Thomas Wilkins and the Symphony conclude with Mahler’s Ninth
June 2nd, 2017
â€œI was probably in college by the time I got to Mahler, and it was his first symphony. The conductor was George Solti, but it wasnâ€™t Chicago, it was the London Symphony, and I think I wore the grooves out of the LP.
I knew right away that this was music that knew me and I knew that it was a world that I certainly wanted to be a part of.â€-Thomas Wilkins
Â Maestro Thomas Wilkins leads the Omaha Symphony this weekend in Mahlerâ€™s 9th Symphony at Holland Center. Wilkins went in depth about Mahlerâ€™s ideas of not just eternity but understanding ourselves through his music.
WILKINS: â€œHere is the thing about Mahler, this is just my own conjecture. No one is on the fence about Mahler, they either love Mahler or they canâ€™t deal with it. I believe itâ€™s because he has a way of getting to the truth of who we are. He can get around the lies that we tell ourselves about our own existence and that makes people uncomfortable. It either makes people uncomfortable or have to deal with it.â€
Â Maestro Wilkins may have admitted Mahler to be his favorite composer. His emotional and spiritual connection at this weekends performance might bring something new out of you.
WILKINS: There is this ebb and flowÂ of angst and resolve in this that happens over the course of the 27 minutes in the first movement. At the moment you finally think, â€œI can finally exhaleâ€, he says, â€œYeah, but waitâ€¦letâ€™s wrestle with this firstâ€. It can be even just a brief moment and the moment of resolve comes back. I was listening once to this Mahler 9th on an airplane, the first movement, and Iâ€™m on the isle, and I am sitting there and it gets to the end and I am weeping and I canâ€™t stop. And Iâ€™m rubbing my eyes to make it look like I have some allergy because I didnâ€™t want people around me to go, â€œWhat is wrong with this man? He must be losing it!â€. I know part of the reason I was weeping because I know I get to be part of something like that. That what something like that is in our world.â€
Â Wilkins explained that we are part of music to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
WILKINS: â€œIt is the gift of all great music weather it is Mahler or Willie Nelson singing â€œBlue Eyes Crying in the Rainâ€ to make us find something about ourselves as human beings. Maybe itâ€™s for us to discover something about us as community or maybe itâ€™s us finding something about our individual selves. The things that scare us, the things that challenge us, the things that like I say in Mahlerâ€™s case, the lies we tell ourselves that we fall for. Even sometimes the lies you canâ€™t achieve. Certainly for me, I think itâ€™s safe to say that I am always when I am in front of a Mahler score, I am humbled. I am always wondering, â€œhow am I going to be able to pull this offâ€?
Maestro Thomas Wilkins and the Omaha Symphony close the 2016/2017 series tonight and tomorrow evening with Mahlerâ€™s 9th at the Holland Performing Arts Center. The concerts begin at 7:30pm and for tickets or more information visit omahasymphony.org or call ticket master at 402.345.0606.
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