ETSO brings Live Orchestra to Nutcracker

December 15, 2018

In an era where ballet companies are using live orchestra less and less, live music is alive and well in Tyler, Texas with the East Texas Symphony.

On December 1, 2018, the ETSO performed two sold out shows of The Nutcracker at the University of Texas at Tyler Cowan Center in Tyler, in collaboration with the Tyler Junior College Academy of Dance. In addition to the two full length shows on December 1, ETSO and TJC Academy of Dance also performed a special show of highlights and behind the scenes demonstrations to over 2,000 students on Friday, November 30. This was the first time the Academy performed this “school show” with live orchestra. Close to 200 cast members took part in the production, including 7 alumni dancers and two guest dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet, Nayara Lopes and Sterling Bacca. The entire production was brand new with new sets, costumes and choreography. “It takes so much effort to put together a production with a live orchestra, but makes for a fantastic experience for the audience, dancers and musicians alike,” said ETSO Principal Clarinetist Sharon Deuby.

ETSO has performed The Nutcracker with the TJC Academy of Dance on three anniversary productions but this year’s production included an recording project. The evening performance was recorded and mastered for a 4k production of a DVD which will be available for purchase soon. This is the first media project for the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, since the company became signatory to the AFM’s Integrated Media Agreement. “As someone who has performed Nutcracker close to 300 times, it was really important to me that this production feature the most musicians we could fit in the pit and that students who attended the school show also have the opportunity to hear a live orchestra,” said ETSO Executive Director Vanessa Gardner. “Given that this was a special anniversary, it seemed fitting that a DVD of the performance featuring so many performers in our community also feature the live music of ETSO.”