The Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 71st anniversary with their season opener on September 22nd under the baton of Fouad Fakhouri. Last season, Fakhouri’s first with the WFSO, proved to be one of the best seasons in recent memory with guest artists Wilford Brimley, Martin Camacho, Canadian Brass, and Pixar in Concert.
This season continues moving the WFSO in new directions and promises to be equally as engaging. There’s a big difference this year, though. The WFSO has added a sixth concert to the 2018-2019 season. Not only is there an extra concert on the schedule, two of the six concerts will be performed at Akin Auditorium on the campus of MSU-Texas. Alicia Deges, Assistant Executive Director, says, “We are anticipating that this new direction for the WFSO will make concert-going better for our patrons. Not only is the new venue more accessible physically, but the addition of an additional performance time will make a perfect afternoon activity for young families and students!”
The two Akin concerts are really four, in that each Saturday evening performance will be repeated during a Sunday matinee at 3:00 pm. Akin is known for its excellent acoustics. It’s smaller than Memorial Auditorium—smaller and more intimate, which will give Fakhouri the opportunity to present music that is itself a little more intimate, like American composer Charles Ives’ “The Unanswered Question” and Felix Mendelssohn’s “Italian” symphony. According to the Maestro, “The new Akin series expands our traditional concert offering, allowing us to explore repertoire that is better suited for a more intimate venue. The fact that Akin has superior acoustics is a great plus for our musicians, guest artists and our audiences.”
Also new this season are four thematic concerts—“Symphonie Fantastique” to celebrate the arrival of fall in early November, the “WFSO does Hollywood” in January, “Dance Mix” in February, and, of course, the annual WFSO “Holiday Celebration” in December.
The orchestra will be joined by three young world-class soloists this season. Pianist Lewis Warren, Jr. will be performing Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major” on Sept. 22nd at Akin. Warren, a native of Wichita Falls, has studied at both SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and the New England Conservatory in Boston. Another young pianist, Shai Wosner, will perform Schumann’s “Piano Concert in A Minor” on Nov. 3rd. Originally from Israel, Wosner has studied with several well-known teachers in America, including Emanuel Ax at the Juilliard School. The season finale will feature violinist William Hagen, who was recently hailed in “The Dallas Morning News” as a “brilliant virtuoso.” “I am very excited about next season’s guest artists,” says Fakhouri. “They are brilliant soloists who bring great virtuosity and artistry to the concert hall. I am particularly looking forward to working, once again, with my friend Shai Wosner.”
For more information on what is sure to be an exciting season, call 940-723-6202 or visit wfso.org or Facebook (Wichita Falls Symphony).
-Dr. Todd Giles