Bemidji Symphony Orchestra will finish its 2009-10 season with notifications as being named semi-finalists in the orchestra and conductor categories in the American Prize Competition. The orchestra has been cited for an increase in attendance in audiences from the surrounding areas and the willingness of world class musicians to come and perform with a local orchestra.
"We are very appreciative of our audience support and we always have new people at every concert," said Gretchen Rusch, BSO board president.
As a player in the oboe section, Rusch said she is also "very proud and pleased with the artistic product."
Rusch also pointed to the success of this season accomplished in part by showcasing local musicians such as Stephen Carlson a faculty member of the music department at Bemidji State University. Young cellist Eric Haugen performed for the Bismark Symphony and the BSO to enthusiastic audiences in both venues. She also said the orchestra is able to attract musicians such as classical guitarist Peter Jankovic to play for the Spanish Triumph concert in October.
Another example is the soloist for the concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 25, in the Bemidji High School Auditorium. David Heyde is the associate principal horn with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the son of Steven Heyde, conductor of the Waco Symphony Orchestra. While she was a student at Baylor University, Beverly
Everett, BSO's music director and conductor, studied with Steven Heyde and became acquainted with his son.
The younger Heyde also received his undergraduate degree from Baylor and went onto graduate work at Southern Methodist University. David Heyde has performed as soloist with the Omaha and Waco Symphonies and played with many musical festivals including the Music Academy of the West, the National Repertory Orchestra and Tanglewood.
On Sunday, he can add playing with the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra to his credits. This Sunday he will play a piece composed by Mozart for a friend. The piece was originally meant to be played by the forerunner of today's evolved French horn, the Waldhorn, which was used in hunting and had no valves. Today, the French horn is considered the leader of the brass section of an orchestra.
Continuing with this concert's theme of "Trials and Triumphs," the opening piece Sunday is the overture to Beethoven's opera, "Fidelio," the Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b. It is considered to be a love story of a man imprisoned during the French Reign of Terror and his wife, who fought for his release. Although the opera was not successful at its inception, Beethoven's revisions gave us the piece that will be played on Sunday.
After intermission, the orchestra will perform Beethoven's Symphony No.7 in A major, Op 92 written and performed when Napoleon was in power and the people of Vienna, Austria, were waiting for the time when they would succeed in ridding their country of his rule. The piece was written as a tribute to those soldiers who fought in an earlier battle.
BSO recently received notification that it was selected as a semi-finalist in the American Prize Competition for those orchestras which have performed outstanding concerts. Conductor Everett was also selected as a semi-finalist in her category. Winners of the competition will be announced at a later date.
Everett is proceeding with a collaboration to be performed this summer.
"I am pleased with the orchestra's growth and look forward to this summer's joint project with the Bemidji Chorale," she said. "We are going to perform Randall Thompson's 'Testament of Freedom' with text written by Thomas Jefferson. Cory Jenkinson, who is known for his portrayals of historic characters, will appear as Thomas Jefferson for this concert."