Young Musicians in Spotlight for February North State Symphony Concerts and Event

Promo PhotoAt the North State Symphony, February is the “Month of the Young Musician.” Major concerts on February 23 and 24 in Redding and Chico feature the music of Mozart and a young competition-winner. A competition earlier in the month puts the spotlight on talented North State youth.

Talented young people from all over the North State area compete on Sunday, February 17 at CSU, Chico during the Young Artist Auditions. Classical singers and players of orchestral instruments perform well-known selections from the classical repertoire. Judges, led by NSS Music Director/Conductor Kyle Wiley Pickett, will award first and second prizes in two divisions: high school, and college-university.

Cash prizes are provided by the Chico Guild and Redding League, the Symphony’s two volunteer groups. The Guild also manages the competition, which takes place at noon at CSU, Chico’s Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall (Performing Arts Center 134). The auditions are free to watch, however the Guild welcomes donations to support their work. The Young Artist Auditions first place winner in each division is given the opportunity to later perform as a soloist with the North State Symphony.

February also marks the orchestral solo appearance of the 2012 High School Young Artist Audition winner, violinist Nellie Ponarul.

At the Symphony’s February 23rd and 24th performances of “Experience the Charm,” Ponarul will appear with the orchestra, playing the first movement of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto. The symphony will also play Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella Suite” and will close with Mozart’s final symphony, called “the Jupiter”.

“Mozart’s music is always fresh and youthful-sounding,” said Pickett, “even in one of his last works — he was only 36 when he died so it is still the work of a young man. Many people think this is the best piece he ever wrote!”

The violin solo to be performed by Ponarul, a senior at Chico’s Pleasant Valley High School, is by Samuel Barber, an American composer whose “Adagio for Strings” is extremely famous, having been heard not only in concerts but in films like “Platoon” and solemn public occasions.

The concert will begin with a selection from a ballet, “Pulcinella,” by Stravinsky.

“This is unusual in that it sounds like very old music,” said Pickett, “because Stravinsky, in the 1900s, took some tunes that go all the way back to the 1700s and based his ballet music on those old melodies.”

“Experience Charm” takes place February 23, 7:30 p.m. at Redding’s Cascade Theatre, and February 24, 2 p.m. at Chico’s Laxson Auditorium. Pickett will also give his usual free, pre-concert talk one hour before each performance; the Chico talk takes place in Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall, a short walk from Laxson Auditorium.

The Redding concert is sponsored by a group of North State Symphony Board members, led by Dr. Pamela J. Ikuta, who have pooled contributions for the performance. Ponarul’s Redding appearance is sponsored by Trudy L. Tavares.

The Chico concert is sponsored by Matson and Isom, which has supported the orchestra for many years. Ponarul’s Chico concert is sponsored by Helga Ruge.

Tickets for the Redding concert are available at the Cascade Theatre Box Office, 243-8877, and online. Chico concert tickets are available at the University Box Office (898-6333), which is now located at the corner of Third and Chestnut Street, and online. Ticket prices range from $50 (for Redding premium seats) to $6 (advance purchase Chico student/children seats). More information on ticket pricing is available at the North State Symphony website or by calling the respective box offices.

The North State Symphony was created in 2001 from the merger of the Chico and Redding Symphonies, and functions as a program within the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at CSU, Chico.

The musicians of the orchestra include professionals from a wide geographic area, and community members as well as students and faculty members of CSU, Chico.

The University also provides extensive administrative and production support to the Symphony. Financial support also comes from the community leaders who serve on the Board of Directors, Board of Regents, and members of the music-loving communities of the region.

The origins of the North State Symphony can be traced back to 1905, when the first orchestra formed at what was then the Chico State Normal School. Thus 2005 was celebrated as the 100th anniversary of symphonic music in the North State area.