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Young violinist Beilman already knows the score

MusicConcertsColleges and UniversitiesMusic Industry

When violinist Benjamin Beilman performs for the Candlelight Concert Society on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 8 p.m. at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre, he'll surely be one of the younger people in the house.

That's because this 22-year-old Curtis Institute graduate is off to a precocious start with his professional career. Helping give him a boost are the performance prizes he has received from the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Friends of Music Concerts in New York and Howard County's own Candlelight Concert Society.

Assorted prizes and awards provide young musicians with the recognition and resources that are needed to make it in the classical music world.

Beilman has been accumulating quite a few such honors over the past couple years. He's the winner of the 2012 Avery Fisher Career Grant, the 2010 Young Concert Artists Auditions, the 2012-2015 London Music Masters Award, the 2011 Prince of Hesse Prize at the Kronberg Academy in Germany, and the 2010 Montreal International Musical Competition.

That last-mentioned honor certainly placed him in the Canadian limelight. He has bookings with L'Orchestre Metropolitain de Montreal, L'Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

For his Columbia gig, the busy Beilman will be accompanied by pianist Amy Yang, who replaces the previously announced Yekwon Sunwoo. Yang is a graduate of Curtis, the Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. Performing around 70 concerts a season, she now can add Columbia to her list.

Beilman and Yang will perform Poulenc's Sonata for Violin and Piano; Brahms' Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100; and Messiaen's Fantasy for Violin and Piano in C D934/Op. posth. 159.

It's a substantial program indicating that Beilman is musically mature beyond his years.

Of course, he did start young.

Beilman began playing the violin in Houston at age 5. His family moved to Atlanta, then Chicago and then Ann Arbor, Mich., prompting one to wonder whether the family moves weren't in their own way preparation for the touring life.

In any event, Beilman was only 17 when he went to study at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. That's also how old — or young — he was when he started participating in the Marlboro Music Festival; he also has toured with Musicians from Marlboro. While at Curtis, he studied violin with Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank.

Another Philly link is that he made his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2009.

Also Philadelphia-related is that he was a member of the student orchestra at Curtis when composer Jennifer Higdon workshopped her Violin Concerto — commissioned by Baltimore-bred violinist Hilary Hahn — there, so Beilman should be well-prepped in that piece as he gives his own first performances of it with the South Dakota and Glens Falls symphony orchestras.

Additional activities in recent years include the 2010 release of his debut album of Prokofiev's complete sonatas for violin and piano; and appearing on National Public Radio's "Performance Today." It's little wonder that Musical America magazine praised him for his "eloquence and flair."

Benjamin Beilman and Amy Yang perform Saturday, Nov. 10, at 8 p.m., at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, in Columbia. Tickets are $30, $28 for seniors, $12 for students ages 18- 24, and free for ages 9-17 with a paid adult or senior. Also, there is a preconcert discussion at 7:15 p.m. with Cathleen Jeffcoat, an adjunct music professor at Howard Community College. Call 410-997-2324 or go to http://www.candlelightconcerts.org.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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