Arts / Performing Arts

Dallas Chamber Symphony Ushers in Spring With a Legendary Piece and an Emerging Composer

It's a Saturday Night of Music

BY // 03.22.19

With the ever-changing weather of late, somehow I missed the official start of Spring (it was March 20). That said, I am trying to do everything possible to force an internal change of season.

I was intrigued by the announcement that the Dallas Chamber Symphony would be performing a concert that included one of my favorite pieces of all time — Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring Suite” — this Saturday.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning ballet was originally commissioned by the legendary Martha Graham. The piece premiered at the Library of Congress with a set designed by noted sculptor Isamu Noguchi. The sweeping harmonies have long made it one of the most “American” of works with its folksy moments that recall a barn dance.

Personally, it inspires me to roam a sprawling landscape when the weather is a perfect spring climate.

The evening will also include the world premiere of a work commissioned by the Dallas Chamber Symphony from the emerging composer, Kim Osberg. I recently had the opportunity to visit with Osberg over a cup of coffee and learn more of her backstory and the upcoming performance of “Rocky Summer.”

Based now in Dallas, Osberg received her masters degree at Indiana University where she focused her studies in interdisciplinary collaborations with theater, dance, drama and film. I was genuinely intrigued when she shared that she collaborated with stage combatants for some of her pieces. In case you are like me and don’t quite understand what stage combat is, it is literally “fighting” choreography where performers create the illusion of combat without actually hurting one another.

Osberg cherishes opportunities to collaborate and often does so with artists outside of the classical music sphere. Last October, she created a piece that was inspired by the artist Ian Davenport, who was being shown at the Dallas Contemporary. Her work echoed the colorful drip paintings that were hung on the museum’s walls.

For Saturday’s performance of “Rocky Summer,” it will also be multi-media in nature as text will be projected on a screen behind the Chamber Symphony.

During our chat, Osberg shared a fun memory from when hen she first started working on the composition.

“A hike (my first real one) in the Rocky Mountains had gone a bit awry,” she says. “Between lagging miserably behind the rest of the group, falling into a lake when I — finally — got to the top and running into a full-fledged thunderstorm above the treeline on the way back down, my companion and I yelped in victory when we finally reached our starting point again. The entire structure seemed perfect for a piece.”

The Dallas Chamber Symphony, which was founded and led by conductor Richard McKay, performs at Moody Performance Hall. The Symphony’s diverse program also included the Dallas International Piano Competition, the Sight of Sound Film Fest, TechNotes Youth Education, DCS Live! Outreach concerts, and its popular UnSilent Film Series.

Dallas Chamber Symphony’s “Appalachian Spring” concert, conducted by Richard McKay, will be held this Saturday, March 23rd at 8 pm at Moody Performance Hall located at 2520 Flora Street. Tickets are $25 to $54 each. Season tickets, subscription packages, and student and senior discounts are available. Tickets may be purchased online at, by calling (214) 449-1294, or in the lobby the night of the event. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

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