The Annapolis Symphony Academy Orion Youth Orchestra, a high-level, tuition-free youth orchestra for advanced students, will perform a concert alongside Annapolis Symphony Orchestra musicians in a performance at Kerr Center for the Performing Arts in Annapolis on Saturday, December 17th, at 7:30 pm. Tickets to the performance are available on the ASA website TunedtoYouth.org.
The Orion Youth Orchestra is “the jewel of the Annapolis Symphony Academy,” said founder of the Academy, Netanel Draiblate. “Many of these kids started playing by age five and have progressed through the stages of ensemble musical training. Their participation in the Orion Youth Orchestra is the apex of their pre-collegiate musical education.”
The students perform alongside Annapolis Symphony Orchestra musicians, who serve as mentors. “Patrons in the audience will be blown away by the caliber of the music from these young people,” said José-Luis Novo, Director of Orchestral Activities. “When the ASO musicians join the ensemble, the students rise to the occasion in a breathtaking way.” ASO musicians are among the best players in Anne Arundel County and arguably in Maryland. Draiblate, Concertmaster of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, says many of the musicians are the best in the country and notes that the opportunity for students to learn from this caliber of skill and excellence is a privilege. “Our ASO musicians are kind, knowledgeable, experienced, and amazing at assisting the students in rehearsals and concerts. The side-by-side December 17th concert is a highlight for our students, and they look forward to playing next to their ASO mentors.”
Draiblate notes that playing with a full orchestra is a unique and essential way for students who choose to continue their musical education in pursuit of a future orchestra job to practice performing. “We also want to show our supporters, patrons, and families the high level of achievement the students are capable of,” he said.
The program for the evening includes works by Richard Wagner, Maurice Revel, Ralph Vaughn Williams, Carlos Simon, and Ludwig van Beethoven. “The Wagner Program lends a sense of novelty, of rooting into the ground and reaching high up in a very organic way. It’s symbolic of how we’re growing as a young ensemble with a growing repertoire as well,” said Novo.
Maurice Revel, a French composer, offers the students a completely different type of music to play. “It’s subtle, suggestive, and delicate at times,” said Novo. The piece features an important portion for the harp, highlighting the exceptional skill of student Floral Cole. This contrasting style helps our students to learn how to play different types of music.
Ralph Vaughn Williams’ first movement from Oboe concerto will feature student Luke Zegowitz. “It’s unusual to have someone this young to know how to play the beauty of the oboe sound,” said Novo. “Oboe is a challenging instrument to make sound good when you are young. Luke has a gorgeous sound that will blow people away. The orchestra provides a nice soft accompaniment supporting Luke in the background.”
Carlos Simon’s piece “Fate Now Conquers” will be conducted by ASA Assistant Conductor Shun Yao. Simon, a dynamic and engaging figure in symphonic music, is originally from Georgia, now at the Kennedy Center. “We’re using Simons’s piece to show our students that music is alive: this composer is making a living by making music and showing the world what he can do,” said Novo.
The last two movements of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony combine beautifully with the previous piece by Simon. “It’s a masterpiece that exemplifies the journey from darkness to the triumph of life,” said Novo.