Named Best Classical Music Addition of 2013 by Dallas Observer, Dallas Chamber Symphony (DCS) is gearing up for a new season. At just 4 years old, DCS has quickly become one of the most exciting and innovative professional performance ensembles in North Texas, and a lot of that has to do with artistic director and conductor Richard McKay's foresight. He saw that something was missing from the Dallas music and arts scene, and he had an idea of how to fill that empty hole.
"While most major cities have chamber orchestras, Dallas did not," says McKay. "So in 2011, we started DCS, and by 2012, we were in full operation. Then with the opening of the new Dallas City Performance Hall, we had an opportunity not only to fill a void in the Dallas arts community, but also to present our concerts at a gorgeous new hall."
The goal is to present alternative chamber music events unlike those that patrons are generally accustomed to seeing and hearing, and DCS is well on its way to achieving that mission. First, by creating an orchestra of over 40 musicians; second, by performing standard and underrepresented chamber repertory. This year, DCS ups its game by collaborating with the Bruce Wood Dance Project in September, and enters into a new partnership with the Video Association of Dallas in October.
The first collaboration is over a year in the making. McKay and Wood first began discussing how to combine what DCS does with what BWDP does, but with the untimely death of Wood, that first project was abandoned. However, McKay continue his relationship with the company and they recently started discussing ways that DCS could bring live music to Wood's existing works, especially those that Wood had explicitly expressed an interest in setting to live music. One such work is "Piazzolla de Prisa," set to music from Argentinean composer Ástor Piazzolla.
"For BWDP, we are performing four selections by Piazzolla...that are very rarely performed, but are sure to delight," says McKay. "They are fast and energetic, and perfect for dance. Piazzolla...is famous for reinventing tango music. People will love it."
With the partnership with the Video Association of Dallas, DCS will become an integral part of the Dallas VideoFest's 27th year. On October 8, DCS will bring to life Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger for Fest's opening night, and since they are known for bringing silent films into our reality-TV-obsessed world, this performance is sure to change even the most stubborn minds about the power of live music and moving images with a real narrative.
"I am hopeful that the DCS will attract even more collaborations," says McKay. "I would also like to see some of our programs, such as the Dallas International Piano Competition and Sight of Sound really take off. These are program that are starting to attract large audiences, and are poised for some really exciting new growth. I look forward to strengthening these programs over time."
Aside from all the performance, DCS is also embarking on an educational journey that will not only expand the knowledge of its musicians, but will allow them to spread that knowledge to the young minds of our city. They have planned field trips to area schools that make me wish I was still a pre-teen. They will be using these cool digital textbooks and have interactive concerts planned that will be introducing nearly 1,000 children to the performing arts, just when we are desperately seeking that education in our school districts.
Check out their 2014-2015 Season offerings are below:
8 p.m. September 16, 2014 at the Dallas City Performance Hall Concert 1: Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 with Alex McDonald DCS will open its season with Peter Warlock's Capriol Suite, which features renaissance melodies with a Celtic influence, Shostakovich's neo-baroque piece Piano Concerto No. 1 that features pianist Alex McDonald and trumpeter Oscar Garcia Montoya, and Dvorak's romantic and familiar Serenade for Strings.
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8 p.m., October 8, 2014 at the Dallas City Performance Hall Concert 2: Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger With the much-anticipated collaboration with the Video Association of Dallas, DCS will bring to life Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller, The Lodger. The orchestra will perform a new musical score by Douglas Pipes.
8 p.m. November 18, 2014 at the Dallas City Performance Hall Concert 3: Vaughan-Williams, Ives, and Mozart with Chloé Trevor and Kyle Orth With its November show, DCS will put some of their most talented soloists on the spot. Violinist Chloé Trevor will play Vaughan-Williams' The Lark Ascending, and Kyle Orth, winner of the Dallas International Piano Competition of 2014, will perform Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor. The orchestra will also play Charles Ives' rarely performed Symphony No. 3, The Camp Meeting.
8 p.m. February 17, 2015 at the Dallas City Performance Hall Concert 4: Bumping Into Broadway Bumping Into Broadway continues DCS popular silent film series with a newly commissioned score for the Harold Lloyd film.
8 p.m. April 28, 2015 at the Dallas City Performance Hall Concert 5: Sight of Sound 2015 DCS will conclude its season with selections form the second annual Sight of Sound International Film Competition. Sponsored in part by the Video Association of Dallas, this year's competition explores music and visual art pairings that utilize scores by Grieg, Pärt, Vivaldi, Elgar, Schubert, and others. Final details will be announced as the competition shapes up over the year.