What is the history of the LSO, and what is the organization like today?
At the age of 69, the LSO is the oldest and largest cultural arts organization in Lubbock. When the LSO was organized and presented in 1946 for the first time, it was entirely a volunteer effort. The founder, Conductor William A. Harrod, helped the symphony become a professional organization in 1967, and he continued to conduct the orchestra through the spring of 1984.
Today, the LSO has a full orchestra of nearly 70 members and is directed by Maestro David Cho. Most of these members are professional musicians who either live in or are originally from Lubbock, and each year, they must participate in a blind audition for the upcoming season. One interesting fact that many people might not know is that the orchestra only rehearses two or three times before each concert. As they are professional musicians, each member is expected to practice their portion of the piece at home before the official rehearsals.
What makes the LSO unique?
With so many of the musicians living in Lubbock, there is a local pride that can be found in the LSO orchestra. Many of these musicians are home-grown Lubbockites and have lived here their entire life.
What are the biggest events or concerts that should not be missed this year?
Every other year, the LSO holds the opening night gala, an event that is out of this world. This year, the gala’s premiere talent was soprano Renée Flemming. In the past, the gala has featured international superstars such as Yo-Yo Ma and Susan Graham. Other must-see concerts include the Masterworks Concerts, which are classical series featuring the largest regular concerts of the season. The same concert is featured on both a Friday and Saturday night to coincide with the audience’s schedule. Whether you have a musical background or not, the Masterworks Concerts are an ideal way to become exposed to classics you wouldn’t hear otherwise. There are also special performance concerts featured on one night only. This year, the LSO welcomes the Texas Tenors on February 21, a treat for all generations.
What do you hope an audience member will experience while visiting the LSO?
Our goal is to break down all of the stigmas associated with classical music. That includes assumptions such as “classical music is stuffy” or “only the wealthy can enjoy the symphony.” We want to push the message that music is for everyone and that audiences of all genres, ages and generations can experience feelings from music that are one-of-a-kind. What someone can experience during a concert is the true art of music making. When the musicians feed off of the audience, and the audience feeds off of the musicians, the music making process comes alive. It’s truly a unique experience that everyone should enjoy in their lifetime.
If you haven’t checked out the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra this season, or at all, visit lubbocksymphony.org to find out how to purchase tickets, view the concert calendar and more.
By: Katherine White
By: Courtney Nelson
By: McKenna Dowdle
By: Alli Naughton