Home Local News Omaha Symphony offers world premiere by 14-year-old Omaha composer

Omaha Symphony offers world premiere by 14-year-old Omaha composer

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A look at this months events in the Omaha metro.


The Omaha Symphony’s season-opener this weekend is more than just a concert.

It’s an event, with a world-premiere piece by local prodigy Winston Schneider and the appearance of visual artist Christina Narwicz, who will create a painting as the orchestra plays a popular classical work.

It will also mark the Omaha debut of guest cellist Gabriel Martins.

The program, “Elgar and Bolero,” will be Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Holland Center, 1200 Douglas St.

Omaha radio station KVNO commissioned Schneider’s composition, “Anniversary Overture,” to celebrate its 50th birthday.

Schneider, 14, has been composing since he was 5 and has won more than 30 awards for his work, which has been performed by such ensembles as the New York Youth Symphony and Face the Music, New York City’s premiere youth ensemble. He’s home-schooled in Omaha, and also studies at the Omaha Conservatory of Music, playing piano and cello.

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Composer, editor and author Albert Mendoza of Alfred Music said Schneider’s work is “impressive and masterfully done … the array of orchestral gestures is, frankly, stunning.”

Schneider said he’s thrilled to help KVNO celebrate its landmark. He was a KVNO Classical Kid at age 8.

“I’m very happy with how (the overture) turned out,” he said, “and I can’t wait to hear it performed.”

Martins, known for his mesmerizing sound, will play the “Cello Concerto in E Minor” by Edward Elgar at the concerts before leaving for a tour of the United Kingdom.

And Narwicz will paint a work in real time to the orchestra’s rendition of Claude Debussy’s “La Mer.”

“I don’t usually work with music, but I’m so honored to have been asked to take this on because I feel that the addition of music has created not only a challenge for me but a shift in my career,” she said. “As a painter, learning more about music and its language has shown me that there are so many similarities in the way that music and art intersect, and I look forward to exploring that connection further through this experience.”

Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” will round out the concert. The evening’s conductor will be Omaha Symphony Music Director Ankush Kumar Bahl.

Tickets, starting at $20, are available at ticketomaha.com or 402-345-0606.

Several events on tap at Benson Theatre, including Chip Davis talk

A KIOS radio host will interview Mannheim Steamroller founder Chip Davis on Saturday night at the Benson Theatre.

Tom Knoblauch will bring his “Riverside Chats” show to the theater for the event, which starts at 6 p.m.

Davis has been a recording artist for more than five decades. He founded Mannheim Steamroller in 1974 and the group has been drawing audiences to its holiday shows and other events ever since.

He had a No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts in 1976 with ”Convoy,” co-written and performed by advertising executive turned singer Bill Fries.

He’s also been active in several Omaha arts projects, including the preservation and restoration of the Benson Theatre.

Tickets, $27, are still available for the live event with Knoblauch. You can find a link at facebook.com/bensontheatre/. “Riverside Chats” airs at noon on Mondays on KIOS 91.5.

“Wine & Song,” a popular Los Angeles-based songwriter showcase, will stop at the Benson Theatre Sunday night.

It features host Brad Colerick along with Arizona singer Laura Joy and Iowa troubadour Chad Elliott with fiddler Kathryn Severing Fox.

Colerick’s longtime collaborators, Steve Hanson and Jim Pipher of Lincoln, also will be on hand, as will Omaha’s Gene Klosner and a special guest, rapper Jul Big Green.

Tickets for the 7 p.m show range from $17 to $22 and are available at the theater’s Facebook page.

The theater is also offering free basic acting classes for adults over the next two months. They will meet from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and Fridays from Oct. 5 to Nov. 11.

Longtime Omaha actor Moira Mangiameli will be the teacher. To register, contact her at moira@bensontheater.org.

Omaha Whiskey Fest returns on Saturday

Organizers say this weekend’s Omaha Whiskey Fest will be bigger and better than ever.

There will be more than twice as many vendors and six times the event space than there were at previous fests, they say.

The event runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Hilton Hotel, 1001 Cass St. Early check-in starts at 11 a.m. General admission ticketholders get a custom swag bag with glassware and other gear and will have access to hear the Women & Whiskey speaker, Victoria Eady Butler, at 3 p.m., among other items.

More than 70 brand ambassadors from across the country and beyond will pour their best products for attendees, who can visit booths in two huge ballrooms and enjoy a cigar in the tent.

General admission tickets are $100 and VIP tickets are $175. For more information, go to omahawhiskeyfest.com.

Concert honors pandemic victims, medical professionals

“We Shall Walk Through the Valley of Peace,” the first concert in the new Abendmusik season, will be Sunday at 4 p.m. at First-Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Lincoln.

The free performance will feature the church’s choirs and the Abendmusik Chamber Orchestra in a performance of hymns and spirituals. One noted piece will be Ralph Johnson’s “This House of Peace,” which features a poignant text of words spoken by patients and families about the care they received in the hospital.

Two health care professionals from Bryan Medical Center will share memories of COVID cases that particularly touched them.

“This program inspires us to take a deep breath (and) reflect upon what we’ve all experienced these past few years,” said Tom Trenney, Abendmusik’s artistic director. “The music will express some of our grief even as it offers thanks to those who have helped us find our way through this valley. (It) culminates with a message of hope.”

A freewill collection will go to the church’s Just Neighbors Medical Debt Relief, an initiative to help people in the near south neighborhood surrounding the church, which is located at 20th and D Streets.

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