Beyond the Notes: Guest artists and musical selections chosen to represent cultural diversity

Published on Thursday, 22 May 2014 23:00 - Written by From Staff Reports

East Texas Symphony Orchestra’s 2014-2015 season will include performances by a Van Cliburn piano competition gold medalist, the classical guitar playing Romeros and soprano Shannon Mercer.

Conductor and Music Director Richard Lee said the musical selections and guest artists represent cultural diversity and multiple styles while still placing a strong emphasis on the American classical musical repertoire.

“I’m pleased with the balance,” said Lee. “I think it will tickle the fancy of the public at large.”

Lee said his goal is to help the orchestra reach new heights and to present the type of music that stirs the souls of listeners.

“We want to present an artistic statement beyond the notes. We want the music to encourage you to think and feel in a different way ... and take you to a place beyond what you are hearing.

“We want the experience to be priceless.”

The five-concert season features:

— Sept. 27: Vadym Kholodenko, gold medalist at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition;

— Nov. 1: The Romeros, the “royal family” of classical guitar;

— Jan. 17: Celtic fiddler Natalie MacMaster and ETSO Concert Master Mark Miller;

— March 28: Violinist Christine Wu and guest conductor Raffi Armenian;

— April 25: Soprano Shannon Mercer.

Lee said he is most excited about the closing concert of the season featuring Ms. Mercer. The program includes Gabriel Faure’s Pavane and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4.

“The concert musically is dearest to my heart,” Lee said. “It has some over the top musical moments.”

Concerts take place at 7:30 p.m. in The University of Texas at Tyler’s Cowan Center.

ETSO is offering a five-concert subscription package that begins at $38 and a three-concert package that begins at $27. Subscriber benefits include a savings on concert tickets, reserved seating through the season and priority ticketing to concerts presented by the East Texas Symphony Orchestra Association.

On the Friday before each Saturday performance, Lee and the guest artist will share insights to the upcoming concert during “Noon Notes” from noon to 1 p.m. at Liberty Hall, in downtown Tyler.

Information about the season and ordering tickets can be found on ETSO’s website,, or by calling 903-566-7424.