Berkshire Symphony

Berkshire Symphony

Guest Conductor – Julian Kuerti, Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony

There will also be a pre-concert talk at 7:15 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall in Bernhard Music Center.

This final concert of the season follows the annual tradition of featuring the winners of the Berkshire Symphony Student Soloist Competition:

Alicia Choi ’09, violin with Korngold’s Violin Concerto

Alicia began studying the violin at the age of four. From 2001-2005, Alicia received the Louis Smadbeck scholarship to attend the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School of Music. She was a scholarship student at the Aspen Music Festival and School in 2001 and 2006. Alicia has also won several competitions and awards; the most recent include the 2006 Berkshire Symphony Student Soloist Competition the 2005 International Music Competition, the 2007 Williams College Joseph O. Kremer ’36 Memorial Scholarship, and the 2007 South Mountain Association Willem Willeke Memorial Scholarship. She currently studies with Joanna Kurkowicz.

Alexander Taylor ’10, clarinet with Copland’s Clarinet Concerto

Alex Taylor started playing clarinet in the sixth grade after brief stints with both tuba and piano. From 2004-2006, Alex served as principal clarinet in the Reno Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and was featured as a soloist with Rondo from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622. He also performed in the California All State Band from 2004-2006, serving as assistant principal in 2006. Alex is majoring in biology and plans to attend medical school soon after graduating. In addition to his interest in clarinet, Alex enjoys racing with the Nordic ski team. Alex is a student of Susan Martula.

Tiffany Yu ’12, piano with Mozart’s Piano Concerto

Currently a freshmen at Williams College, Tiffany Yu has been studying the piano for fourteen years. Born in San Jose, California, Tiffany attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division for five years before becoming a student of renowned pianist, Hans Boepple. Tiffany was the winner of the Young Pianists’ Beethoven Competition and a quarterfinalist at the Oberlin International Piano Competition in 2007. Tiffany has also participated in master classes with John Perry, Randall Hodgkinson, and Adam Neiman. In addition to studying the piano with Doris Stevenson at Williams, Tiffany also plays the cello and was a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.

The Berkshire Symphony with guest conductor Julian Kuerti will give a concert on Saturday, April 25, at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus. There will also be a pre-concert talk with Maestro Kuerti at 7:15 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall in Bernhard Music Center. This free event is open to the public.

This final concert of the season follows the annual tradition of featuring the winners of the Berkshire Symphony Student Soloist Competition that was held in early February 2009. This event is a great showcase for the extraordinary talent at Williams College and is always a highlight of the season.

This year we have three soloists. They are Tiffany Yu ’12, piano; Alexander Taylor ’10, clarinet; and Alicia Choi ’09, violin. Their respective pieces are Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488 (1st Movement); Copland’s Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra; and Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 35 (all movements.)

The orchestra will also present George Perle’s Sinfonietta No. 1 and Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite (1919 version.)

Canadian Julian Kuerti has been assistant conductor to James Levine at the Boston Symphony Orchestra since February 2007. He made his BSO debut with concerts in March 2008, leading Knussen’s The Way to Castle Yonder, Dvorak Symphony No. 7, and Beethoven Emperor Concerto, with legendary pianist Leon Fleischer. In July 2008, he stepped in for an ailing Levine to conduct a program of Haydn, Schubert and J.S. Bach’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Peter Serkin as soloist. The Boston Globe had this to say about Kuerti’s debut at Symphony Hall: “Kuerti drew sumptuous sounds from the orchestra…with a vibrant and dashing account of Oliver Knussen’s “The Way to Castle Yonder” and a dark, robust reading of Dvorak’s Seventh Symphony.”

Kuerti also served as assistant conductor to Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which he led in performances of Viktor Ullmann’s opera “Der Kaiser von Atlantis” in the 2007/08 season. He has conducted extensively in Europe, North and South America, performing with orchestras such as the Toronto Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC, Houston Symphony, Berliner Symphoniker, and the Budapest Festival Orchestra.

Mr. Kuerti was born in Toronto into one of Canada’s most distinguished musical families; his father is famed pianist Anton Kuerti. He began his instrumental training on the violin, studying with some of Canada’s finest teachers. While completing an honors degree in engineering & physics at the University of Toronto, Julian kept up the violin, performing as concertmaster and soloist with various Canadian orchestras. After taking a year off and touring Brazil with Kahana, a Toronto-based world music band, Mr. Kuerti began his conducting studies in the year 2000 at the University of Toronto. That summer he was accepted as a student at the renowned Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Maine, where he studied for two years with Michael Jinbo and Claude Monteux.

Mr. Kuerti studied with David Zinman at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen in 2004, and with acclaimed Finnish Maestro Jorma Panula at the NAC Conductors Programme in Ottawa. In 2005, Julian was one of two conducting fellows at Tanglewood, where he had the opportunity to learn in masterclasses from James Levine, Kurt Masur, Stefan Asbury and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos – performing with the TMC orchestra and fellows throughout the summer.

From 2005-2008, Kuerti served as founding artistic director and principal conductor of Berlin’s Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, with whom he recorded a recently released CD “When we were Trees” of Italian Cellist / Composer Giovanni Sollima for Sony/BMG.

The Berkshire Symphony includes nearly 70 members, half of whom are students and half of whom are professional musicians. The ensemble presents four major concerts each season. In addition to performing the great standards of orchestral repertoire a recurring theme each year is the performance of contemporary works. Championing the works of living American composers has been an integral part of the mission of the Berkshire Symphony.