Music Director Thomas Wilkins
James Lee, III
Saturday, June 6, 2015
The Omaha Symphony’s musicianship has been breathtakingly sharp all season — and this weekend’s closing Masterworks concerts for 2015-16 amount to a most appropriate summation.
With guest pianist Stephen Hough reinforcing his musicians’ practiced virtuosity, Music Director Thomas Wilkins gratefully received the audience’s ovations Friday night for a program featuring Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto and the Second Symphony of Johannes Brahms.
Before traveling back to the 19th century, the symphony took its listeners on a fascinating trip into the cosmos with “Sukkot Through Orion’s Nebula,” written in 2011 by Morgan State University professor James Lee III. The program will be repeated tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Lee’s relatively brief piece took its inspiration from the fall harvest festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), one of the three major feasts on the Jewish liturgical calendar. The symphony vigorously presented Lee’s brash fanfares, led by French horns impersonating Jewish shofars, and delicately offered heavenly violin and harp cascades befitting the Orion constellation’s association with the festival.