News & Reviews

« All News & Reviews

The Score - June 2015

The Newsletter of the Austin Symphony

June 1, 2015

Musician Spotlight – William D Lewis


William D Lewis, Principal Bassoon

Hometown: Fairmount, Indiana – the home of James Dean (Giant, Rebel without a Cause) His drama coach was my drama coach

Education: Ball State University 1977 BM – Ball State University 1980

Year Joined the ASO: 1985

Why did you choose the bassoon? I was playing the clarinet in high school band. The school was buying new instruments and I thought the bassoon would be interesting. It was unique and I would be the only one playing it in my small high school band. Once I had one in my hand I could not stop playing it. Then later I found out I got to make my own reeds! Wow!

What are you looking forward to most in the 2015-16 season? One of my favorite pieces to listen to is Brahms’s Third Symphony. It is the most technically difficult of his symphonies and I love to hear and be part of the intricate harmonies and musical textures. Maybe its because Brahms and I share a birth date.

Offstage I like to… I just retired after 31 years in education (College, High School and Middle School). I am looking forward to getting back onto my bicycle and having time to arrange more music for woodwind ensembles.

Describe an unforgettable moment, as a performer or listener, you’ve had as a musician. When I was in college I was playing in the Kokomo Symphony in Indiana. We were to play Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto. When Menahem Pressler started playing the Piano I was frozen in my chair and had a hard time concentrating on playing. I had never heard a sound like that before. I did not know the piano could sound like that! Making music with Mr. Pressler was the first time I felt like I could have a dialogue with the soloist. It changed how I thought about musical phrasing.

Favorite food or meal? Asian – especially Sushi.


Austin Symphony Donates Over 1000 Tickets to Veterans

Through a new partnership with VetTix, the Austin Symphony is proud to announce that over the last year we have donated over $40,000 worth of tickets to our veterans and active duty military personnel. Veterans have had a chance to attend 18 different performances and over 1,000 tickets were donated!

The gentleman pictured above stated, “This was an awesome opportunity to have a nice daddy date with my beautiful girls!”

“It has always been important for the Symphony to give back to our community,” stated Anthony Corroa, ASO Executive Director. He added, “We reach hundreds of thousands through our free community concerts and are thrilled that we are able to reach even more with our partnership with VetTix.”

To learn more about VetTix please visit vettix.org.

Click here to see what VetTix participants are saying out their Symphony experiences!


ASO Brochure Comes to Life!

The ASO marketing department wanted to try something revolutionary this upcoming season with its marketing campaign. They began by utilizing “augmented realty” in its 2015-2016 season brochure. They brought on Blippar to help with this task. They are the only symphony in the world that has done this according to Blippar. Jason Nicholson, Marketing Director for the ASO, describes augmented reality as the “Harry Potter effect,” referencing the part of the movie when the newspaper and photos come to life. Throughout the ASO brochure, there are certain pictures that you can put your Android or Apple device over and watch them interact with you. All you need is the free app from Blippar which you can get from the Apple App Store or the Android Play Store. They plan on using this technology throughout the season.


Women’s Symphony League


The Women’s Symphony League presents their 2014-15 fundraising proceeds totaling $400,000 to the Austin Symphony Orchestra at the May ASO BOD Executive Committee Meeting. Left to right: ASO Executive Director Anthony Corroa, Maestro Peter Bay, WSL 2014-15 outgoing President Jill Powell, WSL 2015-16 incoming President Karen Gernstein, and ASO Board of Directors President Tom Neville.

2014-15 has been another extraordinary year for the Women’s Symphony League of Austin, thanks to the time, talent and contributions of our members, donors, and Board of Directors. All three of the Women’s Symphony League major fundraisers set record-shattering profits! The 60th Anniversary Symphony Jewel Ball related events raised $322,000. The Red Haute Valentine Party and Children’s Style Show increased profits by over fifty percent, netting $32,000. And the ASO Youth Leadership Council, in just its second year, doubled both its membership and profits, resulting in a gift to the Austin Symphony of over $32,000. Additionally, the Women’s Symphony League was the beneficiary of a number of smaller fundraisers. In total, we were able to raise and donate $400,000 to the Austin Symphony Orchestra!

As the fiscal year came to a close, our members didn’t slow down. Our Young People’s Concerts Committee spent five days in May welcoming over 19,000 elementary school children to the Long Center to hear the Austin Symphony. Our Orchestra Relations Committee, which serves a lovely meal to the Austin Symphony at their pre-concert rehearsals each month, celebrated the May classical concert season finale with an incredible Italian meal featuring homemade lasagna! In addition, the Pops Concert Committee put together the lovely table decorations for the final Pops Concert of the season. Finally, our Teacher Appreciation Committee hosted a lovely reception at Symphony Square for AISD music teachers, giving them an opportunity to mix, mingle and exchange ideas with fellow music teachers as the school year concluded.

It has been both an honor and privilege to serve as the 2014-15 President of the WSL. I continue to be amazed with what the hard work and dedication of our talented membership accomplishes each year, and look forward to another exciting year under the leadership of 2015-16 President Karen Gernstein! We’ve recently welcomed 70 new members to the Women’s Symphony League for the 2015-16 year, and are ready to welcome children to Austin Symphony Children’s Day Art Park at Symphony Square on Wednesday mornings in June and July.

If you’d like to learn more about the Women’s Symphony League, please go to our website, www.wslaustin.org.

Jill Powell,
2014-15 President, Women’s Symphony League


Austin Symphony Arbor Series

The 2014-15 Austin Symphony Arbor Series ended the season with an enjoyable luncheon in the Brazos Room of the new JW Marriott Austin Hotel on May 28. Guest Artist Ryan Heller, Director of Chorus Austin, and Maestro Peter Bay provided Arbor members and guests with an informative and entertaining discussion of the weekend concert of Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Photos shown are of the May 28 luncheon at the JW Marriott Hotel and the April 9 meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel. ASO Guest Artists in April were Sharon Robinson and Jaime Laredo and the head table host was Ann Marie Harrison, winner of the silent auction. Head table guests were delighted with gift bags of handcrafted artisan chocolate from Tessa Halstead, Master Chocolatier of Chocolaterie Tessa on Burnet Road.

At the June 17 ASO Board Meeting a donation of $25,000 will be presented to President Tom Neville by Arbor Chairman Pat Cherico. The donation, an increase over last season, is based on members’ tax-deductible dues, donations and silent auction bids for hosting the head table with Maestro Bay and guest artists.

Chairman Cherico invited members to make recommendations of eligible potential Arbor members during the summer. Membership is based on being a season subscriber, making a minimum annual donation to ASO of $400 and payment of Arbor annual dues, currently $175. Membership applications along with luncheon locations will be mailed to members and prospective members the first of August. The first Arbor luncheon for 2015-16 will be September 17, 2015.

Anyone interested in joining Arbor for the 2015-16 season may contact Pat Cherico for questions or an application at (512) 453-8927 or patriciacherico@gmail.com.

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.