Tuesday, December 22, 2009

GOOD NEWS in the World-Herald!

"Christmas with the Symphony" was a hit! Congratulations to orchestra, cast, and crew for a successful 5-performance run. A glowing review from the Omaha World-Herald was a great encouragement and helped boost ticket sales. Read it here!

We were also thrilled to see a feature on our Girls Inc. partnership, More than Music, on the front page of the 12/19 Community Connection section. Click here to read the full article.

Photo courtesy: OWH, Kiley Cruse

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us at the Omaha Symphony!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cold Days, HOT Deals: 20% OFF Christmas tickets

20% OFF Tickets to "Christmas with the Symphony"
**Available only through Dec. 16**
Use promo code: Snowman * Click here to buy online.
OR Call our Box Office at 402.342.3560
Warm up your holiday at the Holland Center with music, dancing, and memories you'll never forget!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Details on Omaha's biggest and best holiday spectacular!

What: “Christmas with the Symphony” – Omaha’s Favorite Holiday Tradition
Sponsors: Nebraska Medical Center, ConAgra Foods and the Robert H. Storz Foundation
When: Friday, December 18 8 PM
Saturday, December 19 2 PM & 8 PM
Sunday, December 20 2 PM & 7 PM

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas Street
Tickets: Start at $15; 402.345.0606, 402.342.3560 or www.omahasymphony.org

Omaha, Neb – Four Broadway singing stars, nine professional dancers direct from New York City, dozens of lush, local voices, a kickline of dancing Santas, and one of the Midwest’s finest orchestras: all these elements will come together to present Christmas with the Symphony, Omaha’s beloved holiday tradition, December 18-20 at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

Director/choreographer Darren Lee returns to Omaha for his second year at the helm. Lee combines the season’s sense of nostalgia with a fresh vision. This New Yorker enjoys the creativity and collaboration that make the production unique. “Rarely do you get to create theatrical pieces with full symphonic support,” Lee said. Moviegoers may recognize Lee from his lead dancing role in the movie Chicago. Notable Broadways credits include Shogun – the Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Seussical, and Victor/Victoria.

The Omaha Symphony team handpicked Tiffany Haas, Peter Lockyer, Gary Mauer, and Elizabeth Southard as this year’s principal cast members, after a series of auditions in New York City. Mauer and Southard are best known for their starring roles as the Phantom and Christine in the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. This husband-wife duo communicates a special chemistry that’s sure to add sparkle to seasonal favorites. Tiffany Haas, a former Miss Ohio, most recently starred in Wicked on Broadway. Peter Lockyer is currently featured in the Lincoln Center production of South Pacific. These rising stars will bring energy and glamour to numbers like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Jingle Bells,” and “White Christmas.”

“Christmas with the Symphony” also highlights the area’s local talent. WOWT TV personality Dave Webber brings his signature spirit to the show, providing charming vocals and lots of laughs. Around 25 young violin students of Omaha Symphony musician Anne Nagosky will be featured, as well as members of the Burke High school, Westside High School, Grace University, and UNO Chamber choirs.

The program will also include the popular audience sing-along and the hilarious dancing Santas. To make the experience even more magical, the Holland Performing Arts Center will be transformed into an enchanting holiday wonderland — complete with pre-concert music and dancing in the lobby and live reindeer outside!

The Symphony Pops series is sponsored by the Nebraska Medical Center. The symphony’s holiday sponsor is ConAgra Foods. The Omaha Symphony is proud to be a part of the ConAgra Foods Arts for the Holidays Celebration. This collaboration features a food drive at all symphony Christmas concerts. Patrons are encouraged to bring canned food and other non-perishable items when attending these performances. All donations will support the Food Bank of Omaha.

Single tickets for “Christmas with the Symphony” start at $15 and are available at 402.345.0606, 402.342.3560, www.omahasymphony.org, or at the Omaha Symphony Box Office at 1605 Howard Street.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Choral Collaborative this Sunday - Tickets just $10

When: Sunday, November 15 @ 7:30 PM
Where: Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas Street
Tickets: $10; available by calling 402.342.3836 x107 or at the door

What do you get when you bring together one symphony orchestra, four professional opera singers, and seven high school choirs? The answer – Choral Collaborative. Created through a unique partnership between the Omaha Symphony and Opera Omaha, this event gives area high school students the opportunity to receive mentoring from professional musicians, participate in the planning of a professional music concert, and perform large symphonic and operatic works.
This year, more than 500 choir students from seven area schools – Bellevue East, Bellevue West, Fremont, Lincoln Southwest, Omaha Burke, Papillion-LaVista, and Papillion-LaVista South – will perform selections like Mozart’s Requiem, as well as a number of favorite opera choruses. Pieces from Bizet’s Carmen and Gounod’s Faust, along with “Duel of the Fates” from Stars Wars: Phantom Menace, are among the highlights.
These talented young people have put in hours of serious rehearsal that will culminate in this one-night-only performance. They have had one-on-one instruction from Opera Omaha Resident Music Director J. Gawf and Omaha Symphony Resident Conductor Ernest Richardson. “The opportunity to perform in the Holland Performing Arts Center is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of these students,” said Jennifer Boomgaarden, Vice President of education and community partnerships with the Omaha Symphony. “The opportunity to work with a professional opera company and a professional symphony orchestra is one these students are certain to remember for many years to come.”

