Announcing: Basically Beethoven Festival-in-Place

In-person concerts move online for 40-year-old music series

Fine Arts Chamber Players announces its flagship series, Basically Beethoven Festival, will not be staged live in July 2020. This year, FACP will record and share Festival performances for the Basically Beethoven Festival-in-Place. Musicians will be recorded in a concert setting and the footage will premiere on FACP’s YouTube channel at the scheduled concert times: July 12, July 19, and July 26 at 2:30 p.m. 

“Because of public health concerns, the logistics to conduct public concerts this summer were daunting if not insurmountable for an organization of our size,” explained FACP Executive Director Emily Guthrie. “I will miss greeting our long-time supporters and new audience members in person. Typically, Festival concerts have an audience of over 500 people. That’s just not possible this summer.”

“A silver lining to moving online,” FACP Board President Anne Witherspoon added, “is that now our performances can be shared with family and friends outside of North Texas. And patrons will have the ability to watch the concerts at their convenience and visit the performances for repeated viewings. FACP is excited to share our vision with our audience, even if the circumstances have changed.”

“In a time where we are reeling from a pandemic, arts events have been cancelled out of necessity,” Basically Beethoven Festival Director Alex McDonald said. “And with the things that trouble us that go even deeper: from sickness to systemic racism, from lost jobs to chronic fear, this is a difficult time to have a festival. However, we at Fine Arts Chamber Players feel that music matters as much as ever. We hope that the first-ever Festival-in-Place does its part to restore and soothe us.” 

He continued, “Festival programming centers around Beethoven’s composition Heiliger Dankgesang which loosely translates as ‘song of Thanksgiving…for recovery from a recent illness.’ Since 2020 is also the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, we wanted to organize our concerts according to styles that preceded Beethoven, a celebration of Beethoven himself, and an exploration of music after Beethoven.”

Each Festival concert begins with a Rising Star Recital highlighting exceptional student musicians from the area, and continues with a Feature Performance, showcasing professionals of the highest caliber. FACP never charges admission for its programs. Donations can be made online: www.fineartschamberplayers.org/donate


July 12: Bach to Beethoven

Rising Star Regina Lin, piano, performs works by Joseph Haydn, Beethoven’s teacher; and Franz Liszt, a composer who felt Beethoven paved the way for future musicians. For the Feature Performance, cellists Andrés Díaz (SMU Professor of Cello) and Joseph Kuipers with Karen Abrahamson-Thomas (Waco Symphony Principal Harp) move from the Baroque to Beethoven’s era through the works of Bach, Boccherini, Maria Theresia von Paradis, and Paganini.

July 19: Beethoven, Basically

For the Rising Star Recital, violinist Nikki Nagavi will be joined by pianist Kyle Orth for Beethoven’s sublime “Spring” sonata, op. 24. Then, featured artists Lucas Aleman (Dallas Symphony violin), Theodore Harvey (DSO Associate Principal Cello), and Festival Director Alex McDonald, piano, will present the “Archduke” trio, op. 97. The concert concludes with Aleman and Harvey joining Grace Kang Wollett (Dallas Opera violin) and Rachel Li McDonald, viola, to perform the sublime middle movement of quartet op. 132, Heiliger Dankgesang (“Holy Song of Thanksgiving for recovery from a recent illness”).

July 26: Beethoven and Beyond!

Rising Stars Bryan Han, cello, and Ashley Tauhert, piano, present the final two movements of Rachmaninoff’s cello sonata; then, Featured Performers take the stage to explore works after Beethoven by composers influenced by the artist.


Alternative Programming: Plus One at 1

FACP is introducing a new series to help brighten your week: Plus One at 1! Each Friday at 1:00, we will share duets from FACP performers on our social media channels. This week features flutist Ebonee Thomas, who performed on our October 2019 Hallam Family Concert: French Impressions. She is joined by FACP Artistic Director Emily Levin in an excerpt of Gabriel Fauré‘s Fantasie.

Look closely and you will see these two artists recorded their segments separately, while sheltering in place at their homes!

We hope the music brings you joy until we can be together in person again. In the meantime, make sure you are on our mailing list and follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Cancellation notice: March 28, 2020

In keeping with the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines, our next Hallam Family Concert, Musica on March 28, has been cancelled. Our host, the Dallas Museum of Art, has cancelled all special events and activities through April 3.

We are disappointed to miss the opportunity to share with you the considerable talent of Elmer Churampi, DSO trumpet; Pepe Valdez, guitar; and Augusto Longas Garcia, percussion. However, we understand the DMA’s decision and care about the health and safety of our audience.

Click here for the CDC’s recommendations. The DMA’s statement can be found here. We will keep you informed about any future changes to our season. If you are on social media, please follow Fine Arts Chamber Players on FacebookTwitter, and/or Instagram.


Now Hear This: an Interview with Erin Hannigan

If you have attended a performance at the Dallas Symphony, you have heard Erin Hannigan: if not a solo line within a major work, then at the very least you have heard the clarion call of her oboe sailing above the din calling the players to tune. Join us for an afternoon of oboe-centric works by British composers on Saturday, February 29 at English Sentiment, a Hallam Family Concert.

Erin Hannigan, Principal Oboe of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

What piece on the program are you most excited about? What should we listen for?    I’m really excited to perform the Bliss Oboe Quintet for the first time! All of the pieces on the program are major staples of the oboe repertoire, but the Bliss seems to be performed less often than the Bax or the Britten. The Bliss is full of memorable tunes: everything from the most beautiful and lyrical theme to an Irish jig!

Is chamber music for oboe a big part of the repertoire?    The oboe has been around historically since Bach’s time, the 1600s, so there is a LOT of music written for it. I always consider myself lucky to have repertoire that spans the ages, both orchestral and chamber!

How old were you when you started playing oboe? Why did you choose it?    I started playing the oboe when I was 7 years old; just before third grade. I later found out that this its highly unusual to start on the oboe, and that playing it too soon disrupts brain development due to back pressure! I seem to have turned out ok, I think…When I was trying to decide which instrument to play my dad mentioned his love of the oboe, so I looked it up in the dictionary. It looked like a challenge, so I decided that was what I would do!

What’s it like having a professional music career in Dallas?    Dallas is an amazing place to have a career in the Arts. I have felt embraced through my Symphony position, but I have also felt so much support behind my community outreach initiative. Dallas is such a creative and artistic city! Another angle to my professional life is that I’ve been able to maintain a high-powered oboe studio at SMU. Finding a place where one can have truly top-level performing AND teaching is rare. My work here keeps me exceptionally busy, but I’ve been afforded the ability to accept playing opportunities in other places, such as the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, St Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, and others. It’s good to travel to other cities and engage with other orchestras and artists. It keeps me aware and in sync with the artistic world at large!

What type of music did you listen growing up? What do you listen to now?    Growing up I listened only to classical, but now I have a far broader appreciation for all types of music. I can be found listening to everything from Bach to Christina Perri!

Who’s your favorite composer to listen to? To play?    Johann Sebastian Bach is my all-around favorite to listen to and to play!

What advice would you give 14-year-old Erin?    If I could rewind time, I would tell myself to worry less and enjoy the process more. That doesn’t mean to work less hard because I feel that’s a necessity, but to stop more often and enjoy the journey.

What advice would you give a high schooler who wants to pursue music in college?    I tell my high school students who express an interest in majoring in music that they need to make sure that they truly love music and the art of playing the oboe. Pursuing music performance is challenging and extremely competitive and everyone, no matter who, will face challenges and disappointments. The love of it is what will carry them through.

What’s your favorite sound?    Ocean waves   Your least favorite sound?    Nails on a chalkboard

When you leave this world and reach the pearly gates, what celestial concert do you hope to hear?    Bach B Minor Mass