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Program Notes: A Midsummer Night's Dream (June 14)

Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2014 in Program Notes


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June 14, 2014 at 7:30pm

Karina Canellakis, conductor
Christine Wu,
Joanna Schellenberg,
Audra Methvin,
Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra: Richard Giangiulio,
music director
Booker T. Washington High School Young Women's Chorus: Jamie Allen,

Presented in partnership with
Dallas Symphony Orchestra Teen Council


Bernstein Three Dance Episodes from On the Town
(Approximate duration 10 minutes)

The Great Lover
Lonely Town (Pas de deux)
Times Square, 1944

Side-by-side with Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra


Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor, Opus 47
(Approximate duration 16 minutes)

First Movement-Allegro moderato
Christine Wu, violin




Mendelssohn Suite from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Opus 21 & 61
(Approximate duration 35 minutes)

Wedding March

Joanna Schellenberg, narrator
Audra Methvin, soprano
Booker T. Washington High School Young Women's Chorus


Please silence all cellular phones. Please note that photography and video recording of this concert, in whole or part, are strictly prohibited. This includes the use of camera phones.


Three Dance Episodes from On the Town (1944)
Leonard Bernstein

By Chase Dobson

On the Town is a musical by Leonard Bernstein, with book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.  The musical is based on concepts from Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, which is also set to Bernstein's music.  The story of the musical revolves around three sailors in wartime America, who are on a 24-hour shore leave in New York City.

The Three Dance Episodes come from three different points in the musical.  The first dance, entitled The Great Lover, is a dream scene in which one of the three sailors, named Gabey, falls asleep on the subway, dreaming of a subway poster girl named "Miss Turnstiles." The music is rough and jazzy, with a sort of drive that reflects Gabey's passion and romantic energy.

In the second dance, Lonely Town: Pas de Deux, Gabey is in Central Park, watching as another sailor flirts with a girl.  The orchestration is lush and soothing, while also somewhat melancholy, with many more classical elements to counter the rough jazzy elements in the previous episode.  Bernstein describes the scene as "both tender and sinister, in which a sensitive high-school girl in Central Park is lured and then cast off by a worldly sailor."

The third dance, Times Square, 1944, is a high-strung fantasy, using his famous theme from the musical, "New York, New York." It is very rugged and capricious, and captures a youthful enthusiasm for New York City that most clearly reflects Bernstein's own infatuation with the city.

Three Dance Episodes is scored for flute (doubling piccolo), oboe (doubling English horn), E-flat clarinet, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, two horns, three trumpets, three trombones, timpani, percussion, piano and strings.

Violin Concerto
Jean Sibelius

By Shannon Lotti

Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer whose works were composed in the late Romantic period. Originally, Sibelius was a violinist himself, but around 1890 when he was studying in Berlin and Vienna, he gave up his dreams of being a virtuoso because he believed he had started too late. Sibelius was greatly influenced by Ferruccio Busoni, Anton Bruckner and Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky's influence is shown most prominently in this Violin Concerto.

The Violin Concerto in D minor, the first movement of which will be played tonight by the Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition winner Christine Wu, is one of Sibelius's best known works and one of the most recorded violin concerti of the 20th century. The concerto was originally dedicated to Willy Burmester, and it was supposed to premiere in Berlin. Because of financial problems, Sibelius decided to premiere the piece in Helsinki on February 8, 1904 instead. Burmester was unable to travel to Finland, so Sibelius engaged Hungarian violinist Victor Nováček to perform the work's premiere. Sibelius did not complete the work until just before the performance, which gave Nováček little time to prepare. The Violin Concerto would have been a strain on any violinist, and Nováček was not a frequent soloist, so the first performance was a disaster. Sibelius then set out to rework his concerto. The new version was premiered on October 19, 1905, with Richard Strauss conducting the Berlin Court Orchestra. Burmester again was asked to be the soloist, but again could not attend, so the concertmaster Karil Halíř took his place. This angered Burmester who refused to ever perform the concerto. It was then rededicated to Ferenc von Vecsey, age 12, who performed it at age 13.

