WT Symphony to feature 14-year-old area musician at next concert

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CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The West Texas A&M University symphony is gearing up for the next concert, which will feature the area’s most talented musicians.

According to WT’s Communication Dept., a 14-year-old middle school student will be the featured violin soloist at the symphony orchestra’s “Celebrate Youth” concert on Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall. Admission is free.

WT said that Quan Nguyen, an eighth grader at Crockett Middle School, is set to perform the finale of Max Bruch’s Violin Concert in G minor with the WT orchestra.

“Quan is a prodigy, and he will blow the audience away,” said Dr. Mark Bartley, director of orchestral activities, the Lilith Brainard Professor of Music and associate director of the School of Music. “For a violinist his age to perform a concerto with such technical challenges is remarkable, and that he plays it so masterfully is astounding. Quan has cultivated his considerable talent with hours of dedicated practice, taking the instruction of his teachers to heart.” 

“When I first found out that I was given the opportunity to perform with the WT Orchestra, I burst out screaming with excitement,” Nguyen said. “This piece, by far, is the most challenging piece I’ve ever tackled so far, but part of why I love playing the violin so much is how demanding and challenging it is. Tackling a challenge you once thought was impossible and conquering it is a feeling that is so rewarding.” 

In addition, the concert will feature a performance by the select chamber group Ensemble Next, a program for high school students led by Evgeny Zvonnikov, Harrington lecturer in violin. Featured high school students includes Aaron Arenivas of Ascension Academy; Elaina Proctor, who is homeschooled; and Anna Ng of Tascosa High School, WT detailed.

Plus, the youth concert will welcome the Amarillo Youth Symphony Orchestra, who will team up with the WT orchestra for Arturo Marquez’s Danzón No. 2 and Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”

“The substantial talent of the Texas Panhandle’s student musicians will be on full display, especially in the evening’s thunderous climax,” Bartley said. 

“I am absolutely thrilled for the young musicians of the ASYO to share the stage with the WT Symphony Orchestra on a very challenging program,” said Guglielmo Manfredi, ASYO conductor and WT professor of French horn. “Our youth orchestra members will learn so much making music alongside the collegiate players. Hopefully they will see a future for themselves performing at WT, or this will be another experience that helps to make them a lifelong lover of music and the arts.” 

The WT Communication Dept. announced that WT’s jazz ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 11 at the Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall for another concert that will be livestreamed on Facebook and will feature an internationally touring saxophonist.

The concert will also feature artist Jeff Antoniuk, and internationally touring jazz saxophonist, born in Canada, raised in Africa, and studied music at the University of North Texas. WT added that Anoniuk, with his band The Jazz Update and The Mars 4-Tet, has had several albums appear on Jazz top 40 charts.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Jeff to our campus to work and collaborate with our students,” said James Barger, assistant professor of saxophone. “In addition to performing with both jazz bands, Jeff will give private lessons, an improvisation master class, a saxophone master class and a question-and-answer session on music business and entrepreneurship. Our students will benefit immensely from having him here.” 

WT stated that Jazz Band II, under Barger’s direction, will perform “All the Things You Are,” arranged by Mark Taylor; “Georgia,” arranged by Steve Sample; “Caravan” by Duke Ellington, arranged by Mike Tomaro; “Blues for Hire” by Tomaro; and “The Jazz Police” by Gordon Goodwin.”

Also, Jazz Band I, under the direction of Doug Storey, will perform “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’” by Andy Weiner, arranged by Peter Blair; “Act Your Age” by Goodwin; “The Gatehring Sky” by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, arranged by Bob Curnow; “Flow” by Antoniuk; and “Hit and Run” by Denis DeBlasio.” 

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