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CONCERT ETIQUETTE CLAPPING AND SHOWING APPRECIATION - If you are unsure of whether or not clapping is appropriate, follow the lead of the experienced audience members around you. If you are still unsure when to applaud, watch the conductor. When he has dropped his hands down to his sides, the applause may begin. NO RECORDING ALLOWED - Recording of any kind is strictly prohibited due to copyright issues and to not distract the performers. Flash photography is also not allowed. Photos can be taken before and after the performance, as well as during intermission. LEAVING MID-PERFORMANCE - If you must leave during a performance, please do so quietly and quickly, respecting those around you. When reentering, you must wait until the music has stopped or after intermission. CELL PHONES/DIGITAL DEVICES - Cell phones, watch alarms, pagers, cameras, and other electronic devices should be turned off prior to performances in the concert hall. CURTAIN CALLS AND ENCORES - If audience enthusiasm remains sustained, after much applause, the performers may return to the stage and resume performance positions, signaling an encore or bonus performance. Standing ovations are a wonderful way to express your love of a performance if you have really been swept away. When in doubt, do not do anything that makes people notice YOU instead of the performers!

2017-2018 CONCERT SCHEDULE Friday, February 2, 2018 – América, América VSO Concert IV Mariachi Aztlán McAllen Performing Arts Center Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Couture Ravel Chamber Concert II Geoffrey Wong, violin; Benjamin Ponder, cello; Daniel Steenken, piano Sky Tower Club, Chase Bank Tower Friday, March 2, 2018 – Spectacular Broadway & Much More VSO Concert V Asiya Korepanova, piano McAllen Performing Arts Center Friday, April 6, 2018 – Forbidden Pleasures of Carmina Burana VSO Concert VI Valley Symphony Chorale David Means, Chorale Director Heather Phillips, soprano; Brian Yeakley, tenor; Lee Poulis, bass McAllen Performing Arts Center

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Symphonic Visions Season The Valley Symphony Orchestra (VSO) strives to improve life in a diverse community through artistic excellence in the performance and preservation of great music as we engage, inspire, and educate the populations of the Rio Grande Valley. Through supporting the VSO, the Children’s Education Concerts and the Chamber Concert Series, the mission can be achieved to its highest potential. After its foundation in 1952 at the formerly named Pan American College, the corporate entity of South Texas Symphony Association (STSA) was created in 1976. Community volunteers not only wanted to maintain a symphonic orchestra in the RGV, but found a need to support the development of public school string programs, summer music programs, chamber concerts and educational concerts. In 2000, the Rio Grande Valley International Music Festival (RGVIMF) joined STSA to continue the Children’s Education Concert Series. In its eighteenth year, the program has provided this unique musical experience to over 150,000 low-income, predominantly Hispanic children, in the Rio Grande Valley that may not ordinarily obtain this cultural experience and musical outlet. The VSO hopes to positively influence the children involved with these programs with the ultimate goal of enhancing their outlook on cultural, musical experiences that would translate into possible music education careers, higher performance in academics and increased school retention. Apart from showcasing 90+ local, professional, and classically trained musicians from the Rio Grande Valley and 120+ volunteer and community-based vocalists, VSO also takes great pride in exposing the RGV to internationally and critically-acclaimed soloists who perform as guest artists. As of this year, the VSO now has two homes to perform in, two spectacular venues that are acoustically tuned to the VSO musicians. The VSO hopes to continue the success in being an important part of the community fabric with the support of loyal patrons and the business community.

VSO 2017-18 Season



Welcome to the 2017-18 Valley Symphony Orchestra Season As we embark into season sixty-six, we must acknowledge and celebrate the VSO’s accomplishments in successfully providing superb musical performances, fiercely talented musicians and incredible soloists, as well as the focus on music education and exposure to the youth of the Rio Grande Valley. We invite you to enjoy yourselves and we appreciate your faithful devotion to the VSO as patrons, audience members, cities, educational institutions, underwriters, sponsors and advertisers. With your help, we can secure the VSO’s existence for another sixty years. As the demand for social media and instant communication grows, symphonies have had to evolve to keep up with the digital era. We take great pride in being able to transition while still preserving the precision and power of LIVE musical performances. As the Maestro describes it, “the VSO concerts generate much passion, in turn this passion fulfills our mission – To engage, inspire and educate through excellence in the performance of great music.” On behalf of the Valley Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors, we pledge to continue to work to preserve, inspire and educate in the name of great music and protect this precious gem of the Rio Grande Valley. - Ernesto Sepulveda

VSO 2017-18 Season


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PETER DABROWSKI - Music Director/Conductor The Valley Symphony Orchestra celebrates Maestro Peter Dabrowski’s seventeenth season as Music Director and Conductor. A native of Warsaw, Poland, Dabrowski continues with an unparalleled commitment to provide exhilarating musical performances and education in the Rio Grande Valley. Additionally, he serves as Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts, Professor of Music and Conductor of the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley Symphony Orchestra in Edinburg. Dabrowski is also a renowned guest conductor with critical acclaim and in demand throughout Europe and the United States. Before moving to the Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Dabrowski was the Music Director and Conductor of the American University Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., the American Youth Concert Orchestra in Northern Virginia and the Chicago Philharmonic. “Familiar masterworks are comforting. They often bring us great memories. Unfamiliar music is sometimes difficult to accept. The important thing to remember is that all music affects us. Music is the most universal language. It speaks directly to our hearts, minds, and souls. Music has the power to change lives. The performing orchestra is a very complex and sophisticated team of musicians. As a conductor, it is my task to artistically unify the extraordinary talents of each musician into orchestral harmony.” - Peter Dabrowski

