Escape to Reflection: an Evening of Music Written in Memory of Beloved Teachers, lands, and Those We Have lost to COVID-19

The Fort Collins Symphony (FCS) will present “Escape to Reflection,” the fourth Signature Concert of the 2022-2023 season, at 7:30 PM on Saturday, March 4, 2023, in-person at the Lincoln Center and via live-stream.

SC4 Escape to Reflection

The performance includes music written in memory of beloved teachers, lands, and those we lost to COVID-19. FCS Music Director Maestro Wes Kenney will lead the orchestra in a concert of music composed by Antonio Vivaldi, Benjamin Britten, Chief “Fela” Sowande, and Grammy Award-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis.

Music Director Maestro Wes Kenney will lead the orchestra in a concert of music composed by Antonio Vivaldi, Benjamin Britten, Chief “Fela” Sowande, and Grammy Award-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis.

The concert is being performed in memory of those we have lost to COVID-19.

Listen on Spotify:

Escape to Reflection:

The evening begins with Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso, Op. 3 No. 11, a bold piece featuring three soloists. Violinist Evan De Long, one of three candidates for the symphony’s open concertmaster position, and two members of the orchestra will be featured.

Chief “Fela” Sowande’s African Suite is a spirited and nostalgic suite of music inspired by West African songs and scenes. The five movements include Nigerian folk tunes and influences of jazz, gospel, and popular music. Written in 1944, it is one of the earliest and most important examples of a composer incorporating African musical styles into a traditional orchestral composition.

Benjamin Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge is a tour de force of musical creativity and innovation. Composed in 1937 at the age of 24, this work showcases the young composer’s skill and unique musical voice. Starting with a theme by his teacher, Frank Bridge, Britten creates a series of imaginative and engaging variations that span the gamut of orchestral styles. From the playful opening to the haunting final variation, this work is a triumph of musical artistry and a must-hear for fans of classical music. 

Elegy (for those we lost):

Grammy Award-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis
Grammy Award-winning composer
Aaron Jay Kernis
Photo: Richard Bowditch

The evening concludes with Elegy (for those we lost) by American composer Aaron Jay Kernis. Written at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it is dedicated “to the families of loved ones who passed away from the coronavirus and to the doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals who worked so tirelessly to save those loved ones.” Kernis, a Pulitzer Prize recipient and Grammy Award-winning composer, is a professor of composition at Yale.

“The Elegy is a moving testament to those who have not survived to hear it…Aaron achieves that rare but perfect musical arc that takes the listener on a journey through the stages of grief — deep sadness, resignation, despair, and rage, ultimately leading towards hope, sublimation, resolve, acceptance, and finally peace.”  Daniel Hathaway and harpist Yolanda Kondonassis via Cleveland Classical (

Find tickets and learn more about the music and composers featured on “Escape to Reflection” at

Tickets are $25-$67 for adults, $10 for children/students, and $25 for live-stream, available at 

Learn more about the concert:

-Visit for concert program notes by Dr. Dawn Grapes and Dr. William E. Runyan, and other enlightening resources about the concert. Free.

-Attend Dr. Dawn Grapes’ Composer Talk in person at Old Town Library at noon on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.  Free.

-Experience the FCS at Open Rehearsal in-person at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at the Lincoln Center. Free.

-Join Maestro Wes Kenney for his pre-concert lecture, “Maestro’s Musings,” in-person or live stream at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, 2023at the Lincoln Center. With purchase of concert ticket.

-Tune into Maestro Kenney’s World of Symphonic Music at 7 p.m. on Sundays at KRFC 88.9 FM Radio Fort Collins 88.9 FM. Free.

Concert Sponsors:

The Fort Collins Symphony’s 2022-2023 Season Sponsors: City of Fort Collins Fort Fund, Colorado Creative Industries, Dr. David and Alison Dennis, Ken Garff Ford Fort Collins, Lyric Theater, National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Ed Siegel, and Dr. Peter Springberg and Janet Kowall.

Media Sponsors: KRFC 88.9 FM Radio Fort Collins, KUNC 91.5 FM Radio NPR, and North Forty News.

Signature Concert 3 Sponsors: The Friends of the Symphony

Avery Gagliano appears by special arrangement with Curtis on Tour, the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music.