The Front Row: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

Oct 13, 2017

Galen Wixson and David Cho, of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra (LSO), join the front row to discuss the upcoming performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

The LSO is launching it’s master works season with concerts this weekend. Tell us about it, unpack the details.

Wixson: This weekend, Friday and Saturday evening at the Lubbock Civic Center, we will be presenting Beethoven’s ninth symphony, the choral. It’s a tremendous musical experience and the ultimate Beethoven symphony. As a cellist it’s one of my favorite works. We’re really excited.

Who all will participate?

Wixson: We will have choruses, the Lubbock choral, the Texas Tech University chorus, as well as our own orchestra. Then we’ll have four soloists. All tremendous talents. Some local, some from slightly out of town, but we’re so excited to bring them all together.

How does it come about that Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony gets programmed?

Wixson: I think that in terms of timing, it seems that the right time with a new administration in the orchestra and so many new things happening. This piece is a great work to reflect on troubled times. When things are looking a little dark in the world, there’s not a better piece to put on the program than this work. It just says so much about the human spirit and our ability to triumph over adversity.

If you have the chance to see it live you should go, it’s unbelievably moving, just because of so many elements at work that Beethoven was able to carve together into this masterpiece. There are so many layers and dimensions to this work. From the searing, soulful, sad parts to the magnificent end—and I don’t want to have spoilers in this interview—but it’s just so much in this one work.

David Cho, this is one of the big pieces, right?

Cho: You’re absolutely right and Galen put it perfectly, it’s a perfect time to do this because we planned it out so that we visit with a couple of Beethoven’s symphonies and this season was the right timing. We’re living in a very confused world and I don’t know if it would be correct to mention this but this week was a very tough week in our community. There’s no other piece of music that we would play and sing together than the Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. It unites us together in spite of our different backgrounds or views. Music truly unites us.

Looking back at the history of the political oppression in China and Chile, the citizens sang the “Ode to Joy,” to unite them, to give them hope and heal wounds and I think this is a great opportunity for a person to experience this program.

Listen to the fully interview at the top of the article.