A Fond Farewell

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra salutes these musicians, who will retire after the 2017/18 season, for a combined 261 years of dedication and beautiful music. 

MITTA ANGELL
VIOLA
Member of the DSO since: 1965

Mitta Angell graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College with a double major in violin and piano. She was recently appointed head of the Music Department of the Dallas Woman's Forum, which raises money to aid the music department of the Birdie Alexander Elementary School.  Angell teaches viola and piano privately and is also a viola instructor for the DSO's Young Strings program. 

Q&A with Mitta:

What are some of your favorite memories from your time in the orchestra?

I have been fortunate in that since I joined the orchestra each conductor has brought us to a higher level. 

Is there a particular concert or piece that you remember fondly?

It’s very difficult for me to find a favorite piece of music. It seems that most often the music I’m playing at the moment is my favorite.

What advice would you give to young musicians beginning their orchestral careers?

My advice to young orchestral musicians is to always listen to what’s going on around you. Be a part of the orchestra instead of listening only to your part. In that way you will hear the whole symphony, enjoy it that much more and make the music that much better. And of course, the beauty of music is best when it is shared with people who truly enjoy it.


DOUGLAS HOWARD
PRINCIPAL PERCUSSION & ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL TIMPANI
MARGIE & WILLIAM H. SEAY CHAIR
Member of the DSO since: 1975

Before joining the Dallas Symphony, Doug Howard played three years with the USAF Concert Band, D.C., and one season with the Louisville Orchestra. He has been a member of the Aspen Music Festival faculty since 1982 and the SMU faculty since 1977. With the world-music ensemble D’Drum, Howard has performed with the orchestras of Dallas, Cleveland, San Antonio and Corpus Christi.

Q&A with Doug:

What are some of your favorite memories from your time in the orchestra? 

The Grand Opening Fortnight of the Meyerson Center in September 1989 was a once-in-a-lifetime event for the City of Dallas and the orchestra!

Is there a particular concert/piece that you remember fondly?

I will always remember our performance in the Berlin Philharmonie during the 1985 European Tour with Eduardo Mata. The reception our orchestra received in Berlin and throughout Europe was overwhelming, and I believe it signified a coming-of-age of the Dallas Symphony.

What advice would you give to young musicians beginning their orchestral careers?

An orchestral career requires enormous personal sacrifice of time and dedication.  The reward is the ability to spend your life playing the masterpieces of classical music while providing inspiration to others.

What else would you like to share with the DSO audience?

Thank you for the opportunity to share great music with you!


BARBARA SUDWEEKS
ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL VIOLA
Member of the DSO since: 1976

Before coming to Dallas, Barbara Sudweeks was a member of the Utah Symphony violin section and principal viola of the Hamilton (Canada) Philharmonic. She attended the University of Utah and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She has served on the faculty of Southern Methodist University since 1983. Sudweeks has two awesome sons, five perfect grandchildren and a deservedly spoiled rescue chihuahua.

Q&A with Barbara:
What are some of your favorite memories from your time in the orchestra

I remember well the day we walked through the construction zone of the Meyerson with hard hats on. They showed us where the concert hall would be and we stood on what would be the stage. At that time It was hard to imagine how truly beautiful it would be when it was finished. When we finally played the first rehearsals and concerts in our new hall I realized how fortunate I was to have the opportunity to work in such a magnificent and beautiful place. I still feel that way when I look out into the hall. It has been a privilege to call this lovely space my home for so many years.

Is there a particular concert or piece that you remember fondly?

Over the years I’ve played many, many concerts that I’ve loved. Recently we played Mahler 2. It surprised me that I was so moved by the performances. The orchestra, the chorus, the soloists and the organ all came together so beautifully and each performance was absolutely electrifying. Another memorable concert for me was working with Charles Dutoit and the Damnation of Faust performances. I loved it! I always enjoy it when the chorus joins the orchestra. The repertoire is different and the chorus is great!

What advice would you give to young musicians beginning their orchestral careers?

Winning an orchestra position is so difficult now, and getting harder every year. If you’re talented enough and lucky enough to win a position in an orchestra, love your job, love the music, practice, enjoy and respect your colleagues, and appreciate those who paved the way before you and made your job possible. Bottom line, it’s a privilege to bring beautiful music to our audiences who admire and love what we do.

What else would you like to share with DSO audience members?

I enjoy playing the Chinese erhu. It’s a very cool instrument and a style of music I love. It’s fun and it brings me a lot of pleasure. I also love visiting my perfect grandchildren and hanging out with my crazy chihuahua. Cooking and canning will take up some of my time now, too.


CHRISTOPHER RUNK
CLARINET & BASS CLARINET
Member of the DSO since: 1976

After graduating from the Oberlin Conservatory, Christopher Runk received a master's degree from the Catholic University of America, while also holding a position with the U.S. Army Band in Washington, D.C. Runk studied with Robert Marcellus and Alfred Zetzer during the Cleveland Orchestra's years under the direction of George Szell. Throughout his career, he has played a 100-year-old, double register bass clarinet, modified with a low-C extension.

Q&A with Chris:

Is there a particular concert or piece that you remember fondly?

Soon after the Meyerson opened, James Rives Jones programmed Messiaen’s  “Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum” (1964). The music uses huge blocks of sound from the woodwinds and brass along with a large percussion section, including three large gongs. Jim was our resident conductor at the time and had the canopy raised to its full height above the orchestra with the upper reverberation chambers opened. The result was an overwhelming performance in cathedral-like acoustics!                                                             

What else would you like to share with DSO audience members?

I’m looking forward to some serious bird watching during Spring and Fall migration (April and October), though I know I’ll still be hearing Mahler and Stravinsky in my head.


THOMAS BOOTH
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL TRUMPET
Member of the DSO since: 1977

Thomas Booth studied at Baldwin-Wallace College and the University of Illinois. His teachers include James Darling, Mary Squire and David Hickman. He has been on the faculty of Southern Methodist University, where he currently teaches trumpet and heads the winds, brass and percussion department, since 1978. After retirement, Tom and his wife Linda are moving to Denver to be near their three kids and their grandkids.

Q&A with Tom:

What are some of your favorite memories from your time in the orchestra?

Our first trip to Carnegie Hall,  the first rehearsal in the Meyerson, Mahler 7 in Musikverein in Vienna, Mahler 6 in Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and any time spent hanging out with the trumpet section!

Is there a particular concert or piece that you remember fondly?

Playing Nimrod in Belfast the day Princess Diana died.

What advice would you give to young musicians beginning their orchestral careers?

Practice. And listen to great music.

What else would you like to share with audience members?

This is a really great orchestra. Support it so it stays that way for future generations.


SUSAN AGER-BREITBARTH
VIOLIN
Member of the DSO since: 1978

Susie Ager-Breitbarth grew up in Olympia, Washington and studied with Helen de Pastel Pagels. Before Dallas, she played with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, Spokane Chamber Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony. Ager-Breitbarth studied at the University of Puget Sound and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She has also been active in the recording industry, chamber music ensembles and private teaching.

Q&A with Susie:

What are some of your favorite memories from your time in the orchestra?

Playing at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Musikverein in Vienna.

Is there a particular concert or piece that you remember fondly?

There was one concert outdoors at the Ford Ampitheater in Vail when we performed Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. At the end of the piece, a double rainbow appeared! It was beautiful. 

What advice would you give to young musicians beginning their orchestral careers?

Keep practicing :)

What else would you like to share with audience members?

My 2 quilts both recently won ribbons at the 2018 Dallas Quilt Show! 


 

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