Press Release: Omaha Symphony closes MasterWorks series with Mozart & Mahler

Program includes Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Mozart’s Symphony No. 25

OMAHA, Neb., May 21, 2019- With stirring music both beautiful and poignant, the Omaha Symphony will close the 2018-19 MasterWorks series with Mozart & Mahler, Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, with performances at 7:30 p.m. both evenings at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

Conducted by Music Director Thomas Wilkins, the program will feature two pieces: Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G Minor, and Mahler’sDas Lied von der Erde(“The Song of the Earth”), featuring Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano, and Issachah Savage, tenor. Both singers are making their Omaha debuts.

Mahler was a composer obsessed with death, or, rather, the concept of mortality and its implications in life, marking nearly every one of his major works. Mahler himself was no stranger to death: seven of his 13 siblings died in infancy, while another brother committed suicide at age 21. His own daughter died of scarlet fever at age four in 1907, and a few days later, Mahler discovered he was suffering from a heart ailment that would end his own life four years later. Suddenly, the fate which the composer had now contemplated as the universal human condition assumed a far more personal significance.

He began to compose settings of a group of eighth and ninth century Chinese poems, a work he would end up calling Das Lied von der Erde, or “The Song of the Earth.” The poems seemed to mirror Mahler’s sorrow, depicting the cycle of life and death amidst the glory of nature. But as he continued to work on it, the work began to develop beyond just a collection of songs. As the scope grew, Mahler linked the poems through musical interludes, creating a symphony of voices in the process. But superstitious dread of not living to complete his work (as Beethoven and Bruckner had done) prevented Mahler from naming Das Lied von der Erdehis Ninth Symphony. (Incidentally, Mahler lived to compose a “tenth” symphony, although it bears the title “Ninth.”)

Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G Minor is the young composer’s first symphonic work cast in a minor key, after writing two dozen symphonies by the age of 17. Most likely influenced by the “storm and passion” in Haydn’s works and in the Viennese air in the early 1770s, Mozart’s symphony features restless themes, piercing harmonies, and sudden shifts in dynamics, showcasing the Mozart’s increasing artistic maturity.

Mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, described as a “powerful singer with a warm, seductive tone” by the New York Times, has established herself as one of the most in-demand artists throughout the world. She appears regularly with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and more. She is also at home on the opera stage, having appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opera, and London Opera, among others. She is a multi-Grammy award winning recording artist.

Dramatic tenor Issachah Savage is garnering acclaim as a “large voice of melting beauty” by the Washington Post, with “trumpet-like, clear, open-throated, powerful” singing (San Francisco Examiner). He is the winner of the 2014 Seattle International Wagner Competition, earning the main prize, audience favorite prize, orchestra favorite prize, and a special honor by Speight Jenkins. Savage has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera. Concert appearances have included the Utah Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra, and more. He is currently part of the roster of the Lyric Opera in Chicago.

Tickets to Mozart & Mahler start at $19. They can be purchased by visiting www.omahasymphony.orgor 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 MasterWorks series is sponsored by Omaha Steaks.

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 more than 40,000 people each year. For tickets or information regarding the Omaha Symphony, call 402-345-0606 or visit


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