For any arts organization to survive for 73 years, much less thrive that long, is quite an accomplishment. That’s exactly what the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra has done this year as it inches closer to achieving the impressive landmark of serving our community for three-quarters of a century. Alicia Deges, the new Executive Director, says “it’s exciting to see how the WFSO is reaching beyond our incredible performances to now also focus on quality educational and community outreach events that touch people from all walks of life.”
The 2019-2020 season, dubbed “Inside Symphonic Music,” opened on September 21st with internationally recognized pianist Joyce Yang performing Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 3.” According to Maestro Fakhouri, “Working with Joyce Yang was an extremely rewarding experience for all involved. She is a very gifted pianist who is also a wonderful collaborator.”
The second concert of the season continues with the music of Beethoven, whose 250th birthday will be celebrated worldwide in December. Texomans will also have the opportunity to hear a lesser-played symphony by Mozart, as well as the overture to “The Barber of Seville,” a comic opera by Gioachino Rossini about the amorous young Count Almaviva’s attempts to win the hand of the beautiful Rosina.
The second work on the program Mozart’s “Symphony No. 25 in G minor,” written in 1773. “To think that this dramatic symphony was penned by a 17-year old is almost mind-boggling,” says Fakhouri. “Mozart is certainly one of history’s best operatic composers and his symphonies, in my opinion, are just as dramatic and powerful as his operas. It is not a coincidence that Czech director Miloš Forman used the first movement of this symphony as the opening music to his movie ‘Amadeus.’”
The featured work in this concert is Beethoven’s “7th Symphony,” which marks a radical break with the stylistic conventions of the Classical period, while at the same time pointing to the Romantic movement to come. Fakhouri chose the three composers on this program because there are some interesting ties between them. Early in his career, Beethoven worked hard to break free from the overpowering shadow of Mozart, and in turn, at the end of his career, his music, which had gotten very heavy and complex, was challenged by the much lighter, more melodic music of Rossini.
The “7th Symphony” premiered three years before Rossini’s opera in 1813 at a charity concert for wounded soldiers in Vienna. As Fakhouri explains it, “the rhythmic vitality and innovation in Beethoven’s 7th is revolutionary because it uses incessant rhythmic figures as the glue that propels the entire piece. No wonder Wagner described this symphony as the ‘The Apotheosis of Dance.’”
December marks the second major film-and-music concert performed by the WFSO with “Home Alone in Concert” on the 14th. According to Deges, “Attending this concert is definitely a must for your holiday season. The full movie will be presented on the big screen while our wonderful orchestra performs the score live for the audience.” Anyone who attended “Pixar in Concert” two seasons ago will surely recall with pleasure the excitement of that live multi-media event.
Along with the WFSO’s new “Symphony Kids Night Out” at the Bill Bartley Family YMCA the night of the show, they are also hosting “Beethoven at the Brewery” on November 14th from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Wichita Falls Brewing Company. “Beethoven at the Brewery” is a chance for anyone interested in hearing live music performed by a handful of WFSO musicians, as well as an opportunity to share a brew with the conductor, staff, and symphony volunteers in an intimate setting. For more info on these events and the concert itself, contact 723-6202 or wfso.org.
Written by Todd Giles.