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50th anniversary of Salute to Youth

Eight give dazzling performances as they play with symphony

"SALUTE TO YOUTH 50TH ANNIVERSARY," Utah Symphony, conductor David Cho, Abravanel Hall, Sept. 29

Utah has a wealth of talented young classical musicians, many of whom aspire to pursue their love of music professionally. Fortunately for them there is Salute to Youth.

Showcasing young local talent, Salute to Youth, sponsored by the Deseret News, gives these youthful players a chance to perform with the Utah Symphony. This year, Salute to Youth celebrated its 50th anniversary, and, as in years past, the talent displayed by these kids at Tuesday's concert was nothing short of remarkable.

Eight performers were chosen to play this year with the Utah Symphony, which was under the direction of associate conductor David Cho, and each dazzled the sizable audience in Abravanel Hall with their artistry which, especially among the youngest participants, showed a maturity well beyond their years.

Opening the concert was 18-year-old flutist Gabriella Roderer playing one of the lesser-known works in the flute repertoire — Georges H?e's "Fantaisie." She played the piece with seamless phrases and wonderful expressiveness that captured its evocative character. It was a polished and eloquent and a delightfully lyrical account.

Roderer was followed by 16-year-old Christian Hales playing the first movement from Serge Koussevitzky's Concerto for Double Bass. Exhibiting fine technique and refined expressiveness, he underscored the lyrical qualities of his instrument with his understated but compelling playing.

Rounding out the first half were two works for piano.

First, 11-year-old Trenton Chang played the opening movement from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K. 453. The youngster played with crispness and well-executed articulation that did justice to the music.

Fifteen-year-old Verina Chen closed out this half with Franz Liszt's Hungarian Fantasy. She gave a tour de force account of this demanding work that was impressive. Her exuberant performance was dynamic and vibrant.

Marimba player Camille Johnson started things off after intermission with the first movement from Ney Rosauro's Concerto for Marimba. The 17-year-old gave a rhythmically charged reading that showed her technical astuteness and nimbleness as she maneuvered herself around from one end of her instrument to the other.

Two violinists were featured next.

Aubree Oliverson, 11, showed astonishing maturity as she played the first movement from Dmitri Kabalevsky's Violin Concerto in C major, Op. 48. She was sensational as she captured the rugged melodicism of the piece with her technically astute playing.

Sixteen-year-old Sara Noel Bauman was the other violinist. She played the opening movement of ?ouard Lalo's well-known "Symphonie espangnole," giving a wonderfully musical account that captured the passion and drama while never losing sight of its lyricism.

The last soloist was 16-year-old Ubeeng Kueq, who enthralled the audience with the first movement from Sergei Rachmaninoff's First Piano Concerto. He made this technically demanding movement look easy. It was an exhilarating and bold performance that missed none of the passion and excitement of the music.

e-mail: ereichel@desnews.com