After nearly two years, the Abilene Philharmonic is finally returning to the Abilene Convention Center auditorium for its 71st season of exciting, world-class concerts. Aptly themed the “Lost Season,” the APO is making up for lost time and packing the schedule with fun, unique programs, along with a variety of performances that were either postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has been a very long time since we performed a full orchestral work, and we are ready to get back to doing what we do best,” said Executive Director Kevin Smith. “Maestro Itkin has done a masterful job of curating this season to make up for the concerts we lost as well as infuse in some new exciting programs.”
This year’s concert season will open with a dazzling holiday event on Dec. 4 that has become somewhat of an Abilene tradition. You can expect to hear all your favorite holiday movie music, including an interactive special of “The Polar Express” accompanied by narration and the illustrations from the book projected over the orchestra. This concert will include a family- friendly matinee performance, perfect for kicking off the holiday season and inspiring the joy of Christmas.
The Masterworks series kicks off in January with the world’s most famous brass ensemble, the Canadian Brass. Originally postponed from April 2020, this performance will feature the sounds of New York City in a newer piece by Jeff Tyzik called New York Cityscapes.
But the fun doesn’t stop there, you can find the melodies of “The Wizard of Oz,”“Wicked,”“Return to Oz,”and the “Wiz”in February, performed by a celebrity cast of Broadway and cabaret stars.
In March, the APO will perform The Planets by Holst, featuring an immersive concert experience as visuals of our solar system will be projected over the orchestra and choreographed live by visual artist and animator Adrian Wyard. A former designer and program manager at Microsoft, Wyard has transformed his talents to create stunning images and animations that correspond perfectly with the music.
“I am especially excited about this performance,” said APO
Music Director and Conductor David Itkin. “The addition of visuals to The Planets will create a unique and powerful experience for our patrons who have probably heard the melodies in this piece played a thousand times.”
The APO then travels to the Middle East to tell the tale of “One Thousand and One Nights” through the very popular piece, Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov. This performance will also feature Vaughan Williams 5 Mystical Songs, performed by a combination of choirs from ACU, HSU, and McMurry.
In May, emerging violinist and fellow Abilenian Faith Fang will share the stage for two dynamic pieces by Ravel and Chausson. The second half of this concert is dominated by the great Russian composer Tchaikovsky, with the beautiful Francesca da Rimini and the powerful 1812 Overture. Currently studying violin performance at SMU, Ms. Fang began playing the violin at the age of five, she has since traveled the world and competed in numerous competitions. She is also the bronze medalist of the 2018 Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition.
The concert season will close with a bang, as in “Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.”The Classical Mystery Tour, one of the most famous Beatles Tribute bands in the world will be performing your favorites with your APO. Come relive Beatlemania and hear all the hits such as “Penny Lane,”“Yesterday,”“Imagine,”“I am the Walrus’’ and much more!
J a m e s O w e n , t h e f o u n d e r o f C l a s s i c a l M y s t e r y To u r, p r e v i o u s l y told ABC, “We really make an effort to sound exactly like the original group. The orchestra score is exact, right down to every note and instrument that was on the original recording. Because many Beatles fans never had the opportunity to experience a live Beatles show, Classical Mystery Tour offers that live experience — with a symphony orchestra.”
“We are excited to be back to doing what we do best, and that is performing powerful and inspiring symphonic works for our community,” said Maestro David Itkin. “I hope you’ll join us for this incredible concert season full of wonder and magic”
To purchase tickets or a season subscription, visit AbilenePhilharmonic.org or call 325-677-6710.
Contributed By The Abilene Philharmonic