~ posted by Dianne Donovan, KMFA mid-day announcer
A splendid time was had by all at the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s 100th Birthday Gala Concert.
The lawn of the Long Center became the city’s living room, as folks without tickets set up blankets and canvas chairs to enjoy the simulcast on the big screen of this sold-out show.
Inside, Dell Hall was packed to its beautiful rafters. For the first half of the performance, Maestro Peter Bay selected music from the original A.S.O. program of a century ago. The orchestra played part of the Ballet Égyptien by Alexander Luigini and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony no. 28.
The second half of the program included the special guest for the night, Itzhak Perlman. He performed the much-loved Bruch Violin Concerto that had the crowd on its feet instantly after that last note. Mr. Perlman came back for several bows before literally and figuratively “throwing in the towel.”
The orchestra capped the evening with Ottorino Respighi’s “Pines of Rome,” with another subtle nod to A.S.O. history: “Pines” was the last piece that the orchestra played in its old home of Bass Concert Hall. The orchestra seemed to be at the top of its game throughout, and there were many smiles from the musicians during and after the concert.
I should mention that before the performance, the orchestra announced its 2011-2012 season, which will include classical superstar violinist, Joshua Bell, as well as locally based greats, Anton Nel and Bion Tsang. After the performance the audience was on the deck to enjoy cake, drinks and a special light/music show wherein the Long Center’s Walls became the canvas to the shapes and colors. (Fireworks were to follow but due to the dangerously dry and windy conditions they had to be cancelled. Too bad, but it was a wise decision.) All of the audience members received a complimentary commemorative book.
Between the fine performances and the magic in the air, many of us did not want the evening to end. Cheers to all involved in the past, today and in the future.
~posted by Dianne Donovan, KMFA mid-day announcer and host of the the show, Classical Austin (Wednesday evenings at 8pm).