Sounds of the season

Selections highlight works by women composers and people of color

Las Vegas Philharmonic conductor Donato Cabrera
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Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images

“Making art is hard work,” says Donato Cabrera.
“But communicating that art is a joy.”
For the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s conductor and music director, concerts are a celebration of all the hard work done in rehearsal. And the 2019-2020 season is the continuation of that celebration and story.
The new season opens in September with “Pictures at an Exhibition,” featuring the compositions of Anna Clyne, Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky.
The program demonstrates Cabrera’s commitment to correcting something that orchestras historically have not done well.
“I think that the music world, and particularly orchestras, have traditionally not been good at featuring music by people of color and women composers,” Cabrera says. “There’s a shift in the last year or two to right that wrong. I want to be part of that change.”
Cabrera says it’s a pretty easy fix to make. After all, there is plenty of great music by women, including Clyne’s “Masquerade.”
In November, the Philharmonic will perform the music of Danny Elfman, best known for his scores for Tim Burton movies such as “Beetlejuice,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “The Nightmare
Before Christmas.” The timing also provides the opportunity to collaborate with the Neon Museum, which will open a Tim Burton exhibition in October, a partnership Cabrera has long wished for.
January’s program brings the music of Dvorák, Brahms and Smetana. “The story I’m telling is long-term,” says Cabrera. “We’re doing Dvorák’s ‘New World Symphony.’ Last year we did the seventh. This year we’re doing the eighth symphony. Our audience hopefully gets a picture over many years of the story Dvorák wanted to tell.”
Last season, the Philharmonic performed an all-Brahms concert.
By surveying a composer’s work over multiple years, Cabrera hopes those who come regularly will get a sense of the composer’s personality and life story. “Vivaldi Four Seasons – March Into The Stradosphere,” will highlight the sound of the world’s best violins. “The Stradivari have a lineage,” Cabrera explains. “Famous composers played that instrument over the years.” Violinists each will play a movement of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” on the famed violins. “It will be really interesting for audiences to hear what that sounds like,” says Cabrera. “Really special.”
The season will close out with music from Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4” and music by Strauss and Gabriela Lena Frank. Frank’s “Three Latin American Dances” draws on her multicultural background and her mother’s Peruvian heritage. “It stands to reason that orchestra and the art it performs should represent the community in which it lives. Next season is a reflection of that,” says Cabrera. “By beginning and ending the season with two women composers, I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

Las Vegas Philharmonic’s 2019-2020 season

“Pictures at an Exhibition,” with music by Anne Clyne, Tchaikovky and Mussorgsky, Sep. 7 
“Very Vegas Showcase,” Oct. 12 
“The Music of Danny Elfman,” Nov. 2 
“A Baroque Holiday – Handel’s Messiah,” with music by Manfredini, Corelli and Handel, Dec. 6 
“A Classic Holiday,” with traditional
holiday music, Dec. 7 
“Dvorák, Brahms and Smetana,” 
Jan. 18 
“Beethoven, Mozart & Britten,” Feb. 15 
“Vivaldi Four Seasons – March Into
The Stradosphere,” Mar. 7 
“Kurt Weill’s America,” April 4 
“Season Finale – Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4,” with music by Tchaikovsky, Strauss and Gabriela Lena Frank, May 9