Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Newsletter
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Music Notes with Miguel Harth-Bedoya
Recording Lutoslawski and Brahms

At the beginning of our season, our music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya shared exciting news of a new FWSO recording project with Harmonia Mundi, which he had kept under wraps from us until he had secured all the logistical details. In particular, he wanted to make sure the project was financially viable without putting any additional stress on the Symphony's budget. We were so inspired by his vision that we were delighted to help him reach his goal with a donation from the musicians.  
Adriana De Costa, principal second violinist, interviewed Harth-Bedoya to discuss this project.  The recording, to be released on CD in the spring, will feature our live performances from this past October of Lutoslawski's Concerto for Orchestra and the Brahms G Minor Piano Quartet, orchestrated by Arnold Schoenberg.

   Violist Scott Jessup presents Miguel Harth-Bedoya with a donation from the musicians for the recording project.
How did you come up with this project?
For a long time I had been looking for an all-orchestral CD album for the FWSO with an international record label, and finding the right match at the right time is essential. I also asked myself why we would do such a project, and the way I see it is to leave behind a historical and exciting document on how we play LIVE today. Nothing can replace the thrill of a live performance.

Also, when we go on tour to Spain in May of 2016 we will able to take along an amazing recording fresh from the oven. Doing projects like this are important milestones in the life of an orchestra.

What made you choose these specific pieces?
Both works, the Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra and the Brahms G minor piano quartet orchestrated by Schoenberg, are pieces that suit us very well and have the right level of difficulty and challenge to motivate us to excel musically.

We can look back at a couple of unique projects that we have done in the past, like the album "Sentimiento Latino" with Juan Diego Flórez and "Peter and the Wolf" in its first ever bilingual version featuring British actor Michael York.  This album will also be unique.

Is the preparation for a recording different from that of a concert?
Since this is a live recording, there is really nothing different in the preparation of it. It is the same as with a live sports broadcast, you aim to perform at your best as always.

Is it different preparing an all orchestral recording vs one with a soloist?
Perhaps the only difference might be the fact the orchestra will be in the foreground the entire time, which means even more attention to details than usual.

How is it being funded?
The additional cost for the recording (recording engineer, post-production, as well as musicians' royalties) have come from outside the ordinary FWSO budget. I took upon myself to seek these funds by making proposals to colleagues, Fort Worth residents and business owners, and friends.  My hope was that we would make this a project funded by our community members, both musically and geographically, and I'm humbled to say that we achieved this goal.  

How close are you to reaching that goal?
100%!  The support has been so overwhelming that we are opening up other opportunities for people to continue to give to the project, and/or for future recording projects like this one.

Would you care to add information for further donations?
Yes- it's very simple: write me an email at miguel@miguelharth-bedoya and I will be able to give multiple options on how to not only contribute to this exciting project but also to have your name attached to it forever by being recognized in the CD album brochure.

When is it going to be (internationally) released?
It will be released worldwide in the Spring of 2016.

Anything else you can share that be of interest to an audience member and future CD buyer?
We love when our patrons come to hear us play at Bass Hall, but with this project they get to take us with them to their homes or wherever they go.

Do you think the medium of a CD is still relevant in this online, downloading, digital age? 
The sound quality if a CD is still far better than a download. I still prefer to collect CDs and transfer them to a digital file only when I am on the road. Besides, you can only autograph a physical CD and not a digital file. It makes a great souvenir!

When will the CD be released and how can people buy them?
Spring of 2016. In Fort Worth people will be able to buy them at all our concerts at Bass Hall and wherever we go.  Don't forget that people DO contribute to future recording projects by purchasing this album, since all the proceeds will be directed towards a next recording project.

Meet a Musician

Julie Vinsant, Double Bass

How old were you when you started playing your 
I played violin in elementary and junior high school, and I switched to bass in high school.

Fort Worth, TX
University of North Texas

In a few words or sentences, how would you describe yourself? 
As well as playing the bass, I rehair and repair bows, and occasionally make a bass bow. I share my home with two long hair dachshunds and a new puppy. (As I'm writing this he has destroyed the dog door and brought in a big stick). I've always thought I was the luckiest person on earth. I have amazing colleagues and friends, my health and a loving family. There really is nothing else!
Fun fact 
I'm not afraid to try anything once. Well...almost anything.
Have you ever wondered...
 By bassoonist Kevin Hall

