Young artists to play with Columbia Orchestra

March 03, 2006|By EILEEN SOSKIN | EILEEN SOSKIN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The two winners of the Columbia Orchestra's 2006 Young Artist Competition will join the Columbia Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow for a concert loaded with energy.

The youthful exuberance of the two soloists will be perfectly matched by the enthusiasm of the musicians of the Columbia Orchestra.

The Columbia Orchestra is a volunteer adult community orchestra whose conductor and music director, Jason Love, is an inspiring and a knowledgeable musician.

Love was educated at the Peabody Conservatory, studying cello and conducting, and is a member of the faculty at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Reviews of Love's performances with the Columbia Orchestra stress the intensity of the performances he coaxes from the musicians. The musicians are motivated by a passion to play, with all concerts a labor of love for members of the orchestra.

The program includes four compositions: Benjamin Britten's "Four Sea Interludes" from Peter Grimes; Max Bruch's Concerto in G Minor for Violin and Orchestra; Ernest Bloch's Baal Shem for violin and orchestra; and Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 2.

Composed in England during World War II, the "Four Sea Interludes" from Britten's opera are stirring portrayals of evil and foreboding set against the gray and unpredictable sea. The four scenes -- Dawn, Sunday Morning, Moonlight and Storm -- are turbulent and emotional and will stir the orchestra as well as the listener in substantial ways.

Eighth-grade violinist Patricia Wnek, winner of the 2006 Junior division of the Young Artist Competition, will perform the first movement of the Bruch Concerto with the orchestra.

This movement demands virtuosity and musicality from the soloist. First performed in 1868, it remains a staple of the violin concerto repertoire, a piece whose melodies will be familiar to many audience members.

Jennifer Leung, a senior at Howard High School and winner of the 2006 Senior division of the Young Artist Competition, will perform Bloch's Baal Shem, Three Episodes from Hassidic Life, a lyrical and moving piece whose movements are titled: Vidui (Contrition); Nigun (Improvisation); and Simchas Torah (Rejoicing). Composed in 1923, Bloch's music is ecstatic and moving, and soloist and orchestra are required to play from the heart.

Sibelius' Symphony No. 2, composed in 1901-1902, is a powerful and climactic choice for the final piece on Saturday's program. Its themes are sweeping and memorable.

The entire composition builds from a quiet start to a huge finale. The challenges to the orchestra will be great, but there is no doubt that their efforts will do justice to the sweep of this symphony.

To treat yourself to an enthusiastic appetizer, plan to attend the preconcert discussion of the music and composers at 6:30 p.m. by Bill Scanlan Murphy, a member of the music faculty at Howard Community College. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Information or directions: 410-465-8777, or www.columbia. orchestra.org.

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