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Wellesley Symphony opens season with Beethoven

By Abigail Davidson
Hometown Weekly Correspondent

Most area residents have no doubt heard at least a sampling of Beethoven pieces in their lives. However, the opportunity is rare to locally savor an entire concert of his music as performed by a complete orchestra. 

The Wellesley Symphony Orchestra (WSO) will kick off its 2016-2017 season on Sunday, October 16th at 3:00 p.m. with a concert devoted to the works of Ludwig von Beethoven. The concert will feature Symphony No. 3 “Eroica,” the overture to Prometheus, and Romance in F for violin, performed by Boston University Bach Competition winner Subiaou Zhang.

“In this exciting all-Beethoven program, we will experience Beethoven’s distinctive and powerful voice in three different works,” says Zhang, who will also serve as first chair violin for the concert.

Prometheus takes on a Mozart-like quality with its traditional classic style, while the Romance will provide the audience with a lyrical, reflective style. Symphony No. 3, meanwhile, signals Beethoven’s growth as a composer and his “dramatic advance beyond the symphonies of Haydn and Mozart,” says Zhang.

Zhang--who will be filling in for regular concertmaster MaeLynn Arnold while Arnold is on maternity leave--notes that the Romance in F is her personal favorite.

“(It’s) simple and elegant, like a piece of small crystal,” she says. “The more you look into it, the more you find.”

The WSO will perform Sunday’s concert, as always, at MassBay Community College, 50 Oakland Street in Wellesley. While Beethoven is one of the best-known composers and available readily on compact disc, for Zhang, there is no substitute for live classical music, especially when it emanates so close to home.

“You can exist in this piece of time standing still, sharing together with everyone else present,” she says. “I strongly encourage you to attend a live classical music concert if you have not done so before. It’s a participation and celebration of life like none other.”

The WSO has a full schedule of concerts planned for its 68th season. On November 20th, the orchestra will perform a concert devoted to opera with baritone John Castillo. On December 19th, the WSO presents its annual Holiday Pops concert, on February 5th they will present a salute to the Lithuanian-born violinist Jascha Heifetz, featuring the Boston Symphony’s Lucia Lin in Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, and on March 19th they will host their annual Family Concert. The season will wrap up with an all-Russian finale on May 7th, featuring rising star pianist Victor Li playing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1.

Pre-concert talks with Leslie Holmes, WSO president, take place ahead of concerts at 2:15 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit or call 781-235-0515. Tickets are also available at the door.

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