Com­posers to be cel­e­brated at con­cert

The Record (Troy, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - News­

TROY, N.Y. » The Em­pire State Youth Orches­tra will pay trib­ute to two Amer­i­can com­posers, Sa­muel Adler and Leonard Bern­stein, as Adler’s 90th year of birth and Bern­stein’s 100th are cel­e­brated.

The con­cert, spon­sored by Al­bany Med­i­cal Cen­ter, will take place at 3 p.m. April 29 at the Troy Savings Bank Mu­sic Hall.

Bern­stein’s cen­ten­nial year is be­ing ob­served mu­si­cally all over the world. The Youth Orches­tra will per­form his “Three Dance Vari­a­tions” from “Fancy Free,” which is a bal­let.

How­ever, Em­pire State Youth Orches­tra Mu­sic Di­rec­tor He­len Cha-Pyo felt strongly about hon­or­ing Adler this year for all he has done for ESYO and the mu­sic com­mu­nity around the world.

“Sa­muel Adler is my men­tor from the East­man School of Mu­sic where he was a pro­fes­sor of com­po­si­tion for many decades,” Cha-Pyo said in a news re­lease. “I learned so much from him in and out of the class­room and I con­sider him one of the most im­por­tant men­tors who shaped my mis­sion as a mu­si­cian.”

Two of Adler’s pieces will be per­formed at the con­cert, “A Bridge to Un­der­stand­ing” and “Con­certino for Strings” that will fea­ture ESYO CHIME.

“A Bridge to Un­der­stand­ing” is a piece that was com­mis­sioned by ESYO 10 years ago and per­formed at the Troy Savings Bank Mu­sic Hall for the New Mu­sic for a New Gen­er­a­tion Fes­ti­val. It was later pre­sented for Euro­pean pre­mieres dur­ing ESYO’s 2008 tour in Aus­tria, Ger­many, and Czech Repub­lic.

“When He­len Cha-Pyo asked me to write a work for ESYO and their sched­uled trip to Europe, I thought I would in­clude a move­ment based on a Bo­hemian folk song and one on an Amer­i­can folk song to show a ‘ bridge’ between our two coun­tries,” Adler said. “We played the piece in Prague where the people rec­og­nized their folk song and com­mented en­thu­si­as­ti­cally about its use. I have al­ways en­joyed work­ing with young mu­si­cians and have writ­ten at least five works com­mis­sioned by youth or­ches­tras and some oth­ers for youth choirs.”

Adler be­gan com­pos­ing dur­ing his teenage years and still loves what he does these many years later. His fa­ther was a com­poser and he looked up to him. How­ever, his fa­ther would not look at any of his work un­til he stud­ied har­mony, coun­ter­point and analysis. He wrote a lot of mu­sic in high school and their orches­tra per­formed all his pieces. To date he has writ­ten more than 400 pub­lished com­po­si­tions for many com­bi­na­tions of in­stru­ments and voices. He re­cently fin­ished a “Tuba Con­certo” to be pre­miered in Oc­to­ber and a large cho­ral work to be pre­miered in Dres­den, Ger­many.

To cel­e­brate Adler’s 90th birthday, Cha-Pyo asked a pro­fes­sor of com­po­si­tion at the Col­lege of St Rose if he would write a piece with a happy birthday theme. Bruce Roter based it on the fa­mous tune, “Happy Birthday to You.”

In ad­di­tion to be­ing at the con­cert, Adler will speak at the Col­lege of St. Rose and be a spe­cial guest in a com­po­si­tion class. He is also sched­uled to speak with the com­mu­nity from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Troy Savings Bank Mu­sic Hall prior to the con­cert dress re­hearsal on April 28.

The April con­cert also fea­tures the win­ner of ESYO’s An­nual Lois Ly­man Con­certo Com­pe­ti­tion. Each year the or­ga­ni­za­tion holds an au­di­tion where mem­bers of ESYO Youth Orches­tra can per­form a con­certo, from mem­ory, for a panel of judges. They choose both a win­ner and a run­ner-up. Named af­ter a mu­sic teacher and one of ESYO’s found­ing mem­bers, the Lois Ly­man Con­certo Com­pe­ti­tion has show­cased some of the area’s finest mu­si­cians since 1985.

Gabrielle Kim, who is a se­nior at Shaker High School, was se­lected as the 2018 win­ner. Kim will per­form Ed­vard Grieg’s Pi­ano Con­certo in Ami­nor, Op. 16. She was com­pletely taken aback when she found out the re­sults of her au­di­tion.

“When I found out that I won the com­pe­ti­tion, I couldn’t be­lieve it at first. I thought I was dream­ing. And then, when it re­ally set in, I started cry­ing. Right there, at the din­ner ta­ble, I was just cry­ing my eyes out in hap­pi­ness. I was so ex­cited to be able to per­form with my friends in ESYO,” Kim said.


Sa­muel Adler and He­len Cha Pyo are shown dur­ing the 2008ESYO Euro­pean Tour.


Gabrielle Kim

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