Classical Music

DSO Will Perform Rarely Heard Work by Female Composer this Weekend

This is worth the $19 ticket.
This is worth the $19 ticket. Sylvia Elzafon

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s ReMix concert is the perfect night out if you want to get a little bit fancy but you don’t want to break the bank. Or perhaps you've just been dying to try the trendy Aperol Spritz that you'll get for free with your ticket. Whatever the case, it’s worth the $19 ticket.

Billed as “Mendelssohn’s Italian,” this week’s program at Moody Performance Hall offers two lovely and familiar works – Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin and Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony (commonly referred to as his “Italian Symphony”). But sandwiched between these two orchestral standbys is Grazyna Bacewicz's Concerto for String Orchestra – something the DSO has never performed before. This piece is surely unfamiliar territory for individual members of the orchestra as well, including co-concertmaster Nathan Olson.

“I had not played Bacewicz's Concerto for Orchestra before,” he says. “In fact, I was only familiar with one of her other works, the Quartet for Four Violins, which is a charming piece that I've coached with a couple groups of young violinists.”

This isn’t really a surprise, considering that most of the classical music we’re used to hearing was written at least a hundred years ago by European men. But it’s something the DSO is aiming to change with their “Women in Classical Music” initiative, part of an overall strategic plan for the organization. And they’re not wasting any time getting started. Just last week, they announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Julia Wolfe will be its composer-in-residence for the two upcoming seasons. All of this to say: you can look forward to hearing more music by female composers at the DSO soon.

Bacewicz’s Concerto for Orchestra is strikingly different from the other two works on this program. Olson says that “much of the music is not necessarily ‘pretty,’ but quite heavy and rustic.” Keep an eye – and an ear – on the violin section for some unusual sounds during the first and third movements.

“Much of the music is not necessarily ‘pretty,’ but quite heavy and rustic.” – Nathan Olson

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“We have a fair amount of sul ponticello (a technique where violinists bow the strings much closer to the bridge of their instrument than normal), which creates a nasal, raspy sound,” he says. “There are also a lot of strong accented notes, both bowed and plucked.”

You’ll have the chance to stay after the performance to meet the musicians – something not always offered at DSO subscription concerts in the Meyerson Symphony Center.

“The vibe of ReMix makes for a fun and refreshing experience,” Olson says. “I look forward to meeting some of our audience members after the show to hear thoughts on the music we performed, or to have a discussion about something else entirely. And, an Aperol spritz can't hurt.”

It certainly can’t.

ReMix is 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Moody Performance Hall. Tickets are $19-29 at and include a free drink and appetizers before the concert.
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