The FOOSA Philharmonic Orchestra is back for its 10th anniversary with top musicians playing alongside top high school and college student musicians in a unique festival that brings the music world to Fresno.
In years past, the FOOSA Philharmonic concert has been held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. After a year off in 2020 due to COVID-19 and a smaller string ensemble in 2021, the full FOOSA orchestra returns with two special performances in the Central Valley.
“In an effort to give back to our community, which has been extremely supportive of our efforts over the years, all our attention and performances during the festival will be in Fresno,” said Dr. Thomas Loewenheim, music director of FOOSA. “My life goal to bring world peace through music is exemplified during FOOSA, when over 100 dedicated musicians gather here from Fresno and all over the world to make intense and meaningful music come alive in total harmony.”
The Gala Concert, “From Sorrow to Celebration: Mahler 5 at the Saroyan,” is at 8 p.m. Friday, June 24, at the William Saroyan Theatre in downtown Fresno. Tickets are free with registration.
The orchestra will perform Ravel’s “La Valse” and Mahler’s “Symphony No. 5.” In Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, the composer delivers a heartfelt love letter to his future wife. In this epic journey from darkness into light, grief and loss are transformed through the power of love into joy and jubilation.
“Regarded as one of the top symphonies of all time, Mahler’s Fifth Symphony is like a musical journey that embraces everything from death marches, Viennese waltzes, the most beautiful love song ever written, and one of the most triumphant endings,” Loewenheim said.
The final concert will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at the Fresno State Concert Hall. This performance will feature the Concerto Competition winners with the full orchestra. The performance is free and open to the public.
Every summer, top student musicians, from high school through the graduate level, audition for a chance to learn from faculty musicians from around the world for two weeks of intensive training that features the Concerto Competition and culminates in world-class performances.
“I am very thankful to Fresno State, the Youth Orchestras of Fresno and our many supporters in the community for helping us bring the world to Fresno and present Fresno to the world, Loewenheim said.”
The FOOSA Philharmonic is a pre-professional orchestra that allows advanced musicians of college and high school age to enjoy a side-by-side performance experience with faculty members. Students enjoy daily private lessons, daily orchestra rehearsals and sectional and recital opportunities with the full-time immersion program.
This year’s experience also includes a professional orchestral recording session in addition to the two Fresno performances. FOOSA is a partnership between Fresno State and the Youth Orchestra of Fresno.