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The Score- March 2015

March 11, 2015

From the Desk of the President

Greetings dear friends and patrons of the Austin Symphony Orchestra,

Thanks to your support, our 104th season continues in successful fashion with memorable performances by astounding artists. From trumpet virtuoso Alison Balsom, to the dynamic Karen Gomyo, to the sold-out concerts of Olga Kern and Fantasy in February, the music has been extraordinary under the artistic leadership and energy of our own Peter Bay and the members of the orchestra.

Of course this wonderful music would not be possible without the generous financial support of many individuals, corporations, and foundations. Ticket revenue only covers a small fraction of the operating costs of the organization. To keep this treasured Austin resource moving forward we need your help. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Symphony today by using the following link. Your patronage allows us to present new and exciting programs throughout the year and years to come!

Finally, a special thanks to the Board of Directors of the Austin Symphony. These volunteers provide countless hours and tireless efforts in keeping the Symphony running.

Please enjoy the remainder of the programs this season, both the April 10th and 11th program featuring Dvorak, Previn and Elgar as well as the May 29th and 30th performances of Carmina Burana in collaboration with Chorus Austin.

Thank you,

Thomas Neville

Musician Spotlight – Richard Kilmer

Hometown: I was raised in Tulsa, OK in the postwar (WWII) years. The city was known then as the “Oil Capital of the World.” It was populated by lots of research engineers (including my Dad), and was one of the wealthier cities per capita in the U.S. It is a pretty town, hilly with lots of trees, a good place to grow up, but not necessarily to become a professional violinist.

Education: I went to study music at the Eastman School of Music at 16. My violin professor, Joseph Knitzer, had a considerable concert career which was cut short by medical problems. He took me under his wing when I expressed an interest in teaching. He emphasized musical values over technical training. One needs both, of course, but I am grateful for what he passed on to me.

Later, I spent a year at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, Belgium under the guidance of Arthur Grumiaux and learned what technical mastery looks like.

Year joined the ASO: I joined the ASO in September, 1988 in the First Violin section. After a year, more or less, I won the audition for Principal Second Violin. I have held the chair proudly and played about 95% of the services ever since.

Why did you choose the violin? I wanted to play violin at age 3 because my mother played violin and I heard her practicing to play at the local music club in Tulsa. I finally got a violin at age 4 1/2 and , as of last summer(2014), I have played for 70 years!

What orchestras/countries have you played with/lived? My friends in Mexico asked me recently how many countries I have played in. I had to make a list from memory and it totaled 35. I actually lived in Amsterdam for 15 years and played in the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, and after that I was Concertmaster of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa in Xalapa (Veracruz), Mexico for four years.

Offstage I like to… eat out, rummage around in junk shops, and visit my friends in Mexico.

Describe an unforgettable moment, as a performer or listener, you had as a young musician. I remember a concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra in the Eastman Theater in Rochester, N.Y. The opening bar of Sibelius’ Second Symphony brought tears to my eyes. I had never heard that music nor such an orchestral sound in my life, I was 16 years old.

Favorite book or movie? I think my all-time favorite book is “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse. My favorite movie is probably “Casablanca”

The Austin Symphony Youth Leadership Council wins top award from League of American Orchestras!

(by Jill Powell, President of the Women’s Symphony League)

Members of the ASO Youth Leadership Council with CMT Music Award winner, Jack Ingram

The Women’s Symphony League of Austin (WSL) received word from the League of American Orchestras (LAO) that their newest fundraiser, The Austin Symphony Orchestra Youth Leadership Council (YLC), has won LAO’s top award, the Gold Book Award of Excellence! The WSL will be recognized and presented with the award at LAO’s 2015 National Conference, May 26-29th, in Cleveland Ohio.

The YLC, now in its second year, recognizes Austin area teens who share a commitment to learning about leadership and supporting the arts in Austin. Membership is open to high school students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. YLC exposes these young people to principles in leadership, offers service opportunities, and provides the foundation for a lifelong commitment to support of the arts and philanthropic endeavors.

