Although the Fort Worth Symphony has been in the news for budget deficits and an ongoing wage dispute between administration and musicians, the arts organization is having one of the most acclaimed years in Miguel Harth-Bedoyas 16 years as music director.
Critics have praised his work more than ever, but Harth-Bedoya is most proud of the fact that in a year when his musicians could have had low morale, they played their hearts out.
This orchestra is here to play at the highest level and to follow my leadership, he says, and thats what were here to do: make music.
He says that commitment will continue into the 2016-17 season, which was announced today.
The season is, as usual, a mix of classical favorites, lesser-known pieces and newer works by contemporary composers.
Restaurants do that all the time, Harth-Bedoya says. The special of the chef comes with other options in case you want a traditional plate of something you already know you love.
Among the traditional works, hes especially looking forward to conducting Bruckners Symphony No. 7 and Richard Strauss Ein Heldenleben, he says, because he has never conducted them with this orchestra.
Previous composers-in-residence Mason Bates and Adam Schoenberg will return, and this season introduces Colombian composer Victor Agudelo to Fort Worth. In February 2017, the FWSO will play the world premiere of Agudelos La Madre de Agua.
I believe firmly in using [living] composers. ... Because of them we have music to play, he says.
The symphonic series will bring back guests soloists such as violinist Karen Gomyo and pianist Vadym Kholodenko. The pops season includes a screening of Steven Spielbergs film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial as the orchestra plays the John Williams score, as well as programs with music by Burt Bacharach, Simon & Garfunkel, Ray Charles and Rodgers and Hammerstein, and programs from the Motown catalog and James Bond films.
For special concerts, look for jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, an Ella Fitzgerald tribute and, of course, Handels Messiah. The season begins with the Classical Masters Festival featuring the works of Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart, the second in a three-year cycle of concerts focusing on these composers in this annual series presented as a late-August prelude to the symphonys regular concert season.
The Fort Worth Symphony 2016-17 season at a glance:
Classical Masters Festival
The Music of Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart: Aug. 26-28, Harth-Bedoya conducting
Aug. 26: FWSO with Ana Victoria Luperi, FWSO principal clarinet (Haydns Symphony No. 96, The Miracle; Mozarts Clarinet Concerto; Beethovens Overture to Fidelio; and Haydns Symphony No. 45, Farewell. With a pre-concert performance by Vadym Kholodenko (Beethovens Piano Sonata No. 11 in B-flat major, Opus 22).
Aug. 27: FWSO with Allan Steele, FWSO principal cello (Mozarts Ballet Music from Idomeneo; Haydns Cello Concerto in D; and Beethovens Symphony No. 1). With a pre-concert performance by Kholodenko (Mozarts Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 331, Alla Turca).
Aug. 28: FWSO with Kholodenko (Haydns Overture to Linfedelta delusa; Mozarts Symphony No. 25; and Beethovens Piano Concerto No. 4). With a pre-concert performance by FWSO principals Michael Shih, Adriane De Costa, Laura Bruton and Steele (Haydn String Quartet in G minor, Opus 74, No. 3, The Rider).
Sept. 9-11: Dvoraks New World Symphony with James Ehnes, violin. (Shostakovichs Festive Overture and Violin Concerto No. 1; Dvoraks Symphony No. 9, From the New World). Harth-Bedoya conducts.
Sept. 30, Oct. 1-2: Hough Plays Rachmaninoff with pianist Stephen Hough and visiting composer Mason Bates. (Bates Anthology of Fantastic Zoology; Rachmaninoffs Piano Concerto No. 1; and Tchaikovskys Capriccio Italien.) Harth-Bedoya conducts.
Nov. 4-6: Elgars Enigma Variations with tenor Paul Appleby and FWSOs Molly Norcross, horn. (Thomas Ades Three Studies from Couperin; Brittens Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings; and Elgars Enigma Variations.) Nicholas Carter conducts.
Nov. 18-20: Grieg Piano Concerto with pianist Kholodenko. (Griegs Piano Concerto and Bruckners Symphony No. 7.) Harth-Bedoya conducts.
Jan. 13-15, 2017: Tchaikovskys Pathetique. (J. Strauss Roses From the South; Pistons Suite from The Incredible Flutist; and Tchaikovskys Symphony No. 6, Pathetique.) David Danzmayr conducts.
Feb. 3-5, 2017: Brahms Symphony No. 1 with pianist Inon Barnatan. (Sibelius Symphony No. 7; Bartoks Piano Concerto No. 3; and Brahms Symphony No. 1.) Christoph König conducts.
Feb. 24-26, 2017: Saint-Saens Organ Symphony with cellist Johannes Moser and visiting composer Victor Agudelo. (World premiere of Agudelos La Madre de Agua; Dvoraks Cello Concerto; and Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3, Organ.) Harth-Bedoya conducts.
March 17-19, 2017: Gomyo Plays Mozart with violinist Karen Gomyo. (Mozarts Violin Concerto No. 3, Strassburg; and Shostakovichs Symphony No. 11, The Year 1905.) Andrew Grams conducts.
April 7-9, 2017: Prokofiev Cinderella Suite with violinist Alexandra Soumm and visiting composer Adam Schoenberg. (Schoenbergs La Luna Azul; Sibelius Violin Concerto; and Prokofievs Cinderella Suite.) Harth-Bedoya conducts.
May 12-14, 2017: Kholodenko Plays Brahms with pianist Kholodenko. (Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major; and R. Strauss Ein Heldenleben.) Harth-Bedoya conducts.
Sept. 2-4: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The FWSO will perform John Williams Academy Award-winning score in sync to the film projected in HD. Constantine Kitsopoulos conducts.
Oct. 14-16: The Beat Goes On! Music of the Baby Boomers. Music from TV and movies, including hits by Burt Bacharach, Simon & Garfunkel and Frankie Valli. Jack Everly conducts.
Nov. 11-13: The Sounds of America with a special guest narrator. Bob Bernhardt conducts.
Nov. 25-27: Home for the Holidays. Andres Franco conducts.
Jan. 27-29, 2017: Ray Charles, Motown, and Beyond! with Ellis Hall on piano and vocals. A soulful celebration, including hits Georgia on My Mind, Hit the Road Jack, Aint No Mountain, Let the Good Times Roll, and more. Ron Spigelman conducts.
March 10-12, 2017: Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Movies. Remastered clips from musicals with original vocals and a live soundtrack, including Oklahoma!, The King and I, South Pacific and Carousel. Stuart Malina conducts.
March 31-April 2, 2017: 007: The Music of James Bond, with vocalist Rachel York. Music by iconic songwriters, from Shirley Bassey to Paul McCartney and Carly Simon to Adele. Stuart Malina conducts.
Dec. 1: Jazz trumpeter Chris Botti.
Dec. 2: Handels Messiah, featuring the Southwestern Seminary Master Chorale. David Thye conducts.
Dec. 31: New Years Eve: A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, with vocalist Carmen Bradford. Damon Gupton conducts.
Jan. 7, 2017: The Legend of Zelda. A multimedia concert, presenting 30 years of music from the Legend of Zelda franchise.
Feb. 11, 2017: The Mozart Gala features soprano Danielle de Niese and pianist Menahem Pressler. The orchestra will perform Mozarts Piano Concerto No. 23 and concert and opera arias, overtures and more. Harth-Bedoya conducts.