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Maestro's Notes

  • Tuesday, January 30, 2018 11:27 AM | Anonymous

    As we begin this new year, I’m excited to continue our season with our third classics concert, The Elegance of Elgar. As a conductor and musician, we are always looking to grow our ability and expand our repertoire. Personally, Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations is a piece that I have always loved and wanted to perform. This complex piece is a wonderful showcase of the musicians of the Symphony of Southeast Texas and the extent of their talent. I know that our audience will be moved by such a classical masterwork!

    The soloist for this concert, Tomoko Kanamaru, is someone I have known and worked with for many years. She is a wonderful teacher, and an even better piano artist. Dr. Kanamaru is the absolute consummate musician, and it is an honor to have her return to the SOST.

    We are always looking for additional ways to educate our youth, and most recently we have been fine tuning our student educational concerts. This year we are taking a different approach and will be sending our chamber musicians into the school system to help introduce our third graders to the various families of instruments. This will culminate with an educational concert in April for area fifth graders at the Julie Rogers Theatre. This is an exciting new approach that the SOST and the Symphony League is undertaking!

    We are going to close out the second half of the season with a flourish. After this February concert, we will have our final pops concert of the season with Spectrum: The Men of Motown. The Julie Rogers Theatre will be rocking to the soul sounds from 1960s and 1970s Detroit. In April, we will then close out our 65th season in style with the glorious Poulenc Gloria and our choir, and then end the concert with the Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture in surround sound. Two concerts that you do not want to miss!

    Stay tuned to see what else 2018 holds for the Symphony. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone on February 10!


  • Saturday, September 16, 2017 11:51 PM | Anonymous

    This season we have world class soloists both on the pops side and with the classical series. We will be sharing the stage with the outstanding percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, Tomoko Kanamaru on the piano, and all the way to the Men of Motown, the Symphony of Southeast Texas has something for you. This will be our biggest and best season as we celebrate 65 years of bringing great music to Beaumont and the surrounding communities. We will continue to offer great pops concerts. The first one will feature the movie music master John Williams and the second pops concert in March we will be swinging to the sounds of Motown. But we open our season in September with one of the great percussion soloists of our time, Dame Evelyn Glennie. In December, our Home for the Holidays concert will feature vocal soloist Connor Bogart singing holiday favorites that you are not going to want to miss. We will feature members of our orchestra in the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 and so much more this season. There is so much talent in Southeast Texas and we like to feature artists both local and international. This upcoming first classics concert is unique in several ways. We have not performed many pieces by living composers with the symphony here and Joseph Schwantner is a Pulitzer Prize winning composer who taught music composition at Eastman School of Music when I was a student there. I have always loved his music and we are excited to share his music with the Golden Triangle community. Also joining us on our opening concert is world class percussion soloist Dame Evelyn Glennie. What makes her unique, besides her musical gifts, is that she has been able to create this amazing career all while being hearing impaired. You will forget about that when you hear her play on the Julie Rogers stage. This summer I spent time organizing and planning for the future. I love living down here and I do not even mind the heat or the hurricanes. There are such good people around here and I look forward to celebrating this 65th season with you all!

  • Monday, April 04, 2016 3:36 PM | Chelsea Tipton

    “Russian Nights” will be a special treat for our concert goers of Southeast Texas on April 16. We will kick the concert off with the bombastic “Festive Overture” by Dimitri Shostakovich.

    Joining us on this program will be the Symphony of Southeast Texas Chorus on two selections, the “Polovetsian Dances” by Alexander Borodin the wonderful “Chichester Psalms” by Leonard Bernstein.

    Bernstein wrote about the Psalms: “The work that I have been writing all my life is about the struggle that is born of the crisis of our century, a crisis of faith.” It is a very moving spiritual piece that is rhythmic, melodic and in Hebrew.

    Also joining the SOST on stage will be Sean Chen on the piano in the Prokofiev Piano Concerto Number 3. In this showpiece of showpieces, virtuosic fast passages bristle with chromatic runs and glissandos. Just as the soloist’s fingers fly from one end of the keyboard to another, this composition is all over the place! It is so much fun to listen to and will be fun to watch. 

