Symphony to celebrate youth and romance at tonight's performance

'Young Love' will feature pianists who won regional competition

Livermore-Amador Symphony's next concert, "Young Love," will take place Saturday at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore with works by Rossini, Prokofiev, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky.

This second concert of the symphony's 51st season will feature the winners of the 2014-15 Competition for Young Musicians: Vincent Liu, a sophomore at San Ramon's Dougherty Valley High School, and Misha Galant, a junior at San Ramon's California High.

Liu and Galant were among 13 young musicians to participate in the competition last fall, a group also comprised of students from Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore, according to organizers. The solo performers played a range of instruments, including piano, violin, cello, flute and clarinet.

The "Young Love" program, conducted by Lara Webber, will open with the overture to Rossini's comic opera, "The Barber of Seville," in which he used music from two of his earlier works for the overture. Its versatility continues to this day, with the music appearing in commercials, cartoons and movies.

Liu, 16, will perform the first movement of Prokofiev's technically difficult Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Opus 16.

Liu, who currently studies with Hans Boepple, made his orchestral debut at age 12 with the El Camino Youth Symphony. Recently, he took first place in the Marilyn Mindell Senior Piano Competition of the Peninsula Symphony, was a winner of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers Honors Auditions, was named an Alternate in the California State Senior Division of the 2015 Music Teachers National Association Competitions, and finished fourth at the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition. In April, he will appear as a soloist with the Peninsula Symphony.

Prokofiev performed his Concerto No. 2 at its premier in Pavlovsk in 1913 to mixed reviews. When the original score was destroyed in a fire after the Russian Revolution, Prokofiev reworked the concerto and performed the revised version at its 1924 Paris premier.

Next on the program is Claude Debussy's "Clair de lune," originally written in 1890 as "Promenade Sentimentale." It is the third, and most famous, movement of his "Suite Bergamasque."

Following intermission, 17-year-old Galant will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff's challenging Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Opus 30 (finale). Galant's musical heritage spans three generations of pianists, including his mother and teacher, Olya Katsman, his father, Jed Galant, his great-grandmother who was a student of Vladimir Horowitz, and his great-grandfather.

At the age of 12, Galant won the Oakland East Bay Symphony concerto competition and gave his first full solo recital. His many accomplishments include first prizes in the Menuhin-Dowling Young Pianists Competition, the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT) Bartok and Contemporary Music competition, the CAPMT northern division Concerto Competition and Honors Auditions, the East Bay Music Festival, and the Marilyn Mindell Piano Competition. Recently, he won the Peninsula Symphony Concerto Competition.

Rachmaninoff wrote his Piano Concerto No. 3 in 1909 in advance of his first U.S. tour as a pianist. Soon after its New York premier, Rachmaninoff performed the concerto again, under the direction of Gustav Mahler.

The concert will conclude with Tchaikovsky's romantic "Romeo and Juliet" Fantasy-Overture.

The concert begins at 8 p.m., preceded by a prelude talk from 7-7:30 p.m. At intermission, the audience will be treated to a special performance in the lobby by the teen jazz band, Element 116, under the direction of Matt Finders. For more information, visit or call 373-6800.

Editor's note: Patricia Boyle is vice president of the California Writers Club, Tri-Valley Branch. She has won awards for her short stories and has been writing about the Livermore-Amador Symphony for two years.

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