Fine arts students stretch their skills outside of their schools

Photo by Jeff Beiermann/OWH
Article by John Keenan/OWH

Clarinet to her lips, Ashley Bigge blew the “B-Flat Blues (Shuffle Time)” -- her introduction to the world of jazz improvisation.

“I’m liking it,” she said after her solo. “I’ve never done jazz before. I’m in the wind ensemble and marching band, and I just wanted to try something different.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Love the violin? Don't miss "Mendelssohn's Masterpiece"

With music like Mendelssohn’s beloved Violin Concerto in its arsenal, it’s no wonder the violin is such a popular instrument. Romantic and riveting, Mendelssohn’s piece allows the violinist to show off their skills while showcasing the instrument’s full range of emotion. The Omaha Symphony is thrilled to present Mendelssohn’s Masterpiece November 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center. The symphony will also perform Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 and Elgar’s In the South.

David Kim, violin, will shine as the concert’s featured soloist. Kim has served as concertmaster with the Philadelphia Orchestra for a decade. As a highly sought-after pedagogue, Kim presents masterclasses annually at institutions such as Curtis, Juilliard, and Yale, among others. On the Saturday morning he’s in Omaha, he will lead a masterclass with students from the Omaha Conservatory of Music. For more details on our guest artist, visit www.davidkimviolin.com.

Christopher Seaman, music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, will guest conduct at this MasterWorks program, sponsored by Omaha Steaks. Main floor tickets are still available, starting as low as $25. To purchase your tickets, call 402.342.3560, order online at www.omahasymphony.org, or visit the Omaha Symphony Box Office at 1605 Howard Street.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

MCF makes opportunity possible for Sarpy Co. kids

Thank you to the Midlands Community Foundation for supporting the Sarpy County schools' participation in the Choral Collaborative education program (Bellevue East, Bellevue West, Papillion-LaVista, Papillion-LaVista South). This photo (courtesy: Melissa Anderson/Omaha World-Herald News Service) was taken at yesterday morning's check presentation. Thank you, Midlands Community Foundation!

Front row, Left to right: Vickie Peyton, RSAFE Coordinator, Lutheran Family Services; Kristin Herrera, Development Associate, Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries; Megan Maryott, Community Manager, American Cancer Society. Back Row, left to right: Karla Rupiper, president of Midlands Community Foundation (MCF); Randy Sump, Grants Chair, MCF; Ernest Richardson, Resident Conductor, Omaha Symphony; Tony Raimondo, Chairman, Dream It Do It, Nebraska Advanced Manufacturing Coalition; Jeff Wiles, principal, Plattsmouth High School; Tim Bivens, Program Specialist, Nebraska Food Bank Network, Inc., and Tonee Gay, executive director, MCF

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Itzhak Perlman--premier violinist of our time--to perform with Omaha Symphony

TICKETS: $40 - $150 Great seats still available! 402.342.3560 www.omahasymphony.org

Itzhak Perlman, undeniably the reigning virtuoso of the violin, will perform with the Omaha Symphony November 7 at 8 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center. One of the few classical artists to achieve genuine celebrity status, Perlman is beloved throughout the world for his tremendous talent and heartwarming charm. His playing and personality recently shined at President Obama’s Inauguration Ceremony. He is equally comfortable playing on The Tonight Show as he is at the Holland Center. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to see this living legend in concert in Omaha!
Perlman will play several crowd-pleasing pieces at the November 7 performance, including Mozart’s joyful Third Violin Concerto, Kreisler’s romantic Liebesleid and Tambourin chinois, and John Williams’ Theme from Schindler’s List, which he originally played in the Academy Award-winning film.
Born in Israel in 1945, he was propelled into the international arena with a 1958 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Since then, Perlman has played with every major orchestra and in recitals and festivals around the globe. He is also a frequent presence on the conductor’s podium: this season marks his second as Artistic Director of the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra.
A major presence in the performing arts on television, Itzhak Perlman has been honored
with four Emmy Awards, most recently for the PBS documentary Fiddling for the Future, a film about the Perlman Music Program and his work as a teacher. He has been a featured guest on shows as diverse as The Late Show with David Letterman, Sesame Street, the Grammy Awards telecasts, and numerous Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts.
Perlman’s recording career is equally varied and prolific. In 2008, he was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in the recording arts. His albums regularly top the charts and have garnered 15 Grammy Awards. His most recent releases include an all-Mozart recording with the Berlin Philharmonic (EMI) with Mr. Perlman performing as both soloist and conductor, and a recording for Deutsche Grammophon with Mr. Perlman conducting the Israel Philharmonic.
November 7 is the Omaha area’s opportunity to hear from this living legend who has performed for presidents, Her Majesty The Queen, and even Sesame Street’s Telly! Great seats for this special concert are still available: tickets start at $40. For more information, contact our Box Office at 402.342.3560 or visit us online at www.omahasymphony.org. Don’t miss an extraordinary evening of entertainment with Izhak Perlman and the Omaha Symphony!

