Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Dr. Kevin Sütterlin Renews Contract with Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra


Appleton, WI – The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestras (FVSO) is delighted to announce Dr. Kevin Sütterlin renewed his contract as Music Director for another three years, starting with the 2022-23 season.

Photo: by Graham Washatka

Sütterlin became music director and conductor of the ensemble in 2019 after the departure of Brian Groner, who had been with the orchestra for 25 years.

Dr. Sütterlin is currently Director of Orchestral Activities and Opera at Concordia College, co-Music Director of Sinfonietta Memphis, Principal Guest Conductor of the Qingdao Concert Hall Symphony in China, Director of Orchestra and Conducting Studies at Lutheran Summer Music, and Artistic Director of the Northern Valley Youth Orchestras (Full bio is below).

FVSO musicians received the news during their March concert cycle, and Concertmaster Yuliya Smead commented, “His musicality and enthusiasm is contagious, and he makes rehearsals and performances incredibly enjoyable. Kevin creates a unified ensemble while still respecting the individuality of each player. I am really looking forward to many years of wonderful music making under his baton.”

“Kevin has an innate sense of how to guide the orchestra to their best performance while also telling a story to our audience with each piece,” says Executive Director Jamie LaFreniere. “His focus on diverse composers and guest artists allows us to make everyone feel represented and welcome as he continues to build bridges through music. It has been wonderful to see people respond to him on the stage, in the hall, and in our community.”

“In his short tenure, Kevin has demonstrated remarkable leadership,” says Mike Lokensgard, FVSO Board President. “The ensemble has rarely sounded better, and his selection of repertoire has been exactly what we need to attract a new generation of audience members. We are lucky to have him and are eager to see and hear what the Symphony will be able to achieve over the next three years under his guidance.”

For more information on the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, visit www.foxvalleysymphony.com.

About Dr. Kevin Sütterlin:

Dr. Kevin F.E. Sütterlin is an internationally sought-after conductor and pedagogue. He belongs to Beyond Artists, a coalition of artists that donates a percentage of their concert fees to organizations they care about. He supports “WIRES” (Australian Wildlife Rescue) and the “Memphis Music Initiative” through his performances.

Sütterlin is Director of Orchestral Activities and Opera at Concordia College, where he and his colleagues received two EMMY awards for 2016’s nationally broadcast Concordia Christmas Concert productions. The Concordia Orchestra won the prestigious American Prize competition in 2018-19 under his leadership. Sütterlin is Music Director of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra since 2019 and Co-Music Director of Sinfonietta Memphis since 2014, an ensemble that provides free concerts and educational experiences for the Greater Memphis communities. Perhaps the only orchestra in the U.S. with a co-music directorship model, Sinfonietta Memphis’s conductors Dr. Mathias Elmer and Sütterlin proudly represent the orchestra’s credo: friendship through music. They also co-direct The Sinfonietta Academy for Historically Informed Performance Practice which was recently recognized as one of the country’s leading period performance practice institutes. In 2019, Sütterlin was named Principal Guest Conductor of the Qingdao Concert Hall Symphony in China, and in 2021 Honorary Conductor of K-Classic Orchestras, a Korean organization dedicated to contributing to world peace through musical and cultural exchange. With a great love and passion for teaching, Sütterlin is also Artistic Director of the Northern Valley Youth Orchestras and holds The Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Endowed Orchestra Chair of the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival, directing the organization’s orchestral and conducting programs.

Considering himself a “citizen of the world,” Sütterlin has been building musical bridges across four different continents and has led his ensembles on many successful national and international tours. He has performed and taught across the globe including Austria, China, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the United States. He has taught at Shanghai Conservatory, Sichuan Conservatory, University of Cape Town, University of Hawaii, Lucerne Conservatory Switzerland, University of Memphis, and Virginia Tech University. Highlights of his upcoming guest conducting season include engagements with the National Opera of Chile Chamber Orchestra, Namibia National Symphony Orchestra, Brescia Music Festival Italy, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, and Arizona State University. Sütterlin received his doctorate and master’s degrees in orchestral conducting from The University of Memphis and a bachelor’s degree in conducting from the Hochschule Luzern-Musik, Switzerland.

