Hays Symphony to perform Masterworks Concert

BY CAITLIN LEIKER
Feature image from HSO Fall show

The Hays Symphony Orchestra will be performing this year’s first Masterworks concert, American Tapestry, this weekend. 

According to the Hays Symphony website, “American Tapestry will feature Ivalah Allen singing Samuel Barber’s lush and nostalgic Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Three rarely-heard works by the great American composers David Diamond, Wallingford Riegger, and Morton Gould will complete our sonic tapestry.”

Each piece was chosen for its distinctive voice. All of the works were written from 1939 to 1954 – a part of the art that emerged from World War II and the beginning of the Cold War.

This produced both acknowledgments of, and escapes from the tragedies of the time.

HSO Director Brian Buckstead said that he likes to program and perform works by American composers, as they tend to be “underappreciated and underperformed” in a genre that is most often Euro-centric. Buckstead explained that the music, coming from the American perspective in such a time, could really speak to the audience.

“This is our music,” Buckstead said. “I think they are great composers that deserve to be heard. They have these pieces that are overshadowed by Beethoven’s symphonies, the Brahms symphonies, and Tchaikovsky, which are all great…but I like to highlight these lesser-known works and composers.”

Buckstead described classical music as “a living, breathing thing,” always moving forward and growing. While it’s important to keep an eye out for new composers and works, it’s just as crucial to rediscover the “hidden composers of the past,” such as the ones to be featured in American Tapestry.

“As a conductor, I look for those pieces of music, and as a violinist and violist, I like to perform that music that’s kind of hidden in the shadows, but perhaps shouldn’t be,” Buckstead said. “There’s a lot of music out there in the world. If you just dig a little bit, you can find things that are unexpected, but really wonderful.”

The show will be at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center.

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