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New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving Concert Scheduled for February 19

Sergio Espinosa

The New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving’s third annual Grace Note Awards--to be presented at its "Sundays at the Symphony" concert February 19--will honor four North Texas schools that are receiving national notice for leadership in music education: training the next generation of young musicians.

The concert, set for 3:30 p.m. at the Irving Arts Center, 3333 North MacArthur Blvd., features performances of Romantic period music by Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. 

“With its new Arts District, North Texas is becoming known for its emphasis on the arts,” the orchestra’s president, Gretchen Cabrera, said. In this year's awards,  “We want to recognize four educational institutions that are receiving national attention for their exciting impact on music education.”

The 2012 honorees include DISD’s Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts, the district’s arts magnet school, ranked among America’s top high schools for the arts. It is being honored especially for its nationally noted jazz and music performance programs, and academic excellence.

The University of North Texas receives  a Grace Note Award  for its pioneering efforts in music education. With one of the nation’s largest university music programs since the 1940’s, UNT was the first university in the world to offer a degree in jazz studies, and today has the nation’s largest accredited  music school enrollment. 

Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts is being honored for its undergraduate and graduate programs and professional diplomas in music and arts administration, preparing many of the nation’s orchestra professionals and administrators.

Texas Christian University is being recognized for bringing national attention to chamber music and Latin American music, with summer and fall workshops attracting students from across the country to north Texas, and travel programs that take faculty and students abroad for chamber music and wind symphony performances.

For this concert, so close to Valentine's Day, NPOI conductor Dr. Sergio Espinosa has chosen repertoire that explores the subject of love. The pieces include: Dvorak’s overture  In Nature’s Realm, Tchaikovsky’s Polonaise from his opera Eugene Onegin, Brahms’ Tragic Overture, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Symphony No. 2, Antar.

Dvorak’s In Nature’s Realm is part of a trilogy he called “Nature, Life and Love,”  which also included the Carnival and Othello overtures. In these three works, the composer said he intended to portray impressions of all that a human soul might experience--joys  and sorrows, peaks and valleys.

Tchaikovsky’s Polonaise takes listeners to a grand ballet at the beginning of the opera Eugene Onegin’s last act, as the hero rejects a young woman’s love. 

Brahms’ Tragic Overture was written in the summer of 1880, when the composer  also wrote the ebullient Academic Festival Overture.  As Brahms declared,  “One laughs while the other cries.”

Rimsky-Korsakov’s second symphony was inspired by an Arabian tale, when the weary hero, Antar,  dreams he is in the palace of the Queen of Palmyra, actually a gazelle that he had saved.  As a reward,  the queen permits Antar  to engage in three of life’s most powerful experiences--vengeance, power   and love.

Dr. Espinosa serves on the faculty of the University of Texas at Arlington and is senior music examiner for the International  Baccalaureate  Organization in Wales, UK.

Born in Mexico, the conductor studied there, in Switzerland and in New York. He holds a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of Iowa. As a violinist Dr. Espinosa has performed in Spain, France and in the United States.

Dr. Espinosa's intense activity as a music educator has led him to give workshops in presentations in cities such as: Vancouver, Winnipeg and Calgary in Canada; New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Houston, Denver, and Boston in the USA; Hong-Kong in China; and Canberra in Australia.

The New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving is a community orchestra, made up of trained musicians who choose to continue to play music while they serve in other professions, such as teaching, computer programming, accounting, and film-making. Since 1988, the orchestra has served audiences from Irving and throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

This concert is funded in part by the City of Irving through the Irving Arts Board.

General admission tickets range from $10 to $18. To order, call 972-252-ARTS (2787).  For detailed general information, including directions to the Irving Arts Center, and February 19 program notes, visit the orchestra's Web site at www.npoirving.com.

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