CWSO to debut season with ‘Anniversaries & Celebrations’

For the Metro Wire

The Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra will commence its 70th season with concerts on Oct. 13 and 14.

The concert will commemorate its own legacy as well as notable historic anniversaries. The concerts will begin with a burst of energy and enthusiasm, honoring the 150th anniversary of the composer Gioachino Rossini’s death in a performance of the exuberant “Overture to Barber of Seville.” Its familiarity to non-concert-goers evolved through popular culture outlets: it appeared in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, in the Beatles film, Help, and in an episode of the NBC sitcom, Seinfeld.

In celebration of 70 years of music-making, CWSO commissioned Stacey Berk, principal oboist, to compose a brand new piece to honor the musicians, staff and central Wisconsin community that have supported the orchestra through the years. The piece, Reflections, is colorful and contemplative, alluding to earlier masterworks while showcasing modern instrumentation and compositional ideas.

Berk describes her work as “a celebration of CWSO and reflecting back on the 70 years that they have played all these great classic pieces and yet also bring my piece into the next 70 years in which I can utilize some more contemporary compositional techniques. Reflecting backward to look ahead to the future.”

Berk holds the title of Professor of Oboe and Music Theory at the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point, where she was awarded the 2009 University Excellence in Teaching Award.

After this uplifting work, CWSO takes the listener through the ecstasy and turmoil of “Romeo and Juliet” in observance of the 125th anniversary of Tchaikovsky’s death.  Tchaikovsky brought Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy to life evoking fiery fight scenes and a haunting love theme.

The concert concludes with Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Sketches” from West Side Story to celebrate the centennial of his birth. West Side Story is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set in 1950’s working-class New York. In 1961, Bernstein transplanted the music of West Side Story into a purely orchestral setting called Symphonic Dances which allowed its brilliant score to serve as a concert work.  Bernstein’s score is energetic, colored with Latin idioms, cool jazz, and tender lyricism.

CWSO will be holding a sealed envelope auction in the lobby of the theater during the concert weekend.  Bidding will take place before the concert, during intermission, and after the concert.  Please visit the lobby to bid on an array of items including artwork, jewelry, concert tickets and more.

The concerts will take place in Sentry Theater, 1800 North Point Ave. Saturday’s performance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s is at 4 p.m.

Both concerts are sponsored by Sentry Insurance.

Concert tickets are available online at, the CWSO office, located in the Smith Scarabocchio Art Museum, 800 Main Street, or at the door.  Tickets may also be purchased by calling the CWSO office at (715) 345-7726.