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FACP's Basically Beethoven Festival 2023

Updated: May 23

DALLAS (June 7, 2023) – Fine Arts Chamber Players (FACP) is pleased to announce the 2023 Basically Beethoven Festival (BBF) will be performed live Sundays, July 9, 16, 23, and 30th, starting at 2:30pm at Moody Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street, Dallas. In its 42nd year, the Basically Beethoven Festival includes four free chamber music concerts featuring many of Dallas’ top professional musicians as well as up-and-coming rising stars. As always, FACP programs are free to enjoy with no ticket required for admission. The theme for 2023 is “Music with Friends.”

“Bringing people together with beautiful music is at the heart of this year's BBF, and it is also central to the mission of FACP. This year, we – the performers and presenters – aim to present music that is as beautiful as it is inspiring together – as friends. And we hope that it will enrich and nourish your lives as well,” BBF Artistic Director Alex McDonald said.

The concerts begin at 2:30pm with a short program by Dallas “Rising Stars” – high-level student performers who are just beginning their careers. FACP is committed to nurturing these fine and accomplished musicians. Featured performers begin at 3pm.

“Our first concert on July 9th will feature a larger orchestra than we’ve had before,” Executive Director Morgan Vaughan said. “In keeping with the theme ‘Music with Friends,’ Alex McDonald enlisted the help of cellist Joseph Kuipers whose brand-new ensemble Metamorphosis Dallas will perform perennial favorites Aaron Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ and Camille Saint-Saëns’ ‘Carnival of the Animals.’” Mr. Kuipers is the Founder and Creative Director of the new chamber group. This will be its debut performance.

The Rising Stars on July 9th will be the trio Yolutra (Ella Tran, Steven Lu, and Danielle Yoon) playing Brahms and Arno Babadjanian.

The program for July 16th introduces Rising Stars Maanas Varma, Melody Guo, and Nicole Johnson playing Mozart, with Featured Performers Buddy Bray, Gina Ford, Gerald Wood, and Helen Blackburn with works by Eric Ewazen and Madeleine Dring.

The July 23rd program introduces Rising Star Kathleen Hopkins and Featured Performers Violinist Chloé Trevor ( and Pianist Alex McDonald playing Beethoven and Stravinsky.

The players for July 30th are Rising Star Guanjie Tony Lu with Featured Performers Jennifer Betz, Theodore Harvey, Rachel McDonald, and Lewis Warren Jr playing Mozart and Schumann.

The concerts will be available online after the festival has concluded, Vaughan said. Since the beginning of the global pandemic in 2020, FACP has been recording all concerts for an online presence.

“We will continue doing that for this festival as well, but the videos won’t be available until after the festival is over in August. We really want to encourage people to be together,” she said. “However, we want everyone to enjoy the concerts safely, and to ensure that anyone who cannot attend in person for whatever reason will be able to view the concerts online.” There is one exception so far – due to copyright, “Appalachian Spring” will not be filmed.

Links to the 2023 Basically Beethoven Festival will be available through FACP’s website and YouTube channel.

This year’s festival is sponsored in large part by a designated gift from Capital One. Additional designated funds and operational funds are thanks to The Arts Community Alliance (TACA), Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) and The City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, as well as numerous gifts from our individual patrons and collaboration from community partners including DART. FACP relies solely on grants and donations for its funding, as its mission is to provide absolutely free concerts and music education for all.

The 4 distinct pieces of art used in FACP’s posters/social media: July 9th is Two Cats, Blue and Yellow by Franz Marc; July 17 is Abstract by Steve Johnson; July 23 is Daughter in a Rocker by Henry Lymen Sayen; July 30 is Painting with Green Center by Wasily Kandinsky.


All event details will be shared on FACP’s website and social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Concerts are free and open to the public; no advance registration is required; seating is limited and is first-come, first-served.

SCHEDULE: Basically Beethoven Festival 2023 - “Music with Friends”

Sunday, July 9, 2023 - Animals & Americana

  • 2:30pm - Rising Star: Yolutra Trio (Ella Tran, Steven Lu, and Danielle Yoon)

  • 3pm - Featured Artists: Metamorphosis Dallas

  • Program: 2:30pm - Brahms and Arno Babadjanian; 3pm - Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals and Copland’s Appalachian Spring

Sunday, July 16, 2023 - Prevailing Winds

  • 2:30pm - Rising Stars: Maanas Varma, Melody Guo, and Nicole Johnson

  • 3pm - Featured Artists: Buddy Bray, Gina Ford, Gerald Wood, Helen Blackburn

  • Program: 2:30pm - Mozart; 3pm - Eric Ewazen and Madeleine Dring

Sunday, July 23, 2023 - Fire & Virtuosity

  • 2:30pm - Rising Star: Kathleen Hopkins

  • 3pm - Featured Artists: Chloé Trevor and Alex McDonald

  • Program: 2:30pm - To be announced; 3pm - Beethoven and Stravinsky

Sunday, July 30, 2023 - Matters of the Heart

  • 2:30pm - Rising Star: Guanjie Tony Lu

  • 3pm - Featured Artists: Jennifer Betz, Theodore Harvey, Rachel McDonald, Lewis Warren Jr.

