89 Years and Going Strong!

EPSO celebrates its 89th Anniversary

The longest continuously running symphony in the state of Texas!

 Opens season with The Music of ABBA “Dancing Queen”

 El Paso, Tex - As the oldest performing arts organization in El Paso and the longest continuously running symphony orchestra in Texas, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra (EPSO) has spearheaded cultural activities in El Paso for 89 years. To celebrate this significant milestone, EPSO will open the season dancing to ABBA’s greatest hits at its 89th Anniversary Gala on Friday, August 23, 2019, 6pm at the El Paso Country Club, followed by a concert on Saturday, August 24th at the Plaza Theatre, 8pm, featuring The Music of ABBA performed by the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, full rock band and vocalists.

Tickets for the gala and concert are on sale now at www.epso.org, or call (915) 532-3776. In addition, tickets for the Saturday concert can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.

EPSO’s rich history traces from a performance in December 1893. There were at least eight other attempts to bring symphonic music to El Paso before an orchestra was officially established in 1931. In the initial performance on January 26, 1931, H. Arthur Brown conducted his first concert with the El Paso Symphony at the Scottish Rite Auditorium. Brown remained as conductor until 1951.

Since then, EPSO has been under the baton of six conductors. In 1951, young Italian violinist and conductor Orlando Barera took over the podium for the next 20 seasons. The 41st consecutive season of the El Paso Symphony opened in October 1972 with William Kirschke leading for the next three seasons. On March 24, 1975, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra Association appointed native son Abraham Chavez, Jr. as the new Music Director and Conductor. Gürer Aykal succeeded Maestro Chavez in 1992.  Sarah Ioannides became EPSO’s first female Conductor in 2005. Following a 2-year search, Bohuslav Rattay was named EPSO’s Music Director starting with the 2013-2014 Season.

Since its inception, EPSO has made downtown El Paso its home, performing at the Scottish Rite Auditorium, Liberty Hall, Abraham Chavez Theatre and currently in the historic Plaza Theatre.

Today, EPSO is the largest arts nonprofit in the region, employing over 200 people per performance. It attracts 90,000 annually to its programs, which extend beyond the stage. It has presented and performed with renowned artists Yo-Yo-Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, Tony Bennett, Juan Gabriel and the Bolshoi Ballet to name a few.

EPSO acknowledges the rich diversity in our community and seeks to include people from every part of our community through varied concerts and events like the annual Pop Goes the Fort concert, with an audience of over 20,000; and sold-out performances of pops concerts with a rock twist, like the “Classical Mystery Tour” and “The Music of Queen.”

With a strong commitment to education and outreach, EPSO reaches over 40,000 children and students in the region every year. The longest-running EPSO education program, the El Paso Electric Young People’s Concerts, entering their 80th year this season, have introduced more than 750,000 5th grade students to live classical music in a fun, energetic and interactive environment. EPSO’s Brass in Class and Strings in Schools programs have been a presence in the classroom for over 40 years.

EPSO’s principal education program, the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras (EPSYOs), is celebrating its 14th anniversary. EPSYOs serves over 300 students annually and is open to all orchestral musicians ages 7 -23. EPSYOs continues to grow and serves its members’ diverse musical interests with programs like the Concerto Competition, the Chamber Music Program and a week-long Summer Camp. Students rehearse on weekends throughout the school year, with four schedule performances. In addition, EPSYO musicians participate in performances at the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, Alamo Drafthouse and with artists such as The Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling.

The El Paso Symphony Orchestra’s Tocando Music Project is an after-school program that currently provides music learning and performance opportunities to students in elementary through middle school. Students enjoy weekly classes, bi-monthly visits to the El Paso Museum of Art, UTEP Career Days, out-of-town overnight trips to week-long Summer Music Camps, and tickets to each EPSO Classical Concert for themselves and their families.  Students perform concerts at their home schools as well as various venues throughout the community and city including the Plaza and Chavez Theaters.

Tocando Music Project launched in September 2013 at Hart Elementary in downtown El Paso. In 2017, the Feeder School Initiative, Tocando has expanded to Guillen Middle School. Tocando now has students from 3 schools in Bowie High School’s feeder pattern: Hart and Aoy Elementary and Guillen Middle School. Tocando is supported through the PlayUSA initiative of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute and a generous grant from the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund, a program of the League of American Orchestras made possible by funding from the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation.

