There’s a new kid on the performing arts block in Denton, and artistic director and conductor Jason Lim said he means to make it a success.
Odysseus Chamber Orchestra, a nonprofit professional orchestra, performs its inaugural concert today in Krum. Works by Wagner, Mozart, Vivaldi and Copland are on the program.
“Denton is such a great, talented town,” said Lim, a violist and private instructor in Denton. “When you look around at all the high-quality music Denton has to offer, you start wondering ‘Why doesn’t Denton have a chamber group?’”
Denton’s history has seen the birth and death of a community orchestra, and in the late 1990s, Denton Chamber Orchestra was founded to get string players back into the proverbial pit. That group stalled, however.
Lim couldn’t abandon the idea. When his friends and colleagues, Claire Salz and Charles Workinger, agreed that they’d like to help, Lim said the orchestra had its core staff. Salz is the general manager — the liaison between the musicians and the conductor — and does all the hiring. Workinger has arts administration experience — he knows how to make the group sustainable.
Workinger said success depends mostly on the orchestra making an impression on its audience and community.
“We know we can’t be the Dallas Symphony Orchestra or the Fort Worth Symphony,” he said. “We obviously can’t be the Denton Bach Society. They’re covering early music for Denton. I think it’s going to be a differentiation that determines our success. What sets us apart from the other ensembles.”
A chamber group, Lim said, tends to stick to orchestral pieces by Mozart and Vivaldi, as well as concerti and music written for smaller ensembles.
“Either way, whether you’re talking about huge symphonies or smaller ensembles, a good musician can draw the color and sound they need to perform what the composer calls for,” Lim said.
Lim is a violist who was part of the University of North Texas Graduate String Quartet. He said he took up conducting later.
“When I play or conduct music, I visualize the impact that it has on the listener. It has to have movement, it has to have feeling,” Lim said. “I have high expectations of myself and high expectations of the musicians. What you do depends on your expectations. I have high goals for myself as a director. I’ve learned that I have to work really, really hard, not just as a musician and with my technique, but in publicizing myself, traveling around and meeting people and with social networking. The same thing applies to this orchestra.”
Workinger said a long term goal of the orchestra is to perform and promote Denton composers.
“Just as there are a lot of musicians here, there are a lot of composers here, too,” he said.
LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
ODYSSEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
• What: debut concert
• When: 7:30 p.m. today
• Where: Krum High School auditorium, 811 E. McCart St.
• Details: Cost is $15 for adults, $10 for students. Seating is general admission. For more information, visit www.odysseuschamberorchestra.org .
WHO’S WHO IN THE PIT
Violins: Ekatarina Tarasova (concertmaster), Viet Chuong Vu, Hyun Sun Oh, Sara Hook, Seula Lee, Alison Jean Fletcher, Szemi Jobbagy, Leah Greenfield, Salma Bachar, Anna Stasia Roberts and Nigel Deane
Violas: Ashley Sirkel, Elizabeth Trower, Sabrina MacKenzie and Salwa Bachar
Cellos: Svetlana Garitselova, Lejing Zhou, Dolores Sanez and Ilia De la Rosa
Bass: Jeremy Atkins, Beckah Maxwell and Sara Bollinger
Flute: Jaycie DeVane
Oboe: Claire Salz and Erin Lensing
Clarinet: Damien Gibson and Sam Ross
Bassoon: Janelle Ott and Kelsey Pickford
French horn: Angela Winter and Ben Raviotta
Trumpet: Charles Workinger