Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nebraska's Astronaut to host as we explore the Final Frontier!

Get ready to explore infinity and beyond with astronaut Clay Anderson and the Omaha Symphony! Join us as we travel to the Final Frontier—outer space—Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center. Anderson will host this fun, casual family concert featuring space-themed favorites and thrilling video from NASA.

Astronaut Clay Anderson’s ties to Nebraska are as strong as his loyalties to NASA. Born in Omaha, he graduated from high school in Ashland. He received his bachelor degree from Hastings College and his graduate degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University. After 15 years in flight design at Johnson Space Center, NASA selected Anderson as a mission specialist. There, he served as a crew support astronaut and a flight engineer.

In 2007, Anderson launched into space aboard Shuttle Atlantis, spending five months at the International Space Station. During his 152-day tour of duty, he performed three spacewalks that lasted 18 hours. He returned aboard Shuttle Discovery. Anderson’s next launch is scheduled for February 2010.

Hear music that will transport you (pieces from Star Trek and Holst’s The Planets), while viewing and learning about this dreamy destination from someone who has actually experienced it! It’s bound to be an out-of-this-world musical experience for kids of all ages!

Symphony hits the road to "LinkUP!" with thousands of kids

North Platte, March 3 @ 1:45 PM Neville Center for the Performing Arts

Scottsbluff, March 4 @ 1:45 PM Scottsbluff HS Auditorium

Chadron, March 5 @ 1:45 PM Memorial Hall, Chadron State College

Omaha, March 18 @ 9:45 & 11:15 Holland Performing Arts Center

Norfolk, April 28 @ 2 PM Johnny Carson Theater @ Norfolk HS

In the coming weeks, nearly 4,500 students statewide will share the spotlight with the Omaha Symphony! Playing recorders, strings instruments, and singing, young learners will get to experience the thrill of working together to perform live music.
Carnegie Hall Communities LinkUP! concerts are the culmination of months of education and practice. The 4th-6th grade students began the program in the fall with classroom instruction that helped them improve their performing, creating, and listening skills. Select symphony members served as mentors at the schools, making more than 300 visits to teach the LinkUP! music and answer questions about music and their careers. Now it’s time for these talented kids to showcase what they’ve learned through these special interactive performances with the Omaha Symphony!
For the first time ever, the Omaha Symphony is taking this extraordinary program on the road. The orchestra will travel to western Nebraska to perform with students in North Platte, Scottsbluff, Chadron, and Norfolk.
In past years, students have displayed their newly acquired musical skills through playing the recorder and singing. This year, we’ve kicked it up a notch—adding a string component to our concert in Omaha.
“Omaha Symphony education programs aim to make students active participants in their learning. This program epitomizes that philosophy,” said Jennifer Boomgaarden, director of education and community partnerships with the Omaha Symphony. “Kids aren’t just audience members. They’re musicians.”
This unique education program is only made possible through the generous gifts of our sponsors:

Pacific Life
Dixon Family Foundation
Iowa West Foundation
Union Pacific Railroad
Lincoln Financial
NE Arts Council
Iowa Arts Council
National Endowment for the Arts
Kinder Morgan Foundation
Mutual of Omaha Foundation
Whitmore Charitable Trust
Doug Riley Family Foundation

Friday, February 20, 2009

Meet a Musician

In the Spotlight... Anne Nagosky
Anne Nagosky plays first violin with the Omaha Symphony. She also is a private teacher, who currently teaches more than 40 private students, ranging in age from 4 to adult.

When and how did your career begin with the symphony?
I joined the Omaha Symphony in 1998. Before coming here, I played professionally for two years in a string quartet based in Des Moines, IA, and also served as principal second violin of the Des Moines Symphony. The thing I remember the most from my first rehearsals with the Omaha Symphony was how welcoming and friendly the other musicians were!

How has teaching violin changed your life?
I have learned so much about playing the violin from having to explain and demonstrate things to my students, from the most basic concepts of position and mechanics to the most subtle levels of style and phrasing. Teaching forces me to analyze and re-analyze every day how I do things and to think of new ways to approach ideas and skills that seem second nature to me. But I think I have been changed even more by my personal relationships with my students. I have known many of them for years and I have watched them grow up, celebrated their accomplishments, shared their frustrations. I never cease to be touched when one of them draws me a picture, or jumps up and down with the excitement of learning something new, or confides in me, or gives me an unsolicited hug! Nothing else I have ever done in my life has been more challenging than teaching...and nothing is more rewarding.