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Grade schoolers get in tune with music at Mission: Imagination"

Photo: Kiley Cruse, Omaha World-Herald

From the fantastic Omaha World-Herald article on 10/24/09 by Carol Bicak:
"Elementary school students from Omaha and nearby towns recently met Mozart.
Yes, Mozart the composer. (Or at least someone who looked like — and called himself — Mozart).
The composer accompanied the Omaha Symphony Chamber Orchestra and conductor Ernest Richardson for a “Mission: Imagination” concert Oct. 7 at St. Wenceslaus, a Catholic grade school in west Omaha. Students from five other schools were bused in for the concert, too.
Many know Mozart was a flamboyant guy, but who knew he was so funny? He had the preschool through second-grade students laughing, singing and playing instruments they had made. At one point, youngsters even got to conduct."
Click here to

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mission: Imagination photos

Lights! Camera! Orchestra! October 24

WHAT: “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” Debut Concert of NEW series!

Series sponsor: First National Bank Concert sponsor: Woodmen of the World

WHEN: Saturday, October 24, 2009 @ 8 PM

WHERE: Holland Performing Arts Center 1200 Douglas Street

TICKETS: Starting at $10! Call 402.342.3560 or order online @ www.omahasymphony.org

Omaha, Neb – Get in the Halloween spirit with the Omaha Symphony at Phantom of the Opera on October 24 at 8 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center. Concertgoers will watch the classic 1925 silent film The Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney on a big screen above the orchestra. Musicians will provide a live, spooky soundtrack, showcasing ghoulish gems like Gounod’s Faust and Saint-Saën’s Danse macabre.
Delighting eyes and ears, this performance marks the debut of the symphony’s new Sights & Sounds Series. This exciting programming combines the best of movies and music to create a unique entertainment experience for all ages. Other Sights and Sounds performances this season include Bugs Bunny on Broadway—a celebration of Warner Bros. cartoon classics—and A Space Odyssey, featuring exclusive NASA footage.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Learn about the audition process & meet our newest musician!

"Playing was never such hard work as at an audition"
By John Pitcher, Omaha World-Herald
Published - 10/4/2009

"Libby Barnette’s lucky number must be 4.

Last Monday, the veteran French horn player engaged in one of classical music’s most agonizing rituals. She auditioned for a symphony job.

After a grueling eight-hour day of high-stress playing and anxious waiting, Barnette, 39, won the job. It was her fourth audition for the Omaha Symphony in as many years. She beat out 19 musicians to become the orchestra’s newest part-time section player.

“I knew I had it in me,” said Barnette, who looked both relieved and spent after her artistic and emotional ordeal.

An Omaha resident, Barnette had good reason to feel elated. Jobs with professional orchestras are not plentiful."

READ the entire story HERE. Thank you to reporter John Pitcher for his coverage of this process.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mission: Imagination coming to a school near you!

WHAT: Mission: Imagination In-school Concerts for age 4 – 3rd grade
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 7 @ 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. St. Wenceslaus School / 15353 Pacific St.

Thursday, Oct. 8 @ 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. St. Mary’s School / 903 Mission Ave., Bellevue

Omaha, Neb – On October 7 and 8, the Omaha Symphony will present its Mission: Imagination education program to nearly 500 students from Nebraska and Iowa. Mission: Imagination allows learners age 4-3rd grade to get "up close and personal" with the orchestra, teaching them about basic musical concepts and individual instruments in an entertaining, interactive way. Students will sit within a few feet of the conductor and musicians, participating in listening activities as well as sing- and conduct-alongs to keep their imaginations engaged throughout the concert.
Participants will even get to play along with the orchestra, using instruments they made in class. This year’s concert is entitled “Mozart's Missing Memory.” Mozart is premiering his latest piece with the Omaha Symphony; however, through a freak accident during the rehearsal, Mozart loses his memory! With the concert only moments away, students will work with orchestra members to help Mozart, teaching him about tempo, dynamics, instrumentation, and accompaniment so he can complete his masterpiece!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Let's Spend the Night Together!! (Rolling Stones Tribute)