The Violin Concerto is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, strings, and solo violin.


A Midsummer Night's Dream
Felix Mendelssohn

By Nivedina Sarma

At seventeen, Felix Mendelssohn composed what has been recognized as "the greatest marvel of early maturity that the world has ever seen in music." The composition of A Midsummer Night's Dream spanned a majority of Mendelssohn's career- he completed the overture in 1826, shortly after reading a translation of Shakespeare's comedy, and finished writing the incidental music 16 years later, in 1842.

A Midsummer Night's Dream marks the advent of the symphonic poem in the anthology of musical works. The soldering of music and literature was a practice that defined the Romantic Period and distinguished other composers such as Wagner, Liszt, Berlioz, Sibelius and Richard Strauss. Mendelssohn's symphonic poem created a new musical genre, in which an overture served not only to introduce a dramatic presentation, but also to represent a literary work.

Allusive of Shakespeare's play, Mendelssohn's music features dynamic instrumental effects such as the scampering of "fairy feet," the braying of Bottom the ass and the sounds of a hunter's call. The composer uses remote harmonies to symbolize journeys into other worlds, conjuring up carnivalesque weddings and mystical forests where scenes unfold. Symphonic poems cast musical themes as characters; Mendelssohn's overture emulates Shakespeare's work with a fairy theme a lovers' theme, and a hunters' theme.

In 1842, King Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia commissioned music for the rest of the play. Including the famed Wedding March, Mendelssohn's incidental music features cymbals, triangles, trumpets, timpani and bassoons. The music is representative of Oberon's arrival, lovers sleeping and Puck's speech, among other notable parts of the play. The first performance of the Overture marked the dawn of Mendelssohn's public career and was conducted by the composer himself.

The Overture is scored for flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, tuba, timpani and strings. The Incidental Music adds trombones, triangle, cymbals, a soprano soloist and a chorus of women's voices.


Newly appointed Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Symphony and winner of the 2013 Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship, Karina Canellakis is rapidly gaining recognition as one of the most promising and exciting young American conductors. In May, she made her Carnegie Hall conducting debut, leading works by Adams, Mackey and Carter on the American Soundscapes series in Zankel Hall. An enthusiast for 21st century composers, she also frequently appears as guest conductor of New York's groundbreaking International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).

Ms. Canellakis conducted the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in Switzerland as a selected conductor in the 2013 Lucerne Festival Masterclass with Bernard Haitink, the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in concert in Sapporo, Japan, as well as the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich as part of an international masterclass with David Zinman. She has also led performances with the Juilliard Orchestra at Lincoln Center. During the current season, she will debut with the Hamilton and Toledo symphonies, as well as return to conduct the Juilliard Orchestra in the spring of 2014.

Karina Canellakis holds a Bachelor's degree in violin from the Curtis Institute of Music and a Master's degree in orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Alan Gilbert and James Ross.  While at Juilliard, she won the 2013 Charles Schiff Conducting Award for outstanding achievement in orchestral conducting, as well as the American Conductors Award, Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship and Isidore Komanoff Award.  Other prominent mentors include Fabio Luisi and Sir Simon Rattle.

As a violinist, Ms. Canellakis has appeared as soloist with orchestras across the United States.  For several years she played on a regular basis with both the Berlin Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony. She has also been on several occasions guest concertmaster of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway. As a chamber musician, she spent many summers at the Marlboro Music Festival.

Karina Canellakis was born and raised in New York City, where she currently resides. For more information, visit


Winner, Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition

Christine Wu, 18, from Plano, TX, is currently enrolled in the bachelor's program at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of world-renowned artist, Jaime Laredo. She began her studies at age three with Paul Landefeld and later continued under the tutelage of Dallas Symphony Principal Associate Concertmaster Emeritus Jan Mark Sloman. In addition to violin, she studied piano for nine years with Annie Lin and has experience as a collaborative artist.

