Wheeling Symphony audiences are being encouraged to "connect" with popular performers, returning favorites and great music in the 2014-15 season.
Andre Raphel, music director of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, today announced details of the new season, which features the return of Grammy Award-winning performer and Wheeling native Tim O'Brien and the revival of the crowd-pleasing Symphony on Ice.
In a new development, all of the 2014-15 pops concerts will be performed on Saturdays at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, the Masterworks concerts will continue to be presented at 8 p.m. Fridays.
WSO Music Director Andre Raphel
The theme for the symphony's 85th season is "HeartStrings - Music That Connects Us!" Building on the musical connections between great solo and orchestral works, childhood memories of watching cartoons and powerful film scores, the concerts next season are designed to make connections through a broad repertoire, officials stated.
"I'm thrilled about the programs next season, which I think will bring listeners closer to the music," Raphel said. "The artists and composers for 2014-15 represent some of the most distinctive voices in music. From a program of Spanish and American music to works by Arvo Part and Bela Bartok, it's a season with a variety of entry points that will connect audiences to the concert experience."
The upcoming season will feature four Masterworks concerts and three pops concerts, all performed at the historic Capitol Theatre in downtown Wheeling. A holiday favorite, the Main Street Bank Symphony on Ice, will return at WesBanco Arena in downtown Wheeling Tuesday, Dec. 2.
Opening night for the Masterworks series is set for Friday, Sept. 26, with the music of Mozart and Brahms featuring soprano Lianne Coble.
The series continues with a program of Spanish and American music with soloist Michael Ludwig playing Barber's Violin Concerto on Friday, Nov. 7; renowned composer Roberto Sierra will visit Wheeling for a residency as a special component of that week.
Other programs in the series are "Famous Fifths," an all-orchestral program that includes Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, on Friday, March 20, and a season-closing program featuring Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 with guest pianist Norman Krieger on Friday, May 15, 2015.
The pops series opens Saturday, Oct. 18, with "One Vision: The Music of Queen" featuring Jeans 'n Classics.
O'Brien, who has made his mark in bluegrass, roots and folk music as an instrumentalist, singer and songwriter, returns to his hometown for a pops performance Saturday, Feb. 28.
The pops series concludes Saturday, April 11, with "Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II," a multimedia performance featuring classic cartoons accompanied by the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra with guest conductor George Daugherty.
Concert Talk, an informative discussion, will be presented before each Masterworks concert. The free lectures will be offered in the Capitol Theatre ballroom at 7 p.m.
Pre-concert dinners, catered by area chefs and restaurants, will be held in the Capitol Theatre ballroom at 6 p.m. before every Masterworks and pops concert.
Free outdoor summer concerts to celebrate America will be held at the Weirton Event Center July 3, at Wheeling's Heritage Port amphitheater July 4 and at Canaan Valley State Park in Davis July 5. The annual Music Under the Stars free concert will be held Aug. 31 at Anne Kuchinka Amphitheatre, Oglebay Park.
During the season, the Wheeling Symphony also will present its Young People's Concerts at the Capitol Theatre and on tour performing for students.
For more information, call the symphony office, 304-232-6191, or visit the website at www.wheelingsymphony.com.