News and Features

Goodnight, Vienna! The DSO Continues its European Tour


A number of Dallasites are following the Dallas Symphony, which is currently on tour in Europe. That includes KERA’s Bill Zeeble who caught up with the DSO in Vienna. KERA’s Jerome Weeks filed this report, based on Bill’s interviews.

A contingent of Dallasites has been following along with the DSO on its first European tour in 10 years. Last week, they were in Amsterdam, the hometown of DSO conductor Jaap van Zweden. The orchestra’s performance of Gustav Mahler’s Sixth Symphony was greeted there with a standing ovation and demands for an encore. It was such a joyous response that Saturday, in Vienna, Dallas patrons were still thrilled by the experience.

Lori McCommons is a member of the DSO’s Orchestra Guild. She says, “The DSO in Amsterdam was the best I ever heard the DSO. I think they were on an emotional high. And it was just – they were really tight. You could just tell they were so pleased to be there.”

The Dallas Symphony’s European tour has been something of a dare. An American orchestra has been bringing Austrian and German music – to the very capitals of Austrian and German music. Gustav Mahler himself called Amsterdam his second home. But what certainly could be called the composer’s first home was Vienna.

Saturday, the DSO performed Mahler’s Sixth Symphony again, this time in Vienna’s 100-year-old Konzerthaus (left, photo by Bill Zeeble). The orchestra didn’t get the same kind of rapturous reception as it did in Amsterdam. But in Vienna, the bravos from the crowd of eighteen hundred people did bring the DSO back for an encore. Ford Lacy is a longtime patron of the DSO and compared the two city’s responses.

He says that although Vienna did not deliver a standing ovation, there were shouts of ‘Bravo!” And while Amsterdam’s response was overwhelming, he didn’t hear any bravos there: “Maybe the Germans and the Dutch express themselves in different ways in their concert halls. I know in Paris, the people always stamp their feet. So I don’t really know what the cultural patterns are of Amsterdam vs. Vienna.”

Americans in the audience called Saturday’s performance fantastic. But at least one Viennese local wasn’t as impressed. “It was good,” Margit Kocher said, “but there have been better concerts. But it’s a little bit unfair to compare them with the Vienna Philharmonic. So – average.”

The DSO has two more opportunities to win converts in Europe. Tonight, the orchestra plays Hamburg, Thursday it’s in Hanover and flies home Friday.