    We hope you will join us for this final destination of our journey around the world with YOUR Symphony.



  • Monday, January 11, 2016 3:33 PM | Chelsea Tipton

    Our third Classics Series program is special treat where we will explore the music of some of our very own American composers. I have a great passion for the music of American composers and their influence on the European music scene. Oftentimes when we think of American music we think of jazz, but the interesting aspect of this program is that there is not jazz in any of the music that we are presenting. 

    Ryu Goto is a great violin soloist who will join us to captivate us with his beautiful rendition of the Bruch Violin Concerto. The other central piece on the concert will be the Symphony by Samuel Barber. The intensity of the piece reflects the growing turmoil in Europe at the time it was written in the mid-1930s. It transcends any particular historic time as a masterpiece of intense and beautiful musical expression. We also have music by a living American composer John Corigliano in presenting his Promenade Overture, a piece of many surprises. We have many wonderful jewels to discover for our Jan. 23 concert. 

    For the Pops concert on Feb. 20, we have a special guest coming to entertain the community and work with the SOST. Carl Topilow is the ultimate entertainer and musician. I was Carl’s assistant for two summers in Breckenridge, Colorado many years ago. I learned a great deal from him not only in the classical realm but also how to present a pops concert. Not only is he a great conductor, but he plays a mean clarinet also as you will hear. 

    This concert is filled with music from the swing era such as “Sing Sing Sing,” “Salute to Benny Goodman,” a Tommy Dorsey salute and much, much more.  Come out and enjoy our trip down memory lane with “When Swing was King!”



  • Wednesday, November 04, 2015 1:54 PM | Chelsea Tipton

    After the great success of our opening concert, “Latin Treasures,” and the “Symphony at Shangri La” performance, we are super excited about our upcoming second Classics Series concert. We are going to continue our journey around the world as we head to Germany. We will be featuring two members of our very own Symphony of Southeast Texas, Thomas Schroeder and Sonya Matoussova on the Vivaldi Duo Cello concerto. After intermission everyone can enjoy the beauty and lyricism of Beethoven’s 4th Symphony. Come hop aboard our balloon around the world as we enjoy music from one of the great German masters!

    Home for the Holidays is back for the fourth year, and it has been growing year after year. This year we are going to sell out so get your tickets early and they are going fast.

    We love to feature great talent from the community for this festive concert, and this year will be no different. Joining us on stage this year will be choirs from Calder Baptist Church, the Southeast Texas Vocal Artists, which is a new chorus that just started up in the community, and the vocal artistry of Abigail Dueppen. There will be other surprises sprinkled throughout the afternoon as well.

    Make sure to share Beaumont’s favorite holiday musical tradition with family and friends, and be thrilled with the spectacle of the season. It's going to be a sparkling holiday celebration!



  • Wednesday, September 16, 2015 1:52 PM | Chelsea Tipton

    Well, it is time to kick off another season with the Symphony of Southeast Texas! I could not be more excited about this season’s offerings as we take the SOST around world on a musical journey. We will visit Latin America, Germany, Russia and the United States.

    Our journey begins with music from our neighbors to the south in Mexico. What I love about this music is the colorful use of percussion and the thick layers of rhythms stacked against one another.  It is impossible to sit still after it begins.

    We start with the music of Jose’ Pablo Moncayo’s “Huapango,” which is a popular dance style in Mexico. Moncayo is arguably the most popular composer to write for orchestra to come out of Mexico. The “Three Cornered Hat Suite No. 2” by Manuel de Falla will transport us to have a taste of Spain. The music paints the picture of neighbors gathering to celebrate the feast of St. John followed by a Spanish dance called a “Jota” that brings us to a chaotic and jubilant resolution. 

    Our featured soloist for the evening is Arturo Sandoval, the 10-time Grammy winning trumpet virtuoso from Cuba. Mr. Sandoval made his mark in the Jazz world but is equally comfortable in the Classical idiom.  We will have a chance to experience both with him showing off his Classical ability with the Arutunian “Trumpet Concerto” on the first half of the concert. Following intermission Mr. Sandoval will be coming out to delight the audience with some of his original compositions for trumpet and orchestra. 