Wu has been named the top prize winner in the Juanita Miller Concerto Competition, Dallas Symphonic Festival, MTNA Solo Competition, and TexASTA Solo Competition, to name a few, and has participated in several international competitions such as the Lennox International Competition and the Schmidbauer International Competition. She made her orchestral debut in 2012 with the SMU Meadows Symphony and was invited to perform with the Mesquite Symphony later that year and at the 7th annual Charles Barr Memorial Concert in 2013. Future concert engagements will be with several Texas orchestras in which she will be a featured guest artist in the 2014-2015 season. Wu has served as concertmaster in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra as well as the Texas All-State Symphony Orchestra. She has also been an avid performer in the community in events and venues ranging from weddings to business offices to nursing homes and hospitals.

Ms. Wu's summer activities have included the Colorado Suzuki Institute, The Institute for Strings in Dallas, the Brian Lewis Young Artist Program as one of twelve young artists, and the Meadowmount School of Music where she has been a full-scholarship student and recipient of the Starling Foundation Scholarship. She also had the privilege to perform in Carnegie Hall in the New York String Orchestra in 2013 for its 45th anniversary of the seminar and the 20th anniversary of Jaime Laredo as artistic director and conductor. Furthermore, she has performed for distinguished artists including Adele Anthony, Stephanie Chase, Sergiu Luca, James Ehnes, Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, Joseph Silverstein and Charles Castleman.



Joanna Schellenberg's theater career began in her home town of Toronto, Canada with such roles as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker for which she received a Dora Mavor Moore Award nomination at the age of 11, Emma in Mordecai Richler's Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, and Anne in The Diary of Anne Frank. She has also worked in television and film - a highlight being the film Haven with Anne Bancroft and Natasha Richardson. She spent two seasons at the Stratford Festival of Canada in such plays as Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida (as Cassandra) and Aristophanes' The Birds (as Basilea). Since moving to Dallas in 1995 she has been seen by local audiences in A Christmas Carol at The Dallas Theater Center (as Belle) and, more recently, (as The Ghost of Christmas Past), An Experiment With An Air Pump (as Mariah), A Macbeth as (Lady M) and The Antigone Project as (Ismene). She has worked with Echo Theatre in numerous readings and a production of Why we Have a Body (as Lilli) and with The Contemporary Theatre of Dallas in Rabbit Hole (as Becca). Her numerous seasons at Shakespeare Dallas have given her the opportunity to play Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Olivia in Twelfth Night, Helena in All's Well That Ends Well, Rosalind in As You Like It, Imogen in Cymbeline, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth and she will soon begin rehearsals with SD for the 2014 fall production of Antony and Cleopatra as Cleopatra. She received the Dallas Theater Critics Award for Best Actress in Romeo and Juliet (SD) and for her role as Lilli in Echo Theater's Why We Have a Body.



Soprano Audra Methvin is the winner of the 2014 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. She was also 2013 Meistersinger Competition winner in Graz, Austria. Critics have said "her version of the quiet and heartbreaking 'Adieu, notre petite table' from Massenet's Manon left us hesitant to break the spell with applause" and she has been noted as as having "an amazing demonstration of breath and vocal control." Methvin was also the first place winner at the 2012 Vocal Artistry Art Song Competition in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ms. Methvin's growing list of professional credits include two years in Central City Opera's Young Artist Studio, and performances with the AIMS Orchestra, WTAM University Orchestra, Southwest Symphony, Caprock Pro Musica, Roswell Symphony Orchestra, Denver Lyric Opera Guild, University of Denver Orchestra, Boulder Symphony Orchestra, Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Ballet and St. John's Cathedral of Denver. Audra received her BM in Vocal Performance from Eastern New Mexico University. Her vocal and musical talents have also earned her a number of awards that include the Ross L. Tyler award at Central City Opera, sixth place in the Denver Lyric Opera Competition and a Grant Award from Allied Arts of Denver.

