WHEELING - Maestro Andre Raphel and Wheeling Symphony Orchestra officials believe the orchestra's 2012-13 season "will soar with memorable works, extraordinary soloists, pieces by today's leading classical composers and the timeless towering music of rock legends and the King of Pop."
An official announcement of the new season was made Friday night, at the conclusion of the final concert in the current season. The theme for the 2012-13 season, "Come As You Are, Leave Differently," reflects both the universal appeal of symphonic music to a wide range of concert-goers and the power of music to enlighten and transform listeners' perspective.
"The '12-13 season focuses on works that speak to the soul, music that resonates with visceral excitement," Raphel said. "From Respighi's exhilarating 'Pines of Rome' to Shostakovich's gripping 'Symphony No. 10,' the concerts offer works by 20th century originals combined with leading composers of our time.
"Extraordinary soloists return, such as Orli Shaham and Stewart Goodyear playing works by Gershwin and Tchaikovsky, respectively. Martin Chalifour, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, makes his debut, as well as Ilana Davidson, singing Mozart. It's a distinctive season of repertoire and artists," he continued.
The WSO's 83rd season consists of four Masterworks performances and three pops concerts to be performed at the Capitol Theatre, along with the traditional free July 4 concert at Heritage Port and Music Under the Stars concert at Oglebay Park.
Bruce Wheeler, WSO executive director, cited the connection between music and emotion as reflected in the season theme. "The magic of an orchestral performance does not only happen on stage with the musicians, but allows the audience to experience that magic to elevate their emotions as reflected in our season title, 'Come as you Are, Leave Differently,'" he said.
Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy Award-winning composer Jennifer Higdon will be featured during the 2012-13 season. Higdon will be in Wheeling for a composer residency in March, and her music will be played throughout the season.
Another highlight will be the celebration of the sesquicentennial of West Virginia statehood.
To mark this historic milestone, the Wheeling Symphony is commissioning composer Kenneth Fuchs to write a fanfare for orchestra. As part of the June 20, 2013, commemoration, Fuchs' work also will be arranged for band.
In addition to the classical repertoire, the new season will rock with the music of the Eagles, Sting, the Police and Michael Jackson.
The season includes:
Sept. 28 - Music of the Eagles, with Raphel, conductor, and Michael Shotton, vocalist. The concert is sponsored by WesBanco.
Oct. 19 - Ravel, Franck and Orli Shaham playing Gershwin, with Raphel, conductor, and Shaham, piano. The program includes "Alborada del Gracioso" by Ravel, Gershwin's "Piano Concerto in F "and Franck's "Symphony in d minor." McKinley & Associates and United Bank are sponsors for the concert.
Nov. 16 - Brass Fanfares, Folk Music and Martin Chalifour performing Bruch, with Raphel, conductor, and Chalifour, violin. The repertoire features Higdon's "Tenfold," Mendelssohn's "Symphony No. 5," Bruch's "Violin Concerto No. 1" and Bartok's "The Miraculous Mandarin Suite." The concert is sponsored by the Elizabeth Stifel Kline Foundation.
Feb. 14 - The Music of Sting and the Police. The Valentine's Day program features vocalist Neil Donell.
March 8 - Rossini, Higdon, Respighi and Ilana Davidson singing Mozart, with Raphel, conductor, and Davidson, soprano. The program includes Rossini's "Il Signor Bruschino," Higdon's Concerto for Orchestra, Mozart's "Exsultate, jubilate KV 165" featuring Davidson and Respighi's "Pini di Roma" ("The Pines of Rome"). The concert is sponsored by Dick and Rosalie Dlesk and family. The Higdon residency sponsors are Judge and Mrs. Frederick Stamp Jr.
April 26 - The Music of Michael Jackson, with Raphel, conductor, and vocalist Gavin Hope.
May 17, 2013 - All-Russian Program with Stewart Goodyear performing Tchaikovsky, with Raphel, conductor, and Goodyear, piano. To be performed are "Prelude to Khovantchina" by Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No. 1" and Shostakovich's "Symphony No. 10." Paul T. Tucker is the concert sponsor.
Free summer concerts are Red, White & Blue, with Raphel, conductor, at Heritage Port Amphitheater, Wheeling, on July 4, and Music Under the Stars, with Raphel, conductor, at Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater, Oglebay Park, on Sept. 2. The concert is sponsored by Progressive Bank and Riesbeck Food Markets.
The WSO also will present its annual Young People's Concerts during the 2012-13 season for thousands of area students. For information, call (304) 232-6191.