Valley Symphony Orchestra Opens 2011-12 Chamber Series Concerts


Special to the Parade

The acclaimed Valley Symphony Orchestra, Peter Dabrowski, Music Director, recently announced its first chamber series concert of the 2011-12 season to be held Saturday, Oct. 22 at 8 p.m. inside the International Museum of Art and Sciences (IMAS) in McAllen.

The program will consist of cellist Tido Janssen and pianist Stacy Kwak featuring music by de Falla, Ginastera, Piazzolla and Chopin.

“We are extremely excited to announce the Valley Symphony Orchestra’s first chamber series concert of the 2011-12 season,” said Larry Kopp, VSO Executive Director. “The concert features a fabulous program of works for cello and piano that any lover of music is sure to enjoy and appreciate. It’s a great program and a great way to kick off our chamber series for the 11-12 Season.”

Chamber music is defined as music written for small numbers of performers, from as small as a single, solo performer up to as many as a dozen or so musicians. Generally of more intimate dimensions, chamber music is intended to be performed in smaller venues with smaller audiences in attendance. But smaller doesn’t necessarily mean it packs a lesser musical and emotional punch – on the contrary, due to the smaller size of the auditorium in which it is performed and the more intimate feel, audiences and performers have an opportunity to really interact, and the result is an experience unlike any other – it is an intense, powerful experience.

“Chamber music truly is a powerful, visceral experience,” Kopp said. “With a smaller venue such as you find in IMAS, great musicians like Tido Janssen and Stacy Kwak, and an attentive audience, the collective experience truly is remarkable.”

The Oct. 22 program includes three works by Spanish and South American composers with a “dance” theme – Manuel de Falla’s Suite Populaire Espagnole; Alberto Ginastera’s Danzas Argentinas; and Tangos by Ástor Piazzolla. The second half of the program features a masterpiece by one of the great composers of all time – Frédéric Chopin’s Sonata for Cello and Piano.

Manuel de Falla is recognized as one of the leading Spanish musicians of the 20th Century. His Suite Populaire Espagnole was composed in 1914, with six Spanish popular and folk melodies harmonized and arranged by de Falla. The Suite Populaire Espagnole is a popular showpiece for cellists and violinists, and is an enchanting way to begin the concert. Alberto Ginastera’s Danzas Argentinas are three dance-based pieces on Argentinean themes – the Dance of the Old Herdsman, the Dance of the Beautiful Maiden and the Dance of the Arrogant Cowboy. The first half of the program ends with a pair of tangos by the undisputed “king” of tango, Argentinean Ástor Piazzolla. Known worldwide as a composer and virtuoso performer, Piazzolla was largely responsible for the popularization of the tango beyond its birthplace in Argentina. The sensuous rhythms and melodies of the tangos beckon all to the dance floor – a perfect way to end the first half of the performance.

The second half of the concert is devoted to Polish composer Frédéric Chopin’s Sonata for Cello and Piano. The final work published by Chopin during his lifetime and one of the few works by the composer written for an instrument other than the piano, the Sonata for Cello and Piano is full of the unique grace and refinement that epitomizes Chopin’s music, as well as the beautiful melodies that are also inseparable from his style. Commentators have seen the unusual emotional depth and intensity in this work a foreshadowing of the composers coming, early death to tuberculosis and the anguish caused by his estrangement from his long-time love, the female novelist George Sand. Whatever the source of his inspiration, the Sonata is a true masterpiece and requires virtuoso musicians to essay its considerable technical and musical depths. Luckily, the VSO has such musicians in Tido Janssen and Stacy Kwak!

For more information, call the VSO Office at (956) 661-1615, visit or email

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