Soloists Shine in “Young Virtuosity” Concert

Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra will play The Firebird Suite at 2 p.m. today

“The two soloists from the concert last night did remarkably well,” said Maurice Mysenberg, a college professor from La Habra.

He and his friend, Priscilla, drove more than two hours to hear the “Young Virtuoisty” concert at Idyllwild Arts Saturday night, Feb. 5. The final performance will be held today at 2 p.m.

“After his solo, the young man (Xiao Fan) took a bow, but kept a smile on his face throughout the rest of the concert,” Maurice added.

Priscilla said that Maxine, the other soloist, obviously had a command of the piano, and played beautifully.

From where they were seated in the audience (second rise, left side) they could see the entire stage, with a good view of the piano.

“Her fingering on the keyboard was just incredible,” added Maurice, who is learning to play piano later in life.

Last night, they switched the program around to let Xiao play first, Maurice noted. He couldn’t get over how young both of the soloists were compared to their proficiency.

Today, Xiao will be playing Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47, while Maxine will play Franz List’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major. Both pieces are the ones that helped them win the annual Concerto Competition.

Xiao (at left with Peter Askim) will be playing Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D Minor

The second half of today’s concert features “The Firebird Suite” from the 1910 ballet by Igor Stravinsky (which was choreographed by Michel Fokine). It is based on Russian folk tales of the firebird, a magical glowing bird that is considered both a blessing and a curse to its captor.

Maurice said the harp and the enhanced brass section (with guest artists) made “The Firebird Suite” sound wonderful.

Since the music was created for ballet, this part of the concert has piqued the interest of many of the school’s dancers.

Amira, a sophomore dance major, was looking forward to the concert. Last night, she was rushing back to her dorm room to change after a long day of dance auditions in Long Beach.

“It’s always great to hear ballet music performed live,” Amira said.

The final performance of the “Young Virtuosity!” Concert will be held today (Sunday, Feb. 6) at 2 p.m.  The concert is free and open to the public, but come early to get a seat. It will be held in the IAF Theater (located inside the Bowman Building) on the Idyllwild Arts campus, at the end of Tollgate Road. For more information, call (951) 659-2171, or visit

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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