04/22/2017 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Centennial Performing Arts Center
The Meridian Symphony presents “Rising Stars” at 7:30 p.m. April 22 at the Centennial High School Performing Arts Center, 12400 W. McMillan Road. The concert features Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Walton’s Crown Imperial March and Ticheli’s An American Elegy, plus winners of the 2017 Young Artists Competition performing solos with the orchestra.
This year’s young soloists include pianist Christian Nielsen, violist Julia Caven, pianist Anthony Luo and alto saxophonist Minjun Kwak, who will perform with a piano accompanist. They were selected to perform from a field of about 20 junior- and senior-high age musicians who competed in the annual contest
Jim Ogle is the artistic director and conductor of the Meridian Symphony. Boise State University’s Marcellus Brown, director of the Treasure Valley Concert Band and University Symphonic Winds, is guest conductor for the Shostakovich Overture.
Meet Our Young Artists
Christian Nielsen, 13, is the son of Julie and Kevin Nielsen and an eighth grader at Idaho Fine Arts Academy. He has played the piano for eight years and studies with Mark Hansen. Christian serves as the accompanist for the middle and senior high school choir at his school and plays with the chamber music program. He has performed in the Utah State University Piano Festival and the Musicians’ West Piano Competition, and in the MTNA State competition for Idaho.
Christian says he was drawn to Prokofiev’s challenging Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major because he knew performing it would increase his technical ability as well as his musical and collaboration abilities. “It is very well-written, meaning that it makes sense to the first-time listener,” he says. He particularly likes the duets between the piano melody and the orchestra melody in the second and third movements of the piece.
Christian enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and camping, and he also likes photography. He would like a career in music, hopefully in performance and music education.
Julia Caven, 16, is the daughter of Jay and Valerie Caven. She plays in the Centennial High School Orchestra and the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and takes classes online, at home, and at Boise Bible College. Julia took up the violin at age 9 and then switched to the viola when she was 12. She studies with Marcia von Huene.
Julia won the 2017 BPYO concerto competition and the Dill solo and ensemble festival. She placed 2nd at the 2016 IMEA state solo and ensemble competition and was the viola section leader for the 2016 All State Orchestra.
Tonight she is performing the first movement of Bloch’s Suite Hébraïque for viola and orchestra. “To me, this piece captures the emotions of the struggles and persecution the Jewish people have faced throughout history. I love how it is mournful, yet exotic and mysterious,” she says.
In addition to playing the viola, Julia enjoys traveling, reading, art, being outdoors, and having fun with her four siblings. She’d like to travel internationally with an organized called YWAM for a year before starting college. She’s not sure yet what she would like to major in, but is thinking of pursuing a degree in intercultural studies.
Anthony Luo, 16, is the son of Shijian Luo and Yuhong Ji and a sophomore at Boise High School . He has played the piano for 10 years and studies with Kay So. Anthony also plays the violin and plays in his school orchestra and with the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra
Anthony performed with the Meridian Symphony in 2015 as winner of Young Artist Competition junior division. He also has won several sonata competitions and Boise Tuesday Musicale scholarship awards.
He is performing the first movement of Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. “I chose this piece because it contains a perfect balance of rich melodies with fun, quick passages,” he says.
In addition to making music, Anthony enjoys photography, videography and using a variety of tech gadgets. He would like to work in the tech industry someday either as an engineer or a software developer.
Minjun Kwak, 14, is the son of Jongtae Kwak and Jungtae Kim. A ninth grader at East Junior High, he has played the alto saxophone for four years and studies with Jane Williams. Minjun also plays the piano and is a member of his school’s concert band. He was among the top two contestants at the District 3 solo and ensemble festival and also was a member of the 2016 All-State Band.
Minjun says he chose to perform the first movement Ibert’s Concertino da Camera because “I was instantly drawn into the wonderful melodies. What I like most about this piece is being able to play the fast runs as well as the beautiful middle section.”
When he’s not making music, Minjun enjoys playing soccer, watching movies, and playing video games. He hopes to someday pursue a career in engineering while making music for fun.