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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

A New World Of Music Comes To Kerrville

Phil Houseal
Gene Dowdy, music director of Symphony of the Hills

Kerrville's Symphony of the Hills' upcoming concert is a musical celebration of the new world, which is how Europe viewed America for centuries. Music Director Gene Dowdy says much of this concert explores Antonin Dvořák's embrace of America.   


"Dvořákcame over to lead a music conservatory in the late 19th century and then of course wrote his 'New World Symphony,' and it's one of the most popular symphonic works, and that's why we programmed it for Symphony of the Hills," he said.


Like the Beatles had to remind Americans that American music was worth listening to, Dvořák did so most of a century earlier.

IF YOU GO WHAT: Symphony of the Hills concert WHERE: Kathleen Cailloux Theater WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Thursday COST:  $25 to $48

"When he came here he fell in love with Native American music and rhythms, African-American spirituals,” Dowdy said. “So I'm pairing on this concert for example two African-American spirituals as arranged by David Mairs, the former resident conductor of the San Antonio Symphony, a dear friend of the arts, and of mine."

Another focus for this performance: Aaron Copland.

"Copland, in a similar way, adopted American idioms. So his 'Hoedown' from Rodeo...that's just..."

Dowdy began humming Copland’s “Hoedown” which is wildly popular, one of symphonic music’s most identifiable melodies.


Credit Deborah Conner
Symphony of the Hills

"So we'll definitely be doing the ‘Hoedown,’ and ‘Quiet City’ is another part of Copland, more introspective, it's just a beautiful portrait,” he said. “Another cool thing about this concert is we're bringing one of Dvořák's most popular arias to the stage with that 'Song to the Moon' from Rusalka."

Dvořák and Copland shared the musical beauty of America with Americans. The pre-music wine tasting starts at 6:30 Thursday night at the Kathleen Cailloux Theater in Kerrville.  

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