    This will be a night to remember and it is only the start of our journey.  Come join us and I will guarantee that you will not be disappointed.  Go SOST!!!




  • Monday, February 16, 2015 4:15 PM | Chelsea Tipton

    I have always had a passion for pops music, especially movie music.  It adds so much to the stories and images on screen.  We have an amazing program to share with our community on February 21 in our Pops Concert this year.  Not only will there be great music from the most memorable classic and blockbuster movies, but there will be images to accompany the music.

    Think about some of your favorite movies, many times there are melodies and tunes associated with the film.  The first film score composer that I fell in love with was John Williams.  His music just captured my imagination and still does.  We also have some John Williams compositions on this concert with music from Harry Potter and the movie "1941".  Other wonderful selections include, The Pink Panther, Rocky, Moon River and so many more. 

    This is a great concert for families to come out, enjoy and take a ride with us down memory lane through movies.

  • Monday, January 12, 2015 6:03 PM | Chelsea Tipton

    We are so excited to kick off 2015 with a concert featuring two masterpieces that approach music from completely different perspectives.  Much of the music we perform is symphonic music and is not done with text or narration. On this program we will be featuring Sergei Prokofiev’s "Peter and the Wolf." This is one my favorite pieces, but we wanted to present it with a “Twist.” Several years ago I heard about this company called “Really Inventive Stuff," which is dedicated to imaginative, playful, entertaining storytelling. So joining us onstage from “Really Inventive Stuff” will be Michael Boudewyns who will share the story of "Peter and the Wolf" in a way you have never seen before.  The audience, both young and old, is going to love it!

    Also on the program is Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 4.It was the last of Brahms’ symphonies and the most mature. This symphony is full of passion, all the wonderful ideals of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic period. He was a musicologist who tipped his hat to the past of Palestrina and Bach while at the same time looking forward to where music composition could go. It is an amazing piece of music that we are happy to share with the community. 

    Hope to see everyone there and what a great way to begin 2015! 

  • Monday, October 20, 2014 2:47 PM | Chelsea Tipton

    I am so excited to be working with Ron White, who has been a member of the SOST for a very long time. What is amazing is that after I had been working with the orchestra here in Beaumont for three years, Ron and I were sitting next to each other playing a gig at a local church and we started talking and realized we were at the same band camp, in the same clarinet section and in the same concert band up in Michigan back in 1981!  We could not believe the coincidence and that it took us three years of working together until we realized this fact. Ron's training on the clarinet is really top-notch having studied with some of the biggest names in the clarinet world. The Mozart Clarinet Concerto is a piece that is near and dear to my heart as a clarinetist.  It was one of Mozart's last compositions and shows his absolute mastery and how he was light years ahead of any of his contemporaries at the time. A true masterpiece.

    We will also explore three of the most prominent English composers: Boyce, Handel and Elgar.  This will be a concert where you may want to have a spot of tea before attending, Earl Grey being my personal favorite!

  • Saturday, September 20, 2014 2:43 PM | Chelsea Tipton

    Greetings and welcome to the 62nd season of the Symphony of Southeast Texas. The mission of the SOST is reach out and touch as many people through music as we can. We have another fantastic season ahead with a little bit of something for everyone! Some of the highlights include the beautiful and colorful Scheherazade by Rimsky Korsakov to open our season with the Blue Ridge Mandolin Concerto featuring virtuoso mandolinist Jeff Midkiff, the luscious, sophisticated Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 4, the powerful Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 with Philippe Bianconi returning to our community, and our annual Home for the Holidays concert in December along with many more surprises. Our pops concert this season will take you to the movies with some interesting twists and turns along the way.

    As always, we thank our dedicated Board members, Symphony League members, donors, sponsors, and you for supporting the Symphony of Southeast Texas. Bring your friends and family and tell people about what a wonderful orchestra we have right here in Southeast Texas. If you want to be entertained and moved, come and hear YOUR Symphony ...with a twist. Go SOST!!!


    Chelsea Tipton, II
    Music Director


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