Saturday, January 26, 2013

From The Top - by Nicholas

From the Top was taping its NPR show in the Meyerson Symphony Hall, and my mother had bought tickets because it was a radio show that we listened to regularly, and some friends, notably Brian and Matthew were performing a piece with the rest of the GDYO at the concert. On January 4, 2013, our family went to the Meyerson Symphony Center to listen to three brilliant young musicians from nearby areas at the "From the Top" concert.  Along with the 3 musicians and Christopher O’Riley, host of From the Top as well as an outstanding classical pianist, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) was also performing. Not only that, the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra (GDYO) was to play a piece at the end of the show with DSO. 

The special show featured the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as well as performances from three young musicians with the following program:

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra performing the Roman Carnival Overture by Hector Berlioz

Violinist Aakash Patel performing the first movement from the 3rd Violin Concerto by Camille Saint-Saens

Cellist Russell Houston (2012 Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition Winner) performing "Schelomo" by Ernest Bloch

Host Christopher O'Riley performing the third movement from Concerto No. 2 in F major for Piano and Orchestra by Dmitri Shostakovich with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Composer Chase Dobson's Piano Trio No. 1, the second movement, Sporting of the Gods, will be performed by Chase, Aakash, and Russell

Members of the GDYO will play "The Great Gate of Kiev” from Pictures at an Exhibition in a side-by-side performance with The Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

At the start it was rather confusing. In our seats we were able to see the DSO members sitting in their places and filing in. Almost as soon as Maestro Thomas Hong and concertmaster Nathan Olson arrived the music began. The orchestra burst into song. The piece lasted approximately 10 minutes, but time flew and it seemed much shorter. When that wonderful piece ended, a city council woman came and spoke of how wonderful the Meyerson was. Finally Christopher O’Riley and announcer Joanne Robinson came on stage. With a short introduction, the first young musician, Aakash Patel came on stage. He had an excellent performance, and then he was interviewed. I find it inspiring that he bought his first violin on EBay and used YouTube to learn advanced violin techniques. Russell Houston came up on stage next. He played a piece by Ernest Bloch that won him the 2012 Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition. He said that he had wanted to play the piece as soon as he heard it for the first time. It certainly was a great piece, and I think he really loved it. After Christopher O’Riley played a piece with the DSO, we had a short intermission and just as soon we were back in our seats. Chase Dobson, pianist and composer had written a piano trio, and the three musicians, Chase, Russell and Aakash played the piece together. Chase’s piece was inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, and how the gods play with humanity but it usually has a big impact on humans, thus the name “Sporting of the Gods”. He had conducted this piece before in Carnegie Hall, his first time conducting. He apparently received 2 standing ovations, which is impressive.

Overall, all of the music was beautiful and well played. I enjoyed the interviews of the young musicians, of which some parts were really funny. I probably laughed the loudest when Aakash was being interviewed, and said that he came from an Indian family, which was basically a Mexican family, only Indian. All their music moved me, especially the last piece, “The Great Gate of Kiev”. It was excellent and I hope I can go to another From the Top Concert, although listening to it on the radio is fun as well. I enjoyed it a lot, and luckily I didn’t fall asleep like last time at a concert! I look forward to listening to other great young musicians on WRR Classical 101.1. (This recording airs on February 16th at 9:00 am)

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