What advice do you have for parents who want their kids to practice?
As far as getting children to practice goes: the most important thing is attitude. If you, as a parent, are excited that your son or daughter is learning an instrument, your excitement will be contagious. If you model the value of working hard to do your best at something, it will become one of their values too. However, realistically, attitude alone is often not enough! So, set reasonable goals, make it part of the routine of your day, praise their improvements freely, empathize when they are frustrated (I don't always enjoy practicing myself and it's okay to feel like that sometimes), and feel free to reward them for their hard work with an occasional special treat.

Just for Kids!

Special kid-friendly pre-concert activities will be held on the orchestra level before the Sunday,
March 1 performance
of "The Magical Music of Walt Disney." At 12:45 p.m., there will be a brief “meet and greet” with Ms. Benson,
followed by Disney-themed fun and games from 1-1:40 p.m.
Kids of all ages are invited to dress up like their favorite Disney character. It’s going to be a magical concert that the whole family will enjoy!

Please email Kristin at if you plan on attending!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Enjoy Disney favorites at fun, family-friendly concert

What: The Magical Music of Walt Disney – Omaha Symphony Pops Concert
Sponsored by the Nebraska Medical Center
When: Friday, February 27 8 PM
Saturday, February 28 8 PM
Sunday, March 1 2 PM

Where: Holland Performing Arts Center 1200 Douglas Street
Tickets: $15- $80; 402.345.0606, 402.342.3560 or

Get ready to wish upon a star and feel like a kid again, as the Omaha Symphony presents The Magical Music of Walt Disney February 27-March 1 at the Holland Performing Arts Center. This concert is perfect for all ages, featuring beloved songs from Walt Disney movies and Broadway shows. Hear your favorites from Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, and many more! Stills from Disney movies will be projected behind the orchestra, to delight your eyes as well as your ears.

Jodi Benson, the original voice of the Little Mermaid, will be performing with the orchestra, along with former Phantom of the Opera star Doug La Brecque. Join these talented vocalists and your orchestra as they bring the treasured tales and fun characters of Disney to life through song.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

REVIEW: "Breathtaking," "romantic" Valentine's concert

The Omaha World-Herald says the "Symphonic Dances" concert is perfect for the Valentine's Day weekend.

Of violin soloist Brittany Sklar, writer John Pitcher says: "This 21-year-old virtuoso possesses an effortless technique and a golden, almost teardrop perfect tone. She captured all operatic melodrama in this hyper-romantic concerto. In lyrical passages, she all but made the violin swoon. Sklar's long curls make her look like a Roman goddess. She plays like an angel."

Of guest conductor George Manahan, Pitcher adds: "Manahan and the orchestra more than did the piece justice. They actually got it right!"

Click here to read the whole review.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

REV UP Valentine's with some ROMANCE!

What: Symphonic Dances MasterWorks Concert
Sponsored by Omaha Steaks
When: February 13 & 14 8 PM

Holland Performing Arts Center 1200 Douglas Street

Tickets: $15- $75; 402.345.0606, 402.342.3560 or

Treat your sweetheart to an evening of beauty and passion, as the Omaha Symphony presents Symphonic Dances Friday and Saturday, February 13 and 14, at 8 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

The night begins with the music of West Side Story. This memorable, moving score tells the emotional story of a young couple, as they journey together through love and loss. We also feature Rachmaninoff’s sweeping Symphonic Dances, a piece that combines exciting rhythmic sections with lush melodies.

The program also showcases two talented guest artists. George Manahan, music director of the New York City Opera, will guest conduct. 20-year old Brittany Sklar, a rising star in classical music, is the featured soloist for Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor. Don’t miss this evening of music, celebrating lots of talent and lots of love!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Podcasts: I Love a Parade & Disney!

Thomas leads a parade-themed program this weekend, full of familiar symphonic marches. Hear his memories of childhood parades and some background on the history of marches. Click here to learn from the Maestro.

A father of three, Ernest Richardson knows how captivating and special Disney music is to children. Take a listen to his thoughts on the family-friendly "Magical Music of Walt Disney" concert, perfect for kids of all ages!

To view and listen to past podcasts, click here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cavanaugh a crowd-pleaser

The Holland was rocking Saturday night, as Broadway star Michael Cavanaugh played the spirited, soulful music of rock & roll legends. This rising talent had the crowd clapping and dancing. Could he be the next Billy Joel or Elton John?

Check out his Web site, Facebook, and new CD, In Color. Thanks Michael--and thank you to the sensational orchestra (who proved once again, they can play ANYTHING with style & passion!)