With a strong belief and commitment from EPSO’s Board of Trustees, conductor, musicians, staff and our community, EPSO will continue to flourish and create beautiful music in our culturally rich city,

The El Paso Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department, the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Pop Goes The Fort

9th ANNUAL “POP GOES THE FORT”
INDEPENDENCE DAY CONCERT & FIREWORKS CELEBRATION
THURSDAY, JULY 4, BIGGS PARK, FORT BLISS

The El Paso Symphony Orchestra will perform a free concert celebrating America’s Independence on Thurday, July 4, at Biggs Park, 11388 Sergeant Major Blvd. EPSO Assistant Conductor James Welsch will lead the El Paso Symphony in a patriotic and pops concert featuring USO Show Troupe in salute of the brave men and women of Fort Bliss and all those who served to protect our country.

Biggs Park will be open at 4:30pm and the festivities will begin at 5:30pm with a Cannon "Salute to the Union.” Concert begins at 7:30pm and the evening culminates with a spectacular fireworks display.
“We are so honored to continue this wonderful collaboration with the MWR. This will be our 9th consecutive year of performing for our troops at Fort Bliss and the El Paso Community” said Ruth Ellen Jacobson, Executive Director of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra Association. “James has put together an exciting and varied program mixing traditional patriotic music, contemporary patriotic music, and pop music performed with the USO Show Troupe.

This concert would not be possible without the financial support of our community who support the El Paso Symphony Orchestra especially Pioneer Services and Clark McCarthy Healthcare Partners II (Clark Construction and McCarthy Building Companies), Marathon Petroleum and the Hunt Family Foundation.
The El Paso Symphony is working with the Fort Bliss, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) to make this event a fun-filled family day for everyone. The MWR will have vendors selling food, drinks and beer and activities for the entire family.

The concert and activities are free and open to everyone. Simply present valid ID for access to Biggs Park through Biggs gate. Lawn chairs and coolers are welcome. Pets, alcohol and glass containers are prohibited. Food and beer is available for purchase.

RECAP:
9th Annual Pop Goes the Fort
4:30pm: Gates Open
5:30pm: Cannon Salute to the Union
7:30pm: El Paso Symphony Orchestra with special guests USO Show Troupe followed by Fireworks
The El Paso Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

EPSO Holds Auditions May 19

EL PASO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA HOLDS AUDITIONS MAY 19

El Paso, Tex. – The El Paso Symphony Orchestra will be holding auditions on Sunday, May 19, 2019 from 11am to 7:00pm in the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall at the University of Texas at El Paso, for the following positions:

  • Principal 2nd Violin
  • Section Violin
  • Section Viola
  • 3rd Oboe/English Horn
  • 2nd Clarinet
  • 3rd Bassoon/Contra Bassoon

Should any position be filled by a current member of the EPSO, the resulting vacancy(s) may be filled at these auditions.

Audition application can be downloaded below. Requirements and music for violin, viola, oboe and bassoon positions are posted under repertoire. Clarinet requirements will be posted soon.

For further information contact El Paso Symphony Personnel Manager Leann Isaac at (915) 637-8144. Applications are due by May 3, 2019.

Tickets On Sale for Video Games LIVE!

EL PASO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PRESENTS VIDEO GAMES LIVE
A Video Game Multimedia Symphonic Concert Experience!

Tickets go on today Wednesday, December 5, 2018, 10am

Video Games Live (VGL) takes the gaming experience light years beyond with a “captivating, proudly bombastic show” (The New York Times) that combines video game music masterfully performed by the El Paso Symphony Orchestra with the explosive energy of a rock concert in the Plaza Theatre on April 13, 2019 at 8PM. Includes music from Final Fantasy, Zelda, Mario, Kingdom Hearts, Metal Gear Solid, Skyrim, Castlevania, Halo, World of Warcraft, Pokemon AND MANY MORE!!

Tickets for Video Games Live go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, 10am and can be purchased at www.epso.org, www.ticketmaster.com, or call the Symphony office at (915) 532-3776, and at the Plaza Theatre Box Office. Tickets prices are $30, $45, $60 to $75 (plus applicable service charges) and are subject to change.

VGL was created by industry legend, composer Tommy Tallarico. The multimedia concert introduces new audiences—families, video game enthusiasts and non-gamers—to the symphonic experience with exclusive video footage and music arrangements, synchronized lighting, well-known Internet solo performers, electronic percussion, live action and interactive segments. The “ingenious and fantastic” (Los Angeles Times) show spotlights the music that enhances the most gripping video game moments—rescuing the princess, winning the boss fight, saving the galaxy from aliens or defeating the undead—with performances from recent blockbusters and iconic classics.

Praise for the immersive concerts is abundant, with VGL being heralded as a “beautiful performance” (USA Today), “simply breathtaking” (IGN.com), “Thrilling!” (The London Times) and “…a feast for the eyes and ears” (Seattle Times).

The El Paso Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.