edition (NPR), Marquez explains that the piece was an inspired response “to the social and political upheaval around him, particularly the Zapatista Chiapas uprising against the Mexican government. ‘The social life around you really influences you, no? So that's what happened in Danzón No. 2,’ Márquez says. ‘Yes, there was this background, this knowledge background in 1993, of the salons, the dance saloons. But there was also this — what's happening in Mexico in January and February, and I think this piece, it shows — it has hope. I think it's a piece for hope, para esperanza.’”
Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite (Concert Suite No. 2, 1919)
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was a Russian-born pianist, composer, and conductor widely considered one of the most influential 20th century composers. The Firebird (L’Oiseau de feu) is a 1910 ballet based on (previously unrelated) Russian/Slavic folk tales of a Firebird, an evil sorcerer, and magic feathers. It was the first ballet for which Stravinsky composed music for the Ballet Russes of Sergei Diaghilev on tour in Paris, and its success led to subsequent commissions from Diaghilev to Stravinsky for the ballets Petroushka and The Rite of Spring, among others. The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra will be performing the 2nd suite of pieces excerpted from the complete ballet score by the composer specifically for concert performance.
Brahms: Symphony No. 1
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was a German composer and pianist who lived the majority of his professional life in Vienna, Austria. His reputation as a composer led to the 19th century conductor Hans von Bülow naming him the third of the “Three B’s” along with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven. He worked with and for many of his performing contemporaries, including the violinist Joseph Joachim and pianist Clara Schumann.
Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, has possibly the longest gestation period of a major work in the canon of classical music repertoire: 21 years, from 1855 to 1976. The first set of plans for his First Symphony became his Piano Concerto No. 1 (1858). It was another ten years before what we now know as his First Symphony began to take actual shape, and yet another eight before its completion and premiere. Cast in four movements, the first moves through a dark and intense slow introduction into an energetic and unsettled faster tempo. Despite all movements ending in major, it is only with the final Allegro non troppo, ma con brio of the last movement that the previous angst found throughout the composition finally subsides.