ASO enjoys collaborations with other cultures

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, March 10, 2015

By Margo Bissen

Sweet Sounds

The electrifying music of the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, along with the energetic, nostalgic, western themed music of the Austin Symphony Orchestra provided much “heat” on a cold Sunday afternoon in February. ASO’s collaboration with GCO was a first for both ensembles and audience members were delighted with this innovative symphonic experience.



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As we approach the final concert of the ASO’s 2014-2015 season, another collaboration of sorts comes to mind: the ASO’s mission statement and both National and Minnesota Music Standards express the importance of providing musical experiences that enhance knowledge of and appreciation for music from diverse cultures, varied styles and historical times.

Our community (and hundreds of area students) enjoyed the music of Mariachi Nuevo de Las Vegas at ASO’s October performances.  The Christmas concert featured a major choral work from the Baroque period, Vivaldi’s Gloria. Both an adult and children’s chorus participated in that concert and for most of the young singers, hearing an extended choral work was a new experience. The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra’s performance with ASO certainly provided an opportunity for audience members to broaden their appreciation for the “Jazz Grass Art Rock” genre by which GCO describes their music.

The next ASO concert, Beethoven Bash II, on Sunday, April 12, at the Paramount Theater, will present another opportunity for us to enhance our knowledge of and appreciation for great music. Fei-Fei Dong, an internationally acclaimed pianist and finalist in the Cliburn Competition, will be the featured artist. Ms. Dong will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 and the ASO will perform the classical Symphony No.5. Ms. Dong’s performance is made possible by the Guest Artists Fund which was established in 2013 to ensure the appearance of first rate artists with the ASO.

In the past, the ASO has featured many outstanding musicians; Roberto Plano and Simon Estes to name a few. The ability to attract such artists has become an issue with the increase in fees, transportation and other costs. Several Austin residents have designated donations to ASO for this special fund which will bring well known artists to Austin and inspire audience members of all ages, but especially our student musicians. If you would like to contribute to this effort, please contact Paul Wahlstrom, ASO Treasurer. 507.433.7890

Following the April concert, the ASO’s annual fundraising dinner will be held at the Austin Country Club. “Beethoven’s Banquet” will include a menu of delectable dishes, a silent auction and an appearance by the composer himself, which just might be worth the price of admission! For information contact Sue Grove.  507.433.5464 Mark you calendar for Sunday, April 12 and enjoy the sweet sounds of harmony Fei-Fei Dong and the ASO have to offer.