Cellist Matt Lazeroff (18) has won the 2016 YAO Concerto Competition. The three judges, which…
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“For a first time out — for any time out — it was an exceptional performance,” said Weller, founder of the Foundation to Assist Young Musicians, which also helps youths with music training and career development. “It was one of the finest performances by a young ensemble I’ve heard in many years, and I think it’s worth supporting. These are kids who are experiencing playing full compositions, not just excerpts or arrangements of classics. It requires a lot more concentration — a lot more discipline.”
“They wanted to perform more — to really play at a higher level than what they were used to,” Lopez said. “Half of those kids said to me, ‘I want to perform every month, not every three months, and not just play one movement.’ ”
Many youth classical music programs in the valley charge a considerable fee to participate, Lopez and Modica said. They said many also offer only a handful of concerts annually, and it’s not uncommon for participants to perform the same small segments of classical works through the season.
Youths in Lopez’s 22-member group participate free, and they perform about 10 concerts annually, each time offering a different repertoire. Members, ages 12 through 22, also play full classical pieces.
“For a lot of these students, it was the first time they had to learn whole-scale works,” Lopez said.
Viola player Orei Odents, 17, said he preferred playing full compositions — one of the reasons he joined Lopez’s orchestra. He also likes being among musicians who are as committed as he is, he said.
“I get to play with people who are just as passionate as I am,” said Odents, a senior who also plays with Las Vegas Academy’s pop orchestra. “I feel like everyone cares as much as I do, and I haven’t experienced that before.”
Erika Dalton, a sophomore who was on Las Vegas Academy’s orchestra last year, said she joined the Las Vegas Young Artists Orchestra because she opted to take online courses this year to allow her greater flexibility with her schedule. Her decision worked out for the best, she said.
“I love performing,” she said. “That’s a good part of the reason why I love the orchestra, especially being able to do chamber orchestra. I just feel like it helps all aspects of your playing, and the camaraderie of it all is really nice. It’s also fun to be around people who are older because you can learn from them.”