Members of the YLC are offered four 1-hour programs throughout the year, on Sunday afternoons. Each program features a guest speaker who is a leader in the Austin Community, speaking about his or her path to leadership. These short programs include social time with the student group, as well as a leadership exercise. YLC members are invited to attend as many of these programs as their schedules permit. The 2014-15 programs featured: Jack Ingram (Country music artist), Gilbert Tuhabonye (philanthropist, author and athlete), Catherine Morse (General Counsel for Samsung and President of United Way), Alan Graham (President of Mobile Loaves and Fishes), and Becky Preble (Career Counselor and owner of Get A Direction Career Counseling Center).

In addition, YLC members are offered a number of volunteer opportunities with the Austin Symphony Orchestra or Women’s Symphony League. Most of these involve the Austin Symphony’s nationally recognized and innovative children’s education programs, including Halloween Concerts and Children’s Day Art Park. Other volunteer opportunities include decorating for the Pops series concerts and helping with the WSL’s Red Haute Valentine Party & Children’s Style Show. These volunteer opportunities are optional, offered for community service credit hours.

In the spring, YLC members are recognized before an ASO concert, and a pre-concert reception at the Long Center is held in their honor on the same evening.

If you have any questions about the Youth Leadership Council, or know of a high school student interested in joining, please contact the Women’s Symphony League at or visit the WSL website.

An Interview with ASO Librarian – Alison Mrowka

Tell us a little about what a music librarian does. While many people think my position involves mostly cataloging and archiving, my job is actually centered on our symphony’s live-performance atmosphere. I work with musicians, conductors, and administration to make sure the right music is in the right place at the right time. Once the repertoire for the season is determined, I coordinate with music publishers to obtain sets of music we don’t already have in the library. Much of the music that arrives is not performance ready, so I will correct mistakes, add conductor markings, and transfer bowings to all the string parts. When the orchestra sits down at the first rehearsal, the parts in front of them should be clear and consistent so that they can focus on making music together.

How long does it take to prepare a piece of music?: Depending on the condition of the music when it arrives from the publisher, I will spend anywhere from five minutes to one hour on any single part before it is given to a musician. A symphony, for example, may be a 45 minute experience for the audience, several hours of rehearsal time for the musicians, but is often a full week of work for me.

How many parts do you prepare for one season? By the end of this season more than 8000 single parts (or 25,000 pages of music) will have been in my hands before they go out to the orchestra.

What is your favorite part of the job?. The orchestra librarian community is a very tight-knit group. I get to communicate with colleagues at other orchestras across the country nearly every day.

Let’s talk about you! Where are you from? I grew up in Ohio and Pennsylvania and went to college at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as a Clarinet Performance major.

Why did you want to become a librarian? Like most people and even many musicians, I was completely unaware of this uncommon career field. While in college I was introduced to the librarians at the Cincinnati Symphony. I was immediately enticed by their fascinating backstage job, working on the nuts and bolts of every concert. The Cincinnati librarians became my mentors, and I’ve been happy to call this my career ever since.

If you could meet one composer dead or alive, who would it be? I think Shostakovich was one of the most interesting people in music history. There could be a lot to learn from him.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Austin? I’m a big fan of the local barbecue scene. I couldn’t name a favorite place, but pretty much anything that comes out of a smoker in east Austin is amazing.

Arbor Series

At this past January’s Arbor Series lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel guest artist Alison Balsom, English trumpeter, won the hearts of members in a delightful, informative meeting. Alison Balsom was first inspired by Dizzy Gillespie to become a virtuosic trumpet soloist. “I’ve spent my whole life trying to show how versatile the trumpet can be” she said. “It’s only limited by your imagination.” She is a unique and independent artist who has broken through to the mainstream while retaining her integrity and core musical values. Exceptional talent, a glamorous stage presence and a witty and engaging personality make Alison one of the most exciting and bankable artists in the core classical world today. Hosting the head table were Peter Schram, Harry Ullmann, Nancy Griffith, Charlotte Klein, Rock Goodrich and Jonn Cherico. Head table guests took home gift bags of Alison Balsom’s newest CD “Paris” and copies of the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s CD premiere recording of Edward Burlingame Hill’s Symphony No. 4, autographed by Peter Bay and Anton Nel, pianist.