CONDUCTOR EMERITI Dr. Carl Seale † Dr. Christopher Munn

VSO 2017-18 Season



Violin I

Geoffrey Wong, Concertmaster Diana Seitz, Associate Concertmaster Danny Diaz Oscar Dodier Marvin Eagle James Escobedo Gerardo Garcia Kristen Gerhard Angelica Martinez Adriana Olivan Carlos Peralez James Robertson Kurt Roehm Pedro Vera

Violin II

Lindsey Gamble, Principal Silvia Tsai, Associate Principal Abel Acuna Mirelle Acuna Marina Fernandez Jaime Garza Vicky Martinez Rafael Ramirez Joaquin Ruiz Jonathan Vasquez***


Jennifer Miller, Principal Aaron Barrera Miguel GutiĂŠrrez Brian Miller Young Sin Choi Linda Sobin** James Wilson



Benjamin Ponder, Principal Tido Janssen, Associate Principal Andy Arango Irvin Castillo Anna Chance Natalie Haugeberg Joe Luna Emilia Moncivais Jen Mulhern Catherine Norquest-Vasquez

Cindy Cripps, Principal

French Horn

Barbara Keller, Principal Carol Brown Rachel Lovestrand Gray Scaglione


Jared Broussard, Principal Art Brownlow Melanie Kulaga Johnny Munoz


David Cassady, Principal Thomas Hudson John Hunter Sofia Leal de Leon Salvador Marmalejo Victoria Perez Gabriel Pruesse


Jacob Banda, Principal Benjamin Coy William Haugeberg Oscar Herrera



Scott Roeder,* Principal

Zynahia Banda, Co-Principal Krista Jobson, Co-Principal Brielle Frost Cassandra Sanchez



Yingching Jeter, Principal Carlos Cantu Victoria Juhasz


Michael Gersten, Co-Principal Bill O’Neil, Co-Principal Melissa Vaughan, Co-Principal William Gillum

Philip Johnson, Principal Mauricio Castellano Richard Castillo Virginia Davis David LaClair Angel Martinez Erick Ochoa Adan Rosa III Ron Schermerhorn Ed Trevino Isaac Vasquez


Alice Keene, Principal


Art Gonzalez, Co-Principal Eric Ehramjian, Co-Principal Carol McNabb-Goodwin, Co-Principal

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Geoffrey Wong

Diana Seitz

Lindsey Gamble

Jennifer Miller

Concertmaster First Violin Drs. Tawhid & Mihaela Shuaib

Associate Concertmaster First Violin Mr. & Mrs. Gary Gurwitz

Principal Second Violin Mrs. Trudie Elmore Abbott & Mr. Glynn Morgan

Principal Viola Mr. & Mrs. Kirk Clark

Benjamin Ponder

Tido Janssen

David Cassady

Krista Jobson

Principal Cello Loring Cook Foundation

Associate Principal Cello Mrs. Trudie Elmore Abbott & Mr. Glynn Morgan

Principal Bass Mr. & Mrs. Charles E. Thompson, Jr.

Co-Principal Flute Stanley Sherman

Eric Ehramjian

Art Gonzalez

Carol McNabb

Barbara Keller

Co-Principal Bassoon IDEA Academy

Co-Principal Bassoon Dr. & Mrs. William Gillum

Co-Principal Bassoon Dr. & Mrs. William Gillum

Principal French Horn Mr. & Mrs. Charles E. Thompson, Jr.

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“The McAllen Performing Arts Center is one of ;,'139;#'!<ࣅ(<¡;,'!;'89 X=''='86'8(381'& -2U,'@&32X;1!0';,'1¡-0';,-9!2@138'UZ - Tony Bennett, December 6, 2016 McAllen, Texas



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DR. DAVID MEANS - Chorale Director Dr. David Means is Director of Chorale Studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, TX and the conductor of the Valley Symphony Chorale. He is also organist at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Edinburg and Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in McAllen, and recently founded Rio Grande Valley’s premier chamber choir, the Valley Chorale Artists. Dr. Means came to South Texas from Austin where he was Head Choral Director of the Grammy Award winning Fine Arts Academy of Westwood High School in the Round Rock ISD. Means has also taught at the University of Southern California, Christopher Newport University, and Hill College and has more than twenty years’ experience teaching public school choirs in Texas and California. Dr. Means earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree in piano and voice from Howard Payne University (teachers included John Ratledge, Elem Ely, Linda Hibbs Dougherty, Alan Smith), a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Baylor University (teachers included Hugh Sanders, Robert Young, Karen Peeler, Joyce Farwell, Joyce Jones) and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Music from the University of Southern California (teachers included William Dehning, James Vail, Morten Lauridsen, Bard Suverkrop, Hans Beer). He was awarded the prestigious Outstanding Choral Student Award upon graduating from USC. Means is active as a guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician, having taught and performed across the United States, Europe, Mexico, Canada and Japan. He is active throughout South Texas as guest conductor, adjudicator and workshop leader, and also regularly adjudicates TMEA and UIL events across the state. In 2016 he served on the international jury of the Preveza International Choral Festival in Greece, and also was an adjudicator for the American Classic Madrigal Festival in San Antonio, TX. This season Dr. Means will be a head-liner at conferences for the Texas Choral Directors Association, the Hawaii Choral Directors Association, and will be in residence as conductor and clinician at the University of Hawaii. He has also been invited to conduct the Duruflé Requiem with orchestra in Buffalo, New York, and will make his conducting debut in Carnegie Hall in June, 2018. Also active as a baritone soloist, Dr. Means has sung as a featured singer with the internationally known Mark Morris Dance Group in two performances with the Virginia Waterfront Arts Festival, and has sung as a professional chorister with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the Virginia Chorale and presently sings with the San Antonio Chamber Choir. Means has premiered works by Morten Lauridsen, Z. Randall Stroope, David Childs, and John Rutter, and studied conducting in master classes with Helmuth Rilling, Frieder Bernius, Robert Shaw and Paul Salamunovich. He remains active as a conductor, singer and pianist, and has shared the stage with Quincy Jones, Liza Minneli and Michael Feinstein and has performed for former president Ronald Regan.

