The last two weeks have been challenging for Youth Music Monterey County orchestras, for this was a time during which rehearsals were inconvenienced by a series of violent storms bringing widespread power outages, downed trees and impassable roads. Somehow the young musicians participating in YOSAL and YMMC got it all together in time to present a Winter Concert that was as refreshing as it was inspiring.
Music Director and Conductor Farkhad Khudyev has proven over and over again that he has the ability to work well with young musicians and help them perform better than they even thought possible. What we observed from the audience during the concert was — yes, brilliant young conductor Farkhad, waving a baton and cueing individual young players, but also we were aware that most of what we heard during this concert is a result of a lot of hard work in rehearsals, which is where so many important musical decisions are made.
The brilliant young bassoon soloist, Amadeus Soria, the recent YMMC Concerto Competition winner, was featured in a lovely performance of Carl Maria von Weber’s Andante e Rondo Ungarese, Op. 35. Soria, a senior at Marina High School, and a pupil of Erin Irvine, will be attending the University of Chicago this fall. We don’t often hear a bassoon soloist with orchestra, so this was a very welcome occasion, and probably most of the people in the audience were as unfamiliar with this work as I was. Soria gets a rich sound from his instrument, and he displayed a nimble technique equal to the demands of this challenging work. He received thunderous applause and a prolonged standing ovation.
In other sections of the afternoon’s program we heard the YMMC Junior Youth Orchestra in Dvořák’s Slavonic Dance No. 1 (with members of Youth Orchestra Salinas) plus the 4th movement of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 and the Danse Bacchanale by Saint-Saëns. The final windup of the program was a moving and exciting performance by the YMMC Honors Orchestra of Edvard Grieg’s Symphonic Dances, Op. 64. We had an opportunity to hear lovely string playing in each section and some outstanding solos by the winds, brass, timpani and harp. Khudyev and the players were rewarded with a grand standing ovation. We can be very proud of the accomplishments of these wonderful young players.