February’s lunch provided new members Marvin and Leslie Brittman the opportunity to host the head table at Four Seasons with ASO guest artist Karen Gomyo, violinist. Arbor members enjoyed learning of her early motivation to become a violinist after hearing Midori when she was seven and of her childhood in Japan and Canada. Her comments on the intricacies of the Sibelius concerto were very enlightening. Commercial sponsor of the table was East Austin Succulents who provided an intriguing centerpiece of succulents featuring a red violin. Table guests each took home an individual succulent arrangement with miniature violins and hearts created by East Austin Succulents, in addition to a gift bag of Valentine treats.

Arbor members welcomed new members Elena Goyanes and Dorothy Brown. The March and April luncheons will be at Four Seasons and the May meeting will be at the new J.W. Marriott Hotel. It has been an exciting Arbor season thus far with more surprises and exciting things yet to come before it ends in May.

For Arbor membership information, please contact Pat Cherico at 512 453-8927 or via email at

Endowment Campaign

Sibley Encore Society – Planning for the Future

In recognition of the unparalleled dedication of Jane and D. J. Sibley, Jr., the Sibley Encore Society has been established. The Sibley Encore Society recognizes and expresses its appreciation to those devoted friends of the Austin Symphony Orchestra who have named the Austin Symphony Orchestra in their wills or established another form of planned gift to help perpetuate great music for future generations.

YOUR ENCOREFOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC. We invite you to help enrich lives with great music for generations to come by remembering the Austin Symphony Orchestra in your will or estate plan.

If you have already made a provision in your Will for the ASO and have not notified us, please visit the following link to download a “My Decision” form. Once this form is received, your name will be added to the Sibley Encore Society listing in the ASO program, along with other friends of the orchestra who wish to support the future of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. For additional information about making a bequest to the Austin Symphony Endowment Fund, please contact Sharlene Strawbridge, Endowment Associate at 512-331-4885.

One Million Dollar Gift Endows the Sarah and Ernest Butler Texas Young Composers Competition and Concert

The Austin Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors and the ASO Endowment Committee are proud to recognize Sarah and Ernest Butler for their one million dollar gift to endow the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s Texas Young Composers Concert and Competition. In their honor the program has been named The Sarah and Ernest Butler Texas Young Composers Concert Endowment, which recognizes and pays tribute to their exceptional generosity, dedication and vision.

Over the past several years, Sarah and Ernest have encouraged and watched as this program has developed. Previous winners of the competition have gone on to pursue their dreams at the University of Texas and other prestigious universities across the country.

Sarah and Ernest endowed the program in January of 2014 with a gift of one million dollars. Since that time they have made an additional $250,000 investment in this program. The principal of their gift will stand in perpetuity in the Austin Symphony Endowment. Income from the interest earned on the gift will help defray the costs of running the competition and producing the annual concert. In addition, this year each winner will be awarded a scholarship generated by the Endowment: 1st Place, $3,000, 2nd Place, $2,000, 3rd Place, $1,000. In addition, the next six winners will be awarded $500 each.

The 5th Annual Austin Symphony Sarah and Ernest Butler Texas Young Composers Concert will be held on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. – Long Center for the Performing Arts, Dell Hall – Conductor, Peter Bay.

Memorials and Tributes

Memorials and Tributes have played an important role in growing the Austin Symphony Orchestra Endowment. All Memorial gifts and gifts honoring individuals for a special event, anniversary, birthday, etc. are placed in the Austin Symphony Orchestra Endowment Fund. As the principal of the Endowment grows, so does the corresponding annual allocation. A memorial gift or tribute is a gift that will continue to support the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s goals for generations to come. Please send all memorial gifts or honorariums to: Austin Symphony Orchestra, ATTN: Endowment, 1101 Red River, Austin, Texas 78701. Please make checks payable to: ASO Endowment Fund.