Symphony: 'Wild Water and Wonder'

Three young competition winners part of concert program

Livermore-Amador Symphony continues its 55th regular season with "Wild Water and Wonder" on Feb. 24 at the Bankhead Theater, with music director Lara Webber conducting. The concert will feature Ottorino Respighi's "Fountains of Rome" and Benjamin Britten's "Four Sea Interludes."

In addition, the winners of the symphony's 2017-18 Competition for Young Musicians will be featured: flutist David Davisson, a junior at Livermore High School; cellist Sean Lee, a junior at Dougherty Valley High School; and pianist Joey Zhu, a California High School junior. They will perform works by Mozart, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov, respectively.

The concert will open with Respighi's symphonic poem, "Fountains of Rome," intertwining themes of nature with daily life in Rome. Next, Davisson will perform the first movement of Mozart's elegant Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major.

"Wonderful music, like that of Mozart, makes me feel wonderful. Great composers, like Mozart, inspire me to rise to the level of perfection that they achieved," Davisson said.

Davisson has studied the flute for six years, was a member of the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, participated in the All-State Honor Band, and last summer attended the Interlochen Flute Institute in Michigan. Davisson is the principal flutist of his school's symphonic band and is occasionally a substitute flutist for the Livermore-Amador Symphony.

Next on the program, Lee will perform the first movement of Shostakovich's powerful Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major.

Lee started his cello studies at age 8. Twice he attended the Meadowmount School of Music and was recently named a 2018 Mondavi National Young Artists Competition semi-finalist. He has performed in venues such as Davies Hall, Mondavi Center and Carnegie Hall. Lee is a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and served as the principal cellist for the California Orchestra Directors Association Honor Orchestra.

He has volunteered as the principal cellist of Livermore Pleasanton Youth Outreach Symphony, and with the Bay Area Visiting Musicians and Tri-Valley Youth Music Ensemble, performing for veterans, seniors, and hospice patients. Recently, he helped organize and took part in the California Wildfire Relief Concert.

"As a musician, I strive to bring our community together by performing for people of all ages and backgrounds," he said. "I believe that music was always meant to be shared with others as a way to inspire both the past and future generations to accomplish greater things."

After intermission, Zhu will perform the first movement of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor.

Zhu began playing piano at age 5 and has studied music composition since the age of 6. He has performed in Junior Bach Festivals and was a winner of the concerto competition of El Camino Youth Symphony (ECYS).

This summer Zhu will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City as the first-place winner of the American Protégé International Music Talent competition. He also plays cello; he is the principal cellist in his school chamber orchestra and is a cellist in senior orchestra at the ECYS.

"I like music the same way I like math," said Zhu, who is a member of his school's math club. "Music helps me concentrate while doing almost anything. Music relaxes my soul."

The concert will conclude with English composer Britten's "Four Sea Interludes" from his opera "Peter Grimes."

The 8 p.m. concert will be preceded by a prelude talk from 7-7:30. At intermission, the teen jazz band Element 116 will perform, directed by Matt Finders. The Symphony Guild will host a post-concert reception.

Tickets are $25-$35. Go to; visit the Bankhead ticket office, 2400 First St., Livermore; or call 373-6800.

Editor's note: Patricia Boyle has been writing about the Livermore-Amador Symphony for three years.

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