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Young musicians perform classical music

Founded in 1988, the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing talented, young musicians with opportunities to learn classical music and perform its challenging repertoire, under the leadership of professional conducters and music coaches. This experience fosters a lifelong appreciation of classical music and the arts.

YSSO, under the direction of music director and conductor Cynthia Hutton, will open its 2014-2015 concert season with performances at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Craterian Theatre, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, in the Music Recital Hall on the Southern Oregon University campus, off South Mountain Ave., Ashland.

Marking her 20th season with YSSO, Hutton will lead the 75-member Youth Symphony in performances of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 and Egmont Overture. There also will be a performance of composer Scott Miller's "Fanfare," and the Youth Symphony's Brass Ensemble will be showcased. 

“The YSSO organization looks forward to its 27th season of stellar performances by many of our region’s most gifted young instrumental musicians," Hutton says in a press release. "Performances this season will include a wide range of repertoire from Beethoven and Suppé to Tchaikovsky and Copland and will culminate in the premiere of a new work for orchestra by Rogue Valley composer Mark Eliot Jacobs.

"We begin the season with the energy and passion of Beethoven,” she adds. “Audiences will be amazed by the technical proficiency, interpretive skills and spectacular talent of the musicians. The dynamic performances will touch the hearts and minds of audience members of all ages.”

Hutton will lead the Youth Orchestra in arrangements of the second movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, Franz von Suppe’s Light Cavalry Overture and the "Grand Processional for an Academic Occasion" by Felix Alexandre Guilmant.

The 2014-2015 YSSO concert season will continue with chamber music concerts at 2 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Historic First Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville and 2 p.m. Dec. 14, at Grace Lutheran Church in Ashland. These concerts feature advanced Youth Symphony musicians playing in string quartets, trios and wind and brass ensembles. Admission is free.

On Feb. 20, 21 and 22, Medford violinist Sarah Klein — YSSO's 2014 Concerto Competition winner — will join the Youth Symphony to play the second and third movements of Piotr Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major. Other music for the February show will feature Georges Enesco's Rumanian Rhapsody No. 1.

“The seriousness and passion of Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto will be balanced by the wild and spontaneous nature of the work by Enesco,” Hutton says.

Spring concerts will be presented May 29, 30 and 31 and showcase music by American composers and arrangers, including Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait," Bob Cerulli's "Scenes from the Old West" and the premiere of a new work by Jacobs.

Tickets cost $10, $5 for students, and can be purchased at the Craterian box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., online at craterian.org or by calling 541-779-3000 for the Medford show. Tickets for the Ashland show can be purchased at Paddington Station, 125 E. Main St., Ashland, or Larry's Music, 522 S. Central Ave., or at the door for the Ashland show. Call 541-858-8859, email info@ysso.org or see www.ysso.org for information.

Conductor Cynthia Hutton marks her 20th year leading Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon. Photo courtesy of Cari Baker Photography