Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Newsletter
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Meet a Musician

Molly Norcross, Principal Horn

How old were you when you started playing your instrument?
9 years old

Hometown
Willow Street, PA

Education
BM and MM from the Juilliard School, one year of post graduate studies at New England Conservatory. I studied with William Purvis, Jennifer Montone, and Gus Sebring, respectively.
 
In a few words or sentences, how would you describe yourself
I am a fierce lover of family and friends, books, and music.  I'm a fun-size foodie (fun-size is code for being short!), a dog lover and movie quoter, excited to conquer challenges, dependable, unconventional, and open minded.  I am a board game, card game and puzzle enthusiast, smart, witty, and a Jedi wannabe. And I am thrilled to be a new member of the FWSO!
 
Fun fact 
I am slowly, arduously, painfully attempting to learn German... Vielen Dank für die Unterstützung der Symphonie!

Summertime

FWSO violinist Matt Milewski looks on as soloist Charles Yang performs an encore at Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.

After the last chords sound at the end of Concerts in the Garden, many of the dedicated musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony scatter around the country and abroad to join other professional musicians performing in various music festivals. Since we're only paid for 46 weeks, working at festivals supplements our income and is an enjoyable way to spend the summer months. 

This year, some of the festivals at which we were represented were Santa Fe Opera, NM (where even our very own Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya spent some of his summer!), Music in the Mountains in Durango (CO), Crested Butte Music Festival (CO), Peninsula Music Festival, Sun Valley Music Festival (ID), Grand Teton Music Festival (WY), and AIMS in Graz, Austria.


Not only can it be invigorating and refreshing playing with musicians from other orchestras, but it also affords us the opportunity to strengthen relationships with colleagues we don’t get to work with or see very often. Most importantly, however, it ensures that we are ready to bring you our very highest level of performance from the first note when we return home to Fort Worth.
Wading Home 
The Power of Music
 

 Rosalyn Story, Violinist   
                                           

Wading Home: a novel of New Orleans was created after the flood following Hurricane Katrina, and came out of many hours spent with New Orleans natives, working with Habitat for Humanity and creating composite characters of people I knew, or knew about. Not being from the city, I especially wanted to give authentic voice to the people who lived there and had suffered through the most harrowing event of their lives. I wrote Wading Home with the hope that it would not only reflect the spirit of those people, but also lift them up.


Music, however, has a way of reaching deeper into the heart and consciousness of the individual in a way that words on a page, arguably, cannot. One does not read involuntarily, but those blessed with healthy ears can hear music without proactive effort. So when Mary Alice Rich, my dear friend of thirty years, and a talented composer, approached me about helping her to make an opera of Wading Home, I didn't hesitate. I was all in.  

 

Then, with the award of the Sphinx Organization's $40,000 MPower Grant, our small team - Mary Alice, voice professor Barbara Hill Moore (another dear friend), Winston Stone (Mary Alice's writing coach) and I began trying to make my story 'sing', reflecting the heart, passion, and endurance of the people of New Orleans, while honoring their ability to not only survive such an event, but rise above it, and thrive.
 

But an opera is a huge machine with many, many moving parts, and producing it is a mammoth task. During some of the difficult, nerve-wracking days of the first production at the Dallas City Performance Hall in April, I often asked myself the question, "Why are we doing this?"
 

Of course, we wanted to honor the people of New Orleans during this time of reflection, of assessing what has been lost, what has been gained, and what we have learned about the value of human life. If there has ever been an opportunity to make art from the depths of human emotion and to lift the human spirit beyond the tragic, this was it. For those who believed that New Orleans was breathing its last breath and was beyond resuscitation, we wanted to celebrate the fact that nothing could have been further from the truth.
 

But we learned something very special at our first performance. By making our opera a free event, open to all, we inadvertently drew an audience the likes of which most of us had never seen in a classical concert hall. The auditorium was packed and we turned away at least one hundred people, a few of whom stayed to watch the opera on video monitors in the lobby. The young, the old, the well-heeled, the economically-challenged, black, white, brown, opera savvy and opera newcomers sat shoulder to shoulder. Katrina evacuees, many who now live in Dallas/Fort Worth, were on their feet before the opera was over. By taking a story of humble folk and setting it within this revered art form, we had found a common denominator: As humans in times of struggle, we all search the deepest well for that thing which most adequately expresses our emotional journey, and bears witness to our lives.
 

