After 17 months of unwelcome hiatus, we are thrilled to be back, stronger than ever, presenting a season of exciting programs. There is mounting pressure to make orchestras and their programs more reflective of the communities they serve, so diversity in classical music has become a political – as well as an artistic – imperative. Our programs reflect our desire to embrace that challenge.
We have a fabulous new home at Wayzata Central Middle School. The auditorium provides everything we need – an acoustically superb stage, large audience capacity, welcoming reception area and ample parking.
NACHITO HERRERA! October 3 and October 10, 2021
What is so unique and miraculous about Nachito Herrera is his amazing ability to inhabit two very different musical worlds – classical and Latin jazz. He is the perfect example of how an enlightened artist can transcend various genres creating something that floats above it all. He is a Cuban immigrant who is not just breaking down barriers, he is showing that diversity is an essential part of moving humanity forward. Repertoire includes Rachmaninoff, Piano Concert No. 2 and the premiere of Esperanza (Hope). Upon waking after 11 days in the ICU recovering from COVID-19, the melody came to Nachito.
MINNESOTA’S OWN. November 21, 2021 KEVIN KLING, Special Guest
This program will be a musical tribute to Minnesota. We will showcase the creations of two MN composers, Libby Larsen and Stephen Paulus. Between each musical selection, internationally renowned MN storyteller, Kevin Kling, will share his literary genius including his original narration for Benjamin Britten’s, Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.
THE WSO CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH. FEBRUARY 27, 2022 BRUCE HENRY, Jazz vocalist/Historian
Our soloist for this program will be Jazz vocalist and African American historian, Bruce Henry. With his help, we will provide a musical overview of the African American musical voice from
1750 – 2020 including symphonies, spirituals, gospel and leading composers of the Harlem Renaissance, Duke Ellington and William Grant Still. We finish with Umoja written by Valerie Coleman, declared Performance Today’s 2020 Classical Woman of the Year.
WHY DO ANIMALS SING? May 1, 2022 DAVID ROTHENBERG, Musician/Author/ Composer/Philosopher
David Rothenberg has written several books including Why Birds Sing, Bug Music, Thousand Mile Song. He has played his amplified clarinet underwater with whales, with nightingales in Berlin and traveled the world speaking on the subject of the musical connection between humans and animals. Between all pieces, he will share his expertise and recordings of bees, birds and whales, providing fascinating connections to human music. We have commissioned him to write a piece for this concert based on our State Bird, the Loon. The piece is entitled Loon Asylum because that is what you call a group of loons.
Thank you to all of you that continued to support us during the pandemic. We are excited to resume full rehearsals in September, and look forward to seeing you at our concerts this season!
What an incredible challenge we musicians face in this year of Covid-19! Who would have predicted that a time would come when live music performances would stop? Music, after all, has such a functional role in every part of life – weddings, funerals, church services, sporting events, school assemblies, rallies, concerts of all kinds.
But even though live performances have come to a halt, Facebook and YouTube feature a smorgasbord of virtual offerings that remind us of human creativity that knows no bounds. In order to create these musical jewels, one needs resourcefulness, diligence, confidence, hard work, problem solving, flexibility and discipline. ALL of these skills are learned through the study of music. Is it any wonder that musicians can create these amazing things?!
I am sad though because, just this week, the WSO board decided to cancel the remainder of our concerts for this season – a heartbreak because it means we won’t be able to perform together as the WSO family or collaborate with fantastic soloists – Nachito Herrera, Osmo Vänskä and Erin Keefe.
But, the good news is that we are merely postponing these collaborations until it is safe to perform together and for our loyal audience once again.
The human need for music is self-evident. Music will never stop.
Until I can see all of you again…
Hello WSO Family!
Today would have been our Mahler #1 performance – this season’s Musicians’ Choice concert.
Of all the pieces we have performed over the last several years, Mahler #1 seems to describe the emotions of this difficult time better than the rest.
Mvt. 1 has a jovial main melody directly taken from one of Mahler’s songs, I Went This Morning Over the Field, that describes the heartache of a lonely wanderer who is ironically surrounded by the joy and beauty of the natural world. Like many of you, I have experienced a renewed appreciation for the wonder of nature, in spite of all the heartache around us.
Mvt. 2 portrays a heavy-footed peasant dance, followed by a retrospective waltz – music that reminds us of the enormous importance of community which we are sorely missing right now.
Mvt. 3: The threat of death presents itself by way of a funeral march parody on Frére Jacques in the minor key. The contrasting middle section, based on another of Mahler’s songs, The Two Blue Eyes of my Beloved, describes the struggles of finding the will to continue life after loss.
Mvt. 4: All the sentiments of love, heartache, death and confusion have built up so much tension that the only release can be through the drama of nature’s forces. The music shifts back and forth between darkness and light, storm and calm, violence and peace. The “dawning of day” motive from the very beginning of the 1st mvt. returns and transforms into a triumphant brass chorale with the horns literally standing up to play this magnificent fanfare. One might even suggest that the music reminds us that life triumphs over death in resounding victory.
I am thinking about all of you today and looking forward to performing this amazing piece, re-scheduled for next season. Until then stay safe, be well, cherish your loved ones and play music.
I am so honored to be the WSO music director.