Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra is a professional orchestra based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The current Music Director is Andrew Constantine, whose contract began July 1, 2009.

The orchestra's Artistic Advisor from 2008 to 2009 was Jaime Laredo, a native of Bolivia. The Associate Conductor was Bradley Thachuk, a native of Canada; he left Fort Wayne in May 2011 to become music director of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra. Effective September 2011, Sameer Patel became the Philharmonic's Assistant Conductor.[1] Patel left at the end of the 2013-14 season to become a conductor of the Chicago Sinfonietta.[2] Chia-Hsuan Lin, a native of Taiwan, became the Philharmonic's Assistant Conductor in November 2014.[3] The orchestra performs mainly in the historic Embassy Theatre and the Auer Performance Hall at IPFW.


The Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1944. It has been part of the city's musical heritage continuously since its debut on October 18, 1944, at the Palace Theatre. The first music director was Hans Schwieger, born in Germany in 1907, who died in October 2000. Under Schwieger's direction, the orchestra dramatically expanded its concert programming in the 1945–1946 season, presenting 14 programs with pianist William Kapell, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and tenor Mario Lanza among the guest artists.[citation needed] A 1946 concert devoted to Verdi's Requiem featured soloists from the Metropolitan Opera and a 200-voice chorus, as Time reported. In 1948, Schweiger became music director of the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra (which was dissolved in 1982) and made numerous recordings with them and other orchestras.[citation needed]

In the summer of 1948, Igor Buketoff became the orchestra's second music director. He made numerous recordings and was known for his educational work. He was particularly known for his performances of Russian music, especially Rachmaninoff.[citation needed]

During the 1966–67 season, the orchestra had guest conductors. Then James Sample became music director, serving from 1967 to 1970. Sample, who died in 1995, was followed by Thomas Briccetti, from 1970 to 1977. Briccetti died on May 27, 1999. Once again, there were guest conductors during the 1977–78 season.[citation needed]

From 1978 to 1993, the orchestra's music director was Ronald Ondrejka, who had previously served as music director of the Monterey Symphony Orchestra (1960–61), assistant conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (1961–63) under Josef Krips, conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra.[citation needed] Ondrejka, who frequently programmed American music,[citation needed] was also the head of the conducting program at the University of California at Santa Barbara in the 1970s.[citation needed] During Ondrejka's final season, 1992–1993, the orchestra "auditioned" candidates for the next music director, including Edvard Tchivzhel, who was picked as Ondrejka's successor.[4] Tchivzhel left the Philharmonic at the end of 2007–08 season. Guest conductors, most of whom were candidates for the next music director, led the orchestra during the 2008–09 season. The board chose Andrew Constantine to take over as music director, beginning with the 2009–10 season.

Contemporary composers who have visited Fort Wayne to have their works performed by the orchestra include Charles Wuorinen, Stephen Paulus, David Ott, Karel Husa, Benjamin Lees, Michael Schelle, David Crowe, and Libby Larsen.[citation needed]

The executive directors of the organization have included Peter Smith (1976–1985), Christopher D. Guerin (1985–2005), Daniel Ross (interim, 2005–2006), and J.L. Nave (2006–2014).[citation needed]

Over the years, the Philharmonic has performed with many renowned pop artists, including Lionel Hampton, The Beach Boys, Boots Randolph, The Manhattan Transfer, Johnny Mathis, Chet Atkins, Leo Kottke, The Moody Blues, Mel Torme, Ramsey Lewis, The 5th Dimension, Art Garfunkel, B. J. Thomas, Toni Tennille, Benny Goodman, Skitch Henderson, Burt Bacharach, Ben Folds, Aretha Franklin, Doc Severinsen, The Smothers Brothers, Henry Mancini, Pete Fountain, and Air Supply.[5]

The Orchestra today[edit]

Today, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic carries on its musical tradition with 480 orchestra and chamber ensemble performances are attended by more than 220,000 people. Since 1980 the orchestra has won five awards for adventuresome programming from ASCAP, the American Society of composers, Authors and Publishers. In addition, its Education Programs are created to inspire the love of classical music in people of all ages. The Fort Wayne Philharmonic Chorus, directed by Benjamin Rivera,[6] participates in several concerts each year.