Have you ever wondered about the keyboard instrument used in the "Messiah" and other Baroque era performances?
The harpsichord is an instrument resembling a piano that was used from the 16th to 18th centuries. Instead of the strings being "hammered", they are plucked by leather, quill, or more contemporary plastic points called "plectra". The harpsichord usually has several strings for each note and often has two keyboards. Because the instrument isn't able to produce different dynamics, the performer varies the number of strings used and the number of notes played at a time to achieve loud and soft sounds.
This elegant and charming instrument produces a pointed, percussive sound, and functions in the orchestra to fill out the harmonies. It plays the same line as the cellos and basses, which together are called the "basso continuo". In the picture you see me tuning the Pixton harpsichord built in 1979 that Karen and I own and rent to the symphony.  All three ranks of strings require tuning before every rehearsal or performance. The beautifully painted soundboard by Mr. Pixton's wife is typical of baroque style embellishment.

Audience Spotlight
An interview with Gerald Thiel

When and how did you first become involved with the FWSO?
My wife died eleven years ago and I retired two years later. It was after that. My first entry to the classical music world in FW was through Van Cliburn events, and I heard the symphony during the finals of the 2005 Cliburn Competition. Then I bought tickets to some of the symphonic concerts, and then to all of them. It grew from there because members of the staff and musicians extended their hands to welcome me into the family. 

I would be just another anonymous face in the audience and minor cypher on the donor list if someone had not reached out on a personal level. Those first face-to-face encounters were at post-concert “Meet the Musicians” events. Then a seminal encounter in the produce section of Kroger. Walking toward the bananas I saw a lady staring intently at me.  While my mind spun to place her, she spoke. “Aren’t you a patron of the Fort Worth symphony?  I’m Janine Geisel.”  We stood there and talked for a long time. We came up with the idea of inviting musicians living in the area to a social get-together at my house.  It happened. Among those who came were Ivo, who discovered a backgammon opponent; and Qiong, who found a personal Uber. Both welcomed me into their families. My personal acquaintanceships and friendships among the musicians have continued to expand from then on. Who could guess that it would lead to acquiring a beautiful new wife and a wonderful daughter on stage, Jennifer Chang.

In what capacity do you participate and contribute?  
My donation this season was $10,000. I am also a member of the Brooks Morris Legacy Society, having placed the FWSO in my will. I have attended some of the fundraiser events, like “Steak of the Arts”, but they are not really my thing. I have two season tickets, will be at the Gala concert, and attended the Festival performances. You see me at all the rehearsals to which donors are invited. I also attend other events involving the orchestra and musicians whenever possible.

My donations to the Cliburn Foundation and Piano Texas Institute help to fund their employment of the FWSO. I am not on the FWSO board, but am on the boards of the Cliburn Foundation, the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth, and the Hall Ensemble.

Why do you like being part of the FWSO community?
I’d prefer to call it the FWSO family. It goes beyond having something entertaining to do.  It means being part of a living, human endeavor of real importance. I like meeting people, and there are many opportunities to do that. I like knowing that I am a helping to keep classical music alive; to provide jobs for so many fine deserving people; and to touch and change the lives of people through the FWSO.  

Without musicians to perform there can be no audience; and without an audience and donors there can be no symphony orchestra. One has to feel good about being part of that.

Why do you believe supporting the arts is important to the culture of this city?
Fort Worth calls itself the city of “Cowboys and Culture”.  If you had to drop one, which would it be?  Clearly not Culture.  It is what brings people to the city and keeps them here.  The arts are what it is about, and the performing arts are at the heart.  In particular, no city could call itself a city of culture without a first rate professional symphony orchestra.

Gerald (Jerry) Thiel was interviewed by violinist Jen Chang.

Have you gotten your T-shirt yet? These shirts were beautifully designed by our principal violist Laura Bruton. They are $20 each, adult sizes S-3X, and can be purchased online by emailing orders to us at

We will also sell them at select venues, so stay tuned to our Facebook page to find out when and where we'll be!

Pictured are FWSO musicians Seth McConnell, timpani, and Keira Fullerton, cello.
Hall Ensemble
Holiday Concert

