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The Score- December 2014December 11, 2014
From the Desk of the Executive Director
The ASO continues its 104th season by showcasing some of the finest soloists in the world paired with some of the greatest masterworks in the symphonic repertoire. We have three world-renowned female concert artists performing in three consecutive months beginning in January and we are closing our Classical season in May by helping Chorus Austin celebrate its 50th Anniversary with a pair of performances of Carmina Burana. Along the way we’ll perform masterworks by Dvorak, Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Haydn and more.
We’ve asked you, our patrons, what you wanted to hear on the Butler Pops Series and the response was clear. We are pleased to offer pops concerts at the Long Center this season that focus on the Orchestra with Fantasy in February – an homage to everyone’s favorite fantasy films. The pops series will also feature musical theatre old and new, with two extraordinary shows in December and June- Behind the Mask and Rodgers & Hammerstein Celebration.
We are proud to be able to continue to enhance the many free programs offered by the ASO. Through the generosity of our sponsors the Symphony provides the July 4th Concert & Fireworks, the wonderful Hartman Foundation Concerts in the Park series – a twelve concert Sunday series in the summer now in its 14th consecutive year, and this season a brand new series for the holidays- Christmas in the Community. Christmas in the Community is a series of twelve free holiday concerts in various locations around our great city. The Austin Symphony takes great pride in continuously extending our reach into the community to help enhance the cultural quality of life for all citizens of Austin.
Musician Spotlight – Ashley Cooper
Hometown: Troy, Michigan
Education: University of Michigan, B.M. & Rice University, M.M. Violin Performance
Why did you choose the violin? When I was in fifth grade, my school made everyone pick an instrument to learn. I really wanted to play the trumpet , but I couldn’t make a sound out of it. I ended up picking the violin because the boy I had a crush on played the violin and I wanted to be in orchestra class with him.
What are you looking forward to most this season? I loved playing Scheherazade last month and I look forward to Elgar’s Enigma Variations. These are familiar pieces to me and are always a joy to work on.
Offstage I like to… go hiking with my husband Joe, play chamber music with friends, teach my 30 private students.
Describe an unforgettable moment, as a performer or listener, you’ve had as a musician. A few summers ago my string quartet (Red River Quartet) won a residency at the Grand Teton Music Festival. It was an amazing experience to live and perform in the beautiful Grand Teton National Park.
Favorite food or meal? Crispy Chicken Benedict from Kerbey Lane
Patron Spotlight- Michael Hearn
The very first time I saw the Austin Symphony perform was in 2006 when I heard Beethoven’s 3rd. What a concert! Up until this summer, I was working in Temple, and the commute was an obstacle for me and my wife to get to Friday and Saturday night concerts regularly. I was recently promoted and now work at the Far West Blvd store and that has drastically reduced my commute—now I am able to attend the concerts! My wife and I decided to go for it this season and get a full subscription and donate to the symphony. I understand that income from ticket sales only covers 40% of the symphony’s budget, and I give my support to help ensure that the symphony has all the funds it needs to continue to put on great performances. I only wish I could do more! So far this season my favorite performance has been the Scheherazade. I enjoyed seeing the actors perform and learning the history of the music. Because of the great experience I am having with the symphony, I plan on keeping my subscription for as long as I live in Austin. We are so proud to play our part by supporting the symphony, and my only frustration is that the season stops in June—I wish the ASO played in Dell Hall year round!
Austin Symphony’s High School Concerts
Connecting with Music: an Interdisciplinary Learning Initiative
Music can portray many aspects of the human experience, from character to emotion, from historical events to personal experiences. In the Austin Symphony’s High School Concert series, Connecting with Music: an Interdisciplinary Learning Initiative, we explore universal themes as expressed through symphonic music. For 2015, the program theme is the nature of conflict as it is portrayed in the story of Romeo and Juliet interpreted in works by Tchaikovsky, Prokovfiev and Bernstein.
The ASO has been performing High School concerts for over six decades, but during the past two years the education staff at the Symphony, in partnership with Austin ISD and Round Rock ISD, has been redesigning the focus and format of the program. Along with performing examples of great works, our goal is to deepen the learning experience by designing interdisciplinary units of study around the repertoire that incorporate project–based learning across content areas. It is our belief learning activities organized around themes such as conflict foster exploration of topics through multiple learning dimensions.