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América, América Friday, February 2, 2018 McAllen Performing Arts Center GERSHWIN MARIACHI AZTLÁN arr. Josué Eduardo López *arr. Jose Hernandez **arr. Jorge Iván Velasco

Cuban Overture Popurrí de mi Tierra Popurrí de Roberto Cantoral Popurrí de Jorge Negrete La Bikina* Popurrí Veracruzano** El Cascabel INTERMISSION


Aquarela do Brasil (Brazil)


Elevator Music


Danzón #2

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The nationally award winning MARIACHI AZTLÁN was founded by Dr. Dahlia Guerra, Assistant Vice-President of Public Art at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and is co-directed by Mr. Francisco Loera, who is on the faculty of the School of Music at UTRGV. The Mariachi has traveled throughout Mexico, Canada and the United States as musical ambassadors, representing the beauty of the Hispanic music and cultural traditions. Mariachi Aztlán has been selected numerous times as the “Outstanding College or University Mariachi” in nationwide competition throughout the past twenty years. Highlight performances include an invitation from the White House to perform at a signing ceremony of an Executive Order commemorating the renewal and enhancement of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, performing for President Barack Obama. In collaboration with the Houston Grand Opera, Mariachi Aztlán premiered the stage production of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world’s first “Mariachi-Opera” in 2010. Other concerts include appearances at the Hollywood Bowl, the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and a premiere performance of the mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna in 2013 with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Mariachi Aztlán premiered the newest mariachi opera El Pasado Nunca Se Termina with the Chicago Lyric Opera in 2015, and performed as guest artists at the Tucson International Mariachi Conference in 2015, the San Diego International Mariachi Festivals in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and the Chicago Mariachi Festivals in 2015, 2016, and 2017. They are frequently invited as guest clinicians to teach at the major mariachi conferences throughout the US. Mariachi Aztlán has accompanied famous artists such as Juan Valentin, Vikki Carr, Nydia Rojas, Azucena, Ramon Ayala, Paquita La Del Barrio, Aida Cuevas, and many others. Recently, Mariachi Aztlán proudly released a new CD, Mi Nombre es México to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the UTPA/UTRGV Mariachi Program.


VSO 2017-18 Season

VSO CONCERT IV PROGRAM NOTES George Gershwin Born September 26, 1898, New York: Died July 11, 1937, Hollywood Cuban Overture In December of 1931, composer George Gershwin found himself in the middle of a flurry of activity; beginning with the opening of the movie Delicious, featuring a score by the beloved composer, followed by three weeks of putting the finishing touches on his musical Of Thee I Sing. One month later he was back in New York to give the first performance of his new piano concerto Second Rhapsody. After such a busy period, Gershwin was ready for a vacation, so in February of 1932, he and a small group of friends traveled to Havana, where they enjoyed what Gershwin called “two hysterical weeks...where no sleep was had.” The sights and sounds of Cuba, particularly the popular music performed on the streets and in clubs, entranced the composer. He brought home a suitcase filled with percussion instruments purchased from the hands of local musicians; some were almost completely unknown in the United States at that time. Instruments such as claves, bongo drums, maracas, and the guiro represented the unique sound of Cuban music for Gershwin, and he gave them a major role in his Cuban Overture. This piece was composed in the summer of 1932 in preparation for an AllGershwin concert to be given at Lewisohn Stadium by the New York Philharmonic, premiering under the title Rumba along with the orchestral suite American in Paris and the Piano Concerto in F. The concert attracted a massive crowd of eighteen thousand people. The overture was heard again three months later at a benefit concert given by the Metropolitan Opera, now using its permanent title Cuban Overture. He worried that the title Rumba would lead people to think that the piece was just another light dance number instead of considering it seriously. As Gershwin wrote: “Cuban Overture gives it a more just idea of the character and the intent of the music.” Whatever the title, Gershwin's overture is a bold musical representation of the bright, glittering nightlife in Havana and is one of the many beloved works in this composer’s brilliant career.

Ary Barroso Born November 7, 1903, Ubá: Died February 9, 1964, Rio de Janiero Aquarela do Brasil Arranged by Marty Gold The famous samba tune ‘Aquarela do Brasil’ (‘Watercolor of Brazil’) was written in 1939 on a dark, stormy night in Rio de Janeiro. Stuck at home due to the torrential rain, he unwillingly settled down at the piano, and found that the sound of the pounding rain filled him with an unusual amount of artistic inspiration forming the original rhythmic pattern for ‘Aquarela do Brasil’. After composing ‘Aquarela do Brasil,’ he still had enough creative energy to produce

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VSO CONCERT IV PROGRAM NOTES the song ‘Três Lágrimas’ (‘Three Tears’). For some time, Barroso had been frustrated with the limitations of the samba and its focus on the tragic and the sensual. He accomplished his desire with ‘Aquarela do Brasil,’ which describes an idealized life of harmony and romance in beautiful Brazil and thus inaugurated a new form of samba, called the exaltation samba. Today ‘Aquarela do Brasil’ is one of the top twenty most recorded songs of all time, having been performed by many of the great singers from Latin America and abroad, but it was not immediately successful upon its release. The song mostly went unnoticed until its fateful appearance in the Disney film Saludos Amigos (Hello Friends) from 1942. Saludos Amigos was the focal point of this cultural diplomacy program, in which popular Disney characters visit various countries in Latin America to experience the charms of their culture and customs. After the film’s release, the song experienced a huge leap in popularity and remains one of Brazil’s most popular tunes to this day.

