Belleville Philharmonic to showcase Stars of Tomorrow

News-DemocratOctober 23, 2013 

Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra is teaming up with Lindenwood University's Belleville campus for its annual Stars of Tomorrow concert on Saturday.

It could be a long-term relationship.

"The people managing (Lindenwood's) theater are interested in forming an association for mutual benefit," said Robert Howard, philharmonic conductor and music director. "We provide them with good concerts, and they provide us with a great site. It's a good way to build audiences."

The philharmonic held the annual concert at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Belleville last year and McKendree University's Hettenhausen Center for the Arts the year before.

The concert introduces three young winners of the philharmonic's Stars of Tomorrow contest. Each joins the orchestra for one piece.

"It's a great opportunity," said pianist Jonathan Lin, 16, of Town and Country, Mo., one of this year's winners. "I'm really glad I'm getting the chance to do it."

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. New this year, Howard will give a pre-concert lecture at 6:45 p.m.

"I want to give the audience a handle on what to listen for," he said. "Many orchestras do this. It's designed to give people a richer experience."

Jonathan is a student at Mary Institute Country Day School, where he also plays clarinet in the band.

He will join the Belleville orchestra on "Hungarian Fantasy" by 19th century Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. That's the piece he picked for the contest in April.

"Honestly, I just liked the way it sounded," said Jonathan, who took up piano 11 years ago. "I like how it's grand and delicate at the same time. It goes from a dark, mysterious tone to being grand and flamboyant."

The other two contest winners are violinist Hava Polinsky, 14, of Clayton, Mo.; and violinist Barbara Juminaga, 11, who formerly lived in St. Louis but recently moved to the Chicago area.

Fifteen young people entered the contest.

"We take the best (for the Top 3), regardless of age," Howard said. "Two of our winners this year are in Division I, so they're young."

Hava has dabbled in piano and drums, but violin has been her true passion for nearly 10 years.

On Saturday, she will join the orchestra for "Concerto No. 1 in G Minor" by Max Bruch, a German Romantic composer and conductor in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Hava describes the piece as difficult but exciting and energetic.

"Playing with an orchestra is such a huge thrill, especially with this piece," she said. "I feel that the orchestra enhances my playing. It gives me more of a feel for how Bruch wanted it to be played. He wrote it for violin and orchestra."

Hava is a freshman at Clayton High School. Her father, Michael Polinsky, emphasized she is self-motivated when it comes to violin.

"She's not doing this because I asked her to," he said. "We never had to twist her arm. This is a kid who ... You have to go up to her room at 10:30 at night and say, 'You have to stop playing and go to bed.'"

Barbara will join the orchestra on "Concerto No. 22 in A Minor" by Giovanni Viotti, an Italian violinist and composer in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

"She is also a nationally ranked eurythmic gymnast," Howard said.

The orchestra will perform two pieces by Russian composers, including "Festive Overture" by Dmitri Shostakovich and "Symphony No. 1 (Classical)" by Sergei Prokofiev.

Howard was particularly impressed with this year's Stars of Tomorrow winners.

"You read their bios and you think you're reading about the careers of adult musicians," he said. "They've accomplished so much in their young lives, and they're so active."

At a glance

What: Stars of Tomorrow concert

Who: Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Lindenwood University Belleville Auditorium, 2600 W. Main St. in Belleville

Pre-concert lecture: 6:45 p.m.

Admission: $7 to $15 (Lindenwood students free with identification)

Tickets: Available at the door or in advance at Fletcher's Kitchen and Tap or Happy Hop Homebrew and Gourmet

Information: Visit bellevillephilharmonic.org

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