Austin oboist one of two soloists at Sunday ASO concert

Published 8:15 am Thursday, May 2, 2019

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, the Austin Symphony Orchestra will present a concert featuring two outstanding musicians — cellist Tony Ross, and oboist Holly Dalager,  in Knowlton Auditorium.

Ross came to Minnesota in 1988, and has been principal cellist of the Minnesota Orchestra since 1991. After graduating from Indiana University, he went on to earn a master’s degree at the State University of New York, in Stony Brook, New York.

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Ross generously shares his talents and passion for music through benefit concerts and through teaching young cellists.

He has taught at the Eastman School of Music, Aspen and Grand Tetons Music Festivals, as well as at Interlochen. His wife, Beth Rapier, is also a cellist. She is Minnesota Orchestra’s assistant principal cello.

Ross will be performing the Dvorak Cello Concerto, one of the two most performed cello concertos in the world. Like Dvorak’s New World Symphony, his Cello Concerto was composed while he was in America with his wife, Anna. The story behind this is very touching.  Dvorak had courted Anna’s older sister, Josefina, who  did not accept his proposal of marriage. While in America he learned that Josefina was very ill.

He started to compose his cello concerto and into it he wove Josefina’s favorite song, called “Leave Me Alone.” It is heard most achingly in the wonderful slow movement. This gorgeous piece of music expresses not only homesickness, but also love lost.

Dalager is ASO’s  principal oboist and concert soloist. She is also principal oboist with the Rochester Pops Orchestra, MacPhail Center for Music instructor and band instructor at Pacelli Catholoic School. She also teaches about 25 private students in her home, instructing in piano, oboe and flute. Dalager will perform Ludwig August LeBrun’s Oboe Concerto No. 1.

Under the direction of conductor, Stephen Ramsey, the brass will present “Fanfare from La Peri” by Dukas and the Austin Symphony will play “Throne Room” and “Final Credit”  from “Star Wars.”

The symphony will also honor Mary Xavier, beloved Austin Symphony member who passed away in January,  by playing  Elgar’s “Nimrod,” from Enigma Variations.