Young musicians to stage talent in annual concert

February 27, 2009
By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( )This Saturday evening three of the area’s best young musicians will take their talent to the stage during La Sierra University’s 51st Annual Concerto Concert.

The event begins at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 in La Sierra’s Hole Memorial Auditorium as part of the university’s Homecoming weekend of activities. Admission is free.

The concert will feature the talents of LSU concerto competition winners and music students Yijia Zhang, violin, and soprano Rrian Patterson. Special guest artist, 13-year-old Jonathan Mamora will perform the first movement of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 in C minor. Mamora, a student at Loma Linda Academy, recently won the concerto division of the Inland Empire Piano Festival.

Zhang will perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35. Patterson will sing the aria, “O zittre nicht,” from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”

The musicians will play with the La Sierra University Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Cummings.

Zhang will receive La Sierra’s Marcia Specht Guy Memorial Award and Patterson will receive an award from the music department.

Zhang, who is completing a Performer’s Certificate at La Sierra, was excited to learn he was a concerto winner, he said. He dreams of becoming a concert violinist and is also considering teaching and performing chamber music. He will finish his studies at La Sierra next quarter and is auditioning for entry into The Juilliard School in Manhattan and other top music schools.

Zhang, age 20, began studying violin at five years of age. He arrived at La Sierra a year ago from China. Zhang’s violin teacher in Beijing, Liang Chai, knows La Sierra’s Director of Violin Studies Jason Uyeyama and suggested Zhang study at LSU, Zhang said. He has performed with the Shanghai Conservatory Orchestra and the Beijing Central Conservatory Orchestra.

This year’s concerto audition was Patterson’s third, and it indeed proved to be a charm. She screamed with excitement she found out, she said. “I was so excited. A singer hasn’t won it for a long time,” Patterson said.

In auditioning for the concerto competition, Patterson won a valuable lesson in perseverance, she said. The senior vocal performance major plans to move to Los Angeles, sign on with an agent and audition for shows. “ I love performing. I’ve always been into acting, singing, and I would love to continue doing that,” she said. Patterson starred in La Sierra’s production of Cinderella. She won the Riverside Opera Guild’s 2008 vocal competition and is a member of the Riverside Lyric Opera.

Mamora’s performance Saturday will be his debut with an orchestra and he is excited about the opportunity, he said. Mamora’s extensive performance and competition experience includes winning the 2008 Southern California Junior Bach Festival and playing for the Indonesian Ambassador to the United States. “My goals are hopefully I can play in Carnegie Hall in New York and in Los Angeles in the Walt Disney Concert Hall and all those famous buildings,” said the teenage pianist. He is considering one day majoring in music and possibly medicine or another subject.
La Sierra holds the concerto competition each year for student instrumentalists and vocalists. Judges from various aspects of the music industry evaluate the musicians and name the winners. This year’s competition took place on Dec. 5 and involved about nine contenders giving either vocal performances or playing violin, piano or cello. Pianist Dr. Anna-Lise Longuemare and Mark Buyz, a Hollywood film composer reviewed the students’ work.

The university’s interaction with the Inland Empire Piano Festival affords the orchestra an opportunity to reach out the community and showcase the students’ talent while providing the festival winner an opportunity to play with an orchestra, Cummings said. “One of my goals for the orchestra is to increase its visibility in the community as a finely trained [group],” he said.

Anita Nørskov Olsen, retired La Sierra music professor and piano teacher, directs the Inland Empire Piano Festival. Olsen taught at La Sierra between 1968 and 1990. The university offers an endowed scholarship in her name.

Linking the festival and La Sierra’s concerto competition is good for the university because it “connects top, young and upcoming music students with our music program early on,” said Elvin Rodriguez, La Sierra’s director of keyboard studies and Mamora’s piano instructor. “We want to be known as the place to come for not only high quality programs, but also for high quality teaching. Making our program interactive with the community allows us to be part of the conversation and to create a positive perception that can work to bring us good students for the future and be a positive voice in the community,” Rodriguez said.



PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University
Riverside, California
951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  December 07, 2009