I have always believed in the power of music to unite those whose paths rarely cross, and this night was confirmation. 
 

Now we look forward to the return of Wading Home, in Dallas and New Orleans this September. So when I ask myself the question now, "Why are we doing this?" there are still many answers. But now I know my biggest hope: that our little story of a humble family's journey in the aftermath of struggle will help de-mystify what we call opera, and show a new audience that great art in its most earnest form is not selective. It can hold up a mirror to all our lives, if we only open ourselves to the view.

Click here to find out more about the opera and to get information about upcoming performances.

 


Next Chapters

At the end of last season, principal percussionist Preston Thomas and assistant principal clarinetist John Manry were honored at their retirement for their many years of outstanding performances. Since then, another of our longest serving members decided to join this group - principal flutist Jan Crisanti. Here are a few words from her about her time as a musician of the FWSO. 

"I had planned on playing a 36th season with the orchestra but having a few neck and shoulder issues were making playing the flute much more difficult. I realized that it was time for a change while I’m still healthy and young enough to pursue a few new avenues. I spent the summer working for the Kimbell, but now I will be focusing on teaching and freelancing in the area. I realize how lucky I’ve been to have had a playing career that enabled me to raise my family in the great city of Fort Worth. I have watched the town grow from a desolate downtown area to one of the best downtowns in the country.  I have also watched the symphony grow from a 30 week season in 1980 to a 52 week season until just a few years ago. I hope the symphony is able to get back on track and grow at the same rate as our wonderful city. I am wishing my colleagues the best of luck for negotiating a progressive contract settlement. They deserve it. I will truly miss working with all the terrific musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony."

We already greatly miss these three colleagues and wish them happy and fulfilling new chapters in their lives.

Some of you who come regularly to the symphony most likely noticed a new smiling face sitting in as our principal flutist for several concerts. This was Jake Fridkis. He is a native of Princeton NJ, recent graduate of Yale University, and will be beginning as the principal flute player at South Dakota Symphony very soon. He is an avid football fan, but a few members of the FWSO wind section took him to his first baseball game at Globe Life Park and pride themselves on having converted him into a TX Rangers fan! Thanks for performing with us, Jake, it was a pleasure to have you here and we wish you all the best!
We would like to acknowledge and thank all the substitute musicians who performed with us during the August festival and our first pops concert: Sergey Tsoy, violin; Delmar Pettys, violin; Xiao-Hua Sheng, violin; Ertan Torgul, violin; Jacob Fridkis, flute; David Lesser, horn; Kurt Sprenger, violin; Beth Elsner, violin; Eric Forman, cello; Michael Lelevich, bass; Lance Sanford, flute; Brian Brown, horn; Jeremy Garnett, trumpet; Kyle Sherman, trumpet; Wes Woodrow, Trombone; Joe Ferraro, percussion; Drew Lang, percussion; Michael McNicholas, percussion; Jill Levy, harp; Laura Brandenburg, harp; and Steven Harlos, keyboard.
Harmony in the Kitchen 
Recipes
 

Andrea Tullis, violinist, was born and raised in Hungary. Her fabulous cooking is renowned among her colleagues. This is one of her easiest and tastiest recipes. Andrea uses only dark meat because the chicken bone makes the broth taste better.

Chicken Paprikash
 
     6-8 chicken thighs or drumsticks
     1 large onion chopped
     1 Hungarian waxed pepper chopped 
     1-2 cloves garlic crushed 
     1 tomato chopped
      2 to 3 (or more) tablespoons paprika 
     1/2 tsp ground cumin
     1C chicken stock
     1/3 to 1/2 cup sour cream
     1-2 tablespoons flour
     Oil
     Salt/ pepper to taste
 
Sauté the onions in the oil until they are translucent.
Add the waxed pepper and tomato, simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Add the paprika and the chicken. (Take it of off the burner so the paprika doesn't get burned!)
Add the chicken stock, more if you need to. 
Add a little cumin, salt and pepper to taste.
Cook until the meat comes off the bone. (45 minutes)
Mix 1/3-1/2 cup sour cream with flour, pour it over the chicken when it's done and cook for another minute or so. Serve with dumplings or pasta.
 
Jó étvágyat! (Bon appétit!)
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