Press Release: Bach’s fourth Brandenburg concerto highlights three symphony musician soloists

Program also includes Shapero’s Symphony for Classical Orchestra, Dove’s Figures in the Garden

OMAHA, Neb., Feb. 18, 2019- Three Omaha Symphony musicians will share the spotlight in Bach’s Brandenburg 4, the latest offering on the Symphony Joslyn Series, Sunday, February 24, 2 p.m., at Joslyn Art Museum.

Conducted by Music Director Thomas Wilkins, the title work of the concert, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, will feature concertmaster Susanna Perry Gilmore and principal flute Maria Harding and assistant principal flute Haley Bangs performing the brilliant solo lines of the tuneful and exhilarating concerto. The program will also include Jonathan Dove’s Figures in the Garden, and Shapero’s Symphony for Classical Orchestra.

Written at the behest of the Margrave of Brandenburg, Bach’s collection of six concertos was presented in 1721, although they were most likely composed earlier. They are considered some of the best orchestral compositions of the Baroque era. The fourth concerto highlights two recorders (or flutes in modern performances) and violin against a small ensemble of strings and continuo. The scoring of the piece is airy, light, and gently dance-like, calling to mind the French rococo. It opens, unusually, with a duet for the two high wind instruments, rather than a full orchestral exposition. Also different is that the violin, usually a lead instrument, takes a backseat during the second movement to provide a bass line to the rest of the ensemble, a small break from the extraordinarily virtuosic first and third movements.

Lesser known American composer Harold Shapero’s Symphony for Classical Orchestra is rarely performed but a treat nonetheless. The work was championed and premiered by Shapero’s good friend, Leonard Bernstein, by the Boston Symphony orchestra in 1948, and recorded in 1953. The neo-classical piece has echoes of Copland’s Billy the Kid and Appalcahian Spring, Stravinsky, and Beethoven, and even a bit of jazz.

Symphony Joslyn concerts explore the unique connections between art and music. The highlighted work paired with this concert is Friar Tuck, an acrylic on canvas painting by Gene Davis. Davis’ signature stripe paintings are a mixture of improvisation and structure, exploring dynamics of color and interval. Davis compared their monotony to music, saying “monotony and repetition are the main points of the composition.” Joslyn curators will deliver preconcert talks about this piece at 1 p.m. and 1:25 p.m. in Gallery 16.

Susanna Perry Gilmore enjoys a multi-faceted career as a solo artist, chamber musician, and orchestral concertmaster, joining the Omaha Symphony in that role in 2011. She has led and conducted the Omaha strings in a performance of Telemann’s Concerto Polonois, and was the featured fiddle player and co-creator of the Symphony Pops series Celtic Journey program. She is also a frequent guest violinist and fiddler with acclaimed period music ensemble Apollo’s Fire, appearing on several of their albums.

Colleagues and critics call flutist Maria Harding an “artistic anchor,” and “a truly remarkable musician.” She is one of today’s most notable orchestral flutists, receiving much attention for her beautiful tone and expressive and colorful phrasing. Principal flute of the Omaha Symphony since 1997, Harding has also played with the Saint Louis Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, and the Kansas City Symphony, while also performing over 30 solo engagements a year and maintaining a large and lively private teaching studio.

Haley Bangs is in her second season as assistant principal flute with the Omaha Symphony. She previously served as principal flute of the United States Navy Band from 2009-2015, and has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony, New World Symphony Orchestra, and others. She is a passionate educator and is currently a doctoral candidate at the Eastman School of Music, where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree in 2009.

Tickets to Bach’s Brandenburg 4 are $33. Joslyn Art Museum members may purchase single concert tickets for $28.80 each (a 20% savings). Joslyn members must call Ticket Omaha to reserve advance single tickets or show a Joslyn membership card if purchasing tickets at the door the day of the concert. All other tickets can be purchased by visiting or by calling Ticket Omaha at 402.345.0606. Student Rush tickets are available one hour prior to the concert. Any student with a valid student ID may purchase up to two Student Rush tickets for $10 each.

The Omaha Symphony is a non-profit organization that presents more than 100 live orchestral performances from September through June. In addition to MasterWorks, Symphony Pops, Symphony Rocks, Movies, Symphony Joslyn, and Family series concerts, the Omaha Symphony’s nationally recognized education and community engagement programs touch the lives of over 40,000 people each year. For tickets or information regarding the Omaha Symphony, call 402-345-0606 or visit


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