Brahms’ Third Opens New Omaha Symphony Season


September 18th, 2015

Omaha, NE — It’s time for the metro’s largest orchestra to start a new season, one that’s sure to please from start to “unfinished.”

Thomas Wilkins

Thomas Wilkins

The Omaha Symphony’s new season is packed with audience favorites while delving into unexplored territory with new composers and rediscovered gems. Here’s Music Director Thomas Wilkins:

“This is a fun season,” Wilkins said. “I think that fact that we’re doing something like Sabat Mater by Dvořák, which is a work that rarely gets done. And then to end the season with Scheherazade which features our concertmaster Susanna [Perry Gilmore] is poetic in both a musical way and in a way that honors one of our valued players of the orchestra. It’s a season to look forward to, for sure.”

Other highlights include unfinished symphonies from Schubert and Bruckner, Beethoven’s “Violin Concerto”, and Russian-themed festival weekend. The orchestra will also present film, pop, rock, and broadway features, along with its traditional Christmas show. The season opens Friday, September 18th with a Masterworks concert centered around Brahms’ “Symphony No. 3.” Wilkins points out that Brahms’ Third stands out from the rest of his symphonies:

“[It’s the] shortest symphony, but it’s a standalone symphony,” he said. “It’s unlike the other three. It’s certainly the one where it’s the most introspective, both musically and personally for Brahms. It’s the symphony that refers to itself over the course of the life of the symphony. Also, it’s the one symphony that doesn’t end with a big bang/splash.”

Also on the program is the “Introduction and Allegro” by Edward Elgar.

“He was the common man’s composer. He calls himself ‘self-taught’, saying that re learned music by singing the hymns in the cathedrals. He didn’t want a big, flashy life. He wanted a simple, plain, easy life. Sometimes, his music sounds like that; it’s unrushed, unhassled, unharried – it’s just delightful music.”

This concert also highlights two works by living composers: “New Beginnings” by Peter Boyer, and “Voices” by Clint Needham. The latter was written for an Omaha Symphony performance several years ago.

“We commissioned the piece, as a matter of fact, in conjunction with the Hawthorne String Quartet. Clint was a composer that we discovered at our biannual composers forum called ‘Fresh Ink’, where young composers get to come in and workshop their pieces. We found Clint and realized his potential. When it came time to getting something done for this particular series at Joslyn, we turned to him. We were delighted to have some sort of an extension of one of the educational arms of the orchestra.”

The Omaha Symphony’s season opener, featuring Brahms’ “Third Symphony” is this Friday and Saturday, September 18 & 19. Both performances start at 7:30 pm in the Holland Performing Arts Center. More information is available at

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