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Gulf Coast Symphony to perform Mahler Symphony No.5

By Staff | Nov 17, 2009

The Gulf Coast Symphony, Southwest Florida’s premier community orchestra, will present the first of this season’s acclaimed Classical Access Concert on Sunday evening, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
The program will feature Gustav Mahler’s most famous composition, Symphony No. 5, in its entirety.
The concert will take place in the acoustically beautiful Anderson Theater at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, 5598 Sunrise Drive. Ample free parking is available.
Single tickets are $15, with half-price tickets for students and seniors and free tickets for children. Season tickets are also available at $20 for all three Classical Access performances. Tickets are available online at www.gulfcoastsymphony.org , by calling 239-481-4849, or in person at Anderson Hall one hour before the concert.
This concert is sponsored in part by members of the Gulf Coast Symphony’s Musical Legacy Society and Advanced Pain Management & Spine Specialists. For more information email info@gulfcoastsymphony.org .


Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was an Austrian-Jewish composer and conductor. He attended the Vienna Conservatory, where he studied piano and composition. He wrote his first significant work, the cantata Das Klagende Lied (1880), as he was eking out an existence by giving lessons. In 1880 he became a conductor, and though his dictatorial manner was disliked and critics found his interpretations extreme, by 1886 he had achieved success in Prague. He also began the first of his 10 symphonies (1888-1910), his main compositional legacy. In 1897 he was named director of the Vienna Opera; his stormy reign there was acknowledged as an artistic success. He moved to the Metropolitan Opera in 1908 and the New York Philharmonic in 1909-10. Ill with heart disease and mourning his daughter’s death, he wrote the masterly orchestral song cycle Das Lied von der Erde (1908-09) and his ninth symphony. His orchestral songs Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1892-98) and Kindertotenlieder (1904; Songs on the Deaths of Children) are frequently performed. His emotionally charged and subtly orchestrated music drew together many different strands of Romanticism. Although his music was largely ignored for 50 years after his death, he was later regarded as an important forerunner of 20th-century techniques of composition.

Symphony No. 5 was written in 1901 and 1902 mostly during the summer months at Mahler’s cottage at Maiernigg. It is arguably the best-known Mahler symphony. Among its most distinctive landmarks are the funereal trumpet solo that opens the work and the frequently performed F major Adagietto. The musical canvas and emotional scope of the work are huge. Herbert von Karajan said once that when you hear Mahler’s Fifth, “you forget that time has passed. A great performance of the Fifth is a transforming experience. The fantastic finale almost forces you to hold your breath.” After its premiere, Mahler is reported to have said, “Nobody understood it. I wish I could conduct the first performance fifty years after my death.” The symphony is sometimes described as being in the key of C sharp minor, but Mahler himself objected to this assignment: “From the order of the movements (where the usual first movement now comes second) it is difficult to speak of a key for the ‘whole Symphony’, and to avoid misunderstandings the key should best be omitted.”

The Gulf Coast Symphony is Southwest Florida’s premier community orchestra, celebrating its 15th anniversary season this year. It draws its membership from Naples to Port Charlotte and has performed to sold-out audiences. Its 14th season featured its highly popular Symphonic Sensations Concert Series at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, its Magic Carpet Family Concert Series, its Estero Park Outdoor Pops Concerts, and its ACCESS Classical Concerts at Bishop Verot’s Anderson Theater. The Gulf Coast Symphony sponsors a comprehensive arts education program, Musical Gateways, dedicated to providing ongoing educational opportunities for adult and youth alike, that includes in depth artist residencies for its partner schools and the entire community. The Gulf Coast Symphony rehearses weekly from October through May. For more information on orchestra membership call the Gulf Coast Symphony office at 277-1700 or email us at info@gulfcoastsymphony.org

The Gulf Coast Symphony’s Music Director and founder is Andrew Kurtz. Kurtz is also the General & Artistic Director of the Center City Opera Theater of Philadelphia and Music Director of the Florida Jewish Philharmonic Orchestra. He is the international tour conductor of CANTORS: A Faith In Song, featuring three of the world’s leading Cantors performing an evening of popular and religious Jewish songs. Kurtz’s 2008-09 season included multiple concerts with the Gulf Coast Symphony, leading six operas, including the North American premiere of Edward Rushton’s comic opera The Shops with the Center City Opera Theater. He is the 2007 recipient of the Angel of the Arts Performing Artist of the Year. In 2001 Kurtz won First Prize in the Accademia Dell’Arte International Conducting Competition and made his European debut in Florence, Italy. Kurtz is also a respected and talented arts educator, and served as a Resident Music Director and teacher at the Luzerne Music Festival for almost a decade. He received his Doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore

The Gulf Coast Symphony’s 2008-2009 sponsors include the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Lee Memorial Hospitals, the Bireley Foundation, the City of Ft. Myers, Advanced Pain Management and Spine Specialists, Arts Estero 2010, Terrasi Media, Firestone & Cimring Advertising, Southwest Florida Business Alliance, Estero Medical Center, Urgent Care Center of SW Florida, 21st Century Oncology, FineMark Bank, Ameriprise Financial, Target Stores, Florida Shores Bank, and Musical Legacy Society.

Source: Gulf Coast Symphony