WSO to Host Evening of Storytelling Through Symphonies, Arias and Songs

The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra’s next concert, featuring guest artist Soloman Howard and conducted by music director finalist John Devlin, is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 15, at The Capitol Theatre in Wheeling.

“Composers are storytellers, and each piece on our program relates its story in a different way,” said Devlin.

“The concert will open with a tale familiar to us all, that of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, as imagined by the great Russian composer, Peter Tchaikovsky. Then, we will feature a bass singer, Soloman Howard, whose ‘superhuman’ voice is one that I think places him firmly amongst the most powerful and authentic performers of his generation. Mr. Howard will present arias, songs and spirituals as we explore music throughout history that is imbued with drama and sincerity of meaning through the texts,” Devlin said.

“Lastly, we move to music with no explicit story: Brahms Fourth Symphony. The last symphony written by this legendary composer brings together everything that is beautiful and everything that is exceptional about his orchestral writing — and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra will trace its own story for you through this symphonic masterpiece.”

A recent graduate of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, a program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Howard garners high praise from the press for his vivid performances on the great opera and concert stages of the world. His voice is described as “sonorous” by The New York Times, “superhuman” by The Denver Post and “a triumph” by The Guardian.

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Howard has appeared with Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, as well as the Washington National Opera. He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and of Morgan State University and recently received the prestigious “Marian Anderson Vocal Award.”

Devlin is the newly appointed music director of the Hawaii Youth Symphony and artistic director of the Pacific Music Institute. He has also held positions with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to the concert at 5:30 p.m., patrons can purchase a pre-show, prix fixe dinner, catered by Rocco Basil in The Capitol Theatre Ballroom. Also in the ballroom, guests can also attend a free concert talk at 6:30 p.m. when Devlin will offer an informative and intriguing look at the story behind the music.

Immediately following the performance, the board of directors invites attendees to stay for a free post-show reception with Devlin and other members of the symphony orchestra.

Tickets to Brahms Symphony No. 4 start at $18.50 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 304-232-6191, via email at or in person at the box office, located at 1025 Main St., Suite 811, Wheeling.

Patrons 18 or younger can get tickets for $7.50. Additional discounts are available for college students and groups of 10 or more.

Pre-concert dinner tickets are $25. For reservations, call 304-232-6191 or email

More information is available at

Look for a WEEasked Q&A with John Devlin on Monday, March 11, on Weelunk’s site.