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Student soloists announced for Utah Symphony's Salute to Youth

Though their instruments vary, the seven students invited to perform at the Utah Symphony’s annual Salute to Youth performance share common characteristics: great passion, impressive dedication and, of course, abundant gifts of music.

The young soloists, selected from an audition pool of 106 aspiring Utah musicians, will have the unparalleled opportunity to perform with the full symphony at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at an Abravanel Hall concert, with music director Thierry Fischer conducting.

In interviews with the Deseret News, each of the students was easily able to articulate the joy that music has brought into their lives and express their enthusiasm for participating in their first-ever symphony concert.

Following are the students’ comments along with their performance information:

Seong-Eun Cho, 17, piano, Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto No. 2, First Movement

Importance of music: “There are times when we must let natural senses take over and let emotion carry us. Music frees our senses from structures and formulas whether we are the listener or the performer. For me, music helps me to forget about the worldly concerns. It enhances my human experience and adds value to my life.”

Passion: “My passion for music is the one and only motivation. All else helped me to get to where I am today, but only through my love of music will I be able to keep enduring and growing as a finer musician. To express my passion and to move the audience through music, in music itself is where my motivation lies.”

Michelle Dean, 18, voice, Mozart, Ach, ich fühl's from “The Magic Flute”

Concert anticipation: “I'm so excited to perform with the Utah Symphony because I've always wanted to stand where great names have stood and be backed up by a professional symphony. Singing in Abravanel Hall with its incredible acoustics is the frosting on the cake.

Greatest influence: “My mom has a degree in piano performance and she has been my support 100 percent of the way. We've performed hundreds of times together and she's taught me so much about musicianship. I love waking up in the morning to my mom practicing the piano upstairs. She has taught me to love music.”

Kate Hales, 16, viola, Walton, Viola Concerto, Second Movement

Ambition: “One goal that I consistently have is to get a little better each time I practice. If I remember that today I can be better than I was yesterday, I have something achievable that I can work toward.”

Inspiration: “I really admire my teacher, Roberta Zalkind. She's been a tremendous influence on me. Not only does she teach me, but she is interested in me and she tries to help me do what's best. I've loved learning from her and I'm excited to continue to study with her.”

David Horton, 17, piano, Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K.491, First Movement

Performance piece: “Performing one of Mozart’s concertos has the added excitement of being able to actively interact with the orchestra instead of just having the orchestra provide support to your part. I've also simply loved this concerto since I first heard it. It's one of his most lyrical concertos as well.”

Favorite composer: “When I listen to and perform Scriabin's works, I feel a deeper and more profound connection to his style than with any other composer. His works are each incredible masterpieces of sound and color that tell profound stories.”

Margaret Ivory, 14, violin, Beethoven, Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61, Third Movement

Motivation: “I am motivated by those around me who dedicate so much time to what they do. Also, after each performance, I always get excited for the next. That is how I get through the hours and time I spend practicing. I look forward to performing and want to improve as much as I can.”

Rewards: “Music is such an important aspect in my life because it brings me happiness, joy and rewards that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Music has forced me to work hard and it has taught me so much about life. I love playing the violin.”

Rebecca Pedersen, 20, voice, Puccini, Un bel di vedremo from “Madama Butterfly”

Gratitude: “I have been given so much in my life, I have a wonderful family and mentors and friends who all support me in this endeavor, and this is my way of thanking them: of showing my love and appreciation.”

Influence: “I can honestly say I would not be a singer today if I had not met my voice teacher Darrell Babidge and his amazing wife Jenny two years ago. They are the most Christ-like people I know, and I hope someday I can prove worthy of all the sacrifice they have given to help me follow my dream.”

Kana Yoshigi, 13, piano, Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 3, First Movement

Performance selection: “I was encouraged to learn Beethoven Concerto No. 3 by my teacher and was astonished by its demanding emotional powers. I especially like the first movement with its massive cadenza, which sends shivers down my spine. After hearing the work, it was all I could think about. It was my choice to work on the first movement and get it to a high level of performance.”

Inspiring composer: “J.S. Bach’s pieces have a meaning and guideline behind everything, and I'm interested in performing and expressing the story of the pieces. I also have a strong belief that without Bach, present music would be much different.”