Graeme Koehne Born August 3, 1956, Adelaide Elevator Music Elevator Music is a description, which is often used as an easy way to put in its place any excursion by orchestral musicians into the “popular” realm. But such a derogatory attitude is misplaced. The twentieth century has produced a remarkable body of popular orchestral music, much of which contains genuinely creative and imaginative musicianship. Popular orchestral music is not always soporific – it’s often highly exhilarating, and it’s to this spirit that I’ve sought to pay homage in Elevator Music. This piece can be considered the third in a trilogy of works in which I’ve taken elements of popular music as my starting point. Or rather, in which particular enthusiasms have stirred my musical imagination. In Unchained Melody, it was the construction of popular song and the rhythmic musical conceptions of contemporary pop. In Powerhouse, it was the inventive music of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons and the Latin-American music of Xavier Cugat. In Elevator Music, it’s the music of Les Baxter, Henry Mancini and John Barry that has given me ideas. All three composers built upon their classical schooling to integrate jazz and popular music into orchestral music. What’s distinctive about these three is their interest in what was then called “The Beat”. John Barry, for instance, (before becoming the great composer of the James Bond movies) had the John Barry Seven, which provided a perfect testing ground for Barry to forge a uniquely exciting form of instrumental music, which accommodated The Beat’s powerful influence. As in the previous pieces of the “trilogy”, I haven’t used any of these composers’ actual material. I’ve made some observations about the ways they “use” an orchestra, and launched my piece off

VSO 2017-18 Season


VSO CONCERT IV PROGRAM NOTES on its own tangent. The basic material of Elevator Music is a twelve-tone agglomeration, consisting of two interlocking hexachords. I haven’t used any of the conventional twelve-tone methods of developing this material, though. That’s where Baxter, Mancini and Barry come in…which introduces a possibility I wish Schoenberg had thought of – one day while playing tennis with Gershwin, perhaps. Program Notes by G.J. Koehne

Arturo Márquez Born December 20, 1950, Álamos Danzón No. 2 Arturo Márquez is recognized as one of the most prominent composers of Mexican classical music in the twentieth century. His masterful blending of popular musical idioms with elements of classical music gives his works an instant appeal that has delighted audiences in concert halls around the globe. He is best known for a series of danzones that he composed in the early 1990s, boldly expressive pieces modeled after a dance of Cuban origins that is still an integral part of the Mexican urban landscape today. Painter Andrés Fonseca and dancer Irene Martinez introduced Márquez to the dance form. They took Márquez seventy miles outside of Mexico City to the town of Malinalco, where the infectious rhythms and sensual movements of the danzón amazed the composer. Márquez dove further into the form by traveling to the State of Veracruz and to the Salón México in Mexico City, places where the danzón thrived. He explained, “I was fascinated and I started to understand that the apparent lightness of the danzón is only like a visiting card for a type of music full of sensuality and qualitative seriousness, a genre which old Mexican people continue to dance with a touch of nostalgia and a jubilant escape towards their own emotional world.” To date, Márquez has composed eight works inspired by the danzón. Of these, Danzón No. 2 is the most well known and is sometimes called the unofficial national anthem of Mexico. Danzón No. 2 opens with an impassioned solo in the clarinet over a percussive accompaniment of claves, piano, and plucked strings. The oboe joins the tune and finally the violins spin out the lush melody. As the dance unfolds, the music becomes increasingly driven in pace and intensity. Márquez utilizes all of the orchestrational tools at his disposal to build and add excitement to the celebratory atmosphere. Danzón No. 2 premiered in 1994 in Mexico City after a commission by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. The Danzón No. 2 is a tribute to the environment that nourishes the genre. It endeavors to get as close as possible to the dance and is “a very personal way of paying my respects and expressing my emotions towards truly popular music.” - program notes by Heike Hoffer

VSO 2017-18 Season



Spectacular Broadway & Much More Friday, March 2, 2018 McAllen Performing Arts Center BOCK arr. LANG

Fiddler on the Roof Overture


On the Town - Times Square, 1944


Piano Concerto, No. 1, B-flat minor, op. 23 Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso—Allegro con spirito Andantino semplice—Prestissimo Allegro con fuoco Asiya Korepanova, piano

Maestro Sponsor: Wanda Boush Concertmaster Sponsor: Drs. Tawhid & Mihaela Shuaib Guest Artist Sponsor:


VSO 2017-18 Season


VSO CONCERT V GUEST ARTIST ASIYA KOREPANOVA is a creative force. A supreme level of technical aptitude combined with her acutely individualized musical interpretations best defines her virtuosity as a pianist. Having an extensive piano repertoire, she is most fond of performing entire piano cycles. She is currently the only pianist to perform the complete 24 Franz Liszt Etudes at the same recital, a collection of pieces notorious for their prowess and dexterity. In accordance with this passion, Asiya launched ‘Festival Baltimore’ in June 2017, a two-week chamber music series and summer academy featuring the complete works of composers in various genres. The festival is a highly original musical series, offering a distinctive twist on programming. She will be running the Festival Baltimore for the second time in June 2018, collaborating with world-renowned musicians and performing works by Strauss, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Bela Bartok and George Crumb. An enthusiastic transcriber, Asiya composed the first ever transcriptions of Richard Strauss’ “Ein Heldenleben”, for piano solo and Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata. Many of her transcriptions can be heard in her YouTube video blog project “Midnight Pieces”, a one of a kind project launched in September 2017. The weekly vlog presents 53 pieces over the course of 12 months, curated in groupings of four; a well-known piece, a piece by a Russian composer, an obscure piece, and a transcription by Asiya. A unique artist, she expresses herself through several mediums; transcription, visual arts, poetry and composition. Exploring and combining these art forms, Asiya developed and performed several multimedia projects with her own artwork and poetry set to Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes, Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and Tchaikovsky’s Eighteen Pieces, Op. 72. Asiya was born in 1984 in Izhevsk, Russia. Raised in a musical family, she began to learn piano at 4 years old from her mother. She was taught to read music in orchestral clefs by her father, an exemplary composer, at the age of 6. At 9, she had her orchestral debut, with Mozarts’ no 8 Concerto, adding her own cadenza. Asiya has performed more than 55 piano concertos with orchestras playing in over fifteen countries across the globe. In 2012, Asiya moved to the United States, at the invitation of renowned concert pianist Santiago Rodriguez. In the same year, she became a Gold Medal winner at the Nina Wideman International Piano Competition in Louisiana. Since then, she has garnered national attention and has performed in major cities across the nation. Recently, CNN featured Asiya performing, and covered the specialized programs she offers school children. Asiya launched “Music for Minds”, a non-profit organization with a dual primary focus; bringing classical performances to children directly to their classrooms, and creating music festivals with unique programming. This season, Asiya debuts at the Eurasia Festival in New York and Miami Piano Festival in South Florida, with tours in Canada, Australia, Russia, and Italy. She will also be completing several recordings which feature the complete Rachmaninoff sonatas, including the first ever solo piano transcription of Rachmaninoff Cello sonata that she completed in 2014. Asiya’s full biography is available on her website,


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VSO CONCERT V PROGRAM NOTES Jerry Bock Born November 23, 1928, New Haven: Died November 3, 2010, Mount Kisco Medley from Fiddler on the Roof Arranged by Philip J. Lang The musical Fiddler on the Roof from 1964 is one of the longest running and most profitable shows in Broadway history. It won nine prestigious Tony Awards and set a new standard for quality and excellence in Broadway productions in both its original run and in its many revivals. The success of the musical led to the release of a feature film in 1971, which won three Academy Awards, and two Golden Globes. The plot is based on the ten tales included in Yiddish story collection Tevye and his Daughters, which was written by Sholem Aleichem (pen name of noted author and playwright Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich) and was first published in 1894. The tales examine the difficult life of the Jewish people in Imperial Russia at the turn of the century, which was witnessed first-hand by Aleichem himself before he immigrated to America in 1906. Tevye and his Daughters reveals the joys and sorrows of the poor milkman Tevye, who lives with his family in a small town located in the Pale of Settlement, the only area in Imperial Russia where Jewish people were permitted to reside. They live in constant fear and devastation brought by the Jewish pogroms. Tevye’s more immediate concern is the future of his five unruly daughters, who test his Jewish convictions by wanting to marry for love, each selecting a man whose position in life pushes Tevye’s traditional values to their limit. The musical features a score by Jerry Bock and lyrics by his friend and collaborator Sheldon Harnick who made numerous musicals together, enjoying a long career as collaborators on some of the most popular Broadway productions of the era. Their brilliance is on full display in this medley from Fiddler on the Roof, in which the dramatic theme ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is blended with the sentimental tune ‘Sunrise, Sunset,’ the playful ‘If I were a Rich Man,’ and the joyful strains of the hopeful ‘To Life!’.

Leonard Bernstein Born August 25, 1918, Lawrence: Died October 14, 1990, New York Three Dance Episodes from On the Town The musical On the Town grew out of choreographer Jerome Robbins’s hit ballet Fancy Free, which was created for the American Ballet Theater to music provided by Bernstein. It tells the story of three American sailors on twenty-four hour leave in New York City during wartime in

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VSO CONCERT V PROGRAM NOTES 1944 as they excitedly depart their ship and meet women who stir up trouble with love and the law. Set designer Oliver Smith suggested that Fancy Free would make an excellent musical, prompting Bernstein to call on his friends Betty Comden and Adolph Green for the book and song lyrics as he composed a completely new score. The result, On the Town, appeared at Broadway’s Adelphi Theater on December 28, 1944, and was a huge hit. The major creators – Robbins, Bernstein, Comden, and Green – were all young up-and-coming stars in their respective worlds, while the leadership of established director George Abbott lent an air of credibility to the entire production. Robbins insisted that the players reflect the racial diversity of New York City, and On the Town featured the most racially diverse cast ever seen on the Broadway stage to that point. Black and white characters were incorporated equally, and music director Everett Lee was the first black conductor to appear on Broadway. The Three Dance Episodes merge some of Bernstein’s best tunes from the musical into an attractive orchestral suite. In the first episode, “The Great Lover,” a sailor falls asleep on the subway and dreams of winning the heart of his dream girl, accompanied by music that is equal parts romantic and confident. The second episode, “Lonely Town: Pas de Deux,” contains lush, bittersweet music as the sailor sits in Central Park and watches as an innocent young lady is seduced and rejected by another sailor. We hear “New York, New York,” the most famous tune from the musical, briefly in the final episode “Times Square, 1944.” This section is robust and dense, supporting the scene in which the sailors gather in Times Square, brimming with excitement for the rowdy night ahead.

