Olympia Symphony Orchestra Concert: Coming Full Circle

by Karen Lunde for OLY ARTS


In June of 1947, the Olympia Symphony Orchestra (OSO) performed its first ever work — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Overture to Don Giovanni.” Now, at the culmination of its 65th season, the OSO will once again open with Mozart’s famous overture — in essence, coming full circle.

Composer Austin Schlichting
Composer Austin Schlichting

The concert will also debut Austin Schlichting’s composition, “Festschrift.” “The other circular sub-plot,” said Huw Edwards, the orchestra’s music director and conductor​, “is that Austin is the grandson of former Music Director Fred Schlichting, who was at the helm of the OSO for many years. Austin plays in the OSO and is a composer… [this makes] a generational connection to the past to have him write a piece for our 65th jubilee.”

“ Austin … has merged some of the themes from the Mozart and Beethoven works into his piece,” said Edwards. “It quotes some other great works from the orchestral repertory, including some works he has played sitting in the viola section of the OSO. It’s always both fun and daunting to bring a new piece into the world — rather like delivering a baby.”

The Olympia Symphony Orchestra played Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 in D minor, op. 125 during the opening season of the Washington Center, making it another piece that fits the full circle theme. The powerful work, completed in 1824, was Beethoven’s final symphony. OSO has collaborated with the Olympia Choral Society and members of the Timberline High School Choir for the performance. Soloists Marlette Buchanan (soprano), Miya Higashiyama (alto), Brendan Tuohy (tenor) and Charles Robert Stephens (bass) will join the packed stage to perform.

Edwards notes that OSO’s 2012 performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony sold out. “Beethoven is arguably the greatest embodiment of the human spirit in music, and his Ninth Symphony — especially the ‘Ode to Joy’ final movement — speaks to all mankind and has become a universal hymn of hope and renewed belief in humanity in today’s troubled world.”


Olympia Symphony Orchestra’s

Coming Full Circle


7 p.m. Sunday, April 22


Washington Center For The Performing Arts

512 Washington St. SE, Olympia


Olympia Symphony Orchestra Website



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