She appeared in Puccini's Suor Angelica in the title role with ENMU Opera in 2012 and joined the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria for summer 2013. Ms. Methvin just finished productions of La finta Giardiniera singing the role of Sandrina/Violante with the Meadows Opera Theatre at Southern Methodist University. She performed the role of Adina with The Dallas Opera's outreach production of Donizetti's The Elixir of Love for the 2013-2014 season. She is the 2014 recipient of the Woman's Voice Award from the Women's Chorus of Dallas, and is working on a Performer's Diploma at Southern Methodist University.



Founded in 1972, the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing music education and performance opportunities for youth with demonstrated musical ability that foster musical excellence, cultivate learning, encourage creativity, inspire self-motivation, and develop social skills.  In its forty-two year history, it has grown from a single orchestra of 35 members to a program of over 440 talented musicians, ages 8 to 18, performing in seven ensembles and socializing with a diverse group of highly talented peers from more than 50 communities.  Ensemble offerings include the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, Philharmonic, Sinfonietta, Dallas String Ensemble, Young Performers Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Flute Choir, and the new Jazz Institute.  GDYO offers many enrichment opportunities in addition to the high quality ensemble training, including side-by-side rehearsals and concerts with the Dallas Wind Symphony, University of North Texas Symphonic Band, and the Dallas Symphony, as well as concerto competitions, program note writing, and international touring.

The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra is the most advanced orchestral ensemble in the program. A full symphony orchestra, it is comprised of 110 string, woodwind, brass and percussion players who are high school seniors or younger. The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra is "one of Dallas' treasures" according to Scott Cantrell, classical music critic for the Dallas Morning News. Directed by Maestro Richard Giangiulio, the ensemble performs four concerts annually at the Meyerson Symphony Center.  In addition, this ensemble tours internationally, including Germany and the Czech Republic in 2012, and an upcoming tour to China in 2015.

Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra is committed to providing musical experiences to young people throughout the area.  While participation in GDYO is tuition-based, the organization has a long-standing commitment to making its programs available to all qualified musicians; scholarship assistance is available, and no student need be denied an opportunity to participate because of financial need.  GDYO partners with the DSO Young Strings program by providing tuition free participation for Young Strings students who are ready for an orchestral experience.  And the Share the Magic program offers hundreds of complimentary tickets to concerts at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center each season.

GDYO's talented music faculty members blend creativity and pedagogical expertise with their great breadth of musical knowledge. And the dedicated and engaged board of directors lends guidance and leadership to the organization.

For more than 40 years, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra has provided wholesome, challenging opportunities for this special group of young musicians who, as always, enrich the cultural life of our city and carry the cultural riches of Dallas wherever they travel.




Kennedi Mayes

Maya Nelson

Raven Jones

Emily Gray

Brittany Hewitt

Erin Freeman

Hale Butcher

Jada Thomas

Madison Escano

Madison Russell

Amber Ward

Ayla Huff

Lisl Wangermann

Reagan Rees

Reagan Miller

Maggie Berry

Taylor Hines

Sophia Maas





The DSO Teen Council is comprised of musically passionate teens who plan and execute events and performances designed to build teen interest and audiences for classical music. In addition, they both advise DSO artistic leadership on what is important to Dallas area teens, and act as ambassadors for both the DSO and classical music to their friends and peers. If you are a teen in the DFW area with musical experience and a track record of proven leadership, the DSO Teen Council may just be the opportunity you've been looking for.


The 2013/14 DSO Teen Council is:

Madelyn Baker

Ashley Barnes

Yasmine Bougacha

Rebekah Canfield

Claire Charbonneau

Benjamin Chou

Abigail Crouse

Megan Danjul

Chase Dobson

Jose Estrada

Madeline Flores

Grace Han

Kimberly Hwang

Sarah Klein

Grace Kim

Jean-Luc Kradin

Lynn Lee

Shannon Lotti

Saul Maldonado

Nivedina Sarma

Alexis Shambley


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