Richard Rodgers Born June 28, 1902, New York: Died December 30, 1979, New York Oscar Hammerstein II Born July 12, 1895, New York: Died August 23, 1960, New York Carousel Selections for Orchestra Orchestrated by Robert Russell Bennett Richard Rodgers’s and Oscar Hammerstein’s first collaboration came in 1943 with the musical Oklahoma!, which was a spectacular success that left theater goers and critics unequivocally convinced they had witnessed a revelation in musical theater. Rodgers and Hammerstein were eager to write another show, but the pressure to top the celebrated Oklahoma! loomed large. In Rodgers’s autobiography, the composer

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VSO CONCERT V PROGRAM NOTES recalled a conversation with his friend, the movie producer Sam Goldwyn, in which Goldwyn advised Rodgers to shoot himself as "Sam's blunt but funny way of telling me that I'd never create another show as good as Oklahoma!" Rodgers and Hammerstein searched for a new subject, polling their friends in the Theater Guild for ideas. One suggestion was to adapt the Hungarian author Ferenc Molnár’s play Liliom from 1909, but the overtly political setting of Budapest and the unhappy ending didn’t appeal to the musical duo. In addition, Molnár absolutely refused to sell the rights to his play, famously having turned down both Kurt Weill and Giacomo Puccini in their offers to set the work to music. Rodgers and Hammerstein then became more and more attracted to the idea of adapting Liliom, and set about trying to bring their vision to life. Their breakthrough came when Molnár came to see Oklahoma! and was so impressed that he agreed to release the production rights. The new musical, now called Carousel, premiered at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway on April 19, 1945. A musical about a brash carousel barker, Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan, a quiet girl who works in the mill, who fall in love, marry, and have a stormy relationship that leads to tragedy and an attempt at mending old wounds from beyond the grave. It was an instant sensation. Critics and theater lovers everywhere crowned Carousel a triumph, and even the hard-to-please Molnár admitted that he liked it. Rodgers and Hammerstein made a few changes to Molnár’s tale, most notably shifting the location from Budapest to Maine and altering the grim ending to give the musical a hopeful finish, but the depth and humanity of Carousel was beyond what had previously appeared on Broadway.

Pytor Il’yich Tchaikovsky Born April 25 or May 7, 1840, Kamsko-Votkinsk: Died October 25 or November 6, 1893, St. Petersburg Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 23 Tchaikovsky enjoyed a deep mutual respect with conductor and pianist Arthur Rubinstein, who lead the premieres of many of Tchaikovsky’s most important works. Based on their good relationship, Tchaikovsky hoped that Rubinstein would be willing to be the soloist in the premiere of the First Piano Concerto, and worked hard to produce a piece that Rubinstein would be willing to support. After working on the concerto in November and December of 1874, Tchaikovsky had a near-finished version and needed some constructive criticism. He met Rubinstein and his colleague Nicolai Hubert in a classroom of the Moscow Conservatory on Christmas Eve and played the piece through for them, but things did not go as planned. He described the situation to his

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VSO CONCERT V PROGRAM NOTES patroness Nadezhda von Meck in a letter: “I played the first movement. Not a single word, not a single comment! But Rubinstein was preparing his thunderbolt, and Hubert was waiting to see what would happen so that he could decide which way to go…I summoned all my patience and played through to the end. Still silence. Then a torrent poured from Rubinstein’s mouth…My concerto, it turned out, was worthless and unplayable - passages so fragmented, so clumsy, so badly written as to be beyond rescue - the music itself was bad, vulgar…only two or three pages were worth preserving - the rest must be thrown out or completely rewritten.” Tchaikovsky was so angry that he refused to change even one note and offered the concerto to Hans von Bülow instead, an eminent pianist and conductor who had also been very supportive of Tchaikovsky in the past. Conveniently, Bülow was preparing for a concert tour in America, and he arranged to give the premiere of the new concerto during a series of concerts in Boston in October of 1875. After the performance, Bülow sent Tchaikovsky a glowing telegram saying that the American audience had loved it. Based on Bülow’s favorable reviews, Rubinstein realized his mistake and was soon performing the First Concerto enthusiastically throughout Europe himself. - program notes by Heike Hoffer

VSO CONCERT VI Forbidden Pleasures of Carmina Burana Featuring Valley Symphony Chorale David Means, Chorale Director Friday, April 6, 2018 McAllen Performing Arts Center


Carmina Burana O Fortuna Fortune plango vulnera Veris leta facies Omnia Sol temperat Ecce gratum Tanz Floret silva Chramer, gip die varwe mir Reie; Swaz hie gat umbe; Chume, chum geselle min; Swaz hie gat umbe Were diu werlt alle min INTERMISSION Estuans interius Olim lacus colueram Ego sum abbas In taberna quando sumus Amor volat undique Dies, nox et omnia Stetit puella Circa mea pectora Si puer cum puellula Veni, veni, venias In trutina Tempus est iocundum Dulcissime Ave formosissima O Fortuna Heather Phillips, soprano; Brian Yeakley, tenor; Lee Poulis, bass

