Reviews: youth orchestras at Carnegie and Avery Fisher halls

Posted on: April 20, 2012

In side-by-side reviews in Thursday’s (4/19) New York Times, Steve Smith and Vivien Schweitzer describe the excitement generated in separate concerts on the same night by youth orchestras in New York City. “There is something irresistible about witnessing a performance by an exceptional youth ensemble,” writes Smith of the European Youth Orchestra’s Wednesday (4/18) concert at Carnegie Hall of Copland’s Outdoor Overture, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3, with soloist Itzhak Perlman, and Strauss’s Alpine Symphony, led by Vladimir Ashkenazy. “One keen difference” between a youth ensemble and any other fine orchestra at Carnegie “was an infectious joy evident onstage. When Mr. Ashkenazy singled out [trumpet soloist Luis Saúl Rubio Diaz] for applause after the Copland, colleagues whooped openly…. Mr. Ashkenazy seemed swept up by their spirit, dashing out each time he took the stage and mounting the podium with a bound.” Schweitzer writes that the Juilliard Orchestra also gave a “colorful reading” of the same Strauss symphony on the same night (4/18) at Avery Fisher Hall, led by Emmanuel Villaume. “Both conductor and musicians clearly enjoyed performing the work, which was inspired both by a mountain climb Strauss took as a teenager and by Nietzsche’s ‘Antichrist.’ … The Juilliard students offered a detailed, energetic and stirring rendition of the extravagantly sized score, vividly illuminating Strauss’s depictions of waterfalls, storms and pastures…. As for the rest of the program, the Prelude to Act I of Wagner’s Lohengrin is equally lustrous, with its shimmering, yearning string section performed beautifully.”

Posted April 20, 2012