25th Annual “Meadows at the Meyerson” Concert

Event will honor philanthropist and arts advocate Sarah Fullinwider Perot

SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present its 25th annual “Meadows at the Meyerson” concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 28 in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. in Dallas. The event will feature works by Barber and Mahler, performed by the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Paul Phillips. The event supports talented Meadows students through the Meadows Scholars Program.

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The annual spring concert also honors a community leader. This year, the honoree is noted philanthropist and arts advocate Sarah Fullinwider Perot, and the event chair is Melissa Fetter. SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Algur H. Meadows Dean Sam Holland will provide remarks at the event.

The program opens with Samuel Barber’s First Essay for Orchestra, op. 12, a short, lyrical work premiered in 1938 at a concert of the NBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Arturo Toscanini. The concert broadcast helped propel the 28-year-old composer to fame and a career that included a Rome Prize and two Pulitzer Prizes.

Barber’s Toccata Festiva, op. 36 follows; it’s a celebratory work for organ and orchestra composed in 1960 for the inauguration of a new organ at the Philadelphia Academy of Music. Toccata Festiva incorporates modernistic and rhythmic sections that contrast with lush and lyrical Romantic melodies, allowing the organist to show off the myriad colors of the instrument. Award-winning organist Stefan Engels, Leah Young Fullinwider Centennial Chair in Music Performance at the Meadows School, will be guest soloist.

Following intermission, the MSO will perform Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. The dynamic work incorporates sounds of nature, folk music, a funeral procession and a heroic, triumphal ending. The symphony went through multiple revisions after an initial chilly reception by audiences in 1889, and today it is considered one of Mahler’s most thrilling orchestral works.

“Meadows at the Meyerson celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2018, and has continued to be a musical highlight of the year,” said Dean Holland. “It is an opportunity to showcase the skill and dedication of our gifted students and the critically acclaimed Meadows Symphony on a world-class stage, and to raise scholarship funds for our Meadows Scholars Program. Now in its tenth year, the Meadows Scholars Program’s ever-increasing impact over the past decade can be measured by rising test scores, artistry and diversity with each incoming class. We are also thrilled this year to honor Sarah Fullinwider Perot, who works tirelessly to give, lead and advocate for arts and culture in Dallas. We are proud to claim her as a Meadows alumna.”

About Sarah Fullinwider Perot

Event honoree Sarah Fullinwider Perot graduated from SMU in 1983 with a B.A. in journalism and broadcast film, and is currently president of the Sarah & Ross Perot, Jr. Foundation, which focuses on education, basic human need and patriotic philanthropy. She serves on the SMU Board of Trustees, as well as the executive boards of the SMU Meadows School, Dedman College and Tower Center for Political Studies. Her service to the Dallas community includes fundraising efforts for the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas Symphony and as chair of The Sweetheart Ball. She has been recognized with the TACA Silver Cup Award for her contributions to the arts in North Texas and was the recipient of the 2016 SMU Distinguished Alumni Award. Nationally, she is an active member of the Madison Council at the Library of Congress as well as The Blue Ribbon in Los Angeles. She also is a trustee for the Blair House Restoration Fund in Washington, D.C., and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. Mrs. Perot recently concluded her term as vice chair for The Global Fund for Children, directing micro-grants in education and safety benefiting over a million vulnerable children in 70-plus countries. She and her husband, Ross Perot, Jr., have two sons and two daughters.

The annual Meadows at the Meyerson concert provides important funding for the Meadows Scholars Program, inaugurated in 2008 to recruit the brightest and most talented students nationwide to the Meadows School of the Arts. It is targeted to applicants who are accepted to Meadows and who meet both stringent academic and artistic/leadership criteria. While such high achievers often receive SMU academic scholarship awards, many of them are still unable to afford full tuition. The Meadows Scholars Program offers an additional annual scholarship, plus an exploration grant that can be used any time during their years at Meadows for a creative project, providing a significant incentive for them to choose SMU and Dallas. Now in its tenth year, the program has supported the academic careers of nearly 200 students. This year, proceeds from the event will benefit both the Meadows Scholars Program and the Sarah F. Perot Endowed Meadows Scholar Fund.

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Tickets to the Meadows at the Meyerson concert are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $17 for students and SMU faculty and staff. A $10 discount is available for Meadows subscribers.

Patron and corporate sponsorships with special benefits and seating packages are available from $2,000 to $30,000. In addition, the Meadows Scholars level recognizes those who either permanently endow a Meadows Scholar at $150,000 or who make a $30,000 commitment to fund an individual Meadows Scholarship over four years. For more information, call the Meadows Development Office at 214-768-4189.