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VSO CONCERT VI GUEST ARTIST High lyric soprano HEATHER PHILLIPS, whose recent performances of Nannetta in Falstaff with Arizona Opera were described by Opera News as “beautiful” and “shimmering”, is continuing to garner critical acclaim with reputable performances on the opera and concert stage. This season, she will debut as the soprano soloist in Carmina Burana with the Boise Philharmonic and Valley Symphony Orchestra, followed by a debut with Austin Opera as Micaëla in Carmen. Later in the season she returns to the Boise Philharmonic for performances of Handel's The Messiah. Last season Ms. Phillips was heard as the soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Grammy nominated ensemble True Concord, in which the Arizona Daily Star noted her “clarion soprano”. She also returned to the Ravinia Festival and the Tucson Desert Song Festival as a recitalist in collaboration with pianist Kevin Murphy. She also debuted with Opera Philadelphia reprising the role of Katie in Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain, a role she created at the Santa Fe Opera and on the Grammy nominated original cast recording. Other previous performances include Elvira in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Micaëla in Carmen with Kentucky Opera, Zerlina in Don Giovanni at Opera Southwest, Musetta in La bohème at the Crested Butte Music Festival and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro at Cincinnati Opera. As an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera in 2014 and 2015, she covered Gilda in Rigoletto and was a featured soloist in a lieder recital in collaboration with Harry Bickett for the chamber music series Performance Santa Fe. She was featured in the Santa Fe Opera apprentice scenes showcase as Luisa (Verdi’s Luisa Miller) and as La Contessa (Rossini’s Il Viaggio A Reims). While as a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, she sang the role of Helena in Britten's A Midsummer Night’s Dream under the baton of Jane Glover. Ms. Phillips has received many awards including top honors in the 2015 Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation and the Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition. She is also the recipient of one of the Santa Fe Opera's outstanding apprentice singer awards. In 2014, Ms. Phillips advanced in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, winning the Connecticut district and advancing to the New England Regional Finals where she was awarded the 3rd place prize. In 2013, she made her Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall debut as a finalist in the Nico Castel Master Singer Competition and in the same year was selected to represent the United States as a finalist in the Queen Sonja International Vocal Competition in Oslo, Norway. Ms. Phillips received both her Master's and Bachelor's degrees from the University of Cincinnati, CollegeConservatory of Music. Before her collegiate operatic studies began, Ms. Phillips trained and performed as a pianist and flautist for 10 years, performing as an adolescent with the Canton Youth Symphony Orchestra as a flautist and throughout the community as a volunteer outreach performer on piano, flute and voice with the McDowell Music Club of her hometown of Canton, Ohio. She currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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VSO CONCERT VI GUEST ARTISTS BRIAN ROSS YEAKLEY is an accomplished young tenor from Wichita, Kansas. Since receiving his Masters of Music from The University of Houston in May of 2014, he has already performed as a young artist in prestigious venues including Wolf Trap Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Wichita Grand Opera. Recent credits for Yeakley include The Wings They Were: The Case of Emeline as The Figure/Jesse Bolls/Dr. Seip; Soloist in Bernstein's Mass; Soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. After initiating the launch of his regional company, Operativo Houston, Yeakley sung in performances as Edoardo Milfort in La Cambiale di Matrimonio and Beppe in Rita. Yeakley joined the Virginia Opera as a Herndon Foundation Emerging Artist in their 2016-2017 season where he covered Peppe/Arlecchino in Pagliacci, Second Man in Kurt Weill's Seven Deadly Sins, as well as Pang and Pong in Turandot. LEE POULIS is “virile and heroic in both appearance and vocalism” (Opera News) and has been praised for his “commanding presence” and his “dark baritone, rich in color,” calling it a voice “of power and beauty.” Twice named Best Young Singer by Die Welt, Lee Poulis has performed at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden of Berlin, Teatro Real of Madrid, the Opera of Bilbao, Teatro Municipal of Santiago, and with the Beethoven Orchestra of Bonn. He performed the title role in the national premieres of Doctor Atomic in Germany and at the Finnish National Opera, a production which was nominated for one of Europe’s top theater prizes, Der Faust. In the 2017-18 season Lee Poulis performs Handel's Messiah with the Florida Orchestra. He will debut performances of Carmina Burana with Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Long Beach Camerata Singers, along with the Bach Mass in B Minor with the New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall. He participates in the world premiere opera workshop of Joel Puckett's Black Socks Scandal as writer Ring Lardner with the Minnesota Opera. He also appears in recital with the New West Symphony and sings Bach's Cantata #82, "Ich habe genug" in his Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra debut. Lee Poulis is the first prize winner in the 2008 Liederkranz Foundation Vocal Competition, top prize winner in the 2008 Francisco Viñas International Voice Competition, and first prize winner in the 2007 Chester Ludgin International Verdi Baritone Competition, as well as an Encouragement Award recipient in the 2008 George London Foundation Awards competition. In addition to San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, he is an alumnus of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, as well as Music Academy of the West. Mr. Poulis is a graduate of Harvard University.

