Wheeling Symphony announces anniversary season

WHEELING — Under new leadership, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming 90th anniversary season will feature seven subscription concerts and another edition of Symphony on Ice.

The WSO board of directors soon will announce the symphony’s new music director and conductor, who will then select overtures and symphonies on Masterworks concerts and additional programming.

Concerts in the current season, which ended Friday, were conducted by five candidates for music director. John Devlin, Andres Franco, Timothy Hankewich, Silas Huff and Roger Kalia were chosen as finalists for the position, which was vacated by Andre Raphel at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.

On Friday, officials said the symphony will launch a Taste of the Symphony Chamber Concert Series for its 2019-20 season and will continue its July 4 tour, the Music Under the Stars free concert, Young People’s Concert Tour and WSO on the GO series.

Highlights of the celebratory season will be a tribute to Aretha Franklin, a celebration of Black History Month, a performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major and an appearance by local guitarist John Marcel Williams playing Elmer Bernstein’s Guitar Concerto. The 90th season also will contain anniversary events, including a birthday celebration at Music Under the Stars.

The WSO on the GO series will continue to offer ensemble performances throughout the Ohio Valley, featuring musicians of the orchestra to engage new audiences. Additional outreach, educational and community concerts will include the July tour, Music Under the Stars and the Young People’s concerts.

“We have a lot to be excited about for this anniversary season,” said Executive Director Bruce Wheeler. “Not only will we be announcing the symphony’s new music director soon, we have a number of celebratory events happening throughout the year including Music Under the Stars and our opening night party, Symphony in the Streets.”

Wheeler said, “Without the community’s support for the past 90 years, we would not have reached this monumental milestone in our organization’s history. We cannot thank everyone enough and look forward to making wonderful music for the Ohio Valley and its residents throughout the year.”

Masterworks and pops concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays at the Capitol Theatre, 1015 Main St.

The opening concert on Sept. 20 will be “Aretha: A Tribute,” featuring Capathia Jenkins and three-time Grammy Award nominee Ryan Shaw performing hits of the Queen of Soul.

Williams, an Ohio Valley native and one of the most promising young classical guitarists of this generation, will perform on Oct. 11. By age 16, he had won more than 20 prizes at competitions. In addition, he was awarded first prize at the James Stroud competition and won the Pittsburgh Concert Society audition.

The Nov. 21 concert, dubbed “A Night at the Chamber Orchestra,” will spotlight two of the Wheeling Symphony’s own musicians: Roi Mezare, clarinet, and Robert Driscoll, oboe. Mezare will play Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major. Driscoll will be the soloist for “Horloge de Flore (Flower Clock)” by Jean Francaix.

A Valentine’s Day concert on Feb. 14, “Soulful — A Celebration in Honor of Black History Month,” will feature singer Gavin Hope and 50 years’ worth of R&B, Motown, funk, disco and pop material by 20 African American recording artists and performers.

SooBeen Lee, who has been called “Korea’s hottest violin prodigy,” will perform Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in e minor on March 13. She has appeared as a soloist with every major Korean orchestra.

The final pops concert will be presented on April 24. The theme and guest artist will be announced at a later date.

The 2019-20 season will conclude on May 15 with American pianist Maxim Lando playing Tchaikovksy’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

A favorite holiday show, Symphony on Ice, will be staged at WesBanco Arena in downtown Wheeling at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5. The orchestra will be joined by champion professional skaters, members of the Pittsburgh and Wheeling figure skating clubs, area middle and high school choirs and other guests.

Subscription packages for the 2019-20 season are available for purchase now. Single tickets will be available later this year. For ticket pricing and subscription packaging, visit online at wheelingsymphony.com or call 304-232-6191.

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