For nearly 50 years, the Salute to Youth concert, sponsored by the Deseret Morning News, has been Utah's premiere showcase for young classically trained talent. Youthful instrumentalists and singers from around the state converge on Abravanel Hall every year to try out for the opportunity to play with the Utah Symphony.

Tuesday, auditions were held in Abravanel Hall to select the lucky finalists who will be the featured soloists with the Utah Symphony at this year's Salute to Youth concert, to be held in October.

Chosen were:

Verina Cheng, 13, Provo, piano;

Andrea Hughes, 16, North Salt Lake, violin;

Molly Langr, 11, Salt Lake City, harp;

Helen McGarr, 16, Lindon, flute;

David Price, 15, Sandy, violin;

Gabriella Roderer, 16, Wellsville, flute.

Even though they won't be performing at the Salute to Youth concert, seven other participants received honorable mention. They are pianists Lindsay Brinton, 17, Salt Lake City; Jim Lu, 12, Orem; Joshua Mortensen, 12, Eagle Mountain; and Mike Stewart, 17, West Valley City. Harpists Brittany Hicken, 17, South Jordan, and Caroline Richards, 10, Pleasant Grove, along with violinist Deborah Ferry, 16, Corinne, also received honorable mention.

Selected to perform an entire concerto at the Utah Symphony's All-Star Evening on May 13, 2008, was 17-year-old pianist Song Choi from Sandy.

The six Salute to Youth finalists were chosen from a field of 43 auditioners. Of those 43, thirty-two came from the Utah State Fair Music Competition while 11 were drawn from the Utah Symphony Youth Guild Recital.

Judging the auditions were David Cho, Utah Symphony assistant conductor; Leon Chodos, Utah Symphony associate principal bassoonist; Veronica Kulig, Utah Symphony violinist; and Heather Conner, University of Utah assistant professor of piano.

This is the 48th year the Utah Symphony has held the Salute to Youth concert. This year it takes place on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. in Abravanel Hall. Tickets are now available by calling ArtTix at 801-355-2787 or 888-451-2787, or going online to www.utahsymphonyopera.org.


E-mail: ereichel@desnews.com