Winston-Salem Symphony Presents “a Symphonic Odyssey” Classics Concerts Featuring Music by Strauss and Berlioz

(Last Updated On: March 20, 2017)

Elizabeth Bishop – credit Madeleine Gray Divatography

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (MARCH 16, 2017) – The Winston-Salem Symphony, Robert Moody, Music Director, will present Classics Series concerts entitled “Strauss & Berlioz: A Symphonic Odyssey” on Sun., April 2 and Tuesday, April 4. The concerts will be a choral tour de force featuring mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop; the Winston-Salem Symphony Chorale, Dr. Christopher Gilliam, Director; the Winston-Salem State University Choir, Maestra D’Walla Simmons-Burke, Director; and the Winston-Salem Youth Chorus, Dr. Sonja Sepúlveda, Director alongside the Winston-Salem Symphony. The concerts will include Also sprach Zarathustra, op. 30 by Richard Strauss and Te Deum for Choruses, Orchestra, and Organ, op. 22/H. 118, by Hector Berlioz.

“This concert is sure to thrill audiences with these two magnificent pieces,” said Maestro Robert Moody. “People will recognize the dramatic opening of Also sprach Zarathustra, which was used in Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Berlioz’s grand and romantic Te Deum also will move audiences with its beauty and power. The sheer number of musicians and voices on stage performing this concert is amazing—over 110 orchestra musicians and 160 chorus members!

Under the baton of Maestro Moody, “Strauss & Berlioz: A Symphonic Odyssey” will take place on Sunday, April 2 at 3 p.m. and Tuesday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Center of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, 405 West Fourth Street in downtown Winston-Salem. Tickets range from $20 – $67 and are available in advance by calling the Symphony Box Office at 336-464-0145 or online at

Several pre-concert programs will take place and will give attendees an opportunity to learn more about the upcoming Classics concerts:

Musical Morning, a lively and informative pre-concert program featuring special guests from the Winston-Salem Symphony, will take place on Saturday, March 25 at 10 a.m. at Salemtowne Retirement Community, located at 190 Moravian Way in Winston-Salem. This event is free and open to the public and includes light refreshments. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 336. 725.1035, extension 227.


Music Lovers’ Luncheon, a fun and informative pre-concert lunch with Maestro Moody and guest vocalist Elizabeth Bishop will take place Friday, March 31 at noon at 1703 Restaurant, located at 1703 Robinhood Road in Winston-Salem. The luncheon is $20 per person and is a great opportunity to learn more about the concert in a relaxed atmosphere. Reservations are requested for the Music Lovers’ Luncheon and can be made by calling 336.464.0145.

The concerts will open with Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra), which is a tone poem composed in 1896 and inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical novel of the same name. In the words of David Levy, Professor of Music at Wake Forest University: “Strauss translated many of the essential themes of Nietzsche’s novel into a continuous web of musical episodes…Whether or not one buys into Nietzsche’s philosophical principles, or even if one remained ignorant of Strauss’s attempt to capture its essential elements in sound, Also sprach Zarathustra remains at its fundamental level an exciting and breathtaking adventure of orchestral spectacle.”

Hector Berlioz’s grand Te Deum is scored for vocal soloists, three choruses including a children’s chorus, a large orchestra, additional brass ensembles, and an organ. This magnificent piece is dramatic, moving, and powerful. Berlioz skillfully controls when he utilizes portions of the large number of musicians and voices on stage and when he enlists their full force.

American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop, founder and head of the Potomac Vocal Institute, is acclaimed for her powerful, nuanced portrayals and “lustrous” voice. A frequent guest of major opera companies and orchestras throughout the United States and overseas, she is also a widely respected teacher and passionate advocate for music education. Having won the Metropolitan Opera (MET) National Council Auditions in 1993, Elizabeth made her MET début the following year and has since become a company regular, singing such roles as Mère Marie (Les dialogues des Carmelites), Didon (Les Troyens), Fenena (Nabucco), Second Norn (Götterdämmerung), Venus (Tannhäuser), the title role of Iphigénie en Tauride and, most recently, Enrichetta (I Puritani) and Teresa (La Sonnambula). In 2013, she made MET history when she sang both Mère Marie and Fricka in Das Rheingold in a single day—one of only a few MET artists ever to perform two major roles within twenty-four hours. Bishop also enjoys an especially close association with her home company, Washington National Opera (WNO) and has sung many roles with them. A member of San Francisco’s Merola program and subsequently an Adler Fellow, Bishop has sung a variety of roles for San Francisco Opera.

A firm believer in demystifying the art of classical singing, Bishop is increasingly in demand as a vocal educator, both for individual tuition and in a masterclass setting. Bishop works on a one-to-one basis with a wide variety of individual students, from teenagers and enthusiasts to budding professionals and established artists. She has given masterclasses at institutions including Virginia Opera, the Washington National Opera Institute, Duke University, Vann Vocal Institute, University of North Carolina, Furman University, Baldwin Wallace University, American University, and the Fine Arts Centre in Greenville, South Carolina. In founding the Potomac Vocal Institute, Bishop aims to help singers at every level of the profession realize their own full potential.

For a full artist biography, please visit

This concert and the Winston-Salem Symphony are sponsored by Season Co-Presenting Sponsors BB&T and Bell, Davis, & Pitt, P.A.; Classics Presenting Sponsor Wells Fargo The Private Bank; Concert Sponsor Salemtowne; 89.9 FM WDAV Classical Public Radio as well as the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and the North Carolina Arts Council.

About the Winston-Salem Symphony

The Winston-Salem Symphony, one of the Southeast’s most highly regarded regional orchestras, began its 70th anniversary performance season in September 2016. Under the baton of Music Director Robert Moody, the season includes a special 70th anniversary opening gala concert, Classics and Kicked-Back Classics series, Plugged-In Pops series, Discovery Concerts for Kids, annual performances of Handel’s Messiah, a concert featuring Winston-Salem Symphony and Youth Symphony musicians, holiday concerts, three youth orchestra ensembles, and a multitude of educational and community engagement programs. The Symphony is supported by Season Co-Presenting Sponsors Bell, Davis & Pitt, P.A. and BB&T, as well as generous funding from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, the North Carolina Arts Council, and other dedicated sponsors. For more information, visit