Gateway to Romance

March 21, 2020


Thank you so much for supporting the DuPage Symphony Orchestra.


While we weren’t able to perform our March 21 concert live, we hope the concert information below will provide a relaxing virtual concert experience for you to enjoy at home.


Please stay safe and we look forward to welcoming you back to Wentz Concert Hall soon!

Program Book: Download a copy of the program book here.

Guest Soloist: Nicholas Boettcher,contrabass

1st place winner in our Young Artists Auditions competition

Nicholas Boettcher, 16, studies double bass with Andy Anderson of the Lyric Opera Orchestra. He studies musicianship and theory with Sooka Wang. Previously he studied cello with Sally Gross. Nicholas was named a National YoungArts Foundation Winner for 2020. He is also a finalist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition and will solo with the Chicago Civic Orchestra in March, 2020. He will also solo with Chicago’s Grant Park Orchestra for their July 4th concert and with Northern Illinois University’s Sinfonia Orchestra in May. Recently, Nicholas soloed at Chicago Symphony’s Orchestra Hall with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.

In 8th grade, Nicholas created
The No Repeats Project, a program in which young musicians work with teens who are incarcerated. In 2019, he received a School District 203 Mission Makers award for his program. No Repeats exposes the teens to different musical genres and provides opportunities to learn how to play instruments and to see music performances in and out of the centers. The No Repeats Project uses the transformative power of music to try to reduce the risk of re-entry into the criminal justice system - No Repeats!


Please read Nicholas Boettcher's full biography in the program book linked above.

Festival at the Capulets from Romeo and Juliet
Hector Berlioz

Berlioz had a special affinity for Shakespeare and wrote in his Memoirs of an encounter with Romeo and Juliet in 1827. The fact that his future wife starred in this inspiring production probably encouraged his attraction to Shakespeare.  He wrote:


How vigorously I struck out in that grand sea of poetry caressed by the playful breeze of fancy, beneath the hot rays of that sun of love which Shakespeare kindled, always confident of my power to reach the marvelous island where stands the temple of true art. Whether I succeeded or not it is not for me to decide.


The work, completed and premiered in 1839 (published in 1847), is a hybrid—not opera, not oratorio, and not truly a symphony, despite the subtitle. It is not often presented whole, but there are excerpts that receive independent performances, as in the present case with “Festivities in the Capulet’s Palace.”

Listen & Watch here: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Georg Solti

Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Born in 1840 in present-day Udmurtia, Russia, Tchaikovsky enrolled at the St. Petersburg Technological Institute, where his father
was the director. His only music instruction as a child was piano lessons taught by a piano manufacturer who occasionally visited the school. In 1855, his father enrolled him with a well-known German piano teacher. However, when this teacher wrote his father that Peter would never be a fine composer, his father insisted that he study law at the Institute and then take a post in the Ministry of Justice. Peter complied, although his interest in music never left him. 

Romeo and Juliet
Tchaikovsky’s colleague, composer Mily Balakirev, suggested the idea of using the story of Shakespeare’s Romeo and
Juliet. The original version was composed in 1869 in only six weeks, but the final version performed today wasn’t
completed until 1880. Its central love theme is frequently heard in romantic scenes for film and television.


Listen & Watch here: London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev


Concerto for Double Bass, Op. 3
Serge Koussevitzky

Soloist: Nicholas Boettcher, contrabass
2020 Young Artists Auditions winner

Although best known today for his work as a conductor, Koussevitzky began his professional career as a double bassist in 1894 with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra.  He worked as both a musician and conductor for a few years, and by 1910 seems to have settled into the conducting profession with the founding of the Koussevitzky Symphony Orchestra that year.  In 1921 he was in Paris, from which base he guest conducted across Europe. The Boston Symphony Orchestra engaged him in 1924, and he remained there until his retirement in 1949.


As was typical of performers until well into the twentieth century, Koussevitzky wrote pieces for his own use, including the concerto heard on this concert.  Koussevitzky has chosen to place most of the soloist’s music in the upper part of the double bass range, no doubt out of a concern that the soloist not get lost in the overall orchestral sound, but this does have a tendency to make one think that a cello concerto is being heard.  One rarely has the opportunity to hear a concerto for the double bass, and while there are moments of virtuoso display, this concerto is generally quite lyric. It certainly should be heard more frequently.

Listen & Watch here: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra


Symphony No. 2 in D-flat Major, Romantic
Howard Hanson

Born in 1896 in Wahoo, Nebraska, this American composer, conductor, and teacher was an unabashed romantic who
cited Grieg and Sibelius as the most powerful influences on his style. His colorful orchestrations resulted from studies
with Respighi during a three-year stay in Rome, as a result of winning the prestigious Prix de Rome. He used his longtime position as the first director of the Eastman School of Music and conductor of its orchestra (1924-64) to further the
cause of American music.

Listen & Watch here: Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra (1939), conducted by Howard Hanson

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