About the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra:

The Symphony's mission is to enrich and nurture the human spirit through inclusive symphonic music and education. Founded in 1966, the non-profit provides the community with orchestra concerts, community outreach programming, and three Youth Orchestra programs. Music Director Dr. Kevin Sütterlin leads the adult orchestra, with Mark Dupere conducting Youth Orchestra, Greg Austin conducting Concert Orchestra and Adam Brown conducting Philharmonia.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Student Review #3: March 12, 2022 Concert

We asked some of our fabulous Lawrence University students to join us at the March 12 concert and share their thoughts. Our next reviewer is Malcolm Davis. Thank you, Malcolm! 

I always enjoy going to FVSO concerts, and the March 12th concert was no different. The program had a great mixture of new, under-performed, and symphonic classics. The opening work, Louise Farrenc’s Overture No. 1 in E Minor was an exciting piece of music.  I can appreciate knowing that when I attend an FVSO concert, I will have left listening to music I haven’t heard before such as Farrenc’s overture, or Jessie Montgomery’s Soul Force. This is what makes the Fox Valley Symphony unique and stand out among its’ peers.  

Friday, March 18, 2022

Student Review #2: March 12, 2022 Concert

We asked some of our fabulous Lawrence University students to join us at the March 12 concert and share their thoughts. Our next reviewer is Kathryn Williams. Thank you, Kathryn! 

It was simply a refreshing and fun experience watching the Fox Valley Symphony. I loved looking through the program and seeing so many familiar names playing in the orchestra while excitedly searching and pointing them out to friends. 

It is amazing how the Fox Valley Symphony is able to bring all different parts of the community together on stage, including music and non-music staff at Lawrence, our local luthier, family members of friends, and my former theory professor! 

I just wish I was standing at the right place post-concert to say hello to more members! I love how we were able to hear from concertmaster Yulia Smead talk about her own experiences at the pre-concert talk, 

I hope that there will be more opportunities to hear from other members because the diverse musical backgrounds of individuals is something that makes the Fox Valley Symphony so special.

Student Review #1: March 12, 2022 Concert

We asked some of our fabulous Lawrence University students to join us at the March 12 concert and share their thoughts. Our first reviewer is Gabe Roethle. Thank you, Gabe! 

It's quite refreshing to see and hear a symphonic program where underrepresented pieces and composers are given as time and attention as the "big greats." It is too easy for an orchestra to meet the quota of a single short piece by a minority composer shoved in some corner of the program to leave room for the familiar works. 

It is evident that Maestro Sütterlin​, from his pre-concert talk to his on-stage notes to his energetic conducting, cares less about satisfying and more about provoking; provoking new ways to think about new and old music. 

I was very pleased to hear that next season the orchestra would be performing an entire symphony by the 19th century French composer Louise Farrenc, whose Overture No.1 in E minor the orchestra performed in this concert. 

Maestro Sütterlin​ did not shy away from stating plainly and simply why works by composers who were not white men had been neglected by the world of classical music for so long, and the way he spoke about and directed the three pieces on the first half of the program (by Louise Farrenc, Jessie Montgomery, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor) shows his and the orchestra's dedication to changing the narrative of the world of classical music.

As a young, aspiring violinist, I feel obliged also to comment on the orchestra's performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, which was every bit as enchanting as the stories on which it was based. Concertmaster Yuliya Smead played each of her many solos with cool but ever-virtuosic flair. It was a delight to follow along with the cadenzas that were part of my audition excerpts for summer festivals. 

I can attest to the comfort of familiarity that this performance offered, although its placement after the thought-provoking (though no less beautiful!) first half made me listen to the piece in a different way.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Beethoven at The Core!

Our maestro is very excited to start our Beethoven cycle, and what better way to start than at one of our community concerts for just $10? We want to share this music with everyone in our community and we hope you can join us at The Core on March 1.

The music is joyful and enthusiastic, and EXACTLY what we need as we enter spring after two rather stressful years. We can't wait to celebrate this music with you.

Purchase your tickets now! Seating is limited.

Our very own Erik Leveille from our violin section is also happy to share some notes on the piece. Erik writes program notes for our Ovation books at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center for our season concerts, so we are honored he took some time to do the same for our community series.

FVSO at the Core

Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Forget all of the images of Beethoven that come to mind- the tragically deaf genius, ill-tempered and mannered, shaking his fist at fate and the universe- when approaching his optimistic and confident 1st symphony. Beethoven was not quite 30 in 1799 and 1800 when he composed it in Vienna, having escaped a miserable home life in Bonn in 1792 to study with Franz Josef Haydn. He had previously attempted a symphony in 1795 but abandoned it, mindful of the towering examples set by his teacher and the departed Mozart, instead steadily building up a collection of outstanding works, including his Op. 18 string quartets and the “Pathetique” piano sonata. When he set his pen to composing a symphony again in 1799, it came much more easily. The work was premiered in Vienna in April of 1800, along with works of Haydn and Mozart.

