Spotlight on youth

Young Artist Showcase is real deal for performers

Young Artist Showcase is real deal for performers

February 27, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

FREDERICK, Md. - The Frederick Symphony Orchestra doesn't plan to baby the high school soloist performing Saturday during its Young Artists Showcase concert at Frederick Community College.

After all, the idea behind the Young Artists Showcase is to give young performers a taste of what to expect as a professional musicians, said Elisa Koehler, music director and conductor of the FSO.

"We treat them just like any other guest soloist," Koehler said, adding that doing otherwise would defeat the purpose - preparing them for the real world of classical music careers.

FSO's yearly Young Artist Showcase will feature violinist Brian Kim, a sophomore at Marriotts Ridge High School near Ellicott City, Md. As the winner of the Young Artist Competition held earlier this year, Kim received a $1,000 grand prize and nabbed this weekend's guest-soloist slot, said FSO publicist Muffy Lewin.


Kim will perform movements 1 and 2 from Dvorak's Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53. The concert will also feature Shostakovich's Festive Overture and Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 in F Major, "Pastorale."

"I don't get the sense that he will have stage fright," said Glenn Quader, FSO associate conductor, who will lead the orchestra during Kim's solo.

Appealing to young audiences

In an era when budgets for arts programs are dwindling and kids have fewer opportunities to hear and play classical music, local orchestras are using music education programs to keep the music alive.

They're also hoping to grow future audiences.

"Exposing children to music at a young age helps build audiences," said Andrew Kipe, executive director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, whose educational outreach programs serves 24,000 children a year.

The MSO is gearing up for its yearly family concert Sunday. Kipe said student musicians will have an opportunity to play with the MSO in May as part of a city youth concert.

"There's sort of a 20-year gestation period," Kipe said. "If they're not introduced to it while they're young, they're probably not going to get into when they're adults."

Koehler said there's a cool factor at work when kids see other kids getting into music - classical or otherwise.

"Let's face it, that's why 'High School Musical' is so popular," Koehler said. "Younger kids look up to older kids."

Practice for real life

Koehler and Kipe both pointed to studies that suggest students who study music perform better on standardized tests.

Russell Beaton, curriculum specialist for secondary and performing arts for Frederick County Public Schools, said learning to play music may offer subtle life lessons.

"I think that students who are always striving to improve their performing abilities, that translates into their lives," Beaton said. "They're striving to do more than just playing the notes."

If you go ...

WHAT: Young Artist Showcase, presented by Frederick Symphony Orchestra.

Violinist Brian Kim, a student at Marriotts Ridge High School, will perform movements 1 and 2 from Dvorak's Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7

WHERE: J.B. Kussmaul Theater, Frederick Community College, Frederick Md. The campus is off Opossumtown Pike.

COST: $20; $15, adults 62 and older; $10, students 18 and younger with valid ID.

MORE: For tickets go to

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