Young Virtuosity! Concert Showcases Violin & Piano

Xiao Fan (at L with Peter Askim), will play a violin solo during the "Young Virtuosity!" orchestra concert this weekend

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“Young Virtuosity!” Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra Concert, will showcase two of their own, Xiao Fan on violin and Xue or “Maxine” on piano. Both will be playing the pieces that helped them win the annual Concerto Competition. 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.

At the school lunchroom recently, Maxine admitted to being a little nervous about her upcoming solo.

“I don’t know why! She knows her music!” said her friend, and they both laughed.

Xiao and Maxine are both juniors this year, so this may not be the last time you will hear them play. But you don’t want to miss this performance. You can always claim, “I saw them when . . . ”

Last year, as a sophomore, Maxine performed at Piano Fest, an all-piano concert held on Jan. 18 in the IAF Theater (see Piano Fest blog post, dated Jan. 22). “Fantasy on Porgy and Bess,” with selections from Gershwin and Grainger, capped off that evening. Anni, Bohan, Meiling and Maxine took turns playing on two back-to-back grand pianos during this popular ensemble. Their rendition of “Summertime” warmed the crowd on the rainy evening.

Camille (shown last year with A-Tao) is excited about playing Stravinsky's Firebird Suite

Both Xiao and Maxine accompanied other music students during the end-of-the-year recitals last year. (Actually, as a pianist, Maxine is paired with students to help them with their auditions and recitals).

Xiao helped Henry, another violin player, during his junior recital last year  (see blog post, “Fast Fingers at Junior Recitals,” dated Feb. 24.) The four friends, Henry, RoGue, Ai Ching, XO and Xiao played Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet.

Although this Saturday and Sunday’s “Young Virtuosity!” performance will appear seamless, it comes with lots of hard work and dedication from the orchestra students, and especially the soloists, Xiao and Maxine.

“They have to prepare for this concert, in addition to doing all of their regular schoolwork, attending classes, orchestra practice and small group practices,” said one music staff member. “And they just got done with finals last week.”

But don’t think that they’re too stressed to play. These young musicians crave attention from a live audience.

“We get to play the Firebird Suite!” exclaimed Camille, an oboe player, about the second part of the “Young Virtuosity!” concert.

The 1910 ballet by Igor Stravinsky (and choreographed by Michel Fokine) 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.

Early on, not all of the music students were excited about Stravinsky’s Suite. Some have admitted that their parts are difficult, and they’re struggling a bit.
“Some parts might be difficult, if you have a solo or something,” said Wu Shan, a post-graduate cello player. “But the Firebird Suite is not hard for me.”

Idyllwild Arts Orchestra warms up

Wu Shan hasn’t played the Firebird Suite until just recently, but at 19, he’s been playing the cello for 15 years. He started in China at age 4, and just returned his tiny, first cello to his former teacher, so that another young student could learn to play.

Xiao, Maxine, Camille, Wu Shan and all of the orchestra students will be on stage at the “Young Virtuosity!” Concerts held this Saturday, Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. Both performances are free and open to the public at the IAF Theater (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.

the attachments to this post:

virtuosity warmup

virtuosity camille

virtuosity xiao & Peter

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