Susanna Perry Gilmore, Concertmaster

“I am encouraged by the new labor agreement which represents the long term commitment to great music making from both the Omaha Symphony musicians and the management,” said Susanna Perry Gilmore, concertmaster of the Omaha Symphony.

She said a five year agreement is rare in orchestra labor contracts these days and is a positive thing for Omaha.

Gilmore joined the Omaha Symphony in 2011 as concertmaster. She held the same position for 15 years with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Gilmore has frequently been heard on National Public Radio in chamber ensembles and on shows such as Performance Today and A Prairie Home Companion.

“In my role as concertmaster of the Omaha Symphony, I sit in the first chair of the violin section and am responsible for leading the strings and the rest of the orchestra by reflecting and communicating what the conductor is doing on the podium,” Gilmore explained.

She will not be leading as concertmaster during the Masterworks concerts on September 26th and 27th because she is the featured soloist, performing Erich Korngold’s “Violin Concerto.”

“The Korngold concerto, although written in 1945, has a beautiful, lush romantic sound and will tie into the Tchaikovsky symphony that’s featured on the second half quite well,” said Gilmore.

She will also lead and perform Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” on the Symphony’s Joslyn Series on May 10, 2015.

So what’s Gilmore’s advice to aspiring musicians? Practice!

“And don’t limit your options. It’s hard to make a living as a classical musician and it’s important to be creative and open minded to different ways to make it work such as teaching, creating and promoting your own ensembles and/or concert ideas,” Gilmore said.

And she is one musician who leads by example. During her time with the Memphis Symphony, she helped create and direct a new music series called “Opus One.” The program was recognized for its unique collaborations between symphony ensembles and a variety of artists from the Memphis community including folk, blues, rock and hip hop performers.

Omaha Symphony Hits the High Notes

The Symphony’s Pops series boasts an original production this season. Broadway’s Best of the Midwest, on October 4th and 5th is entirely self-produced. The Symphony is creating the production from the ground up. Music from Oklahoma, State Fair and The Music Man will be performed by Broadway cast and chorus and led by Ernest Richardson, the Symphony’s resident conductor.

Later in October, on the 26th, the Symphony Spooktacular returns with musical treats for the kids at an event that also includes colorful costumes and trick or treating.

In the winter, you can settle in and enjoy the Northern Lights Festival, featuring music from Sibelius, Grieg and Nielsen on two different evenings. You may want to see both as each night will feature a different soloist and different pieces from each composer. Pianist Andrew Tyson plays with the Symphony on January 23rd and violinist Bella Hristova joins the ensemble on January 24th.

The Symphony’s Movie Music Series offers Pixar in Concert on February 14th. The Omaha Symphony will play the original score to scenes from well-loved Pixar films, including Toy Story, Wall-E, Up and Brave.

On May 2nd, the Symphony will present a musical tribute to legendary rock band, Queen, whose classics include “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Ticket information is available at or 402.345.0606.

Opera Omaha “Unbound”

Roger Weitz, General Director for Opera Omaha, says in the 2014-2015 season, the opera intends to break beyond its venue and engage the community more. 

Opera Unbound is the theme of Opera Omaha’s upcoming season. Weitz said this means the opera will offer activities and performances at more venues than just the Orpheum Theatre. He said this year’s operas include Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fidelio and American composer John Adams’ A Flowering Tree.

Opera Omaha has a certain formula it uses when selecting productions for a new season.

“If you follow that balanced model of Top 20, Top 200, Top 2000, then our Top 20 piece is Rigoletto. Our Top 200 piece is Fidelio. And A Flowering Tree would represent our adventurous piece for the season,” Weitz explained.

He said the Top 200 piece is one where many people may recognize the composer or the piece but maybe they haven’t heard of both. Weitz said it’s a happy medium between very well-known and very adventurous works.

He said A Flowering Tree is based on a southern Indian folktale and has much in common with The Magic Flute, in that it has themes related to magic and transformation. 

For Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, Opera Omaha welcomes back world-renowned artist, Jun Kaneko. According to Weitz, this production will, “complete Kaneko’s operatic triptych following Madama Butterfly and The Magic Flute.”

And if you want to be a part of the performance, make plans to attend Opera Omaha’s auditions for chorus members, Tuesday, October 21st from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. You have to prepare two selections (not to exceed five minutes in length). One must be in a foreign language and one in English. You must also provide printed music and an accompanist will be provided. Auditions take place at the Opera Omaha Rehearsal Hall, 1850 Farnam Street.

For the first time ever, Opera Omaha is offering its subscribers the option of designing their own season. Audiences may choose one, two or all three shows in the season and select which performances they want to attend.

Ticket information is available at or 402.34-OPERA.

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