  • Program: 2:30pm - To be announced; 3pm - Mozart and Schumann

OVERVIEW: Basically Beethoven Festival 2023 - “Music with Friends”

  • Sunday afternoons in July (after the July 4th weekend): July 9, 16, 23, 30

  • 2:30pm begins with the “Rising Star” performance; followed by “Featured Performers/ Artists” at 3pm. Each concert runs about 90 - 120 minutes (2:30 - 4:30ish) with a small break between Rising Stars and Featured Performers

  • FREE; first-come, first-served

  • The 2023 Basically Beethoven Festival is presented by Capital One

  • Essential general funding for FACP, and dedicated funding for BBF23, is from The Arts Community Alliance (TACA), Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA), City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture (OAC), and generous support from its board of directors, donors, and people like you.

  • FACP is a member of Texans for the Arts


  • Since his orchestral debut at age 11, pianist Alex McDonald has soloed with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the Utah Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has performed across the United States as well as in Israel, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and South Korea; additionally, he has been a featured performer on PBS, WRR, NPR, and WQXR. Awards and fellowships include second prize at the 2007 New Orleans International Piano Competition and second prize at the 2001 Gina Bachauer International Young Artist Piano Competition. In 2008, he was named a Harvey Fellow by the Mustard Seed Foundation. He was a participant in the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition.

  • Alex currently maintains a private studio, having previously taught at Texas Woman’s University and Richland College, as well as at the Juilliard School, where he also was a Teaching Fellow for both the Literature and Materials and Piano Minor departments. His private piano students have been admitted to Juilliard and Eastman, and have performed at Carnegie’s Weill Hall and on WRR. Deeply concerned about a healthy integration of life with music, he has actively pursued community formation both as an R.A. in the Juilliard residence hall and as president of Juilliard Christian Fellowship.

  • Alex received his pre-college training under Lois Nielson, his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory with Academic Honors and Distinction in Performance under Russell Sherman, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Juilliard under Yoheved Kaplinsky and Julian Martin. He has also received significant coaching from Pamela Paul, Stephen Nielson, Sam Wong, John Owings, Tamas Ungar, and especially his mother Marcy McDonald. His doctoral document, a source study on manuscripts and editions for Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, has been cited in the most recent edition of the sonata by Alfred Publishers, edited by Nancy Bricard.

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GLOSSARY & OVERVIEW - Fine Arts Chamber Players

“Chamber music is a type of music designed for small ensembles that can perform in a palace chamber, a residential parlor, or any small room. Chamber music ensembles typically include string quartets, piano trios, and wind instrument quartets.

The term ‘chamber music’ frequently describes classical music ensembles, but it can apply to any small group playing art music. Chamber ensembles almost always feature one player per instrument, which stands in contrast to orchestras that feature large sections for strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.

Chamber music began in an era when people played music together as a social activity. By gathering as an impromptu instrumental ensemble, early chamber musicians received both personal and artistic fulfillment. This has led some to call chamber music ‘the music of friends.’” [source:]

  • Fine Arts Chamber Players is in its 42nd season of providing FREE world-class concerts and music education to Dallas residents. It is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization 100% funded by grants, foundations, and individual donations. To donate, please visit and consider FACP when donating on North Texas Giving Day, Sept 21, 2023!

  • Hallam Family Concerts: FREE monthly chamber music concert series on Saturday afternoons at 3pm, October – May (excluding December); Artistic Director of the series is Emily Levin (pronounced luh-VEEN); Ms. Levin is also the Principal Harp of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

  • Basically Beethoven Festival: FREE weekly chamber music concerts on Sunday afternoons in July at Moody Performance Hall; 2:30pm; each week opens with a Rising Star Recital highlighting talented young/student musicians from the area, followed by the Feature Performance showcasing top-tier professional musicians from North Texas; Artistic Director of the Basically Beethoven Festival is Dr. Alex McDonald

  • Music Education Programs: FREE education programs including Musical Residencies at David W. Carter High School - Dallas ISD and at Uplift’s Atlas Preparatory Academy (formerly Peak Preparatory), an east Dallas charter school; FACP Teaching Artists lead individual and small group lessons in voice, piano, and violin to students with financial need; instruction provided at no cost to students and schools.

  • FACP Staff: Executive Director Morgan Vaughan; Artistic Director of the Hallam Family Concert series Emily Levin (pronounced luh-VEEN) is also Principal Harp of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; Artistic Director of the Basically Beethoven Festival Dr. Alex McDonald is also a concert pianist and runs a private studio; Production & Education Manager Jeff Tullis. Full bios here:

  • Mission Statement: To enrich and enhance the quality of life for North Texas-area residents, especially families and children, through free concerts of classical music and educational activities

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Media Contact: Morgan Vaughan -

FREE concerts at Moody Performance Hall - July 9, 16, 23, 30 starting at 2:30pm
Fine Arts Chamber Players presents BBF23 - Music with Friends


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