FSO News


By October 5, 2017 January 16th, 2018 No Comments

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA (October 5, 2017) — Be magically whisked off by musical enchantment in a special Halloween concert of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra!  Young and old at heart are invited to wear costumes for an evening of music guaranteed to transport the audience to imaginative realms of thrills and chills!

Guest conductor Thomas Heuser will take the stage at 7:30 pm on Friday, October 27, in Ardrey Memorial Auditorium on the campus of Northern Arizona University. Ticket holders are invited to attend his pre-concert talk at 6:30 in the auditorium.

The shivers begin with “Red Cape Tango” by 53-year-old Iowa native Michael Daugherty. A Grammy Award winner, he has become one of the most performed of the younger generation of American composers. This tango is a movement from Metropolis Symphony (1993), which he based on “Superman mythology.” Representing Superman’s fight to the death with Doomsday, the piece incorporates dramatic percussion effects in a “Dance of Death.”

The appearance of a dreaded sorceress begins the thrilling “Witch’s Ride” from the Hansel und Gretel Suite by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921). The popular piece is loved by generations of young people for whom the musical description vividly portrays the terrifying witch’s flight through the night.

Another Halloween favorite, Night on Bald Mountain, describes a gathering of witches presided over by Satan, who whips up their passion and conducts a Black Mass in the darkness.  Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky completed the piece on the eve of St. John’s Day in June of 1867.  He described the tale as ”thoroughly in keeping with… Russian folk tradition… grown on our country’s soil and nurtured on Russian bread.” This orchestral arrangement is by the composer’s compatriot Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and the music vividly depicts the evening’s shenanigans.

Rimsky-Korsakov appears again with his popular orchestral suite Scheherazade, based on the Arabian tales of “A Thousand and One Nights,” which caps off the evening.   This truly is enchanting music, as it tells the story of an evil sultan who vows to execute each of his wives after their wedding night. But Scheherazade spends her first night weaving suspenseful stories that enthrall him for 1001 nights, and the smitten sultan ultimately saves her life.

For this concert, FSO welcomes Guest Conductor Thomas Heuser, the Music Director of the San Juan Symphony in Durango, Colorado. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for Orchestral Conducting in Germany while serving as the 2010 Conducting Fellow with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Vassar College, he earned his master’s degree in Instrumental Conducting from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. In 2013 he completed his Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

The sponsors for this Masterworks II concert are NAU Office of the President and Northern Arizona Healthcare. For information and tickets, contact flagstaffsymphony.org or the NAU Central Ticket Office, 928-523-5661.

The mission of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra is to enrich, engage, and inspire our community through the performance of orchestral music. Founded in 1950, the FSO is celebrating its 68th season as the largest and most active nonprofit performing arts organization in northern Arizona.