Series sponsor: VALMONT Artist sponsor: Midlands Choice

WHEN: Saturday, October 10, 2009 @ 8 PM

WHERE: Holland Performing Arts Center 1200 Douglas Street

TICKETS: Start at $15! Call 402.342.3560 or order online @ www.omahasymphony.org

“Satisfaction” is guaranteed as Hot Rocks—the premier Rolling Stones tribute band—and the Omaha Symphony present “Let’s Spend the Night Together” Saturday, October 10 at 8 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

Concertgoers will hear Rolling Stones hits like “Paint It Black,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “ Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and “Get Off Of My Cloud” belted out and brought to life by dead-on renditions of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The astonishing likeness and electric energy of Hot Rocks promises to thrill audiences of all ages.

Symphony Rocks, in its second season, is designed for the next generation of symphony lovers—classic rock fans, baby boomers, young professionals, or anyone who is looking for a truly unique, live entertainment experience. In 2009/10, this series will also feature the music of pop sensation ABBA and the matchless Beatles.

Monday, September 28, 2009

MY FIVE Favorite Things by Thomas Wilkins

From this Saturday's Omaha World-Herald:

"Thomas Wilkins is like the Tiger Woods of classical music, a big talent with a mean baton backswing and follow-through.

Golf is one of the Omaha Symphony music director's many passions. The maestro, who is opening the symphony's 2009-10 season this weekend at the Holland Performing Arts Center, is especially fond of these five things..."

Click here to read on.

Reporting by John Pither / Photograph courtesy OWH/Alyssa Schukar

OWH REVIEW: Pianist plays with grace, ferocity

"Pianists need two qualities to play Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, the composer once reportedly said.

They should, of course, possess the grace of a gazelle. But they must also have the unremitting ferocity of a tiger.

Pianist Kirill Gerstein proved that he had all the right feral stuff during his appearance Friday night with the Omaha Symphony.

In town for the opening of the symphony’s 2009-10 season at the Holland Performing Arts Center, Gerstein gave a rendition of the “Rach Three” that was remarkable both for its fearlessness and tenderness.

He played the concerto’s expansive opening movement with sweep, power and great rhythmic vitality. He blazed through extended passages of double-fisted chords, creating veritable sonic earthquakes along the way. And he tossed off quicksilver notes with ease and elegance."

For entire review by OWH reporter John Pitcher,
click here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


OWH Preview: Practice enables pianist to tame tough concertos

"Pianist Kirill Gerstein is touring the world with a trio of grizzly bears.

Make that three utterly ferocious, feral piano concertos."

READ the entire article by the Omaha World Herald's John Pitcher.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fiendishly difficult piano concerto, feisty folk music

WHAT: Passport to Russia First concert of the 2009/10 Omaha Symphony Season
WHEN: Friday, September 25 & Saturday, September 26 at 8 PM
WHERE: Holland Performing Arts Center 1200 Douglas Street
TICKETS: Starting at $25 for Main Floor seats… 402.342.3560 www.omahasymphony.org

Omaha, Neb – The Omaha Symphony is ready to wow audiences with a season opener that is as difficult as it is delightful. Passport to Russia, the first program of the 2009/10 season, showcases spirited Russian folk melodies and Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, commonly known as the most demanding piece ever written for piano. The work was deemed the “Mount Everest” of piano repertoire in the Academy Award-winning film Shine. Join the Omaha Symphony September 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center, as pianist Kirill Gerstein performs this true feat of talent.
Famous for his masterful technique and musical interpretations, Gerstein is one of classical music’s rising stars. Reviewers have praised him as “a player of patrician finesse and the most fastidious intelligence” (Classical Source), who demonstrates “how virtuosity and soulfulness can go hand in hand” (Chicago Sun-Times).
Maestro Thomas Wilkins conducts this popular MasterWorks program, sponsored by Omaha Steaks. Main floor tickets are still available, starting as low as $25. To purchase your tickets, call 402.342.3560, order online at www.omahasymphony.org, or visit the Omaha Symphony Box Office at 1605 Howard Street.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Prince of Pops" Erich Kunzel dies of cancer; Krajewski will guest conduct in Omaha Nov. 20-22

Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel, scheduled to headline the Omaha Symphony’s Patriotic Celebration November 20-22, passed away this morning after a four-month battle with cancer of the pancreas, liver, and colon. Honoring Maestro Kunzel’s wishes, all concerts he was scheduled to conduct during the 2009/10 season—in Cincinnati and beyond— will move forward. Michael Krajewski will now conduct the Omaha Symphony’s first Pops performance of the season. Krajewski is principal pops conductor of the Houston Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra.
Today the Board of Directors of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra announced that Kunzel has been named Founder and Conductor Emeritus of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The orchestra has also established an Erich Kunzel memorial website and Erich Kunzel Pops Legacy Fund. More information on these tributes can be found online at http://erichkunzel.cincinnatisymphony.org.
Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “The Prince of Pops,” Kunzel joined the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1965. The 74-year old conductor led the orchestra in his final performance in Cincinnati on August 1.
“The world has lost a true talent, and I have lost a friend and colleague, but Erich has left a rich legacy of beautiful music and community service with us. We look forward to honoring his life and legacy at our first Pops concert of the season,” said Omaha Symphony music director Thomas Wilkins. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra music director Paavo Järvi adds, “He was a remarkable spirit and a tremendous musician. His many years of music making…brought joy to
literally millions, and I join with our community in Cincinnati as well as his fans around the world in mourning the loss of this great musical icon.”
Kunzel’s legacy will be remembered at Omaha Symphony’s Patriotic Celebration November 20-22. This Pops concert will feature the best of Broadway with favorites from 1776, Of Thee I Sing, Strike Up the Band, and more. For tickets, call the Omaha Symphony Box Office at 402.342.3560 or visit www.omahasymphony.org.
Michael Krajewski

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Maestro on the Mound!

What: Conductor Ernest Richardson throws first pitch for Omaha Royals

When: Thursday, Sept. 3 at 6:50 PM (Game starts at 7:05 PM)

Where: Rosenblatt Stadium 1202 Bert Murphy Ave.

You normally see him at the podium of the Holland Performing Arts Center, but on Thursday night, the Omaha Symphony’s Maestro is at the plate! Resident Conductor Ernest Richardson will throw the first pitch at the Omaha Royals’ last home game of the season. The Royals take on the Iowa Cubs Thursday, September 3 at 7:05 p.m., shortly after Richardson’s pitch at 6:50 p.m.
The 2009/10 season marks Richardson’s 17th year with the Omaha Symphony. We know Richardson can conduct an orchestra, but can he pitch? Find out this Thursday at Rosenblatt Stadium.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Today is the day for you to order your 2009/10 Single Tickets! This is your first opportunity to purchase tickets on a per-concert basis, rather than as part of a subscription package.

The sooner you call or order online, the better the seats you'll secure!

Call 402.342.3560...
Visit us online at www.omahasymphony.org...
Or (even better) stop by and see us at our Box Office!
That's 1605 Howard Street in downtown Omaha, 9 AM - 5 PM.

Thanks for your support...we look forward to seeing you in the 2009/10 season!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Music & Masterpieces celebrates local art & live music Sept. 3 & 17

Music & Masterpieces, created as the Omaha Symphony Guild’s fall fundraiser, is now one of the area’s premier public art events. On September 3 and 17, we invite community members to Rockbrook Village where they can view and purchase the work of talented local artists. In addition to beautiful, one-of-a-kind art pieces, attendees will enjoy live music, delicious food and drink catered by Rockbrook merchants, interactive demonstrations, a silent art auction, and more!
All proceeds from Music & Masterpieces will go towards the Omaha Symphony's education programs.
All events will take place at Rockbrook Village at 108th and West Center Road. Reservations are required for the Gala. Tickets are $75 per person. Please call 402.342.3836 x171 to make your reservation, or order online at www.omahasymphonyguild.org.
Spice up your evenings: be inspired by live music and local art at Music & Masterpieces 2009!

· Music & Masterpieces Razzmatazz FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Thursday, September 3 5 – 8 PM Music by KaJam and Mark Sanford. Merchant Open Houses, preview art, and meet the artists! Watch clay-throwing demonstrations, enjoy a sidewalk chalk artist, or paint your own masterpiece!

· Music & Masterpieces Gala & Art Auction $75 per person
Thursday, September 17 5 – 9 PM Reservations required. Silent and Live auction, scrumptious food and beverages catered by Rockbrook Village food merchants, and music by the Bill Ritchie Trio and Millard West Chamber Strings. Celebrity emcee: Travis Justice, Action 3 News.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Itzhak will be performing THIS on Nov. 7

ALL TICKETS TO ITZHAK Go On Sale this Friday... Call 402.342.3560 or order online @ www.omahasymphony.org! Get a great seat for an unforgettable night of entertainment!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Single Tickets for 2009/10 Season On Sale Friday, Aug. 28

