WSO conjures "Mozart Magic" at Kimball Theatre

Few artists create a legacy as prolific as that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra plans to celebrate the timeless composer with “Mozart Magic,” a concert of his works and more that he inspired Nov. 15-16 at the Kimball Theatre.

“Mozart is one of the greatest composers of all time,” said Janna Hymes, the symphony’s music director. “You don’t have to live in the 1700s to feel it. I’m very excited about it.”

The concert spans Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto” and his “Symphony No. 40.” The former served as the maestro’s final completed instrumental piece and the latter proved his second-to-last symphony as he approached the end of his life.

“It’s a fantastic program and the orchestra will really shine on this,” Hymes said. “I really believe if you play Mozart, you can play anything.”

Hymes said she admired the bold experimentation of Mozart’s 40th symphony. Clarinetist David Shifrin will also perform as a guest artist during the concerto, a collaboration a year-and-a-half in the making.

Executive Director Carolyn Keurajian said Shifrin is a classical music icon.

“As a woodwind player, I just appreciate the artistry that he is going to bring,” she said. “I’m just excited to see him in such a small setting, up close and personal.”

Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Sinfonietta No. 1,” an homage to the memory of Mozart, kicks off the evening of music. It marks the symphony’s first time playing the piece.

“He was a great composer. It’s just delightful,” Hymes said, adding that Villa-Lobos manages to capture Mozart’s form, style and symmetry. “Really, it’s quite brilliant.”

Keurajian said it’s “mind-boggling” to consider how much Mozart contributed to the world of music during his 35 years of life.

“To me, I love the fact that this old music is just so relevant still today,” she said.

Hymes said the concert is smaller than some of their other recent endeavors, opting to focus on technique and sound with a more personal feel.

“It feels to me like people are coming to concerts for different reasons. It’s a crazy life right now,” she said. “People who come into the hall are escaping a little bit of reality and seeing something that’s so moving and beautiful and really touches your soul.”

Want to go?

“Mozart Magic” performs at 8 p.m. Nov. 15-16 at the Kimball Theatre. Tickets are $48-58 or $20 for students, available by calling 229-9857. Online ticketing is not available for this concert.

Other symphony offerings

The symphony’s Holiday Pops concert takes to the Kimball Theatre at 1:30 and 3 p.m. Dec. 2-3. Tickets are $30, available by calling 229-9857 or online at

The symphony is offering fans the opportunity to help shape its upcoming 35th season. Those interested can submit their favorite piece online at or by emailing by Jan. 2, 2018. Hymes will announce the most popular submission, which will be included in the subsequent season, during the symphony’s “Beethoven’s Ninth” concert on April 12, 2018.

Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.

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