Winston-Salem Symphony: "Maestro's 10th Anniversary Finale: Mahler's First"

05.31.15
Robert Moody
Classical Voice of North Carolina

Friends have said they attend summer blockbuster movies for the free air conditioning. The movies are thrilling at face value, but it's the air conditioning they go for. But what if there were something that was engaging and had air conditioning to help aid the summer heat wave woes?

The Winston-Salem Symphony's final concerts of the season, consisting of Mahler's Symphony No. 1, in D, and select works by Randall Thompson and Bruckner, offer more thrills and imagery than any summer blockbuster movie playing today. And, thanks to the Stevens Center, there's free air conditioning, too!

These concerts wrap up Music Director Robert Moody's 10th anniversary season with in Winston-Salem. The programs reaffirm his place in the Triad as an artistic leader who challenges and inspires audiences and players alike.

"Inspire" is the word Moody uses to describe what he has set out to accomplish, working in his profession. In a phone interview, he described his love of music and inspiring audiences as stemming from the time he saw George Solti conduct the Chicago Symphony at Moody's alma mater, Furman University. The piece they performed? Mahler's Symphony No. 1.

Moody's observance of Solti and the Chicago Symphony was what he observed as "a perfect marriage between conductor and orchestra." With music directors like Alan Gilbert (of the NY Philharmonic) and Simon Rattle (Berlin Philharmonic) leaving their coveted positions, it is interesting to recognize how important a conductor is to an orchestra and the community around it.

Robert Moody has been so influential in bringing the WSS into the "new age" that the orchestra's brand seems that of a state symphony rather than a regional one. Concerts draw audiences old and young, the "Kickback Classics" series allows for patrons to immerse themselves in education while enjoying the evening in jeans and t-shirts, and the "Discovery Kids" series brings classical music to the next generation of children. Every piece played by the Winston-Salem Symphony is a new discovery, even if you're hearing it for the 100th time. There is something fresh and invigorating about these performances, and, more often than not, everyone in the hall is electrified. The programming of Mahler's First reminds us that classical music has not died but is in fact alive and well and carrying a phone number with a 336 area code.  

Read the rest of the review here