Wichita Symphony Orchestra with Cirque de la Symphonie: Blue Jeans Concert

Friday was the Wichita Symphony’s annual Blue Jeans Concert, an event at which the orchestra dresses down and the atmosphere is less formal than the typical Classics Concert.  This year, the guest artists were members of Cirque de la Symphonie; my review of the concert for The Wichita Eagle can be found here.

Strongmen Jarek and Darek of Cirque de la Symphonie

Strongmen Jarek and Darek of Cirque de la Symphonie

The complete program, directed by conductor Daniel Hege:

“Hail Wichita” (Wichita State University fight song)

Shostakovich: Festive Overture, Op. 96 (Orchestra)

Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre, Op. 40 (Christine Van Loo, aerial rope)

Bizet: Danse bohème from Carmen: Suite No. 2 (Vladimir Tsarkov, ring juggling)

Tchaikovsky: Valse from Sleeping Beauty: Suite, Op. 66a (Elena Tsarkov, contortion and dance)

Bizet: Les toréadors from Carmen: Suite No. 1 (Vova Tsarkov, spinning cube)

Badelt: Medley from Pirates of the Caribbean (Orchestra)

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scena e canto Gitano and Fandango asturiano from Cappricio espagnol, Op. 34 (Aloysia Gavre, aerial hoop)


Tchaikovsky: Dance of the Swans from Swan Lake: Suite, Op. 20a (Vladimir Tsarkov and Elena Tsarkova, magic act)

Glinka: Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila, Op. 5 (Orchestra)

Kabalevsky: Galop from The Comedians, Op. 26 (Vladimir Tsarkov and Vova Tsarkov, juggling glowing pins on a semi-darkened stage)

Offenbach: Galop (Can-Can) from Orpheus in the Underworld (Elena Tsarkova, ribbon dance)

Rimsky-Korsakov: Dance of the Buffoons from The Snow Maiden: Suite (Alina Sergeeva, hula hoops)

Strauss II: Thunder and Lightning (Polka), Op. 324 (Orchestra)

Tchaikovsky: Valse from Swan Lake: Suite, Op. 20a (Alexander Streltsov and Christine Van Loo, aerial duo on silks)

Sibelius: Finlandia, Op. 26 (Jarek and Darek, strongmen)

Wichita Symphony Orchestra: Ginastera, Saint-Saëns, and Franck; conductor Maximiano Valdés, cellist Julian Schwarz

Alberto Ginastera, Pampaneas No. 3, Op. 24

Camille Saint-Saëns, Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 33

Julian Schwarz, cello

César Franck, Symphony in D Minor

Guest conductor Maximiano Valdés

My review of January 18’s performance of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, as it ran in The Wichita Eagle.

Piano-Playing Pair Provides Powerful Performance: I review the Wichita Symphony

Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2; Poulenc: Concerto for Two Pianos; Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring


I’m happy to say that there were quite a few younger people at Saturday’s Wichita Symphony Orchestra concert, but there were enough empty seats that there is room for more. Perhaps they were persuaded by the WSO’s aggressive new ad campaign (I’m particularly taken by the suggestion that activities like jai alai will help audiences prepare for the heart-pounding excitement of a symphony concert); I saw several take advantage of the WSO’s $5 student rush tickets (one of the best-kept entertainment secrets in town).  Either way, I’m not inclined to blame them for the repeated interruptions from cell phones during the concert; in my experience, older concertgoers are equally likely to forget to turn them down.  I don’t believe the concert hall should be a mausoleum: Century II has already made the decision to allow food and drink in the hall during performances, probably in the interest of creating a more welcoming environment, and I’m sure it helps the bottom line.  Even so, one could sense the audience’s frustration when Maestro Daniel Hege waited for the ringtones to stop before beginning The Rite of Spring (the concert’s second half), and one still started chirping during the lightly scored woodwind introduction.  At best it’s an annoyance to other patrons; it worst it can interfere with the performance itself. It’s not a lack of education, or the influx of newcomers to the Symphony, it’s simple mindfulness: if the Warren Theatres can police cell phone use at the movies for the sake of a better experience, surely a live music venue can do the same.

Anyway, here’s what I wrote for The Wichita Eagle.