A Celebration With Strings

Music in perpetuity: Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra Music Director Laureate Tom Joiner will be honored in the HSO fall opening concert.

The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra will come full circle this fall when it opens its autumn season by presenting Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto. The performance is part of a September 30 concert honoring the orchestra’s Music Director Laureate/Conductor Thomas Joiner, a violinist. 

It was Joiner who, in 2012, began the cycle of presenting the five concertos Beethoven wrote for piano and orchestra, with only the third unperformed when Joiner left the podium in 2019 after 21 seasons with the orchestra.

During those two decades, Joiner’s efforts to introduce children to symphonic music was much admired, particularly his creation of the annual HSO Youth Education Concerts for third and sixth graders in Henderson County. “We’re very excited about celebrating Tom Joiner and his career with the [Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra] when we open our concert season this fall,” says HSO Executive Director Paul Conroy. “As plans for the September 30 concert evolved, the board of directors decided to establish an endowment for youth education in his name. When fully funded, this endowment will assure the community that these concerts will live on in perpetuity.”

The concert will have deeper resonances, too. Performing the third concerto will be pianist Douglas Weeks, who first met Joiner in 1981 when the two were doctorate candidates at Florida State University. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship, including teaching together at Brevard Music Center (where Weeks remains on the faculty) and performing 17 times in western Africa and the Middle East as part of the U.S. Information Agency Artistic Ambassadors program. 

“Over the years, we performed a good swath of the violin/piano repertoire,” Weeks remembers, “including all three Brahms sonatas and several piano concerti, as well.” The Beethoven Third was among those concerti, performed at Brevard but never in Hendersonville.

The Beethoven concerto will form the first half of the September concert under the baton of Joiner’s successor on the HSO podium, Conductor John Young Shik Concklin, who developed the program in conversations with not only Joiner and Weeks, but with Joiner’s wife Anna and daughter Dianna. Anna is a celebrated violist and teacher (both she and her husband are on the Furman University faculty) and Dianna is an accomplished violinist. 

“Dianna literally grew up surrounded by the musicians and patrons of the HSO,” her father says. “She began attending concerts and receptions when she was only eight years old, and began violin with her mother when she was five.” Dianna will be performing during the concert’s second half, playing her father’s own instrument for two movements from the film score of Schindler’s List, written by John Williams and first recorded for the film by Itzhak Perlman. Rounding out the program will be another Williams-penned score, the Raiders’ March, from the first Raiders of The Lost Ark film, and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo And Juliet overture. Both pieces have been part of the HSO’s concerts for school-age children, in keeping with Joiner’s frequently offered observation: “These are the most important concerts we do.”

“Past, Present and Future: Honoring The Legacy Of Dr. Thomas Joiner” will be presented on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 3pm at Blue Ridge Community College. Visit hendersonvillesymphony.org/concerts for ticket information. To learn more about the HSO’s Joiner Legacy Fund, contact the Community Foundation Of Henderson County, 828-697-6224 or info@cfhcforever.org.

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