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FW Symphony’s New Season: Yo-Yo Ma, Cliburn Winners and a Time Shift

by Jerome Weeks 7 Mar 2013 5:00 PM

FWSO music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya says he and Yo-Yo Ma just had to work out their schedules for Ft. Worth because they’ve already performed for a half-dozen other orchestras. Harth-Bedoya also has planned a special memorial to the late Van Cliburn.


The Fort Worth Symphony announced its new season today. The high point will be cello superstar Yo-Yo Ma making his debut with the orchestra in 2014’s Gala. KERA’s Jerome Weeks has this report.

KERA radio report:

Expanded online report:

Fort Worth Symphony music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya says he and Yo-Yo Ma are old colleagues. Getting together at last in Fort Worth has just been a problem with their schedules.

“We have performed with the Chicago Symphony,” Harth-Bedoya recalls. “We have performed with the Boston Symphony – Atlanta Symphony. We have recorded with the Chicago Symphony as well. You know, so like finally, it took so long to make our dates coordinate.”

The Grammy Award-winning Yo-Yo Ma will perform Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, which he has recorded with the New York Philharmonic.

Other season highlights include the Great Performances Festival, which will open the season in August. This will be the first time the three finalists of the Van Cliburn Competition will play in it. Previously, the Cliburn medalists have made their debut with the symphony very soon after the competition had finished. But that meant they performed outdoors in the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. This fall, they’ll be in Bass Hall. Those plans had been in the works for awhile, but with Van Cliburn’s death last month, Harth-Bedoya decided to honor the legendary pianist. Cliburn had performed at the conductor’s own debut with the Fort Worth Symphony in 2000. He stepped in at the last minute when pianist Andre Watts was forced to cancel And so this year’s Great Performances Festival will play nothing but Cliburn’s favorite Russian composers — including  Rachmaninoff’s first three piano concertos.

“When we knew of his illness,” Harth-Bedoya recalled, “I said, we have to do something for Van. And so choosing Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff together, now of course, this festival will be dedicated to Van in its true meaning. “

This season, the symphony will also be shifting its Friday and Saturday start times to 7:30 p.m. But the Gala concert will be start, as always, at 7 p.m.

The full release:



Highlights Include Yo-Yo Ma, Pixar in Concert and Finalists of the 2013 Van Cliburn Piano Competition

FORT WORTH – The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (FWSO) announces the 2013-2014 concert season, presenting a stellar array of world-renowned soloists, critically-esteemed guest conductors, and a gratifying variety of music styles and subscription options.

“Welcome to our 2013-2014 season! We are excited to have you share in this, the beginning of the next era in the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s history. This unprecedented new season features daring programming that will surprise and delight our patrons, and we are thrilled to build upon the tradition of excellence we have established. Welcome, friends.” – Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

  • The American Airlines Symphonic Series opens with the music of Richard Strauss and Donnacha Dennehy, FWSO’s new Composer-in-Residence. This performance (September 13-15, 2013) features Dennehy’s song cycle That The Night Come, as well as Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier Suite and Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks – performed by the FWSO for the first time in over three decades.
  • Cello superstar Yo-Yo Ma makes his much-anticipated debut with the FWSO for the annual Symphony Gala (April 3, 2014) performing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto.
  • The Great Performances Festival (August 23-25, 2013) breaks new ground with the debut performances of three finalists from the 14th Van Cliburn Piano Competition. This year’s festival, entitled From Russia With Love, features Rachmaninoff’s three epic piano concertos and Tchaikovsky’s masterful Symphonies 4, 5, and 6.
  • The unifying theme of this year’s season is “Embrace the World through Music” – each Symphonic Series concert in the FWSO’s 2013-2014 season will feature compositions called “Passport Pieces” from exotic locales like Denmark, Greece, and Estonia.
  • FWSO presents Andrés Franco as Resident Conductor of the 2013-14 season. Andrés will be conducting three FWSO Pops concerts and has also accepted the title and responsibilities of Artistic Director of Concerts in the Garden, beginning this summer 2013.

FWSO’S 2013-2014 Symphonic Season is a musical exploration of classical favorites, new works, and intriguing symphonic selections from other cultures. Major highlights include Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, the Dvořák Violin Concerto, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral.” The list continues with Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 7, Schumann’s Symphony No. 4, Mendelssohn’s magnificent Elijah, and selections from Wagner’s “Twilight of the Gods” – the final opera from his epic Ring Cycle. Along with returning soloists Jessica Rivera, Adam Golka and guest conductors Mei-Ann Chen and Rossen Milanov, FWSO also presents new guest artists like violinist Benjamin Beilman, conductor Joshua Weilerstein, pianist Steven Osborne and world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Highlights of the 2013-2014 FWSO Pops Series include Broadway’s original “Mary Poppins” Ashley Brown (Nov. 1-3, 2013), classically-trained pop star Chris Mann (Feb. 7-9, 2014), and Five By Design’s memorable Radio Days: A Salute To Troops (April 4-6, 2014). Pixar in Concert (May 16-18, 2014) makes its Bass Performance Hall debut to close the Pops series, bringing to life the memorable scores of Pixar classics like the Toy Story trilogy, UP!, The Incredibles and more.

Special Events of the 2013-2014 season include holiday offerings like Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 3, 2013). FWSO pays homage to Ol’ Blue Eyes with a New Year’s Eve tribute concert featuring Steve Lippia (Dec. 31, 2013), and celebrates the music from Star Trek, Star Wars, Close Encounters, and The Day The Earth Stood Still in a Sci-Fi Spectacular with George Takei (Jan. 4, 2014). Take a musical and visual journey with Caminos del Inka (Jan. 25, 2013), and join FWSO for the spectacular Bass Performance Hall debut of cellist extraordinaire Yo-Yo Ma! (April 3, 2014)


The FWSO is deeply dedicated to music education and the vital role symphonic music plays in a child’s development. In addition to bringing symphonic music to over 70,000 children in the metroplex yearly through a broad range of education and community outreach efforts, the FWSO is committed to new partnerships with the Aledo ISD and the Uplift Education charter school of Fort Worth. The symphony has also established a community concert series in partnership with Arborlawn United Methodist Church in Fort Worth and White’s Chapel Methodist Church in Southlake which will continue in the 2013-2014 season. The FWSO will also launch a new chamber music series in partnership with the world-renowned Kimbell Art Museum upon completion of the new auditorium in Spring 2014.


Due to popular demand from patrons, all Friday and Saturday Symphonic, Pops, Festival, and Special concerts for the upcoming season will begin at 7:30 PM. This excludes the Gala concert which begins at 7:00 PM.

Since its beginnings, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra has been an essential thread in the city’s cultural fabric and the very foundation of Fort Worth’s performing arts. The Symphony attracts music lovers of all ages with a 10-concert Symphonic Series, a 7-concert Pops Series, several Blockbuster Specials and a 3-day composer festival each year at Bass Performance Hall. The Concerts in the Garden outdoor music festival offers affordable, family friendly entertainment for more than 40,000 people of all demographic categories each summer.
The FWSO’s 2013-14 concerts are made possible in part by the generous support of season sponsors American Airlines, Star-Telegram and Renaissance Worthington Hotel.
For tickets to all FWSO concerts, contact the FWSO Ticket Office at 817-665-6000 or visit