Stephen F. Austin State University

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Guest artists to perform with SFA's Orchestra of the Pines

February 25, 2016 - Robbie Goodrich
Left to right: Ethan Le, Jesse Edward and John Ma
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - This year's Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition winner Ethan Le will be among the guest artists who perform when the Orchestra of the Pines presents "Vim and Virtuosity" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 7, in Cole Concert Hall on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

"The evening is a potpourri of music selections - a melting pot of variable delights," said Dr. Gene H. Moon, director of orchestras at SFA. "We have two guest artists joining us, both of whom are full of vim and virtuosity."

Le, a senior at Cinco Ranch High School in Katy, will perform the first movement of Johannes Brahms' Violin Concerto in D major. Le made his orchestral debut at the age of 14 with the Houston Civic Symphony as its winner of the Young Artist Concerto Competition Junior String Division. In that same year, he also won the Clear Lake Symphony Youth Concerto Competition, Junior String Division, and performed with the orchestra. Le won first place at the 2014 Clear Lake Symphony Youth Concerto Competition and at the 2015 Houston Civic Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition.

Also performing with the orchestra will be John Ma, violin professor at the University of Macau, Hong Kong. As a musical exchange, Moon will travel to Hong Kong to join Ma and two of his students in a collaborative performance.

With the Orchestra of the Pines, Ma, who is an active violinist with symphonies and orchestras throughout Hong Kong and China, will perform "Estaciones Portenas," or "Four Seasons," by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla.

Also on the program is a performance of this year's winning entry in the orchestra's annual composition competition. SFA "prides itself in having a thriving composition studio" led by Dr. Stephen Lias, professor of composition in the School of Music, according to Moon.

"I have always championed new music and strive to introduce my orchestras to such contemporaries," Moon said "This year, we have a unique 'first time,' not only in the work being performed, but also by the composer, who is our first freshman winner."

Freshman composition major and talented pianist Jesse Edwards composed "Shipwreck," a full orchestra work inspired by the painting "A Shipwreck Off a Rocky Coast" (c. 1760) by Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, a French painter made famous for his renditions of landscapes and battles. Edwards has had works premiered in concerts, theaters and films.

The program is bookended by two popular concert works. Jeff Leung, SFA graduate conductor from Hong Kong, will open the program by taking the orchestra through Felix Mendelssohn's "Hebrides Overture," a work that "helped establish the genre of the concert overture," Moon explained. The program ends with the "Dance Bacchanale" from "Samson and Delilah," an opera by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns.

"The sultry melodies and driving rhythmic forces are sure to give the audience the ride of their lives," Moon said.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.