VSO 2017-18 Season


VSO CONCERT VI PROGRAM NOTES Carl Orff Born July 10, 1895, Munich: Died March 29, 1982, Munich Carmina Burana Carmina Burana ranks as Carl Orff’s most popular work and one of the most recognizable pieces of Western classical music. The first movement, O Fortuna, has underscored countless movies, television shows, advertisements, and video games since the 1950s, making it a vital part of our cultural soundscape. Orff was not an especially prolific composer, producing only about twenty works in his lifetime, but his compositional output has been completely overshadowed by the mainstream success of Carmina Burana. Carmina Burana makes up the unified set Trionfi along with the Catulli Carmina (1941) and Trionfo di Afrodite (1953). Orff called these pieces “scenic cantatas” because they were intended to be choreographed and presented in a theatrical setting, though today Carmina Burana is generally performed as a concert work with little to no staging. “Fortune meant well with me when she guided the catalogue of an antiquarian bookshop in Würzburg into my hands where I discovered a title which attracted me with its magic powers: Carmina Burana,” is how Orff described his first encounter with the medieval poems that he used as the basis for his famous work. The poems were unearthed in 1803 after the secularization of Bavarian monasteries resulted in their entire holdings being transferred to the Munich Court Library, where court librarian Johann Andreas Schmeller was part of collecting and cataloging the massive influx of ancient manuscripts. Schmeller was drawn to an especially beautifully decorated volume of anonymous secular poetry from the monastery of Benediktbeuren, which he edited and published under the title Carmina Burana (Songs of Beuren) in 1847. The thirteenth-century poems, written in Latin and old German, were penned by travelling entertainers and scholars known as Goliards, members of the clergy whose writings touched on many subjects, some quite salacious. They satirized society and the corruption of the church, celebrated the passing seasons, praised drinking and song, and described the pains and pleasures of love. According to the composer, Carmina Burana was born when “I obtained the book on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter in 1934. Although for the moment I was acquainted only along general lines with the contents of the collection of the poems, a new work, a stage work with singing and dancing choruses, simply following the illustrations and texts, at once came into my mind.” With the help of his poet friend Michel Hofmann, Orff selected twenty-four poems and constructed a libretto in which he grouped the texts for pastoral springtime, the tavern, and love into three large


VSO 2017-18 Season

VSO CONCERT VI PROGRAM NOTES sections framed by the movement O Fortuna, which serves as a prologue and epilogue to the entire work. The premiere in Frankfurt on June 8, 1937, was a massive success. Orff recognized that, after his long struggle for acknowledgement as a composer, his international reputation had finally been secured, and he confidently wrote to his publisher: “You can now destroy everything I have written up to now which you have unfortunately published. With Carmina Burana, my collected works begin.” Orff has described reading Schmeller’s monograph and being captivated by the contents on the very first page, the poem O Fortuna and its accompanying illustration of the medieval Wheel of Fortune. This commanding combination of text and image resulted in the unforgettable prologue movement, which makes a stunning impression with its monumental opening in the choir and its ever-building intensity. As is evident from the first crashing chord, percussion instruments serve an important role in Carmina Burana and make a powerful contribution to the overall musical affect. In contrast to the propulsive energy of O Fortuna, the first two spring poems, for choir and baritone soloist, are chant-like and atmospheric in their celebration of the season, while the third spring poem is dazzling and frolicsome as the choir describes the snow melting and the first buds of spring. An ebullient multi-meter dance follows and then four choral movements about the innocent dreams of youth pursuing the delights of love. These fantasies span the sadness of a girl whose lover is away, a young lady who shops for make-up to seduce the boys, a soothing round dance, and a young man who desires the Queen of England as his lover. A baritone solo opens the tavern songs with an unrestrained tune about his search for the pleasures of the flesh. A unique movement follows in which the tenor takes on the agitated role of a roasted swan bemoaning its fate at having been cooked. The solo baritone proclaims himself the abbot of Cockaigne, an imaginary land of idleness, and the full chorus launches into a rollicking ode to excessive drinking. The final section features charming love songs that provide a welcome escape from the boisterous drinking music. As this section commences, soprano and baritone solos convey the sadness of lovers yearning to be in the presence of their beloveds, but, as the movements continue, the tone turns from the emotional desires of the heart to the delights of succumbing to the physical temptations of the flesh. Carmina Burana ends with a restatement of the forceful prologue O Fortuna, closing Orff’s captivating musical statement with an undeniably raw emotive power. - program notes by Heike Hoffer

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Clark Chevrolet ................................................................Jennifer Miller, Principal Viola Gillum, Dr. & Mrs. William ........................................Art Gonzalez, Co-Principal Bassoon Gillum, Dr. & Mrs. William ........................................Carol Brown, Co-Principal Bassoon Gurwitz, Gary & Bailey ..........................Diana Seitz, Associate Concertmaster First Violin Hinthorne, Jim & Jean ..........................................................Alice Keene, Principal Harp IDEA Academy ........................................................Eric Ehramjian, Co-Principal Bassoon Loring Cook Foundation (Dr. & Mrs. Kenneth Landrum)Benjamin Ponder, Principal Cello Morgan, Glynn and Trudie Elmore Abbott ........Lindsey Gamble, Principal Second Violin Morgan, Glynn and Trudie Elmore Abbott ...........Tido Janssen, Associate Principal Cello Morgan, Glynn and Trudie Elmore Abbott ................Jared Broussard, Principal Trumpet Morgan, Glynn and Trudie Elmore Abbott ..............Philip Johnson, Principal Percussion Sherman, Stanley..........................................................Krista Jobson, Co-Principal Flute Thompson, Jr., Charles & Bennie.......................................David Cassady, Principal Bass Thompson, Jr., Charles & Bennie...........................Barbara Keller, Principal French Horn


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VSO 2017-18 Season



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Advisory Board Joyce Smith, Chairman Beth Brown Visha Daniec Carmen Lara


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17-18 Program B  

Program to correspond with the Spring music season

17-18 Program B  

Program to correspond with the Spring music season