Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (FWSO) is an American symphony orchestra based in Fort Worth, Texas. The orchestra is resident at the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall. In addition to its symphonic and pops concert series, the FWSO also collaborates with the Fort Worth Opera, Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Southwestern Seminary Master Chorale. and the Children’s Education Program of Bass Performance Hall. The FWSO also presents the Concerts In The Garden summer music festival at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.
The orchestra gave its first public performance in 1912, and disbanded in 1917 during World War I. In 1925, Brooks Morris re-established the FWSO, and served as its first music director and conductor. Sixty-eight musicians performed at the first concert on December 11, 1925, before an audience of approximately 4,000 at the First Baptist Church auditorium. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presented its earliest concerts in the Will Rogers Auditorium. The FWSO again disbanded, in 1943, during World War II. In 1957, Morris again revived the orchestra, whose musicians initially performed without salary, and provided general organisational leadership. Interim conductors included Robert Hull, Rudolf Kruger, and Ralph R. Guenther. The FWSO gave concerts in the Fort Worth Convention Center Auditorium.
John Giordano was FWSO music director from 1972 to 2000, the longest-serving music director in the FWSO's history. During his tenure, the Concerts In The Garden summer festival began in 1991, and takes place each June-July at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. In 1998, the FWSO took up its current residence at the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall. Giordano now has the title of conductor emeritus of the FWSO. In 2000, Miguel Harth-Bedoya succeeded Giordano as FWSO music director.
In September 2016, the FWSO musicians took industrial action and went on strike.On December 8, almost three months after the strike, an anonymous donor gave $700,000 USD to help close the orchestra's deficit. This allowed the two sides to come to an agreement of keeping musicians' salaries at its current levels for the first two years, followed by a 2% raise the third year and a 2.5% raise the fourth year.
In May 2018, the FWSO announced that Harth-Bedoya is to conclude his music directorship of the orchestra, and subsequently to take the title of conductor laureate.
- Brooks Adkins (1925-1943)
- Robert Hull (interim conductor; 1957)
- Rudolf Kruger (interim conductor)
- Ralph R. Guenther (interim conductor; 1963–1965)
- Ezra Rachlin (1965–1972)
- John Giordano (1972–2000)
- Miguel Harth-Bedoya (2000-present)
The orchestra's most recent recordings, some of which are released on their own label, include:
- Sentimiento Latino with Juan Diego Flórez (Decca)
- Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E. Minor, Opus 64
- Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf (Michael York, narrator)
- The Composers Voice, Volume I featuring the music of Gabriela Lena Frank and Kevin Puts (Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra)
- INTI, Three Centuries of Peruvian Music (Filarmonika)
- Asleep At The Wheel with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
- Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos 2 and 5 (Vadym Kholodenko, pianist; harmonia mundi)
- George Studdard (22 November 2016). "Letter to the Editor: 'Rebuild orchestra'". Fort-Worth Star Telegram. Retrieved 2018-05-24.
- Cooper, Michael (16 September 2016). "A Strike Stops the Music of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
- Cooper, Michael (8 December 2016). "Fort Worth Symphony Strike Ends as Donor Rides to the Rescue". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
- "Miguel Harth-Bedoya Will Conclude Twenty Years as FWSO Music Director in 2019-2020 Season" (PDF) (Press release). Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. 10 May 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
- Robert Battey (1 July 2016). "CD reviews: Cliburn medalist takes on Prokofiev with Fort Worth Symphony". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-05-24.