Wheeling Symphony Orchestra will present A Night in Vienna, conducted by music director finalist Andrés Franco, featuring guest artist Alexi Kenney, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at The Capitol Theatre.
The Imperial City has captured the imagination of music lovers for centuries and counts Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms among its illustrious inhabitants. Johann Strauss, Jr. immortalized Vienna through his delightful music, inspiring Richard Strauss to write the famous waltzes of Der Rosenkavalier. Violinist Alexi Kenney, the recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, makes his Wheeling Symphony debut performing Brahms’ beloved violin concerto.
Kenney enjoys a busy career as a concert and chamber violist. He has been called “a talent to watch” by the New York Times. His win at the 2013 Concert Artists Guild Competition at the age of 19 led to a critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut recital at Weill Hall. Born in Palo Alto, Calif., in 1994, Alexi holds a bachelor’s degree in music and an artist diploma from the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he studied with Donald Weilerstein and Miriam Fried. Previous teachers include Wei He, Jenny Rudin and Natasha Fong.
Beginning his fourth season as music director of Tulsa’s Signature Symphony and associate conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Franco continues to delight audiences with his imaginative programming and energetic style. Highlights of the 2018-19 season include debuts with the Dallas Symphony and Omaha Symphony, as well as a return engagement with the Detroit Symphony.
Franco is also a frequent guest conductor in the U.S., Europe and South America, and he formerly served as music director of the Philharmonia of Kansas City, as associate and resident conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and as Leonard Slatkin’s assistant conductor during the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Franco holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, as well as master of music degrees in piano performance and conducting from Texas Christian University. He is married to Victoria Luperi, associate principal clarinetist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
“This concert will be an unforgettable musical journey to Vienna,” said Franco. “The program features two lighter and highly entertaining pieces by Johann Strauss, Jr.: the Overture to The Gypsy Baron and the Csárdás from Ritter Pásmán, both of which are influenced by Gypsy and Hungarian music. J. Strauss Jr.’s music was admired by many people, including the other two composers in the program: Johannes Brahms and Richard Strauss.
“We will play Brahms’ towering Concerto for Violin and Orchestra with Alexi Kenney as soloist. Alexi is one of the most exciting violinists I have heard, and I am very happy to be working with him in Wheeling. The concert concludes with the Suite from Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss. This piece is a tour de force that will showcase the amazing talents of the Wheeling Symphony. The suite — like the concert itself — is a celebration of all things Viennese and includes a delightful sequence of waltzes that will bring the evening to a spectacular conclusion!”
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Prior to the concert, patrons can purchase a pre-show, prix fixe dinner, catered by Chef Rocco Basil in The Capitol Theatre Ballroom starting at 5:30 p.m. A free “Concert Talk” follows at 6:30 p.m. where Maestro Franco and other guests will offer an informative and intriguing look at the story behind the music to be presented that evening.
Immediately following the performance, the board of directors invites attendees to stay for a free post-show reception with Franco and other members of the symphony orchestra.
Tickets start at $18.50 and can be purchased online at wheelingsymphony.com, by phone at 304-232-6191, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Earlier on concert day, there will be a WSO on the GO event, featuring a meet-and-greet with Franco and a performance from the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra string quintet. The event begins at noon at the Artworks Around Town area of Centre Market. It is free and open to the public.
WSO’s string quintet features musicians: Juan Jaramillo (violin), Maureen Colon Gutierrez (violin), Jennifer Gerhard (viola), Elisa Kohanski (cello) and Jeffrey T. Mangone (contrabass).
“After the success of last month’s lunchtime WSO on the GO event, we couldn’t wait to get back out in the community and play another concert for all of our downtown neighbors during lunchtime,” said Bryan Braunlich, general manager of the WSO. “We were so thrilled that our friends at Artworks Around Town are hosting us once again in their beautiful space, and are grateful to the Centre Market management for helping make this happen. We hope that as we continue doing these concerts throughout Wheeling and the Ohio Valley, people will get to know our musicians and join them and the rest of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra at our season concerts throughout the year.”