The introductory Adagio molto begins with a witty harmonic joke that escapes modern ears; woodwinds and pizzicato strings intone a series of chords in the “wrong” key, and there isn’t a “proper” root position C chord (C in the bass) until a downward rush of notes in the violins introduces the crisp, martial theme of the Allegro con brio (this theme features six C’s in four measures and ends with a C major arpeggio, just in case we didn’t get the joke) which unfolds in standard sonata form with some Beethovenian touches- brusque sforzandos and highly independent use of the woodwinds. The lyrical second theme is ingeniously accompanied by an arpeggiated figure that echoes that of the first theme. An energetic development section is followed by a recapitulation that states the first theme in a vigorous fortissimo rather than its initial piano. The surprisingly brisk Andante cantabile con moto seems to be a loving homage to the Andante moment of Mozart’s 40th symphony, as the first theme echoes the rhythm and imitative voices of that masterpiece, albeit in a much lighter and insouciant tone. Delicate punctuation from the trumpets and timpani add unusual color and Beethoven continues his harmonic adventurousness by modulating to the remote key of Db, a ploy he will revisit in the following Menuetto. The Menuetto, a whirlwind Allegro molto e vivace, sets off with a rising scale that will feature prominently in the final movement. More harmonic surprises are in store as Beethoven veers into Ab and then Db major before lurching back into C, where he sets up a tug of war between the notes Db and D natural. The much calmer Trio features a repetitive theme in the woodwinds accompanied by liquid eighth notes in the strings. The finale opens again with a joke; after a grand chord, the violins tentatively climb up a scale, adding one more note each time, before rocketing up the scale all at once inn a brilliant mirror of the first movement, thus beginning the Allegro molto e vivace that bubbles with Haydnesque wit and energy. The development features more bold harmonic changes and brilliant counterpoint, and the recapitulation and coda bring this early masterpiece to an exuberant conclusion.

Friday, April 30, 2021

FVS Youth Orchestra Announces New Conductor


Appleton, WI – Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestras (FVSYO) is delighted to announce Dr. Mark Dupere will be joining their team as conductor of the Youth Orchestra. Dupere joins conductor Greg Austin of Concert Orchestra and Adam Brown of Philharmonia on the staff and will begin work this spring.  

“His first official act will be to join us for auditions in May,” says Executive Director Jamie LaFreniere, “so he gets to meet all our wonderful students right away.” Though the Youth Orchestra was unable to meet during COVID-19 restrictions, they are looking forward to being in person again in the fall for rehearsals and concerts and are currently seeking new students for their May auditions.

“We are excited about what Mark will bring to the group and love his vision for the future,” adds LaFreniere. “We just recently added Marisol Kuborn to our staff as our first Youth Orchestras Executive Director, and I can’t wait to see what they build together. Both have amazing dedication to our programs and unlimited ideas.”

For more information on Youth Orchestra auditions, visit www.foxvalleysymphony.com.

About Dr. Mark Dupere:

Mark Dupere is Assistant Professor of Music at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, where he is the Director of Orchestral Studies. A native of Arizona, he studied cello with Phyllis Young at the University of Texas at Austin before moving to the Netherlands to complete his cello studies with Jaap ter Linden at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Dupere specialized in Baroque cello and performance practice of the Romantic era. He completed his Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting at Michigan State University with Kevin Noe.

As a cellist, Dupere was a 'New Young Artist' at the Victoria Bach Festival, performed in the Leipzig Bach Competition, and was an apprentice with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in London. He performed with many groups throughout Europe including Anima Eterna Brugge (BE), Arte Dei Suonatori (PL), and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (NL).  Dupere performed in major European concert halls including the Southbank Centre (London), Konzerthaus (Vienna), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and Opéra Royal de Versailles (Paris). Dupere has appeared at various festivals including La Folle Journée Festival (Nantes), Holland Festival (Amsterdam), Le Festival Berlioz (La Côte-Saint-André), Oude Muziek Festival (Utrecht) and Le Festival L’abbaye aux Dames (Saintes). He has worked with directors Mark Wigglesworth, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Neeme Järvi, Gunther Schuller, Bruno Weil, Jos van Immerseel, Robert Levin, Elizabeth Wallfisch and Ton Koopman.  As a founding member of the chamber music ensemble Haagsche Hofmuzieck, Dupere performed and gave masterclasses throughout Europe and the USA. The group made several recordings and was a finalist in the International Telemann Competition in Magdeburg, Germany.