Hall Ensemble, a chamber music group of FWSO musicians, is now in its sixth season of subscription concerts. Jennifer Chang, violin; Aleksandra Holowka, viola; Karen Hall, cello; and Kevin Hall, bassoon; are the core members and they will be joined for their first ever holiday concert by FWSO harpist Jill Levy and flutist Ruth Ann Ritchie. Music by composers such as Jolivet, Berlioz and Corrette promise a thoughtful as well as festive evening. Concerts are held in the Atrium at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) and Star-Telegram critic Olin Chism has pronounced the acoustics "excellent". Hall Ensemble has a mission to produce friendly, warm concerts so table seating will be available in addition to theater seating and guests can bring their own snacks and enjoy the cash bar. Parking is ample and access is easy. Visit the website for tickets and more information. In March, the Ensemble will perform works of Goetz, Brahms, and Mozart with Cliburn competitor and concert pianist, Alex McDonald.
Hall Ensemble will present a holiday concert, "Deck the Halls", on Tuesday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets or more information, visit Hall Ensemble's website here.
We would like to acknowledge and thank all the substitute musicians who performed with us this month:
Violin: Delmar Pettys, Megan McClendon, Rebecca Stern, Kurt Sprenger, Xiao-Hua Sheng, Lisamarie Vana, Martha Walvoord, Beth Elsner, Roni Gan, Mark Miller, Ertan Torgul, and Shannon Lewis; Viola: Emily Williams, Imelda Tescon, Thomas Kreuder, and Lauren Magnus; Cello: Carol Harlos, John Landefeld, and Michael Hitchcock; Bass: Jack Unzicker, Joe Ferris, Richard Roznowski, Ryan Walter, Talon Davis, and Chris Lettie; Flute: Christina Hughes, Ebonee Thomas, Margaret Fischer, Matthew Roitstein, Lance Sanford, and Kareen Britt; Oboe: Elise Belk and Stewart Williams; Clarinet: Daryl Coad; Bassoon: Bennett Cameron and Sarah Highland; Horn: Gerald Wood and Marie-Sonja Cotineau; Trumpet: Kyle Sherman, Cody McClarty, and Jeremy Garnett; Trombone: John Allen and Wes Woodrow; Tuba: Vurl Bland; Percussion: David Reinecke, Preston Thomas, Eric Plewinski, Chris Riggs, Miles Salerni, Lindsey Höhn, Drew Lang, Mike McNicholas, Bill Klymus, and Chris Williams; Harp: Jill Levy; Rhythm Bass: Buddy Mohmed; Guitar: Tom Burchill; Keyboard: Candace Bawcombe.
Harmony in the Kitchen 

Kelly Cornell, horn, provided us with this recipe for chili, just in time for some cooler weather. Here's a message from her about the recipe:

 is one of my favorite things to make as it gets cooler in the fall. This vegan friendly recipe is a great way to enjoy a delicious, hearty chili that's packed with healthy vegetables. 

This comes from Andrew Olsen's blog

Makes 4-6 servings


                   2 tablespoons vegetable oil
                   1 yellow onion
                   3 cloves garlic
                   1 green bell pepper
                   2 carrots
                   2 small zucchini
                   1 cup diced walnuts
                   28 oz can pinto beans
                   28 oz can diced tomatoes
                   2 tablespoons chili powder
                   1 tablespoon dried oregano
                   1 tablespoon dried basil
                   1 teaspoon cinnamon
                   1 teaspoon cumin
                   1+ teaspoon salt
                   1 teaspoon cocoa powder
                   Avocado for garnish

Okay, this seems like an overwhelming number of ingredients – especially for the *One* Ingredient Chef – but it’s actually really simple. All we have to do is sauté the veggies quickly, then dump everything in a slow cooker for about 6-7 hours and it’s done.

1. Step one of any delicious chili is to spice the vegetables first. Just like with a curry, it’s essential that you sauté the veggies and thoroughly spice them first in order to develop maximum flavor. So first, prep all the vegetables – dice the onion (but save a small piece for garnish), mince the garlic, chop the bell pepper, slice the carrots, slice the zucchini, and chop the walnuts into fairly small pieces.

2. Then, heat a large skillet with a drizzle of vegetable oil and add everything from step one into the pan and allow it to cook 4-5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add half of the chili powder (1 tablespoon), a teaspoon each of cinnamon and cumin, and a few pinches of salt. Cook for another 4-5 minutes until you have something that looks and smells delicious (and would make great veggie taco filling on its own):

3. Finally, add this into your slow cooker along with all the other ingredients – diced tomatoes, pinto beans, the remainder of the chili powder, dried basil and oregano, cocoa powder, and a bit more salt. Note: Don’t drain the tomatoes or pinto beans – they will add just the right amount of liquid to this chili.

4. Set your slow cooker to low/medium, walk away, and let this cook for at least 6 hours. Before serving, give the soup a taste and feel free to adjust the seasoning: you can add a little more salt or spices to boost the flavor if needed.

Serving with a slice or two of avocado and just a taste of finely-diced raw onions is absolutely not optional. Trust me 😉

Happy Holidays!

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