Composer Kevin Puts

Fort Worth Symphony's New Season

FWSO lines up a fantastic season filled with living and American composers, plus special shows with Bernadette Peters and Natalie Merchant.

published Thursday, March 1, 2012

Big symphony organizations are always sticking to what their audiences know and love, which is music by the old masters; but it's important to feature more music by living composers, as well as music by American composers, living or not. So it was a delight to see the Fort Worth Symphony's new lineup. 

Their 2012-2013 Centennial Season is probably the most new music-friendly that a major symphony has programmed in recent memory. 

Traditionalists needn't worry, however. There are still lots of major works by the masters. The season opens with a performance of Mahler's magnificent Symphony No. 5 and will close with the perennial favorite, Carmina Burana (no mention of where they will get the chorus). Other highlights include a hat tip to the upcoming 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition by presenting the remarkable 2009 gold medalist Nobuyuki Tsujii in Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1. 

Also on the concerto front, Horacio Gutierrez will play Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3, Karen Gomyo will play Beethoven's Violin Concerto, Jennifer Corning Lucia (FWSO principal oboe) will play Mozart's Oboe Concerto (more often heard on flute), Stefan Jackiw will have a shy at the Bruch Scottish Fantasy, and Daniil Trifonov will scale Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 (another Cliburn favorite). On the American music front, Augustin Hadelich will play Barber's glorious Violin Concerto, José Feghali will play Gershwin's Concerto in F, and Leon McCawley will brave the complexities of Bernstein's Symphony No. 2 ("The Age of Anxiety") for Piano and Orchestra.

Major symphonic works on the schedule are Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (in Ravel's Technicolor orchestration), Bartok's spectacular Concerto for Orchestra, Rimsky-Korsakov's splashy Scheherazade, Schubert's Symphony No. 9 (The Great), Elgar's Enigma Variations, Sibelius' popular Symphony No. 2, and the massive Shostakovich Symphony No. 5. Of course, there will be the obligatory trip though Handel's Messiah in December, instead of Easter, where it belongs. 

All this should offer enough warhorses to please anybody. 

But it is on American music front that the season really shines. 

Last year, their pre-season American music festival only featured three composers, none of which needed the attention (Gershwin, Bernstein and Copland). They are making up for it this year. The mini-festival, which runs from Aug. 24-26, features a most impressive list of composers (in addition to those listed above): George Walker, John Williams, Phillip Glass, Duke Ellington, Charles Ives, and William Grant Still. There will even be a new work commissioned to honor the centennial season by Jimmy Lopez, entitled Perú Negro.

In the regular season, the FWSO will also feature the music of their previous composers-in-residence; a program that was begun in 2006. All six—Kevin Puts, Behzad Ranjbaran, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jennifer Higdon, Peter Boyer and John B Hedges—will return with their compositions included in the Centennial Season. 

Pops fans will be excited to learn that super-star Bernadette Peters will return for a one-night-only appearance. Also, Natalie Merchant will make her Fort Worth Symphony debut in three performances that will close the Star-Telegram Pops Series. The FWSO will also present Orbit: An HD Odyssey, a sequel to last season's performance of The Planets: An HD Odyssey, this September. Orbit is a documentary film with stunning NASA images of Earth accompanied by Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra, hopefully the whole piece and not just the opening measures, and John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine. 

Other specials include a screening of the film The Wizard of Oz, with the orchestra playing the score live. A concert on February 9 will showcase the pair of Stradivarius violins that the FWSO owns. Concertmaster Michael Shih and his associate concertmaster Swang Lin will show them off. On November 2-4, the Cirque Musica will take the stage. "Soaring aerialists, acrobats and strongmen—veterans of Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros.—will dazzle with elegance, grace and power," gushes the press release.

Overall, a most impressive season that is sure to garner some programming awards. And also on that note: The "Casual Friday" series will end; Friday night audiences will hear the same works that the Saturday and Sunday crowds do.

Here's the complete programming list:



7:30 p.m. August 24-26 at Bass Performance Hall

Festival passes $36-$144. Single tickets go on sale in August.

Building on the triumph of last season's celebration of Gershwin, Bernstein and Copland, we take a broader and deeper look at great American compositions for orchestra. Some programs will include multimedia presentations.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor

Leon McCawley, Piano


COPLAND Selections from Appalachian Spring

BARBER Overture to The School for Scandal

GEORGE WALKER Lyric for Strings

JOHN WILLIAMS Selection from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

BERNSTEIN Symphony No. 2 ("The Age of Anxiety") for Piano and Orchestra


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor

Augustin Hadelich, Violin


HARRIS When Johnny Comes Marching Home

BARBER Violin Concerto

PHILIP GLASS Symphony No. 3, third movement

GROFÉ On the Trail from Grand Canyon Suite



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor

José Feghali, Piano


IVES arr. SCHUMAN Variations on America

STILL Symphony No. 1, "Afro‐American"

GERSHWIN Piano Concerto in F Major

COPLAND Three Dance Episodes from Rodeo




Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
at Bass Performance Hall.

