Saturday pick: Listen to the faculty of the 2019 FOOSA festival perform
I‘m still on vacation through June 24 but am taking a break from my break to remind classical music fans about a not-to-miss Fresno event. The FOOSA 2019 Faculty Concert (8 p.m. Saturday, June 15, Fresno State Concert Hall) features terrific professionals musicians from around the world. And it’s free.
For those who aren’t familiar with FOOSA, this annual festival features top-notch students and world-class professionals in a collegial yet intense atmosphere of learning and precision. A highlight is a field trip to Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles to perform a concert (8 p.m. Friday, June 21). The L.A. concert will be repeated at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 23 at Peoples Church. Strauss and Shostakovich are on the program. It’s also free.
Thomas Loewenheim, conductor of the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra and the Youth Orchestras of Fresno, is the creative whirlwind behind the festival. (And I can confirm that he seems to have boundless enthusiasm when it comes to any kind of music.) The annual concerto competition, which occurs the weekend before the L.A. trip, is a chance for some of the young stars of the festival to perform individually.
FOOSA executive director Julia Copeland, a passionate supporter of the festival, wrote me a quick reminder about Saturday’s concert. Here’s her description:
“Our insanely great faculty members will perform a truly eclectic selection of chamber works for unexpected combinations of instruments. There’s a piece about chatty kitchen utensils that features clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, piano, violin, and cello. Hysterical! There’s also a piece by Astor Piazzolla for violin and harp. A couple of pieces featuring double bass. And an ear-shattering work for trombone, piano, and heavy percussion.”
She adds this entreaty about the festival:
Every year the level is higher and higher. Really, you should be here. Really, everybody should.
Julia makes a good point about FOOSA: Here we are with an elite music festival in our own backyards, yet most people don’t know a thing about it. That’s why I’m breaking my vacation embargo and writing this on a high-speed train. Don’t forget about your two free opportunities to see these wonderful students and professionals perform.