Diane Yang

Diane Yang (Photo courtesy of James Ferry / April 12, 2012)

You'll have to wait until the Fourth of July for outdoor fireworks, but the Columbia Orchestra is offering a colorful indoor program it calls "Orchestral Fireworks" on Saturday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m, at the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School.

This festive, family friendly concert of short and lively classical compositions also showcases the three winners of the orchestra's 2012 Young Artist Competition. Seeing such young talent on stage also qualifies as musical fireworks.

"These kids are incredible," says Columbia Orchestra music director Jason Love. "Even though they're young people, they have their own special ideas about the pieces they'll be playing. Unlike a (seasoned) performer who does a piece 20 times a year, they bring a kind of enthusiasm and spontaneity."

Besides getting the opportunity to perform with the orchestra, the winners receive scholarship checks from the Shirley Mullinix Memorial Fund.


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The junior division winner of this year's Young Artist Competition, Kenneth Ryu Naito, performs the first movement of Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor.

Naito, who is a sixth-grader at Bonnie Branch Middle School, has been playing the violin since age 4. His numerous accomplishments include performing the Bruch Violin Concerto with the Kostroma Symphony Orchestra in Russia as an American Fine Arts Festival Concerto Competition winner; playing recitals at Weill Hall and Merkin Hall in New York City; and being concertmaster of his school orchestra. He studies with Shirley Givens in New York.

Incidentally, Naito also is studying for a black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do, so music critics may want to keep that in mind as they file concert reviews in the future.

Katherine Tich and Diane Yang, who are the competition's senior division winners, will play, respectively, Cecile Chaminade's "Concertino for Flute" and the first movement of Max Bruch's Violin Concerto in G Minor.

Tich, 15, who is a freshman at Marriotts Ridge High School, is making her first appearance with an orchestra at the upcoming concert. She has studied flute for six years with Ellen Dooley, who is a member of the U.S. Marine Band. Tich's activities include being a member of the Maryland All-State Bands, and accompanying the St. John's Episcopal Church band on flute.

Yang, 16, who is a sophomore at Mount Hebron High School, studies violin with Rebecca Henry at Peabody Prep. In addition to Prep-related activities, her accomplishments include being a finalist of the Howard Youth Orchestra Young Artists, and a concerto winner and performer with the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra.

The rest of the program has musical selections so zestfully assertive that the program's fireworks title seems warranted. Music director Jason Love says that doing such a program of short and diverse works will "feature the virtuosity of the orchestra," because "these are self-contained pieces that are almost like single snapshots."

Two of these pieces come from the standard repertory: Beethoven's "Leonore Overture No. 3" and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Capriccio Espagnol." Two others are relatively new and likely to be unfamiliar to most audience members: Chinese composer Zhou Tian's "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers" and Mexican composer Arturo Marquez's "Conga del Fuego Nuevo."

Love notes that these new pieces represent the orchestra's ongoing efforts to present more Latin and Asian music. He says he had been aware of these particular pieces for some time and "I wanted to find a home for them" in a Columbia Orchestra program. These vivid pieces will be right at home in this musical fireworks celebration.

The Columbia Orchestra performs Saturday, June 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road in Columbia. Tickets are $20, $16 for seniors over 60, $10 for full-time students, and free for active duty military. Tickets may be purchased at Music and Arts in Ellicott City, Arundel Mills or Laurel; at the Columbia Association on Wincopin Circle; or at the door. Before the concert, Howard Community College faculty member Bill Scanlan Murphy discusses the program at 6:30 p.m. Call 410-465-8777 or go to http://www.columbiaorchestra.org.