One of our objectives with Connecting with Music is to provide an entry point for all students into the music being performed, and symphonic repertoire is an excellent unifying factor for cross curricular study. The program explores elements of art, creative expression, cultural relevance, historical context, critical evaluation and response. Basically, the idea is to develop inquiry-based learning activities with repertoire serving as a launch to explore related curricular strands. In this way, we can build a curriculum in which students are guided by teachers and ASO musicians to work on projects based on their experience of the repertoire.
Through Connecting with Music, the ASO serves a wide spectrum of students from a diversity of backgrounds, providing them with the opportunity to experience symphonic music performed by professional musicians. In particular, students gain a broader perspective through hearing the Orchestra perform and in exploring topics and ideas related to the repertoire within both an academic and a personal context. The efficacy of cross-disciplinary learning is built on current neuroscience research, which demonstrates that when different parts of the brain are engaged white matter and synaptic connections increase, contributing to greater recall and cognitive facility.
We believe that by exploring ways that music connects to other disciplines and subject areas, students will be better able to understand historical and cultural relevance. Through experiential learning they gain increases in critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving, while in addition, their abilities to make informed judgments, employ critical evaluation and response processes, creative expression, reflection, analysis and interpretation is greatly enhanced. Furthermore, through this type of learning, students and teachers come away with a greater appreciation of symphonic repertoire and its role in the human experience.
Along with this new approach, we will continue the tradition of featuring Concerto Competition finalists as soloists, and the performing of a composition piece by one of the Young Composer winners, as well as having a selection of high school band and orchestra students perform an excerpt from the program repertoire side-by-side with the Orchestra.
Go “Behind The Scenes” with Peter Bay and the Symphony BATS
It’s not often that members of the community get to sit down and have a in depth discussion about how the Austin Symphony came to be, or have the privilege of having that discussion with ASO Maestro Peter Bay, but that is precisely what happened recently at the Doyle House, at an exclusive event for the members and guests of the ASO Symphony BATS. The Symphony BATS (Be At The Symphony) is the young professional supporting organization of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, a mesh of active movers and shaker of Austin’s social and business scene, that regularly attends ASO performances and hosts dynamic after parties for members and their guests as well as monthly networking happy hours and social events. Last month, they added a new benefit for members, a behind the scenes look at the role of a conductor and the inner workings of a symphony orchestra.
This inaugural “Behind the Scenes with Peter Bay” was the first in series of educational events designed to give a look behind the curtain to what makes the music come alive on stage throughout the season. Questions such as “How were orchestras first formed?” and “Does the location of the performers on stage matter to the audience?” and “How do you communicate with the musicians during a performance?” – all topics brought to life in a lively discussion with Peter Bay in a round table format. And in case you were wondering what the difference was between the words “orchestra” and “symphony” there isn’t one, and before conductor used batons to keep time they used a staff – just a few of the lessons learned during the lively presentation.
Here is what guests are saying about the “Behind the Scenes” event –
“Behind the Scenes with Peter Bay adds value to our members by allowing them to develop a deeper understanding of what makes up a successful performance from the role of the conductor and the experience of the orchestra members to the mechanics of the rehearsal process itself.” – Craig Reid, Symphony BATS President 2014-2015
“I found it informative and highly engaging. Peter did an incredible job of keeping everyone engaged.” – Michelle Mullins, attendee
“The chance to engage in an open forum with Peter was a great learning experience. So many of us take the flow and quality of the music for granted. Peter’s quantification of the timeline leading up to each performance was an eye-opener, and made us that much more entertained by each concert as well as impressed with the skills required of Peter and the musicians.” – Ben Heitner, Symphony BATS Board of Directors
All in all, guests left with a new appreciation for what they observe during performances. The next “Behind the Scenes with Peter Bay” event will be on Monday, January 5th and will be held at the Long Center for a sneak peek of the ASO’s rehearsal and a discussion with Peter Bay in the green room immediately following. If you’d like to join Symphony BATS and attend please visit us or email us for more details.
