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Symphony season begins with musical trip to Scotland

By APRILL BRANDON
Sept. 1, 2010 at 4:01 a.m.


Victoria Symphony 2010-11 schedule:Sept. 18: "Music from the Highlands" with guest violinist Jessica Mathaes

Oct. 7: Party in the Park

Oct. 14: Symphonic Spooktacular

Oct. 16: "The Rebellious Symphony"

Jan. 15: Grammy-nominated The Letterman concert

Feb. 4: Gourmet Wine Dinner

Feb. 24: "Peter & The Wolf"

Feb. 26: "International All Orchestral" concert

April 28: Downtown Rhythms

April 30: "The Verdi Requiem" concert

Growing up, Jessica Mathaes always pictured herself being a musician as an adult. Picturing herself as the first female and the youngest concertmaster in the 100-year history of the Austin Symphony didn't really cross her mind, however.

In 2005, though, that's exactly what the violinist became.

"It was a real honor. And because of the process, which is a blind audition where only sound is considered, not age or gender, it gave me added confidence," she said. "I won it fair and square and knew that it was the place I was supposed to be."

Being concertmaster, which is the leader of the orchestra, has helped Mathaes launch a successful solo career, which will bring her to Victoria Sept. 18 as the guest artist for the first Victoria Symphony concert of the 2010-11 season. Titled "Music from the Highlands," the concert will feature Scottish-influenced works from composers such as Malcolm Arnold, Max Bruch and Felix Mendelssohn.

"I am so excited about this program. I can't imagine a better opening for a season," Mathaes said. "The Scottish Fantasy by Bruch is one of the most beautiful pieces for violin out there. When you hear it, you can just imagine yourself in the Scottish highlands. It's one of my all time favorite pieces."

Although the symphony season begins in Scotland, the rest of the season will take audience members around the world with this season's theme of "Where Will The Music Take You?"

"Putting together a new season of symphonic pieces each year is always an interesting and fun challenge. Sometimes there is a season theme, other times not. Often, each concert has a theme or unifying factor," Victoria Symphony music director Darryl One said. "However, one thing that remains constant in programming is a series of pieces that are accessible, interesting, and attractive to our audiences in Victoria. This season combines many of the above factors."

One added that the overall season theme that guided the selection of works for this season is what he called "International Classical Chart Toppers." Musical pieces from Germany, Italy, Russia, Britain, France, Finland and Australia will be highlighted.

"The works we are playing by these composers are some of the pillars of symphonic music today, among them the sarcastic, satirical, and powerful Fifth Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich and the spiritual, poignant, yet majestic Verdi Requiem," he said. "We will visit the globe and bring back cherished and beloved melodies known to all, and bring a few new and exciting pieces to take their places alongside the traditional gems we have all come to love."

The Victoria Symphony "Music from the Highlands" concert will be at 8 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Victoria College Fine Arts Auditorium. Tickets are available by calling 361-576-4500 or online at www.victoriasymphony.com.

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