The current season runs from September through May. Concerts are divided into several categories:

  • Masterworks Series – devoted to major orchestral works, sometimes with instrumental and/or vocal soloists, usually at the Embassy Theatre (a former movie palace built in 1928). Since the 2013-2014 season, several of these concerts have been held in the Auer Performance Hall at IPFW.
  • Pops Concerts – devoted to light works, often featuring guest soloists and/or conductors, usually held at the Embassy Theatre.
  • Freimann Series – chamber music concerts featuring principal players of the Philharmonic, held in various venues.

In addition, the Philharmonic's chamber orchestra has performed a few concerts during the summer. Members of the orchestra have also participated in the "Summer Symphony", founded by Joseph M. Woods in 1956, who played with the Philharmonic from 1948-1950. Concerts have taken place at the Foellinger Theatre in Franke Park, now led by principal trombonist David Cooke.

Broadcasts and recordings[edit]

Edvard Tchivzhel and the Philharmonic recorded a commercial CD at the Honeywell Center in Wabash, which includes Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 and Richard Strauss' symphonic poem Don Juan. For many years, selected Philharmonic concerts have been taped for broadcast on WBNI, and, during Tchivzhel's tenure, several performances were aired nationally on NPR's Performance Today program.[citation needed]

Tchivzhel leaves[edit]

On January 17, 2007, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported that Edvard Tchivzhel, music director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, would step down when his contract expired in June 2008.

Tchivzhel, born in Leningrad, Russia (now St. Petersburg), in 1944, came to Fort Wayne in August 1993 after serving as assistant conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic (now called the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra) under Yevgeny Mravinsky.[citation needed]

Tchivzhel continues as the artistic director of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, where he has served since 1999.

2007–08 season[edit]

The 2007–08 season began on September 15, 2007, at the Embassy Theatre when Tchivzhel conducted Stravinsky's Petrouchka (1947 version with the optional concert ending) and Gershwin's An American in Paris and Concerto in F. The season concluded on May 10, 2008, with Tchivzhel conducting Mahler's second symphony.

Music director finalists[edit]

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic announced on January 15, 2008, that it had selected eight finalists who would be considered for the new music director. The eight conductors were invited to conduct concerts in Fort Wayne during the 2008–09 season. Philharmonic management and the board of directors invited audience response (via questionnaires) as the conductors appeared during the 2008–09 season, then selected the new director, who will likely take over in the 2009–10 season.[7] The new director, Andrew Constantine, was announced at the conclusion of the annual membership meeting on June 23, 2009.[8]

The finalists selected were:

  • Hélène Bouchez (born in Lyon, France in 1972), who has conducted across Europe and Asia.
  • David In-Jae Cho (born in Seoul, Korea in 1974), associate conductor with the Utah Symphony Orchestra and Utah Opera.
  • Andrew Constantine (born in England in 1961), music director of the Reading Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania and associate conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He was subsequently selected by the board of directors, by unanimous decision, to be the Philharmonic's next music director.
  • Andrew Grams (born in Maryland in 1976), resident conductor of the Florida Symphony Orchestra.
  • Daniel Meyer (born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1971), music director at the Erie Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania and the Asheville Symphony Orchestra in North Carolina, and resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
  • Tito Muñoz (born in New York City in 1983), assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra.
  • Danail Rachev (born in Shumen, Bulgaria in 1970), assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In November, Rachev was selected as the next music director of the Eugene Symphony Orchestra in Oregon.[9] Rachev's March 14 appearance with the Philharmonic was cancelled; Bradley Thachuk, the Philharmonic's associate conductor, conducted the same music scheduled.[10] The Fort Wayne News Sentinel announced that Rachev dropped out of the competition for the next music director.
  • Gregory Vajda (born in Budapest, Hungary in 1973), resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra.