The Arbor Series, one of four major financial support groups for the Austin Symphony, began in the 1970’s when past presidents of the Women’s Symphony League gathered to enjoy lunch out of brown paper bags, under the “arbors” at Symphony Square. As the group grew members moved, first to Doyle House and boxed lunches and then to fine-dining at the Four Seasons Hotel. Arbor members enjoy an entertaining and enlightening lunch with Maestro Peter Bay and the guest artist, gaining fun facts about the concert, the composer and the guest artist.
On Thursday before each classical concert, you will find the members having lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel under the watchful eye of Pat Cherico, the new chairman. Pat began her musical career in 1982 as a Symphony Volunteer Usher, proudly waving her flashlight until 1995 when she became the Director of Symphony Volunteer Ushers. She held that position until 2011 when she retired.
Never confused for a person one might call timid, Pat’s ease of conversation and organizational skills made her a perfect candidate for Chairman. With her son, Jonn Cherico, Pat is working toward some new elements of surprise each month to enhance the enjoyment of the luncheons. The 2014-15 season began with each member finding a brown paper bag at their place printed with Arbor history on it and with surprises inside, including a letter from Jane Sibley from The Arbor Archives, circa 1977, and a questionnaire if members want wine. The wine now flows! Arbor enjoys a new logo and personalized name tags in addition to swag bags for the guest at the head table, generously provided by local sponsors. One of the benefits of Arbor membership is the opportunity to participate in a silent auction bidding to host the head table with Maestro Bay and the guest artist.
Membership in Arbor is available to persons who have demonstrated their devotion to the symphony with season subscriptions and financial contributions. Membership and dues are on an annual basis and the number is limited to the capacity of the dining room of choice. For membership information, please contact Pat Cherico at 512 453-8927 or via email.
A DREAM, A REALITY, A SUCCESS!
In 1996 it was a DREAM, today it is a REALITY, tomorrow an even greater SUCCESS with your help.
The DREAM – establishing an Endowment for the Austin Symphony Orchestra. This dream was the vision of Pat Harris and Sonia Wilson, Vice Presidents of Endowment on the Board of Directors of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Together with ASO’s legal counsel, William H. Bingham, they worked through the details of writing an ironclad Trust Agreement assuring that the principal of the fund could never be spent.
The REALITY – the initial goal of $10 million has been reached. Once the initial goal was achieved, a second goal of $20 million was set. Today, with gifts, pledges and bequests, the Endowment is nearing $15 million.
What does this mean for the Austin Symphony Orchestra? The Endowment now generates approximately $350,000 annually which is distributed to the ASO to be used to: ENHANCE artistic excellence, EXPAND community outreach, and ASSURE financial stability for the future of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Since its inception, over $2 million has been distributed to the Austin Symphony Orchestra to provide stability to the Orchestra by strengthening its financial position and allowing the organization to focus on artistic and educational goals.
The Endowment is a SUCCESS because of the generosity of the many members of the ASO family who have invested in the future of the ASO.
We invite you to keep the music playing into the future with a gift to the Endowment Campaign. A gift to the Austin Symphony Orchestra Endowment is an investment in the future of the ASO, a gift that will never be spent, as only a percentage of the interest earned on the principal will be distributed to the ASO annually.
THE ENDOWMENT FUND CAMPAIGN: AN INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE OF THE ASO
What is an Endowment?
An Endowment is an investment in the future … the exciting future of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. It is a permanent investment since only a percentage of the interest earned on your gift will ever be spent. Plus, your gift will remain in the Endowment Fund in perpetuity. This Endowment Fund helps enhance artistic excellence, expands community outreach and assures financial stability for the future of the Austin Symphony Orchestra.
How can I support the Austin Symphony Endowment Fund?
A gift to the Endowment Fund can be made in several ways:
- 1) Endowing a specific program
- 2) Endowing a Chair of the Orchestra
- 3) a gift in any amount (which can be paid out over a five year period), or
- 4) a Bequest in the form of a codicil to your Will
How do I get started?