Dupere has performed on BBC Radio and Arte TV and has made numerous recordings. These include discs of Debussy, Ravel and Mussorgsky with Anima Eterna Brugge, Marcello Psalms with Voces8 and Les Inventions (FR) and a recording of the complete chamber works of Locatelli with Ensemble Violini Capricciosi (NL) for Brilliant Classics.

After many years of performing as a professional cellist, Dupere decided to pursue his great passion for conducting and directing. He was a conducting fellow at the Oregon Bach Festival in 2015 and is the Co-Musical Director of the Musica Redemptor Orchestra (Austin, TX), a period instrument ensemble made up of international musicians. He has conducted the Haydn Orchestra (The Hague, NL), the Choir of St John and St Philip in The Hague (NL), the Cypress Symphony (Houston), the Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra and the Michigan State University Concert Orchestra. Mark enjoys conducting various honor orchestras around the country and most recently, he has been named a National Semi-Finalist in the American Prize for Conducting.

Dupere is a passionate educator and hopes to impart a love of music-making and active engagement with audiences in the performance of music from all periods. His areas of research have included: tempo rubato in Romantic chamber music, and pedagogical approaches to teaching period performance concepts in the modern music academy.

About the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra:

The Symphony's mission is to enrich and nurture the human spirit through inclusive symphonic music and education. Founded in 1966, the non-profit provides the community with orchestra concerts, community outreach programming, and three Youth Orchestra programs. Music Director Dr. Kevin Sütterlin leads the adult orchestra, with Mark Dupere conducting Youth Orchestra, Greg Austin conducting Concert Orchestra and Adam Brown conducting Philharmonia.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Changes Ahead for Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestras


Appleton, WI – Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra (FVSYO) will say goodbye to the conductor of their top group this spring as Dr. Andres Moran will be leaving the program in April of 2021.

 "I have made the difficult decision to step down as conductor of the Fox Valley Youth Symphony so that I can focus more on my work at UW-Stevens Point and as music director of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra,” says Moran. “In my time with FVYS, I was continuously impressed with their level of commitment and dedication to the music and to each other. The orchestra always rose to the occasion in both rehearsals and performance, and I am sure they will continue to do so.

“I want to thank the staff and FVS board for their amazing support and collaboration. My decision was made easier knowing that the organization and the Fox Valley’s talented young musicians are in great hands.”

“We will definitely miss having him lead our group,” says Jamie LaFreniere, FVSO Executive Director. “He took us to the next level with our students and we can’t thank him enough for all he’s done to get us there. We’re looking forward to adding a new conductor who will continue Dr Moran’s focus of giving our students the best ensemble experience and building lasting memories.”

As part of their planned program growth, the FVSYO is excited to add Marisol Kuborn to the Youth Orchestra team as its first Executive Director. “Marisol has been with our Youth Orchestra as a coach and coordinator and it has been a pleasure watching her work with our students. Her dedication is incredible, and I know our program will soar with her as a leader,” says LaFreniere. “I am so excited for her to join our team in this capacity.”

Born in Santiago, Chile, Marisol Kuborn received a Bachelor of Music and a percussion performance degree from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Chile.  She has also received a “Fin du 3éme cycle” (Performance Degree) from the Conservatory of Music of Quebec-Montreal in Canada and a “Concours en Percussion” (Master of Music & Artists Performance Certificate) from the Conservatory of Music of Quebec-Montreal, Canada where she also was awarded the “Prix d’excellence” award.  While studying in Montreal, Canada she also received the DESS (Orchestral Performance Degree) from the University of Montreal.

She is a member of the percussion section of Fox Valley Symphony, Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra, and Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, and teaches Applied Percussion Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. 

The program has one final project planned before Dr. Moran’s departure, and is currently working on a virtual Youth Orchestra project for March. You can stay updated on their project on Facebook (@FoxValleySymphonyYouthOrchestra) and Instagram (@fvsorchestra).

About the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra: The Symphony's mission is to enrich and nurture the human spirit through inclusive symphonic music and education. Founded in 1966, the non-profit provides the community with orchestra concerts, community outreach programming, and three Youth Orchestra programs. Music Director Dr. Kevin Sütterlin leads the adult orchestra, with Greg Austin conducting Youth Concert Orchestra and Adam Brown conducting Philharmonia.