19/20 Retirements & Anniversaries

Retiring musicians

Retiring this year is violinist Andrej Kapica who has spent 37 years playing with the Dallas Symphony. Kapica who began playing violin at the age of seven in Warsaw, Poland, graduated with a masters in music from the Warsaw Conservatory. Following graduation, he immediately won a position with the Warsaw Philharmonic and then shortly after, the Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. In 1982 Kapica went on vacation with his wife and son to the US for the first time. Bringing his violin along as many musicians would, he happened to come across an audition posting while in Dallas. As Kapica said, he thought “why not try and see what happens.” To his surprise, he won the job and he and his family picked up and moved to Dallas within the year. He calls it “the opportunity of a lifetime.” Kapica speaks fondly of many moments while playing with the DSO throughout the years, but his favorite memories involve his time playing under the baton of former Music Director Eduardo Mata. “Playing Spanish and French music with Mata was like no other.” Moreover, Kapica is grateful to have played under several other great music directors throughout his years with the DSO, including Andrew Litton, Jaap van Zweden and now Music Director Fabio Luisi.

In addition to his work with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Kapica teaches privately at home.  Now that he will be retiring from the orchestra he hopes to spend more time teaching and playing throughout the Dallas community. “No matter what, I will never stop playing!”

Milestone anniversaries

In addition to Andrej Kapica’s retirement this year, the DSO celebrates a handful of milestone anniversaries. Each musician, listed below, speaks on some of their favorite moments so far. At the end of the 2019/20 season, these musicians will have served…

57 Years

Clifford Spohr, Principal Bass Emeritus

“Replaying 57 years of memories, and trying to select a “favorite” is difficult, but I’ll have to go with one particularly chaotic rehearsal with Eduardo Mata for the opening of the Meyerson.  We were rehearsing Mahler’s Second Symphony with the Dallas Symphony Chorus, and workman were still busy finishing construction of the hall; even the choral terrace wasn’t finished.  The chorus, of which my wife, Sandy, was a founding member, sat on the concrete steps of the terrace. When they rose to sing “Auferstehn,” their “soto voce” acappella entrance, tears came to my eyes, and to the eyes of everyone in the orchestra and staff who were in attendance. It was the very moment when we all first realized what a gift we had in the Meyerson.  The beauty and clarity of the sound!  I have goose bumps while writing this, 31 years after it happened!”

45 Years

Sho-mei Pelletier, Associate Principal Second Violin

“There are 3 memories that give me GREAT joy and pride, in being part of our wonderful Dallas Symphony Orchestra! First, the Dallas Symphony’s debut, of a rarely performed Haydn Duo Concerto, for Violin and Harpsichord, performed by Paul Riedo and myself on June 6, 1993. Second, the Dallas Symphony’s Texas debut, of the rarely performed Arensky Violin Concerto, on February 26, 1995. I also gave the Indiana and Arizona premieres of this beautiful Violin Concerto (1973 & 1996.) And third, performing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, (recorded by Maestro Claus Peter Flor), with our wonderful Dallas Symphony Chorus.

Memorable, outstanding performances were numerous for me, because EVERY moment of every subscription series, brought gratitude, intense focus, and love for performing live music! Having a DSO Colleague as my Husband, Dwight Shambley, Double-bassist for 48 years, also kept music joyous and alive for me!”

35 Years

Tom Demer, Viola

“In the spring of 1985, when I was 26 years old, I won an audition to play viola with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Eduardo Mata, Music Director. The orchestra immediately embarked on their first European concert tour but, alas, I was left behind until the next season started in September. (I would not tour internationally with DSO until 1997. Prior to that tour I learned to double on tenor banjo to accompany Andrew Litton’s “Rhapsody in Blue” which we performed across Europe.)

In May of 1986, at the end of my first season under Eduardo Mata, we recorded our historic Copland Symphony No. 3 LP for EMI/Angel Digital. I’m still proud to have played on this magnificent audiophile recorded performance. Many, even most of the people on this record have retired or passed, but I’m fortunate and honored to have been their colleague for several decades.”

Deborah Baron, Associate Principal Flute + Piccolo

“The summer of 2012 we performed Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony at the Vail Bravo Festival.  I am admittedly not a huge Bruckner fan, and never quite ‘got it.’  I thought this would be too challenging and serious a piece for vacationing concert-goers – was I ever wrong.  Maestro van Zweden’s interpretation was riveting from the first note to the last, and you could hear a pin drop in the amphitheater.”

30 Years

Karen Schnackenberg, Principal Librarian

“I have so many fabulous memories and hilarious stories, but what always rises to the top are those transcendent musical experiences – the last time I heard Rostropovich play live with us, a breathtaking performance of the trio from Der Rosenkavalier, a sublime Mahler Symphony No. 6 at the Concertgebouw – it just doesn’t get any better and those moments are unforgettable.”

25 Years

Matthew Good, Principal Tuba – Dot & Paul Mason Chair

“My best memory of a concert was there performance of Mahler’s Sixth that we played in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam during our 2013 Europe Tour. It was a magical evening. It was also the last concert that my dad saw me play online via streaming.

“Similarly, I remember rehearsal of Mahler’s First Symphony in Vail in July of 2001 with Andrew Litton. An unusual morning thunderstorm came down the valley and the orchestra had to retreat downstairs for 45 minutes. The stage was soaked and music stands were toppled along with many music folders. It was the best thing that happened to me all day.

“There was also a Stravinsky Rite of Spring concert in Vail back in 2017. Jaap van Zweden was conducting and at the beginning of the second section, which is very quiet and transparent, there were two squirrels barking at each other in the landscaping behind the orchestra, all in time with the music. It made everyone in the orchestra smile during a very serious moment in the music.”

Darren McHenry, Bass Trombone
Nicolas Tsolainos, Principal Double Bass – Anonymously Endowed Chair

“Some of my favorite moments include the hiring of Kim Noltemy who cares a lot about the orchestra and the arrival of Fabio Luisi as our new Music Director.”

20 Years

Kevin Finamore, Trumpet
Kevin Finamore_Trumpet_Dallas Symphony

“My favorite DSO memories are ones that include the concerts and weeks where our stage is the biggest and the hall is completely full. For example, there is the occasion when a Music Director retires and there is a final concert which to me always feels like the biggest night for us with that conductor. I was fortunate enough to play these types of final concerts with Andrew Litton, where we played Mahler’s Second Symphony and later with Jaap van Zweden where we played Beethoven’s Ninth. The energy and excitement of these of concerts is few and far between. Everybody leaves it on the stage including the conductor. I’ve been lucky enough to experience this twice in the past 20 years.”

Kara Kirkendoll Welch, Flute – Caroline Rose Hunt Chair

“Some of my favorite memories have come on our tours to Europe.  My first experience with the orchestra was our trip to Europe in 2000. On that tour, we played Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony at the BBC Proms.  The audience was standing-room-only and they were so quiet. You could hear a pin drop and the electricity in the air was palpable. The same could be said for our tour in 2013, when we played Mahler’s Sixth Symphony at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. I had always heard about the amazing acoustics of that room, and that certainly rang true.  The orchestra played beautifully, and we all banded together to have a truly mountaintop experience.”

Jolyon Pegis, Associate Principal Cello – Joe Hubach Chair
Jolyon Pegis_Associate Principal Cello_Joe Hubach Chair_Dallas Symphony

“The September 2000 European tour is one of my favorite memories with the DSO.  I had just joined the orchestra and found myself in London performing Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony at Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms.  The hall is beautiful and the audience is very enthusiastic.  They heckled us good naturedly at the intermission.  It was a wonderful moment”