We encourage you to cultivate and support the future of our outstanding Austin Symphony Orchestra. A gift in any amount to the Endowment is appreciated and is acknowledged in our Symphony program. Please visit the following link to download a “My Decision” form. Complete the form and return it to the ASO office with your gift or instructions on how you would like to complete your gift. If you have any questions or would like additional information on the ASO Endowment Fund, please contact Sharlene Strawbridge, Endowment Associate at 512-331-4885.
A Lifetime of support
The estate of Edythe Kruger has given a very generous Bequest to the Austin Symphony Endowment Fund to endow the Violin IX Chair of the Orchestra – Edythe and Aaron Kruger Memorial Chair. Kathy Lindauer, Edythe’s daughter, wrote: “Classical music was part of the life-blood of my mother’s life and the Austin Symphony Orchestra played a huge role in fulfilling her love of the art of beautiful music.”
Aaron Kruger was a dedicated member of the Board of Directors for many years. He worked diligently during the selection process of a new conductor when Akira Endo secured that position. Following Aaron’s tenure on the Board, Edythe took his place and served on the Board of Directors from 1984-2008. Edythe was awarded the distinction of Director Emeritus in 2008.
In addition to this bequest, the children of Aaron and Edythe Kruger have designated an annual gift to the ASO Endowment Fund in honor of their parents.
Years of dedication and support
Sonia and Sam Wilson have generously supported the Austin Symphony Orchestra for over fifty years. Sonia has served on the Executive Committee of the Austin Symphony Orchestra since 1974 and has served with Pat Harris as Vice Presidents – Endowment for almost 20 years. Sam has been a Knight of the Symphony since 1972 and was King Brio the XXV in 1990. He is currently a member of the ASO Endowment Advisory Board, a position he has held for many years.
The Wilson Family has endowed five Chairs of the Austin Symphony Orchestra in the Cello Section – Sam and Sonia Wilson Principal Cello Chair, the Steve A. Wilson & Family Cello II Chair and the Sharon E. Wilson Cello III Chair. Sam and Sonia’s most recent generous gift endowed two additional chairs in the Cello section – Cello VII Chair, Sterling Wilson Family and the Cello VIII Chair, honoring their seven grandchildren.
Newly appointed member of the ASO Board of Directors, Elena Goyanes and her husband Everardo have given a very generous gift to the Austin Symphony Orchestra Endowment Fund in support of the ASO Award-winning Youth Education Programs. Elena is a member of the Education Committee and has endorsed the goals set forth by the committee with education programs going forward. Elena wrote: “The Goyanes Family Foundation is pleased to support the Austin Symphony Orchestra Endowment Fund for its Youth Education Programs.”
Second Violin III Chair Endowed
Valued members of the ASO family, Pamella and David Bock have pledged to endow the Second Violin III Chair of the Orchestra. Pamella wrote: “David and I are delighted to have the opportunity to support the ASO Endowment Fund. We have been donors and season subscribers since we first moved to Austin in 2008, and we consider the Symphony an outstanding expression of Austin’s amazing civic spirit. We are honored to be part of the ASO community and look forward to many years of great musical performances.”
Double Bass II Chair endowed – Cornelia Adams Foster Wood has made a pledge to endow the Double Bass II Chair of the Orchestra. The proceeds will be received from the Adams-Foster Family Foundation. Cornelia and John Wood are longtime season ticket holders and supporters of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Realizing the importance of an Endowment, they have pledged their support of the Austin Symphony Endowment with this very generous gift. Cornelia has been a valued member of the Women’s Symphony League since 1988 and has supported the activities of the WSL and the Austin Symphony Orchestra over these many years. Cornelia wrote: “I have always loved classical music—and beyond just the pure enjoyment of listening to it, my support of the ASO is part of a general desire to keep vibrant and alive a great artistic heritage that is a gift to the future of humankind.”
Memorials and Tributes
All Memorial gifts and gifts honoring individuals for a special event, anniversary, birthday, etc. are placed in the Austin Symphony Orchestra Endowment Fund. As the principal of the Endowment grows, so does the corresponding annual allocation. A memorial gift or tribute is a gift that will continue to support the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s goals for generations to come. Please send all memorial gifts or honorariums to: Austin Symphony Orchestra, ATTN: Endowment, 1101 Red River, Austin, Texas 78701. Please make checks payable to: ASO Endowment Fund.