By Karen Greer
February 17, 2009
Assets with lasting value may be scarce in these uncertain times, but they can be found at the Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale’s concert on Saturday, March 7th at Manchester Community College. Music Director Lewis J. Buckley will conduct the orchestra in its annual Young Artist Concert, which includes a diversified portfolio of works spanning five countries and four centuries.
Classical music not only endures over the years; it also holds great prospects for the future. MSOC’s Young Artist Concerts are a showcase for the area’s most promising talent. This year’s featured soloist is pianist Remy Zhang.
Zhang, a native of China whose family now lives in Danbury, is a student at the University of Connecticut and already the winner of numerous awards and competitions. He has performed in recitals and as soloist with the Danbury Symphony Orchestra, the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, and the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra. For this concert, Zhang has chosen Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, a work given its premiere performance by the composer himself at the age of 20.
The Young Artist Concert is just one of the ways MSOC is investing in the future of music. MSOC has hosted Manchester High School students in “side-by-side” concerts, and some students have even become members of the orchestra. In 2007, MSOC awarded its first scholarships to Manchester High School students. Recently, MSOC orchestra members visited the East Hartford/Glastonbury Magnet School and introduced a group of first through fourth grade students to some of the instruments of the orchestra.
As with any investment, starting early yields returns. Buckley has had extensive experience with young musicians in has career as Coast Guard Academy Band director and directing youth symphonies. “I can’t tell you how often adults come up to me to refer warmly to their experience in a youth ensemble that I conducted years earlier; it mattered to them enough that even as adults, they still like to talk about it.”
This concert offers value for concertgoers of all ages. Buckley chose Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture at the request of the orchestra because of its appeal to audience and players alike. Ballet Music from Massenet’s opera Le Cid is a personal favorite, while Goldmark’s Rustic Wedding Symphony was a recent discovery. “It was immediately clear to me that this would be a terrific audience piece; and it is also one of those rare pieces that is little known, but not deservedly so.”
MSOC concerts are an affordable way for entire families to enjoy classical music together, with free admission to all concerts for everyone 18 years of age or under. This concert is preceded by Manchester Arts Commission’s “Celebration of the Arts” at Manchester Community College from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, featuring art, dance, poetry, music and refreshments. Admission to the festival is free for all ages. These two cultural events are opportunities for the entire community to be enriched.
The Manchester Symphony Orchestra’s annual “Young Artist Concert” will be held in the SBM Charitable Foundation Auditorium in the Arts, Sciences, Technology Center at Manchester Community College, Great Path, Manchester on Saturday, March 7th, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students over 18, and free for those under 18. For further information, phone 860-228-2921, E-mail tickets [at] msoc.org, or visit the MSOC web site: www.msoc.org