Grand Finale: Wyner Will End Run with Warren Orchestra

WARREN, Ohio – The Warren Philharmonic Orchestra will bring its season to a close with a concert Sunday, April 21, that will mark the end of Susan Davenny Wyner’s 24-year run as its conductor and music director.

The concert will start at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 256 Mahoning Ave. NW. Tickets are $30 ($15 for students; free for children under 13) and can be purchased at the door.

Wyner has performed more than 420 concerts with the WPO and transformed it from a chamber orchestra to a philharmonic during her stint.

“It has been a joy and privilege to get to know and work with so many dedicated members of the community — board members, educational leaders as well as the musicians,” Wyner said. “I thank them all for their gifts and will look forward to keeping in touch through the music-making with Opera Western Reserve.”

Wyner, who lives in Boston, said the WPO and the Mahoning Valley has felt like a second home to her.

“There is a warmth and caring for one another that is very special here in the Valley,” she said. “Warren should be very proud of this orchestra. It is a gem, and of a quality that very few other communities can boast.  Guest artists who have performed on world stages are always stunned to find an orchestra of this skill, generosity of spirit and quality here in Warren.”

Even though her time with the WPO is coming to an end, Wyner stressed that she is not retiring. She will continue as music director of Opera Western Reserve in Youngstown. Wyner will return to the Mahoning Valley in the fall to prepare for OWR’s Nov. 22 production of “La Traviata” at Powers Auditorium.

Susan Davenny Wyner

She also has several recording and concert projects in the works in Boston.

Wyner is excited about her final concert with the WPO, which will feature works from Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 (“the Haffner”), “Dances in the Canebreaks” by Florence Page and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.

“What particularly excites me about [this] concert is the range of adventures it takes us on,” Wyner said in a press release. “Beginning and ending with towering masterpieces by Mozart and Beethoven, the program embraces a delicious American ‘surprise!’ in the middle.”

She is referring to a piece by Florence Price (1887-1953), who was the first Black composer to have a symphony performed by a major symphony orchestra. 

“Dances in the Canebrakes” is a jazzy set of dances inspired by the rhythms and melodies of African and Caribbean music.

“The three dances take us from nimble ragtime moves to the seductive drag of a Caribbean tango and finish with a jaunty ‘cakewalk’ with its habanera-like swing,” Wyner said.

The concert will open with Mozart’s Haffner Symphony. “Fiery and bold, it starts with a brilliant fanfare that propels us into witty, character filled, sometimes gentle, often surprising adventures,” Wyner said. “It is Mozart at his best.”

For the grand finale of the concert – and her time at the helm of the WPO – Wyner will celebrate the orchestra’s musicians and her 24 years as music director and conductor.

She chose Beethoven’s seventh symphony for its power and range.

“It takes us through extraordinary worlds, moving from deep mystery to the depths of despair, into rollicking fun and finally wild, almost bacchanalian, joy,” she said.

Pictured at top: Susan Davenny Wyner conducts the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra in a past concert at First Presbyterian Church in Warren.

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