Classical Beat: Fort Worth Symphony, Joan Trimble, Chorus America …

Symphony celebrates its 75th year; Irish composer/pianist dies; Chorus America taps Ann Meier Baker.

With 75 years under its belt, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra performs a 2000–01 season filled with music ranging from Aaron Copland to Johannes Brahms. The orchestra’s new music director, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, will make his debut in October. Guest performers during the season will include such artists as baritone Jubilant Sykes and pianists Valentina Lisitsa and André Watts. The Cleveland Orchestra will visit in March with a program including Charles IvesThe Unanswered Questions. …

Composer/pianist Joan Trimble died Aug. 6 in Ireland. In 1940, Trimble won the Cobbett Prize for her Phantasy Trio and was commissioned by the BBC in 1943 to compose Erin go Bragh, a rhapsody for brass band. Also in 1943 she and her sister, Valerie, made their debut at the British Proms concert with Mozart‘s Two-Piano Concerto. In the 1950s she wrote an opera for BBC television, Blind Raferty. Lately, there has been renewed interest in her work — the first CD devoted to her music appeared this year on the Marco Polo label. Trimble was 85. …

Chorus America has announced that Ann Meier Baker is its new executive director. Baker has worked for the American Symphony Orchestra and the Music Educators National Board. Chorus America is a Washington, D.C., organization that promotes the development and growth of vocal ensembles, advocates the fair remuneration of professional singers and choruses, and stimulates greater understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music throughout North America. …

Amid the onslaught of CD releases from a variety of labels celebrating baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau‘s 75th birthday, Milan’s Myto Records jumps into the fray with what is being billed as his “first operatic appearance.” The recording features the German baritone as the Marquis of Posa in Guiseppe Verdi‘s Don Carlos, performed by the Stadtische Oper Berlin (now the Deutsche Oper) in 1948. Fischer-Dieskau sang his first recitals in 1945 while held as a prisoner of war in Italy. …

The Warsaw Chamber Orchestra will celebrate 400 years of opera this season. A yearlong festival kicks off Oct. 6 with the premiere of 16th-century Italian composer Jacopo Peri‘s Euridice. It is Peri’s only surviving opera. There will be a Monteverdi and Rossini festival, a Baroque Opera festival as well as two festivals devoted to Early and Contemporary Polish Operas. …

Celebrating 56 years of activity, the Toledo Symphony will bring such guests as Yo-Yo Ma, James Galway and Garrick Ohlsson to Ohio for the 2000–01 series. Toledo native and pianist Stanley Cowell will join conductor Andrew Massey in Cowell’s Piano Concerto No. 1, a tribute to Art Tatum. In addition, Michael Dougherty will debut Metropolis, a tribute to the comic-book hero Superman, in March. Ma will bring his Silk Road project in January and the Beaux Arts Trio will join the Prague Chamber Orchestra, also in March. …

This week, board members for the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition begin selecting nominees for the prestigious conducting award, to be given Oct. 23. The winner will receive a year’s tenure as the Assistant Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra following the competition. The 20 conducting finalists range in age from 25–34 and represent nine EU countries. The competitors will rehearse the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 21, and the finalists will have the opportunity to conduct the LSO two days later. …

Also from the UK, the Manchester BBC Philharmonic has launched an e-mail club as a reward to those who visit its Web site. Conductors, soloists, orchestral members or administrative personnel will pen the biweekly e-mails sent to subscribers, giving a fresh perspective to the duties and rigors of life in a major symphonic orchestra. The e-mails also will serve as a basis for launching sneak previews, recent recordings and personal behind-the-scenes views from Manchester and on extensive tours. …

The Chinese National Orchestra will make its U.S. debut Aug. 24 at the Great Hall of the United Nations in New York and their West Coast debut Sept. 10 at San Francisco’s Davies Hall. A highlight will be the use of a set of bronze bell chimes, a replica of an instrument created almost 3,000 years ago and unearthed in China’s Hubei Province in the 1970s. The chimes weigh 1,600 pounds. …

Lou Harrison has won this year’s Edward MacDowell medal, making him the 12th composer to receive the award. Composer Chester Biscardi was chairman of this year’s selection committee for the MacDowell Colony, which also included music historian Vivian Perlis and composers Meredith Monk, Alvin Singleton and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Harrison is the first experimental composer to receive the medal. “In choosing Lou Harrison,” Biscardi said in a statement, “the search committee recognizes his gentle and generous spirit, as well as the very personal and multifaceted way in which he is and will continue to be a major presence in American and world music.” Harrison’s works have been commissioned by such notables as Lester Horton, Jean Erdman, Merce Cunningham, the Cabrillo Music Festival, the Mark Morris Dance Company and the Louisville Orchestra. He also played a large role in the introduction of the Indonesian gamelan to American audiences. The award ceremony will be held Aug. 20 at the MacDowell Colony in Petersburgh, N.H.