Maestro Andrés Lopera entered a three-year contract as Richmond Symphony Orchestra’s fourth music director. Supplied

An upcoming concert celebrates great friends and great music.

One of those new friends is Maestro Andrés Lopera, who is getting acquainted with area residents while starting his new role with Richmond Symphony Orchestra.

“We couldn’t be more excited for Andres’ debut as the conductor and music director,” said Leslie Bolser, the orchestra’s new board president. “Throughout the search last season, we had so much input from our audiences, and we know what a perfect fit he’s going to be for the greater Richmond area. He has a wonderful season of shows planned for our community. We would love to have a huge crowd to welcome him to the Civic Hall stage at the first show in September.”

Lopera makes his debut during RSO’s 67th season opener at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16.

“As I look forward to beginning my inaugural season as RSO’s fourth music director, I am excited to get to know the Richmond community, welcome everyone to our concerts and share my passion and love for orchestral music,” he said. 

Lopera aims to offer an exuberant atmosphere as well as imagery of love and nature with audiences during Saturday’s concert.

The performance, called “All About Friends,” opens with Antonín Dvořák’s “Carnival Overture” about a lonely, contemplative wanderer who discovers the clangor of instruments, shouts of joy and unrestrained hilarity. 

“Carnival” will be followed by Franz Liszt’s “Les Preludes (The Beginnings),” the first symphonic poem ever composed. It was based on a poem by French writer and statesman Alphonse de Lamartine, who was instrumental in the foundation of the French Second Republic and ensuring the continuation of the Tricolor flag.   

The program concludes with Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations.” The theme represents the composer, and the subsequent 14 variations are musical sketches of some of his closest friends.

The main theme transforms from a rather sad theme to a radiant happy version and a glorious ending, Lopera said. 

“I programmed our first concert with all these thoughts in mind and would love to see everyone from the Richmond community at our concert,” he said. “I am new to your community, and this is my musical way to tell you how much I care and invite you to be a friend of the orchestra and get to know these incredible musicians. In the words of Liszt, this is my invitation: ‘Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought.’ Come to our concert, feel the music and have a good time among friends.”

If you go

  • What: Richmond Symphony Orchestra concert “All About Friends”
  • When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16
  • Where: Civic Hall Performing Arts Center, 380 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond
  • Cost: Season tickets (five classical and two family concerts): $115 for adults and $60 for college students. Individual tickets: Adults, $25; college students, $10; grades K-12, free.
  • Next concert: Halloween-inspired concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22
  • Info: 765-966-5181 or

Hear Andrés directly

Listen to Western Wayne News’ podcast chat between Kate Jetmore and RSO Music Director Andrés Lopera about his new role and what he hopes to achieve as the orchestra’s leader. Interviews were recorded in English and Spanish.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 13 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.