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The Rebirth of Amadeus

Concert series begins on Sept. 25 at St. Luke's Church in McLean.

<bt>The Amadeus Concert Series will proclaim its triumphant rebirth starting with a concert on Sept. 25 at St. Luke's Church in McLean resurrecting Beethoven's Symphony No. 1, a piece the orchestra played during its first concert more than 20 years ago.

"This summer has been full of transitions," said Amy Beth Horman, the new artistic administrator of the Amadeus Concerts. "The first big task was deciding what to do with Amadeus, how to continue Tim's vision as we know it and restructure things."

This will be the first season that the orchestra and concert series will be without its founder, Tim Rowe, who died earlier this year. Rowe had been the sole organizer, planner and administrator for Amadeus, something that Horman said makes her more in awe of him every day.

"The new executive board decided to install an artist advisory board of five musicians and one board member to help with the program for the season," she said. The musicians assembled a concert series, beginning and ending at St. Luke's and featuring four other concerts in between, which the board approved.

Horman was brought on staff full-time recently but had played violin with the orchestra when Rowe was conducting, she said, which has allowed her to widen the focus of her new position.

Following the opening concert, which will also feature Barber's "Adagio for Strings," Mozart's "Concerto for Flute and Harp in C Major" with soloists Julietta Curenton and Bridget Kibbey, and Jungen's "Sonata Eroica," the second concert on Nov. 20 will be an opera concert featuring four vocalists and a pianist, Horman said.

The first fund-raiser of the season will be in December and will feature a menu theme, she said.

"The audience will be bidding on what menu they'd like," she said of the "As You Like It" fund-raiser. Instead of selecting from a mescaline green salad, for example, patrons can select from a piece by Vivaldi or other light music, Horman said. "We'll go for as many courses like that as we can with that idea in mind," she said.

The second half of the concert series will include a Jan. 15 concert featuring Catherine Flye at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church. Musical selections that night will be around the theatrical theme of "Forever Ivor," Horman said, focusing on the life of Ivor Novello, a British actor from 1915 to 1951. A March 5 concert will feature Michael Sheppard on piano giving a recital at the Center Stage theater in Reston, followed by the final concert at St. Luke's in April. That concert will feature Horman playing violin, Rachel Young, a cellist with the National Symphony Orchestra and Corey McVicar on piano, playing a series of duets that will culminate with a trio, Horman said.

"Everyone is very excited about this season," she said. "There's been quite a bit of work involved and a lot of us have been very busy. Our hearts are in the right place — we want to see this series continue."

THERE HAVE BEEN many challenges faced by the Amadeus organization over the course of the summer, but many felt the series had to continue despite the loss of its founder.

"We're trying to launch Amadeus with new ideas and some new structural arrangements, but we want to continue to honor Tim and his memory," she said. "Continuing with Amadeus definitely fills our hearts with things to do and think about every day."

The community outpouring of concern and encouragement has helped the board members dedicate themselves to keeping Amadeus going, said Larry Oates, orchestra manager.

"All the orchestra players I've talked with are thrilled that we're continuing," Oates said. "Twenty-five years is a long time for an organization like this to be around. It's a good legacy. Hopefully this will continue and grow as a series and move forward."

This year, perhaps more than others, support from the Northern Virginia community is essential to Amadeus, he said.

"I'd love to see our loyal following continue to come out and support us, but I'd like to see it grow to encompass more depth. Being able to enjoy music and the arts is what makes us human."

The process of reconstructing Amadeus has made for a "quite remarkable" summer, said Jennifer Murphy, one of Amadeus' 16 board members.

"It has been difficult for all of us because Tim was and did everything," Murphy said. "Getting it all sorted out was a different kind of journey than we had ever been on, but it all came together so well. I hope people who loved the series and loved Tim will come out and enjoy it and all the work we've put into it."

The inclusion of the Beethoven Symphony in the first concert was a choice made by the artistic advisory panel, Murphy said, but one that board members who had been with the series from the beginning wholeheartedly welcomed.

"We all thought it was very fitting to bring that piece in for the first concert," Murphy said. "There's been an extraordinary enthusiasm among the artists and board members about getting this season started which has been wonderful to see."

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION, both by attending and financially supporting the concert series, is the biggest goal for everyone involved with Amadeus, she said. "We want the community to embrace the notion that we're continuing. We want them to come to the concerts and enjoy. If the community doesn't come out to participate, there's no point in having the series. The concerts are not about Tim but about what he gave to the community."

As president of the Amadeus Concert Series, Roger Sudduth hopes to have one simple dream realized.

"I want to see every concert packed with a housefull of people," he said. "Our first concert is at St. Luke's, and I'd love to see that church full."

When the first concert begins, Sudduth knows there will be a sense of relief among his staff and the musicians. "It'll be great to say we've made it, now let's sit back and enjoy our work," he said. "We've all been very busy with the work it takes to put on a meaningful performance with the same quality that we've had in the past."

As preparations continue, Horman wants to focus on the future of Amadeus, its new life and where it can go from where it left off last spring.

"We fought for this all summer and it's joyous to see the season start," she said. "We know how painful the past nine months have been. We've put together a group of artists who knew and loved Tim and wanted to see his work continue. It's time to begin."