The Omaha Symphony is thrilled to announce that tickets to all 2009/10 performances will go on sale to the public Friday, August 28. While subscription packages have been available for purchase since early spring, this will be the first opportunity for patrons to buy tickets on a per-concert basis. To reserve the best seats to the best shows in town, call the Omaha Symphony Box Office at 402.342.3560 (open M-F, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or order online at www.omahasymphony.org.
Community members have already responded enthusiastically to the dynamic, diverse entertainment offered in the upcoming season—a trend expected to continue with the sale of single tickets. “We are really excited about the 2009/10 season and the response we’ve seen from the community. We’ve seen a 14% increase in our MasterWorks subscriptions,” said Lex Poppens, Vice President of Marketing. “Plus, the launch of the new Sights and Sounds series has nearly doubled the number of Casual Classics packages from a year ago.”
Featuring timeless classics by Beethoven and Mozart, popular hits from Broadway and Motown, the legendary Itzhak Perlman, and the new Sights and Sounds series, this season has something for all music lovers. Mark Friday, August 28 on your calendar—and order quickly to reserve your seats!
The season kicks off September 25 and 26 with Passport to Russia, an all-Russian MasterWorks program showcasing the flying fingers of pianist Kirill Gerstein. For ticket information and details on the Omaha Symphony’s entire 2009/10 season, visit us online at www.omahasymphony.org. Patrons can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How playing with the symphony has made me a better teacher

Thanks to Bob Jenkins, english horn/oboe, for sharing his experience with us!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

7 MasterWorks for Less than $21 per concert!

Get a better view for the best price! Experience all 7 MasterWorks performances from Main Floor seats that show off the piano (and guest soloists) in action—for less than $21 per concert! Enjoy first-class talent and flying fingers from premium seats at the Holland Center all year long with just one reasonable payment of $143. With lots of exciting piano programming in the upcoming season, now is the perfect time to take advantage of this limited-time offer. Tickets at this price will go quickly, so act now and don’t miss out! Call our Box Office at 402.342.3560 or order online.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

7 MasterWorks Concerts for just $84!

Purchase your 2009/10 MasterWorks season tickets while great seats are still available! Many music lovers have already snatched up their “keyboard seats”— seats that give them the best view of the piano (and guest soloists) in action. See first-class talent and flying fingers from these premium seats at the Holland Center for an unbeatable price: $84 for all 7 MasterWorks concerts. With lots of exciting piano programming in the upcoming season, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of this limited-time offer. Don’t miss out! Call our Box Office at 402.342.3560 or order online.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stimulus funds help the Omaha Symphony

Click here for the article in today's paper about the stimulus grants (federal & state) that were announced.

We are VERY thankful to the National Endowment for the Arts for helping us fulfill our mission to the Omaha community.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Get WILD about Omaha!

Enjoy two days of fun-filled events at several Omaha arts and entertainment venues. Don't miss Omaha Symphony musicians performing this summer!
Schedule of events...
Check out our summer music database to see where you'll find your favorite musicians during the event...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thomas Talks... about Omaha, Detroit, and Hollywood, too!

QUESTION: What are you most proud of in Omaha?

ANSWER: The enthusiasm, energy and artistry with which these musicians are now playing for me. We just did the last three subscription weeks to close the season, starting with "The Rite of Spring," which was a phenomenal performance, then a Dvorak Ninth that was also stunning, and we ended the season with a Mahler Fifth that took me days to come down from.

The other thing that I really like is that our education programs are still strong and still a high priority. I conduct a concert on every series, including the family series and pops series, because I wanted the organization and the community to know that I think all of those things are equally important.

Q: Your emphasis on community involvement sounds like Leonard Slatkin's..............

Read more of Thomas Wilkins' Q & A with the Detroit Free Press...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

See symphony musicians this summer!

The 2009/10 season starts in September, but until then, symphony musicians are keeping busy performing in the community and around the country. Find out where and when with our summer music database. We are constantly updating these listings to reflect our musicians' schedules. Enjoy! Thanks for your support of the arts all year round!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tune in to KVNO Classical 90.7 this summer to get your symphony fix!

We are happy to announce that KVNO Classical 90.7 will be broadcasting some of the Omaha Symphony's 2008/09 concerts this summer. These special, exclusive broadcasts start July 5. So whether you missed a concert--or just want to hear some quality classical music, tune in as KVNO and the Omaha Symphony bring the sound of the concert hall into your home.

Click here to see the concert broadcast schedule!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Photo courtesy OWH Photographer James R. Burnett

John Pitcher, a reporter with the Omaha World-Herald, wrote a beautiful, in-depth feature on our Conductor Symposium. This weekend event allowed aspiring young conductors the chance to lead a professional orchestra and learn from the best. Pitcher follows Music Director Thomas Wilkins as he guides young conductors toward more polished podium skills.

A great read! Click here:

Monday, June 1, 2009

REVIEW: Symphony is spectacular on Mahler's Fifth


I think it's safe to say the season went out with a bang! Just wait until you see what's in store for 2009/10...

Friday, May 29, 2009

JDRF Open Rehearsal & Meet and Greet with Alisa Weilerstein

Our season finale guest artist, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, is also a celebrity advocate for the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). Last night, Omaha-area JDRF kids and families had the special opportunity to hear Alisa rehearse with the Omaha Symphony and then meet her and hear her story. Learn more for yourself @ www.alisaweilerstein.com

Season Finale PREVIEW!

