Henderson Symphony Orchestra ready to start 2012-13 concert series

The Henderson Symphony Orchestra is kicking off its 2012-13 season with four performances in 2012.

"I like to pair less common pieces with more common pieces that people might know," said conductor Taras Krysa.

Compositions range from nation and style. All performances are free.

Krysa thinks about three things when choosing a lineup.

First, he looks at the orchestra and how it can grow or try something new.

"We want to ensure the growth of the orchestra," Krysa said.

He also keeps in mind the needs of the audience.

"Our mission is to bring classical music to them for free," Krysa said.

Krysa said people can hear music that they might not be able to afford in other venues and wants to expose them to a variety of styles.

And last, Krysa has his personal taste.

"There are pieces I will never do," he said. "I do have pieces on my wish list. I am just waiting for the right time."

An hour before each concert, patrons can attend a discussion where Krysa explains the history of the pieces the orchestra will play and why he chose those works .

"I basically introduce the works and talk about the composers," he said.

Krysa has seen interest in the performances grow throughout the years.

"When we started, we were performing in a recreation center and he said. "Now, we average 800 to 900 people. When we did our Charlie Chaplin movie, 'Modern Times,' I think we had about 1,600 people attend."

The orchestra's season is slated to begin at 8 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Henderson Pavilion, 200 S. Green Valley Parkway.

The first concert, "Beethoven Five," features works such as Rossini's "La Gazza Ladre" overture, Wolfgang Mozart's "French Horn Concerto No. 4" with Bill Bernatis on French horn and Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5."

With a tribute to Russia, the orchestra is set to return to the p avilion at 8 p.m. Oct. 12. "From Russia With Love" is set to feature Modest Mussorgsky's "Dawn on the Moscow River," Petr Il'ich Tchaikovsky's "Variations on a Rococo" with Ilya Finkelstein on cello and Prokofiev's "Symphony No. 5."

To celebrate the holidays, the orchestra is scheduled to play a Veterans Day concert at 10 a.m. Nov. 10 at the Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water St., followed by WinterFest at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 inside the Henderson Convention Center, 200 S. Water St.


Bernatis is expected to play a solo in Mozart's "French Horn Concerto No. 4" at the Sept. 14 concert.

"I've played it a couple of times," he said. "I think anybody who gets through high school (band) has played it one or two times."

Taking after his mother, who plays the French horn, Bernatis started playing in fifth grade.

"And the rest is history," he said.

During high school, Bernatis thought he would become a math teacher.

"I changed my mind when I took calculus," he said.

But Bernatis enjoyed playing the French horn. After he graduated from high school, he went to college at Washburn University. He also completed his master's degree at Indiana University.

While teaching at Baylor University, he met his future wife. She moved to Las Vegas while he moved to Ithaca, N.Y.

They eventually married but lived in separate cities for two years. In 1998, when a job opportunity opened up at UNLV, Bernatis moved to Las Vegas to become a professor.

After Krysa became a professor and conductor for the Henderson Symphony Orchestra, he asked Bernatis to play with the group.

Bernatis joined about a year ago. He said the orchestra brings cultural arts to the community.

"I think the Henderson Symphony Orchestra has a great situation with the city of Henderson," Bernatis said.


Krysa was born in Ukraine and grew up in Russia.

"I started playing when I was 6," he said. "My parents were musicians. (They) gave me a violin and told me to play."

The violin turned into a passion for Krysa. He spent hours practicing , later attending The Moscow Conservatory.

"I tell my students if they pursue the performing arts, they better put in a lot of hours," Krysa said. "It is really competitive. You've got to audition, audition, audition. You have to be ready for rejection. The performing arts is all about rejection."

Krysa moved to the Unites States in 1989 and studied violin and conducting at Indiana University and Northwestern University. He played professionally for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra before a stint in Europe.

In 2006, he started teaching at UNLV.

When the former music director of the Henderson Symphony Orchestra resigned, Krysa submitted his resume and was selected as the replacement.

"There was never a moment when I decided I wanted to be a conductor," Krysa said. "It doesn't work that way, at least not for me. I think it was a slow process where I gained interest."

Krysa has done guest conducting in Ukraine, Poland and the United States.

"Between the two (UNLV and the orchestra), my plate is pretty full," Krysa said. "I had a teacher who used to say, 'If the phone rings, say yes.' "

For more information, visit hsorch.org.

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 387-5201.