Published October 15, 2013
Volume 21, Number 10

Livermore-Amador Symphony Celebrates 50 Years Under Dr. Arthur Barnes   

(Photo courtesy of Livermore-Amador Symphony)

The Livermore-Amador Symphony’s new season marks a remarkable milestone: 50 years under the direction of Dr. Arthur Barnes. To commemorate his amazing dedication, the symphony will feature a slate of compositions that have highlighted Barnes’ career with the group, including works by Gershwin, Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert, concluding with performances of two of Barnes’ own works along with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

This season will also feature a number of special guests. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry will serve as narrator for Copland’s Lincoln Portrait in February, and many members of Barnes’ family — all of whom have appeared with the orchestra during his tenure — will perform as well.

Barnes graduated from Wichita State in 1953 and spent the early years of his career playing piano and trombone in the Midwest, including a stint in a piano bar. He arrived on the West Coast in 1959 and pursued a doctorate in orchestral conducting from Stanford in 1963, earning a full-time position at the university upon his graduation. There, he oversaw the band program (including the famous Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band), conducted the chamber orchestra, and taught music theory, ear training, and score reading.

The 2013-2014 season kicks off on December 7 with “Gems from Past and Present,” a show featuring Gershwin’s An American in Paris; Barnes’ Concerto for Trumpet with soloist Joyce Johnson Hamilton, a former student of Barnes; Lees’ Concerto for Woodwind Quintet and Orchestra with the Avanti Winds — a group which includes Barnes’ daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Jeff — and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2.

“American Idols” is the theme for the symphony’s February 22 show. In addition to Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, performances will include Hanson’s Symphony No. 2 (“Romantic”), Schubert’s “Unfinished” symphony, and solos from the winners of the 2013-2014 Competition for Young Musicians.

On April 5, “A Potpourri of Favorites” will include Weber’s Overture to Oberon, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra featuring Kristina Anderson on violin and daughter Holly Barnes on viola, and Dvoƙák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.”

Finally, the season wraps up on May 17 with “Five Dedicated Decades.” Two Barnes compositions will be performed — Dallas Fanfare and California Golden Suite — along with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

At the conclusion of the season, Barnes will take up the title of music director emeritus with the symphony and pass his baton on to Lara Webber, who is already under contract to conduct the 2014-15 and 2015-2016 seasons.

All performances take place at Livermore’s Bankhead Theater and start at 8:00 p.m. To purchase tickets, download an order form at www.livamsymph.org or access bankheadtheater.org.

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