Subscriptions start at $75.


September 14-16, 2012


Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor

JENNIFER HIGDON blue cathedral

MAHLER Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp Minor

The centennial season opens in grand style with Mahler's monumental Fifth Symphony. This tour de force masses huge orchestral resources for a work that's by turns turbulent and sublime. Higdon's acclaimed blue cathedral is a colorful tone poem filled with celestial sounds.


October 5-7, 2012


Carl St. Clair, Conductor

Horacio Gutierrez, Piano


PETER BOYER Festivities

PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major

MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition

His recording of Prokofiev's piano concertos is "some of the most thrilling virtuosity on record," says Gramophone magazine: The brilliant Horacio Gutierrez joins us to play the composer's Third. Then comes Mussorgsky's ever-popular Pictures at an Exhibition, with Ravel's colorful orchestration giving life to the sights and sounds of Kiev.


Oct. 26-28, 2012


Larry Rachleff, Conductor

Karen Gomyo, Violin


DVOŘÁK Carnival Overture

BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto in D Major

BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra

The luminous Karen Gomyo makes her Fort Worth Symphony debut in Beethoven's Violin Concerto. Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, the composer's best-loved work, is a virtuoso showcase for every section of the orchestra.


November 16-18, 2012


Josep Caballé-Domenech, Conductor

Alban Gerhardt, Cello



SCHUMANN Cello Concerto in A Minor


Alban Gerhardt, who last appeared with the FWSO at Carnegie Hall in 2008, brings to life Schumann's lyrical work for cello and orchestra. Then we'll enter the exotic, perfumed world of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, based on the tales in The Thousand and One Nights.


January 11-13, 2013


Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor

Brinton Averil Smith, Cello



R. STRAUSS Don Quixote

WAGNER Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

WAGNER Prelude to Lohengrin

WAGNER Overture to Rienzi

The former principal cellist of the FWSO returns for Don Quixote, which depicts episodes from the life of Cervantes' knight-errant. Then, we celebrate Wagner's 200th birthday with three overtures that offer a close look at this great opera composer's powerful creations for orchestra.


February 1-3, 2013


Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor

Nobuyuki Tsujii, Piano


BRAHMS Variations on a Theme by J. Haydn

TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor

SCHUBERT Symphony No. 9 in C Major, "The Great"

Nobuyuki Tsujii's gold-medal win at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition inspired what Time magazine called "Nobu fever" on an international scale. Now he returns to Fort Worth to play one of the most beloved piano concertos of all. We'll close with another powerhouse, Schubert's "Great," inspired by the lovely Austrian landscape.


February 22-24, 2013


Stefan Asbury, Conductor

Jennifer Corning Lucio, Oboe


STRAVINSKY Symphony in Three Movements

MOZART Oboe Concerto in C Major

ELGAR Variations on an Original Theme, "Enigma Variations"

The sweet, haunting sound of the oboe gets the spotlight as our principal oboist plays Mozart. Enigma Variations, Elgar's masterpiece, paints vivid musical portraits of the composer's closest friends, with an intriguing mystery at the heart of it all.


March 15-17, 2013


Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor
Stefan Jackiw, Violin


GABRIELA FRANK Three Latin-American Dances

BRUCH Scottish Fantasy

SIBELIUS Symphony No. 2 in D Major

"You wonder whether this was what it was like to hear a Perlman or a Stern in their early years," writes The Washington Post of young violinist Stefan Jackiw, who'll perform Bruch's Scottish Fantasy. The majesty of Sibelius' most popular symphony provides a big finish.


April 5-7, 2013


Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor

Daniil Trifonov, Piano



RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor

SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5 in D Minor

Daniil Trifonov is the most recent winner of Moscow's Tchaikovsky competition, the contest that launched Van Cliburn into stardom. He'll take on the devilishly difficult Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3. In the face of Stalin's brutal artistic censorship, Shostakovich filled his Fifth Symphony with lyricism and Russian nationalism, but was he being subversive? You'll enjoy the sweeping melodies either way.



May 17-19, 2013


Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor

Cyndia Sieden, Soprano

Michael Maniaci, Countertenor

Philip Cutlip, Baritone


JIMMY LÓPEZ Perú Negro (World Premiere*)

ORFF Carmina Burana


*Dedicated to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra's Centennial Season.

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra closes its centennial season with a piece whose popularity extends well beyond the symphony stage. Everyone knows the theme "O Fortuna," used in countless movie trailers and TV commercials, but the entire work is a delight, with its intense rhythmic excitement, its wacky instrumentation, and earthy themes about love and life—there's even a drinking song! This will be a joyous occasion providing electrifying entertainment on a grand scale.



Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. at Bass Performance Hall

Subscriptions start at $98


September 7-9, 2012

Jack Everly, Conductor 

Step back in time to the Fabulous Fifties, as we transport you to a broadcast studio during the Golden Age of Television. Conductor and arranger Jack Everly leads a nostalgic revue of TV theme songs (I Love Lucy), commercials, popular hits (Unchained Melody, Mambo Italiano), and even a nod to Elvis.


October 12-14, 2012


Andrés Franco, Conductor

The Grammy-winning creators of today's biggest country hits take the spotlight in an exciting songwriter's showcase. Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson, hit-makers for Nashville's megastars, perform a parade of No. 1 songs, including Jesus, Take the Wheel (recorded by Carrie Underwood), Out Last Night (Kenny Chesney), It's America (Rodney Atkins), Blessed (Martina McBride) and many more.


November 2-4, 2012


Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor

Cirque Musica blends the thrilling talents of the best circus performers with exhilarating symphonic music, including John Williams, the Beatles, and excerpts from Holst's The Planets and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Soaring aerialists, acrobats and strongmen — veterans of Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros. — will dazzle with elegance, grace and power.


November 24-25, 2012


Ron Spigelman, Conductor

Southwestern Seminary Master Chorale

Dorothy Shaw Bell Choir

Our annual holiday pops, with favorite Christmas carols, a bell choir, a family sing-along, a cameo by Santa, and snow in Bass Hall. The four performances are 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. (Note: There is no Friday performance, due to Fort Worth's Parade of Lights. Friday Pops subscribers will receive Sunday-night tickets.)


January 25-27, 2013


Ron Spigelman, Conductor

A magical multimedia production featuring one of the most beloved films of all time, The Wizard of Oz. Experience the brilliantly restored film on the big screen, with Judy Garland's original 1939 studio recordings backed by lush, live orchestration. It's a treat for all ages.


March 22-24, 2013


Sarah Hicks, Conductor

Bass Performance Hall is transformed into the City of Lights in this concert celebrating our love affair with Paris. Innovative young pops conductor Sarah Hicks presents a salute to French music and performers, including singers Edith Piaf and Josephine Baker, composers Django Reinhardt and Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), singer-songwriters Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg, and more.


April 12-14, 2013


with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Andrés Franco, Conductor

Known for her warm and distinctive vocals in solo hits and as the lead singer for pop group 10,000 Maniacs, Natalie Merchant makes her Fort Worth Symphony debut in a concert of old favorites and newer songs from her highly acclaimed symphonic album, Leave Your Sleep.



All concerts at Bass Performance Hall.

Times and prices vary. Available now to subscribers only; on sale to the general public in August.


September 22, 2012

ORBIT: AN HD ODYSSEYaudio preview audio preview

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor

Duncan Copp, Producer/Director

Don't miss this second film in the HD Odyssey series, a sequel to last season's popular The Planets: An HD Odyssey. Orbit points the lens at our own lovely planet, with breathtaking high-definition photos of Earth taken from space, accompanied by Richard Strauss' stirring Also Sprach Zarathustra and John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine.


December 3, 2012


David Thye, Conductor

Southwestern Seminary Master Chorale

Rejoice greatly at the return of this Fort Worth holiday tradition, the area's finest Messiah collaboration. Thrill to exultant choruses, soaring trumpets and pounding timpani as the Southwestern Seminary Master Chorale and guest soloists join the orchestra for Handel's epic masterpiece.


December 31, 2012


John Giordano, Conductor

Ava Pine, Soprano

It's an elegant celebration of New Year's Eve and of the Fort Worth Symphony's history as we welcome back John Giordano, the FWSO's music director from 1972 to 2000. He leads a night of Strauss waltzes and other Viennese classics, as well as favorite soprano arias featuring the incandescent Ava Pine, a Fort Worth audience favorite.


January 5, 2013


with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Marvin Laird, Conductor

One of Broadway's brightest stars, Bernadette Peters returns to the Fort Worth Symphony stage for one night only to dazzle audiences with songs from her incredible career on stage and screen.


February 9, 2013


Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Conductor

Michael Shih, Violin

Swang Lin, Violin

SARASATE Fantasy on Bizet's Carmen, Op. 25

SARASATE Zigeunerweisen, "Gypsy Airs," Op. 20

J.S. BACH Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, BWV 1043

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67

In our 100th anniversary season, the Fort Worth Symphony honors our own artists and the generosity of our community in a glittering night highlighting the two priceless Stradivari violins on loan to the orchestra from local donors. The program is a violin showcase, with Bach's Concerto for Two Violins and two stunners by Sarasate. We'll end the celebration with Beethoven's immortal Fifth Symphony. Thanks For Reading

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Fort Worth Symphony's New Season
FWSO lines up a fantastic season filled with living and American composers, plus special shows with Bernadette Peters and Natalie Merchant.
by Gregory Sullivan Isaacs

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