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Notes of Passion. Nerves of Steel. Nine Impressive Young Artists Perform in Vancouver.

With performance skills way beyond their years, nine talented musicians filled the hall with stunning music yesterday at the 16th Annual Young Artists Competition of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Anyone who doesn’t believe in music education should attend a competition for young musicians.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water bath is to the body.” The performances immersed the audience in a rich “music bath” for two hours. Three of the musicians were selected by long deliberating judges to perform with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on April 17th and 18th at the Skyview High School concert hall. Each also won $1000 scholarships.

There is something very humbling about hearing a 14-year-old, who debuted with a chamber orchestra three years ago, move so gracefully through a Chopin concerto or a confident 16-year-old violist play Bartok. Like Yo Yo Ma and Joshua Bell, who first picked up their instruments at age four, most of the Vancouver competitors started playing music at very young age.

In the end, 16-year-old Fred Lu won the piano competition for his performance of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto for Piano no 1, op 1 in F-sharp minor.

Gold Medalist Fred Lu Playing Rachmaninoff

Daniel Vasey, a 15-year-old alto saxophonist won with John Williams’ Escapades, movement 3.

Gold Medalist Daniel Vasey Plays John Williams

Natally Okhovat, 17, won the strings competition, impressing the audience with Saint-Saens popular and moving Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, op 28.

Gold Medalist Natally Okhovat Plays Saint-Saens

Stunning, inspirational performances—it was enough to send one home to practice for a long, long time.

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