By John Pitcher (Omaha World-Herald)

"Thomas Wilkins has already challenged the Omaha Symphony this season with Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" and Dvorák's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World."

This week, he ups the ante.

For the orchestra's final Masterworks program of the season, Wilkins will conduct Gustav Mahler's mighty Symphony No. 5.

"This is a work of truly gargantuan proportions," said Wilkins, the symphony's music director."

Enjoy the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Michael Kelly's OWH Column

Omaha World-Herald columnist Michael Kelly wrote an editorial about Omaha Symphony Music Director Thomas Wilkins for Tuesday's paper. Entitled "Team's A Game? It's in B flat," it gives you a better look at our magnificent maestro's background, what an average concert night is like for him, AND a taste of next season.


An amazing turnout for Patriotic Pops in the Park!!

More than 1,000 people turned out for our free outdoor concert at Playland Park in Council Bluffs this past Sunday. Big thanks to the Iowa West Foundation for making it possible. Here are some images from the beautiful evening!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Excited for the holiday weekend!

Patriotic Pops in the Park is THIS Sunday, May 24 at Playland Park in Council Bluffs. The concert starts at 7 PM. Just bring a picnic, a blanket or chairs: we'll bring the music...and lots of it! Expect familiar pieces you know and love.

FOR MORE information, check out this fantastic article in the Council Bluffs Nonpareil that explains the logistics and planning that have gone into this special event.

Read all about it!

Big thanks to the Iowa West Foundation for making it possible!

See you there!

(Check our website or 402.342.3560 x170 for weather updates/changes)

Monday, May 18, 2009

What can I do?

In a great article titled "Survival Strategies for the Arts," John Killacky offers tips on what audiences can do to help their local arts organizations survive and thrive in the tough economic climate:

P.S. Things audiences can do (and all of us are audience members). Go to Open Studios and buy art. Attend the symphony. Donate. Take salsa or tango lessons. Enjoy dance performances. Bring a friend. Donate. Sing with a chorus. Listen to live music. Donate. Write a poem, short story, or memoir. Buy a local author's book. Make art with your kids at home and at a museum's family day. Participate. Donate. Debate the merits of an independent film and then upload your own onto YouTube. Have a bake sale to support an artist residency in a nearby school. Host a season announcement, Tupperware-style, for friends. Commission an artist to commemorate a birthday or anniversary. When you love something, tell your friends. Word of mouth remains the best box office motivator.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Adorable image from the Bellevue Leader!

This wonderful photograph was taken by Tony Miceli with the Bellevue Leader at the "Mission: Imagination" educaton program. "Pre-kindergarten student Gabby Sjostedt conducts at St. Mary's School in late April. The program is for children in pre-kindergarten through third grade to interact with members of the Omaha Symphony in a non-formal setting."

We think it really captures the value and joy of our education programming!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Aspiring conductors from across the U.S. gather for unique training in Omaha

Imagine being a young conductor. If you don’t have a professional gig, where do you find an orchestra to lead? How do you get time on the conductor’s podium to perfect your craft?
The Omaha Symphony Conductor Symposium (May 21-24) offers up-and-coming conductors a chance to learn from established maestros and apply that knowledge with one of the Midwest’s finest orchestras. Through seminars and podium time, sixteen aspiring conductors will be equipped with the tools needed to succeed in present and future roles with American orchestras.
Coming from as far as New York, New Mexico, and Louisiana, participants will work with renowned music faculty including Mark Gibson (Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Director of Orchestral Studies & Conducting) and Omaha Symphony Music Director Thomas Wilkins.
“The orchestra is my instrument. One of the biggest challenges facing young conductors is simply finding an opportunity to practice their instrument!” said Maestro Wilkins. “This event is all about practical application—from how you interact with an audience to planning education concerts for kids.”
The Omaha Symphony Chamber Orchestra will serve as the orchestra for the Symposium. Each participant will get 45 minutes of podium time to work through the music with the players. Selections will include Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, and Schubert’s Octet.
“This is a rare opportunity for emerging conductors and a special outreach for the Omaha Symphony. We are one of only a handful of professional orchestras who invest in the next generation of leaders in such a comprehensive way,” said Jennifer Boomgaarden, Director of Education and Community Partnerships.

"Music with the Maestro": Unknown Gems

Omaha Symphony Music Director Thomas Wilkins shares with KVNO listeners and co-host Joe Toppi some "classical delights that are rarely programmed." Here are some of the unknown gems you'll hear them discuss and play:

Anthiel's Symphony No. 5

Walker's Lyric for Strings

Britten's Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge

Ibert's Bacchanale


Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Music with the Maestro" on KVNO: A 2009/10 Musical Preview

Listen as Maestro Thomas Wilkins shares a 2009/10 season preview with KVNO's Joe Toppi. Season highlights discussed (and played) are:

Copland's 3rd Symphony
Beethoven's 5th Symphony




Tuesday, May 5, 2009

In the mood for Mozart?

