The Central Texas Orchestral Society of the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center recently announced its 2019-2020 Classical Concert Series with a lineup of several talented artists that have gained local and international interest, in addition to a bonus concert honoring local high school musicians.
A reception with light hors d’oeuvres will be offered prior to every concert, giving attendees an opportunity to mingle with and among the performing artists. Reception music will be played by a group of local high school musicians.
The first concert in the series will be 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. FWSO has more than 200,000 annual listeners on Spotify. Their most popular song is “Granada,” a song originally written and performed with Spanish lyrics by Agustin Lara in 1932, just 20 years after FWSO was established. The orchestra’s version of the song is sung by Juan Diego Florez, and has been listened to nearly 419,200 times by Spotify users all over the world, specifically in South America and Europe.
The FWSO’s Music Director, Miguel Harth-Bedoya and Principal Guest Conductor, Robert Spano have taken the orchestra to new heights, releasing 13 recordings thus far and setting a new standard for classical music performances. Even though the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth holds the heart and soul of the music group, the orchestra has enjoyed traveling and performing at venues like Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. The FWSO will be performing after the introduction of this year’s Wildflower Belles and Escorts at the CAC.
The second of the five concerts will take place 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, with Rachel Heung, the 2017 Van Cliburn Piano Competition Finalist. Heung was trained as a young Steinway artist at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and Yale School of Music and has won many prestigious awards for her expertise. The Dallas Morning news described Heung as a “poet but also a dramatist” as she conjures “the most sophisticated and compelling music-making.” This recital will be the 11th annual Van Cliburn concert, jointly presented by Temple Symphony Orchestra and CTOS, held at the Sue and Frank Mayborn Performing Arts Center on the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor campus.
This year, CTOS has added a bonus concert to the series called Student Excellence: A Musical Showcase to honor and recognize high school vocal and instrumental soloists and small ensembles. This additional concert will take place 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, at the CAC.
The fourth classical performance in the series will be by Windscape at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. Windscape, created in 1994 is composed of a group of five artist-in-residence wind soloists that serve as master teachers at Manhattan School of Music. The current “‘Scapers” are Tara Helen O’Connor on the flute, Randall Ellis on the oboe, Alan R. Kay on the clarinet, David Jolley on the horn and Frank Morelli on the bassoon. Windscape is most commonly listened to by Spotify users in Houston, Chicago, Copenhagen, Toronto and Washington D.C.
The day before the concert, Windscape will teach the Marty Lundgren Master Class for local high school music students at the CAC Mayborn Auditorium from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7.
The final concert of the 2019-2020 Classical Concert Series will be 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4, with guest pianist Anton Nel from Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Thalea String Quartet. Nel is considered an “acclaimed Beethoven interpreter,” according to his biography, most commonly listened to by Spotify users all over the world, specifically Singapore, Istanbul, Los Angeles, Toronto and Jakarta.
Since their early formation in 2014 at the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy, Thalea String Quartet has performed and received enormous praise all over North America and Europe. The quartet includes Christopher Whitley from Toronto on violin; Kumiko Sakamoto from Medicine Hat, Canada also on violin; Luis Bellorin from Naperville, Illinois on viola; and Titilayo Ayangade from Cincinnati, Ohio on cello.