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Symphony Of The Hills Lassos The West

The Symphony of the Hills opens its fall performance season Thursday in Kerrville, and they're starting out with a bang.

"The first concert, Wild Wild West, is music inspired by the frontier spirit."

Music Director Gene Dowdy appears to be really looking forward to the concert.

"If not actual cowboy music--although there is some of that--[it's] more about just the frontier of musical composition, and our push to do something new. And all these composers have that in common."

I noted that pieces about the West have a vast soundscape to them. That they actually convey the feeling of the West through music.

"That's true. And maybe none better than the dean of American film composers, John Williams. His overture to 'The Cowboys,' which opens our concert, does that exact thing.  It shows the grandeur, but also the energy and the feistiness of...like, I just imagine when I hear that 'diga-diga-diga-diga-diga dee!'"

[to hear the music to which Dowdy refers, hit "listen" above]

"The Cowboys" Overture isn't the only piece honoring the West.

"Our second piece on the program is the centerpiece of the program. Eric Korngold's Violin Concerto in D Major, with an absolute brilliant young violinist named Alina Kobialka. She won the young artist competition in San Francisco with the San Francisco Symphony.  She's going to come play that concerto which is written by an Austrian composer who pushed west, escaping Nazi Germany. And winds up in Hollywood writing film music."

Yet another take on the Western theme.

"After intermission then Ferde Grofe, another American composer, his 'Grand Canyon Suite.' You can almost see and hear every vista through each movement."

Dowdy says for San Antonians to see and hear the Symphony of the Hills, it's really not so far to travel.

"Yeah, head west to Kerrville, at the beautiful Kathleen Cailloux Theater."

Catch it on Thursday night, with a wine tasting preview.  

Find more on the Symphony of the Hills here.

Find more on this specific program here

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii