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CSO Opener to Feature the Music of Living Georgia Composer Carlos Simon and Violinist SooBeen Lee

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra will open their 2023-24 season on October 7 with a bang. The orchestra's carefully selected repertoire makes an important statement about its priorities, and communicates the dawn of an exciting new chapter in its continued role as the second oldest symphony in the nation.

For the first time, the opening piece of the season will feature the work of a living Black composer from Georgia. Carlos Simon, a native of Atlanta, is a Grammy-nominated artist currently serving as the Composer-in-Residence for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Simon's work spans across multiple genres and he composes for ensembles of all sizes across multiple industries. His compositions have appeared in premiers with the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and more.

Carlos Simon, photographed by Terrance Ragland. Source.

Kern Wadkins, Executive Director of the CSO, said the decision to open with the work of a living composer is certainly one that was made intentionally. "It's a wonderful thing that we are able to showcase work by a living Georgia native composer of color who is creating musical stories based on his own lived experience," she said. Fate Now Conquers is fascinating in that it's a modern interpretation of classical thinking. I'm excited to hear it live because I think it's incredible we get to hear these new works alongside more traditional symphonic composers like Sibelius and Dvorak. Where else can you experience that other than at the symphony?"

Fate Now Conquers holds a unique story that's helpful to know before hearing it. The piece was inspired by a journal entry from Ludvig van Beethoven's notebook written in 1815 which reads: “Iliad. The Twenty-Second Book But Fate now conquers; I am hers; and yet not she shall share In my renown; that life is left to every noble spirit And that some great deed shall beget that all lives shall inherit.”

Simon found Beethoven's depiction of fate fascinating, and paid homage to Beethoven by utilizing the structure of the 2nd movement of his 7th symphony as the compositional framework for Fate Now Conquers. " We know Beethoven strived to overcome many obstacles in his life and documented his aspirations to prevail, despite his ailments," explains Simon in the artist's statement about Fate Now Conquers on his website. "Whatever the specific reason for including this particularly profound passage from the Iliad, in the end, it seems that Beethoven relinquished to fate. Fate now conquers."

The CSO will follow Simon's piece with Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D Minor, featuring world-renown violinist SooBeen Lee. Lee has received rave reviews throughout her career, including one from The Washington Post that praised her "poised presence, luxurious sound, spot-on intonation, and a bow arm that surely will be the envy of her peers."

SooBeen Lee, as photographed by Minji Lee. Source.

The second half of the concert will be comprised of Dvorak's beloved Symphony No. 8 in G major which was written in celebration of the composer's election to the Bohemian Academy of Science, Literature and Arts in 1889.

Wadkins said the repertoire is something she's especially looking forward to as she and the CSO celebrate the kickoff of a new season. "All of those pieces together are going to tell a wonderful story," she said. "And one that has a modern element to it which I think our community needs to hear."

If You Go:

What: Columbus Symphony Orchestra, From Atlanta to London

When: October 7, 7:30 PM

Where: RiverCenter for the Performing Arts

Tickets for CSO's From Atlanta to London Concert on October 7 can be purchased here or through the box office at RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.

*Please remember that ticket scams are on the rise. To avoid falling victim to a scam, always secure your tickets through local box offices and/or the official website of the presenting organization.


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