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World premiere music featured at Symphony of the Hills season opener

Symphony of the Hills.jpg
Phil Houseal
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Symphony of the Hills

Kerrville’s Symphony of the Hills season is about to start and Music Director Gene Dowdy said that while last year’s pandemic was pretty tough on live music, he’s hoping for better this season.

"We’re really thrilled to be kinda back to a little more normal setting for this week’s concert,” Dowdy said. “Even though we’re still using some protocols — some HEPA filters in the wings, some musicians wearing masks — we’re trying our best."

As to what they’re playing Thursday, Dowdy said it’s a great mix of music.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Arts & Culture News Desk including The Guillermo Nicolas & Jim Foster Art Fund, Patricia Pratchett, and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation.

"We’re opening the concert with fiery Beethoven Symphony Number 5. And then we’re also doing De Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat,” he said.

“And then we end the concert with Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Dr. Donald Crandall, piano professor at Schreiner University is going to be performing the solo on that. So it’s a really colorful program, lots of music."

There’s also a big standout ending piece before intermission.

"Ethan Wickman has written a brand new orchestral work. It’s called River of Stars. The Symphony of the Hills commissioned Dr. Wickman to write this for our 20th Anniversary season," Dowdy said.

He says the inspiration for River of Stars was the Guadalupe River.

RIVER OF STARS for symphony orchestra (preview)

"It’s kinda like water just burbling a little bit. It’s just a gorgeous piece,” he said. “We’re proud to present it as a world premiere this week.”

Dowdy also felt it important to mention his admiration for, and support of San Antonio Symphony musicians, who are currently on strike.

"They’re the crown jewel of symphonic music in South Texas, so a shout-out to them,” he said.
The Symphony of the Hills concert is Thursday at Oct. 7 and 7:30 p.m. at the Kathleen Cailloux Theater in Kerrville. Ticket prices vary and can be purchased here.

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William McCrary
Ethan Wickman
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