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Spring Concert 2024

       Our Senior Orchestra Spring Concert features both beloved classics and exciting, ground-breaking music by Sri Lankan/Canadian composer Dinuk Wijeratne. Maestro Wijeratne–he is a conductor, composer, pianist, professor, and polymath-completed his virtuoso orchestral showpiece Polyphonic Lively in 2016. The work was the winner of the 2017 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award and was rapturously received by Nova Scotian audiences upon its world premiere. From Wijeratne,

“While browsing through a library book of very vibrant artwork by Paul Klee, the 20th century Swiss-German master, I was struck by the title of one of the paintings: ‘Polyphonic Lively‘ Though the two adjectives back-to-back suggest that something may have been lost in translation, I felt compelled to turn these very vivid and evocative words into music. They immediately conjured up high-vibration, high-intensity ‘chatter’

...As a composer I like to explore the possibility that musical voices, each conveying an idea that is either supportive or subversive, can be allowed to coexist in a way that often eludes us in today’s world. The nature of ‘Polyphonic Lively‘ is character-driven and, through sharp turns and decisive action, its ‘journey’ is simply what the characters make of it. Its musical fabric is a multiplicity of voices, lines, and themes that decide – on a whim – when to coalesce and coexist.”
         We are delighted to welcome violinist Dustin Breshears, winner of the CYS Young Artist Competition, who will perform one of the most important and thrilling works ever composed for violin and orchestra: the Violin Concerto in D minor by Jean Sibelius. Sibelius was a fine violinist who dreamed of being a concert soloist. Late in life, he reminisced: “Since the age of 15, I played my violin practically from morning to night. I hated pen, and unfortunately, I preferred an elegant violin bow. My love for the violin lasted quite long, and it was a painful awakening when I had to admit that I had begun my training for the exacting career of a virtuoso too late.”

Fortunately for the music world, Sibelius composed a violin concerto, and what a concerto it is! Filled with passion, tenderness, and folk-like exuberance in the Finale, it remains to this day at the apex of the violinist’s repertoire.
        The second half of our program features Nathan Daughtrey's Sizzle!, a composition written for five percussionists, showcasing his expertise as a marimba/xylophone soloist and composer. Conducted by CYS Percussion Director Artie Storch, the piece incorporates a variety of percussion instruments, divided into three timbral categories—skins, woods, and metals—as well as five vocal effects, creating a rich and diverse sonic landscape. Closing the program with music from the first of the three epoch-making (and -breaking) ballets composed by Igor Stravinsky for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes is The Firebird. First heard in Paris in 1910, the work immediately catapulted Stravinsky to international stardom and was followed by evermore daring ballets: Petrouchka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913). Seizing on the success of the ballet, Stravinsky arranged a purely orchestral Suite from the ballet in 1919 (and yet another in 1945). The 1919 version, which we will be performing, is a powerhouse tour-de-force for orchestra which basically takes us through the story in a tableaux of six movements, closing with the magnificent Finale that ends the ballet.

Leo Eylar
, conductor
Artie Storch, conductor
Dustin Breshears, violin

Wijeratne: Polyphonic Lively
Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor (Dustin Breshears, violin)  
Daughtrey: Sizzle (CYS Percussion Section)
Stravinsky: The Firebird

Young Artist Competition Winner

Dustin Breshears, age 16, is a violinist and violist studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Pre-college Division. He studies violin with Nancy Zhou and viola with Jonathan Vinocour.


CYS Young Artist Competition

Each spring the California Youth Symphony holds its Young Artist Competition to select soloists for the following season. The Competition is open to pianists and instrumental soloists under age 19. Two young artists will be chosen by a panel of three judges to perform with the CYS Orchestra during the November or March concert series of the following season.

Application form now available!



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