The Philharmonic announced that each of the candidates would visit Fort Wayne for two concerts during the 2008–09 season. Each conductor would lead one concert with the full orchestra and one with the chamber orchestra. A final decision was made at the end of the 2008–09 season.[11] In addition, famed conductor and violinist Jaime Laredo guest conducted the full orchestra and the chamber orchestra. The Philharmonic's current associate conductor, Bradley Thachuk, also conducted during the 2008–09 season.

2008–09 season[edit]

The Masterworks Series for the 2008–09 season began before a near-capacity crowd at the Embassy Theatre on September 20 with Tito Muñoz conducting Glinka's Russlan and Ludmilla overture, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 (Yuja Wang, pianist), and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra. J.L. Nave III, President and CEO of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, told the audience that selected concerts during the season, including the opening performance, would be taped for broadcast on WBNI.[citation needed]

The Masterworks Series ended on May 9, 2009, with Andrew Constantine conducting Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. The Philharmonic Chorus, the IPFW Singers, and the Fort Wayne Children's Chorus, and three vocal soloists, participated in the Orff. An augmented orchestra was utilized in both works. Nave told the capacity audience that about 300 performers were involved in Carmina Burana.[12]

Andrew Constantine[edit]

The Philharmonic's new Music Director (effective July 1, 2009), Andrew Constantine, moved from the United Kingdom to the United States in 2004 to become Assistant Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Within his first season there he was promoted to Associate Conductor.[citation needed]

In May 2007, following a two-year search and a pool of over 280 applicants, he was appointed Music Director of the Reading Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania.

After winning the first Donatella Flick/Accademia Italiana Conducting Competition, Andrew Constantine made his Royal Festival Hall debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He also has conducted the other leading symphony orchestras in the United Kingdom including the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra, as well many others throughout Europe. He was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music by the University of Leicester, for his "contribution to music", and also a prestigious British NESTA Fellowship to further develop his international career.[13]

2009–10 season[edit]

Andrew Constantine led a full schedule of concerts beginning in the 2009–10 season. He began the season with "Fanfare: Music for Everyone," three informal programs on September 4 and 5 at the Foellinger Theatre in Franke Park. Violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson were featured soloists in Camille Saint-Saëns' The Muse and The Poet (La Muse et le Poete), Op. 132 (1910), in the September 4 concert. He conducted a special concert at the Embassy Theatre on October 24. Besides conducting three Masterworks Series concerts during the season, Constantine conducted a Spectrum Series program at the Arts United Center on January 30 and 31, and pops concerts with circus performers at the Embassy Theatre on February 26 and 27. He promised some innovations in his concerts, including more new or unusual works, to attract more people to the Philharmonic.[14]

The Masterworks Series at the Embassy Theatre began on September 12, 2009, with Jaime Laredo conducting Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto for Two Violins and Johannes Brahms' Concerto for Violin with Laredo and Bella Hristova, violins, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor. The season concluded on May 8, 2010, with Andrew Constantine conducting Carl Nielsen's Helios Overture; Francis Poulenc's Gloria (with three choruses and a soprano soloist); and Gustav Holst's The Planets (featuring the Grand Page pipe organ).[15]

WBNI again taped the Masterworks Series during the 2009–10 season and broadcast each concert 12 days later on Thursdays at 8 p.m. For example, the September 12 concert was broadcast on September 24 at 8 p.m.[16]

2010–11 season[edit]

The Masterworks Series for the season began on September 11, 2010 with Constantine conducting Prokofiev's Suite from Love for Three Oranges; Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham, violin, and Adagio for Strings (in observance of the 100th anniversary of Barber's birth); Debussy's La Mer. It ended on May 7, 2011, with Constantine conducting Mendelssohn's Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream; Michael Daugherty's Hell's Angels with four bassoon soloists (in the presence of the composer); and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. Guest conductors were:

The Masterworks Series concerts were again taped for broadcast on WBNI; the broadcasts have continued since then.

