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WPO showcases women composers in 2022-23 season

WARREN — Women composers will be part of both programs in Warren Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2022-23 season.

Conductor and Music Director Susan Davenny Wyner said she wanted to showcase the work of female composers in a season that also will include masterworks by Ludwig van Beethoven, Antonin Dvorak and Felix Mendelssohn.

The opening concert will be bookended by Mendelssohn works — sort of. His Italian Symphony will close the Oct. 23 performance, but the program will open with an overture by his older sister, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel.

“In modern day, she would have had much more opportunity to develop this incredible gift,” Wyner said.

Between those works will be a series of dances — Nikos Skalkottas’ “Greek Dances,” Dvorak’s “Starodavny” Slavonic Dance Op. 72, Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown” and Manuel de Falla’s “Ritual Fire Dance. ”

Wyner said she crafted the lively program in hopes that the orchestra would be able to resume its concerts for area school children, which have been canceled the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also was programmed with Patricia Latham in mind. The opening concert is dedicated to Latham, who died in 2021 and had a lifelong passion for theater and dance.

“I wanted something that evoked her spirit in some way too,” Wyner said.

The spring concert on April 23, 2023, will include works by two female composers.

Opening the concert will be “Fanfare of Hope and Solidarity,” written in 2020 by Augusta Read Thomas, who founded the University of Chicago’s Center for Contemporary Composition.

It will be followed by “A Study for Orchestra” by Julia Perry, an African-American composer who lived in Akron.

“She combined her black roots with the most sophisticated orchestral writing,” Wyner said.

The program also will include Gabriel Faure’s Pelleas and Melisande Suite and close with Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony.

Both performances will start at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 256 Mahoning Ave. NW, Warren.

Season tickets good for admission to both concerts are $55 for adults, $50 for senior citizens and $15 for students and teens. Children 12 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

For more information, go to warrenphilharmonic.org or call 330-399-3606.

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