[Dixielandjazz] Youth Orchestra, a view from those on the serious side.

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 8 06:55:39 PST 2005

For those who believe that Youth Bands are not worth the price of admission,
and so they must play for free in order to be heard, note what our classical
musician friends are doing at CARNEGIE HALL.

Not only performing, but commissioning works from YOUNG composers.

Is it any wonder that OKOM languishes when we ourselves do not support the
mechanism for helping it to grow? (E.G. paying gigs for youth bands)


Steve Barbone



The Passion of a Romantic Strikes a ChorBy JEREMY EICHLER

With all those broadly winged melodies that are so much fun to play, and the
intense emotions that resonate with the highs and lows of adolescent life,
the symphonies and concertos of Tchaikovsky can seem made-to-order for the
young classical musician. They certainly did on Sunday afternoon, when the
New York Youth Symphony passionately devoted itself to a mostly Tchaikovsky
program for the second Carnegie Hall concert of its 42nd season.

But before the Russian fireworks began, the orchestra, made up of 108
musicians from the metropolitan New York area, performed something fairly
common for this ensemble but very rare for most youth symphonies: a world
premiere. Through its essential First Music series, the orchestra has
commissioned works from 62 young composers. It's hard to imagine a better
way to support new voices while at the same time building contemporary music
into the regular diet of emerging musicians. In this case, the composer was
Thomas Osborne, whose "Nostalgia of the Infinite," after the painting by
Giorgio de Chirico, was a handsome study in musical contrasts, an evolving
orchestral dialogue between steely, brass-heavy gestures and a more lush and
pliable response from the strings.

It was followed by Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Antonio
Pompa-Baldi, a young professional making his Carnegie Hall debut. Mr.
Pompa-Baldi and the orchestra, under its music director, Paul Haas, did not
always agree on tempo and pacing, but this did not prevent the soloist from
displaying a fluid yet hard-edged technique and a fiery Romantic
temperament. Most striking was the sheer amount of sound he produced in the
outer movements with chords that banged out like pistol shots over the
orchestra. With time, he may develop finesse in equal measure.

The concert concluded with Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, cloaked in mystery
where appropriate and exultant on the right occasions. Both the symphony and
especially the concerto are repertory war horses, and yet the great thing
about youth orchestra concerts is that most of these players are
encountering this music for the first time. Those initial meetings are
precious, for they happen only once, and judging by the applause between
movements and the number of young people in the audience, you can bet they
were occurring on both sides of the footlights. 

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