2011–12 season[edit]

The 2011-12 season began on September 10, 2011, with Andrew Constantine conducting Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor (orchestrated by Leopold Stokowski); Philip Glass' Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanist with timpanists Jonathan Haas and Eric Schweikert; Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4 in G Major. On October 1, 2012, Constantine conducted Rossini's Overture to William Tell; Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 35, with violinist Jonathan Carney; and Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 1. During the season, other soloists included guitarist Jason Vieaux in Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez; Sibelius'; cellist Joshua Roman in William Walton's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra; pianist Andrew von Oeyen in Johannes Brahms' Concerto No. 1 in D minor for Piano and Orchestra; and pianist Ilya Yakushev in Prokofiev's Concerto No. 3 in C Major for Piano and Orchestra. Matthias Bamert guest conducted the orchestra in Dmitri Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 with violinist Elena Urioste and excerpts from Sergei Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet. The season concluded on May 12, 2012, when Constantine conducted Beethoven's Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus; Stravinsky 's The Rite of Spring; and Mozart's Requiem.[citation needed]

2012-13 season[edit]

The 2012-13 season began on September 22, 2012, and concluded on May 18, 2013, in the Embassy Theatre. The Masterworks concerts schedule included:

2013-14 Season[edit]

Andrew Constantine announced an additional two Masterworks concerts for the 2013-14 season, bringing the total to ten performances. Most of the concerts were scheduled for the Embassy Theatre; three concerts were at the Auer Performance Hall at IPFW (Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne). Constantine conducted all of the Masterworks concerts during this season.


2014-15 Season[edit]

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic announced that six of its ten Masterworks concerts for the 2014-15 season would take place at the Embassy Theatre and the remaining four would be at the Auer Performance Hall on the IPFW campus in Fort Wayne. This season, all concerts were scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Sameer Patel left Fort Wayne to become one of the conductors of the Chicago Sinfonietta.[19] Chia-Hsuan Lin became the next Assistant Conductor in November 2014.


2015-16 Season[edit]

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic announced that the Madge Rotschild Foundation Masterworks Series would enter its sixth season under the baton of Music Director Andrew Costantine. Again, concerts would be divided between the Embassy Theatre and IPFW's Rhinehart Music Center.


Music Directors[edit]

  • Andrew Constantine, 2009–
  • guest conductors, 2008–2009
  • Edvard Tchivzhel, 1993–2008
  • Ronald Ondrejka, 1978–1993
  • guest conductors, 1977–1978
  • Thomas Briccetti, 1970–1977
  • James Sample, 1967–1970
  • guest conductors, 1966–1967
  • Igor Buketoff, 1948–1966
  • Hans Schwieger, 1944–1948[22]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Prelude November–December 2014, page 48
  4. ^ History of Fort Wayne & Allen County, Indiana, Vol. I, pgs 234–236 (Evansville, Indiana: M.T. Publishing Company, Inc., 2006)
  5. ^ Fort Wayne Philharmonic website
  6. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ WBOI newscast, January 15, 2008
  8. ^ Fort Wayne Philharmonic website
  9. ^
  10. ^ Fort Wayne Philharmonic website
  11. ^ Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, January 15, 2008
  12. ^ Fort Wayne Philharmonic
  13. ^
  14. ^ Fort Wayne Journal Gazette; Fort Wayne Philharmonic Season Calendar, 2009–2010
  15. ^ Fort Wayne Philharmonic mailings to subscribers, March 2009 and February 2010
  16. ^ Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Prelude book
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Fort Wayne Philharmonic 2014-15 season brochure
  21. ^ Fort Wayne Philharmonic 2015-16 season brochure
  22. ^ History of Fort Wayne & Allen County, Indiana, Vol. I, pgs 234–236

External links[edit]


  • Fort Wayne Philharmonic website
  • Fort Wayne Philharmonic brochures
  • Eyewitness accounts by Robert E. Nylund
  • WBNI broadcasts; listen to WBNI online [1]