Upcoming El Paso Symphony Orchestra concerts to pay tribute to El Paso Walmart shooting victims, survivors


Photo courtesy of El Paso Symphony Orchestra.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso Symphony Orchestra’s October 22 and 23 concerts will pay tribute to the victims and survivors of the August 3, 2019 El Paso Walmart shooting with a world premiere piece, “El Paso Requiem.”

The piece, by Jorge Martin, was commissioned by Communities for Peace, a historic partnership between the El Paso Operas, El Paso Pro-Musica, EPSO, and UTEP’s Music Department.

Of his requiem, Martin says “…this is closer to the Verdi (requiem). The work is about catharsis.” Martin expressed that the tragedy of August 3, 2019 needed to be met with reverence. “Grief is a very personal thing and everyone has their own because grief is love. And everyone’s love is unique,” said Martin.

“El Paso Requiem” was originally intended to be performed in September 202 to mark the one-year anniversary of the Walmart shooting. Due to the pandemic and suspension of concerts, the premiere was rescheduled to October 2021.

Led by Maestro Bohuslav Rattay, “El Paso Requiem” will feature the EPSO, soprano Jamille Lea, mezzo-soprano Cherry Duke, tenor Brian Downen, 65 voices from the UTEP Choral Union, and EPSO principal cellist, James Carney. 

In seeking to create a work that would be both honest and healing, Martin used a number of numerological devices to honor the 23 souls lost, incorporating that number throughout the music, through repetitions of phrases, sounds, or the musical structures. 

Pianist Dzmitry Ulasiuk will join the El Paso Symphony Orchestra in the first half of the program to open the October concerts performing Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1. A laureate of multiple international piano competitions, Dzmitry has performed world-wide and is “capable of making a huge quasi-orchestral sound” as well as “captivating lightness”, according to Fanfare Magazine, a music-reviewing publication.

Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at epso.org, ticketmaster.com or by calling the EPSO office at (915) 532-3776.  Prices are $46, $41, $35, $22 and $16 plus fees.  Student tickets for $9 and $12 plus fees are available.

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