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CYSO Announces Gala Concert Featuring Award-Winning Pianist

| March 17, 2022, 01:21 PM

The Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO) will hold its gala concert on March 19, 2022, at the Bowie Performing Arts Center at 2:00 pm, 6:30 pm, and 7:30 pm. ‘A Celebration of Expression’ gala concert will showcase the 150 student musicians of CYSO and feature award-winning pianist and famed opera stars during the evening performance.

The 2:00 pm performance will feature five ensembles: Preparatory Orchestra, String Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Junior Flute Ensemble, and Concert Orchestra. Ranging in ages from 8 to 20, the students in these ensembles have dedicated many hours and worked tirelessly with conductors to build the foundation of their musical technique.

Doors will open at 1 pm for the afternoon concert and 6 pm for the evening concert so that everyone may view and bid on the auction items and purchase raffle tickets. At 6 pm the CYSO will host a cocktail hour for the audience of the evening concert.

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At 6:30 pm in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center, the CYSO’s Jazz Orchestra will serenade the audience with a selection of both jazz and pop standards that are sure to keep your feet tapping. Jazz is one of the great American art forms, which celebrates freedom of expression through the means of improvising.

The 7:30 pm performance features CYSO’s Senior Flute Ensemble and the Symphony Orchestra, which are the most advanced ensembles. During this performance, student musicians have the opportunity to perform alongside some of the most talented performers and soloists on the international stage.

“These opportunities are unique and leave our students with a lasting impression that inspires them to push their boundaries and strive to reach even higher,” said Julien Benichou, Music Director and Conductor of CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra. “All of our ensembles, led by some of the best pedagogues, amaze me with their talent and enthusiasm.”

Maestro Julien Benichou has been highly regarded as a champion for the future of classical music, thanks to his commitment to new music and innovative programming. He is widely recognized for his inspiring musicality, incredibly infectious energy, and creatively fostering the next generation of musicians and audiences.

Award-winning French pianist, Christie Julien will be performing Beethoven’s riveting Piano Concerto No. 3. alongside the Symphony Orchestra. Also gracing the CYSO’s Gala stage will be famed opera stars, bass-baritone Kevin Short, and mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez. Kevin Short, no stranger to the opera stage, has recently appeared as Porgy in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess, along with a role in Gounod’s Faust among others. Mr. Short will be performing selections from Porgy and Bess, Faust, Ol’ Man River, and more. The Philadelphia Inquirer has gone on to say “His was the voice that steadied ensembles and centered his own scenes, and his expansive ease in the role brought his scenes to vivid life.”

Mezzo-soprano, Lisa Chavez has been described as possessing a “plush storm of a voice”, “graceful stage presence”, and being “a powerhouse both vocally and emotionally”. Ms. Chavez has notably performed the title role of Carmen in New York City Opera Company’s production of Carmen and Maddalena in Rigoletto performed at the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice. Along with the New York City Opera Company, she has been featured in multiple title roles with the Sarasota Opera Company. The Virginia Gazette, in reviewing Ms. Chavez has said “Without doubt, the hands-down standout of this “Carmen” was mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez in the title role. Chavez embraced both the vocal and dramatic demands of her Carmen, applying her rich, dark, well-projected mezzo to a well-conceived portrayal, the results being seductive, persuasive and powerful. There was never any doubt as to who was in charge in this Seville setting and the tragic romance that ensued.”

Tickets for the 2:00 pm performance are $40 for general admission and $60 for reserved seating. The 7:30 pm evening performance tickets are $55 for general admission and $75 for reserved seating. Tickets can be purchased at www.cysomusic.org/gala-tickets.

NOTE:  We spoke with Maestro Benichou recently, have a listen:

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