Get your fix this Saturday at an all-Mozart concert, featuring Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and other popular favorites! Tickets start at just $15... 345-0606. 7 PM at the Holland Performing Arts Center

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Review: Bennett's clarinet gives symphony that swing


Has Thomas Wilkins learned how to raise legendary jazz musicians from the dead?

Nah, he's just discovered one prodigious clarinet player who happens to sound — and look — a lot like a young Benny Goodman.

Not that Dave Bennett — the 24-year-old clarinet phenom playing with Wilkins and the Omaha Symphony this weekend at the Holland Performing Arts Center — is an impersonator.

This guy's no Vegas act.

Rather, he's a bona fide clarinet virtuoso who plays blistering passages with dead-on intonation, just like the late, great King of Swing.

Well, there's no reason to doubt Bennett, who insists that the physical similarities between himself and Goodman are purely coincidental. Sure, Bennett has a penchant for dark suits and old-fashioned haircuts. But so do most U.S. congressmen.

Besides, Bennett has been wearing his trademark Goodman-style glasses since childhood, long before he ever heard "Bugle Call Rag" or any of the other terrific songs he played Friday night.

From the outset, Bennett and Wilkins transformed the Omaha Symphony into a convincing big band.

They played Goodman's theme song, "Let's Dance," with plenty of swing and playful attitude — Goodman's final notes were like a mirthful chuckle.

Their medley performances of "Stomping at the Savoy," "Moonglow" and other familiar numbers were warmly nostalgic.

That said, Bennett is also no period musician, and his performances seemed anything but antiquarian.

His extended improvisational flights of fancy in George Gershwin's "I've Got Rhythm" were wild enough to turn Sonny Rollins green with envy. Indeed, Bennett is the first improviser I've heard mix Gershwin with "The Flintstones Theme."

Bennett's outstanding quintet — pianist Tad Weed, drummer Peter Siers, bassist Paul Keller, guitarist Hugh Leal and vocalist Carol McCartney — were just as impressive. In fact, Weed's Gershwin solo seemingly condensed the composer's entire songbook into about two minutes — excluding his oblique references to "Rhapsody in Blue."

McCartney, meanwhile, sang such tunes as "Why Don't You Do Right" with a silky top register and breathy low notes.

For his part, Wilkins proved to have a real affinity for this music, conducting with vibrancy and romantic sweep.

Wilkins, of course, is the symphony's classical musical director, but he insists on conducting at least one pops concert a year. He claims it's to make a point — that the pops concerts are as important as the classical ones.

True, but I suspect the real reason is that he loves this music.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

"This is not to be missed!"

Thomas was on "Jazz in the Afternoon" on KIOS-FM to discuss clarinetist Dave Bennett and his Benny Goodman Tribute, featured this weekend with the Omaha Symphony.

Click here for an insightful interview & some swingin' music!

Click here for tickets!


In the Spotlight: John Klinghammer, clarinet

Why did you start playing the clarinet?
When I was in the seventh grade, my two best friends played saxophone in the school band, and I felt left out. So, I joined up, hoping to play saxophone as well. The band director, however, told us right away that he had too many saxophones and too many drummers....so much for that plan. I narrowed it down to the trombone, which I thought looked like a lot of fun with the slide and all, and the clarinet, which I guess I just thought looked cool. I went with the clarinet after determining that the trombone was too big and heavy for my skinny middle school self to carry home every day.

When did you know you wanted to play professionally?
I'm not sure...it was never really a plan until very late in my education. My junior year at the University of Oregon I switched from a music education major to a clarinet performance major...this was perhaps the first time I started thinking seriously about making a living by playing the clarinet. But I wasn't really sure if I could do it until I finally won my first job, with the Jacksonville Symphony, eight years later.

How do you see our education programs making a difference?
I really think the Omaha Symphony has one of the best overall education programs of any orchestra in the country, and by sheer volume of students that we play for, we can't help but make a difference. I still remember the Eugene Symphony concerts I went to as a 4th grader in Eugene, Oregon... it made a lasting impression on me, and certainly gave me some early enthusiasm and appreciation for classical music. I have no doubt we make a similar impression on the young, aspiring musicians of Omaha.

What are your favorite things and/or places in Omaha?
I love some of the new places opening up in the Old Market...Blue, the Wine Company. I think the Slowdown is one of the best places to see a concert anywhere. And I am a big fan of the new pedestrian bridge, which enables me to bike into Iowa without having to load up the car.

What's the best kept secret about the Omaha Symphony?
Not sure how much of a secret this is, but we have a reputation among visiting artists as being an extremely cool, friendly orchestra.