This week, Classical MPR begins broadcasting the studio recordings of the Featured Round Artists in this year's Minnesota Varsity competition. To celebrate youth in music, we'll hear performances on Morning Glories from classical musicians who've gained international fame before the age of 35.
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 8 "Pathetique"
Yundi Li, piano
The National Youth Orchestra of the USA recently announced its 2015 lineup, which includes four Minnesotans. They'll play at Carnegie Hall before heading to China, and they'll be joined by superstar pianist Yundi to play Beethoven's monumental "Emperor" piano concerto.
Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 2
Baiba Skride, violin
Minnesotans might recognize this young Latvian violinist--she made her Minnesota debut playing Mendelssohn with the Minnesota Orchestra, and was in town last October, playing Frank Martin's violin concerto with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Her latest recording features the artistically demanding violin works of Polish composer Karol Szymanowski.
Copland: Appalachian Spring
Nicholas Collon, conductor
The young Aurora Orchestra, founded in 2005 by former members of Britain's National Youth Orchestra, are known for their adventurous programs that attract a much younger audience than many other British ensembles. Partnering with poets, visual artists, pop musicians, and well-established soloists, Aurora Orchestra's programs blend well-loved classical music with intriguing modern pieces.
Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 2
Stefan Jackiw, violin
Jackiw's one of those multitalented kids who can juggle rigorous academic studies (psychology at Harvard) and demanding musical education (an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory) and still have fun — he was a member of a crossover chamber sextet that was hugely famous in South Korea, playing Beethoven and Schubert in jeans to crowds of adoring young women.
Mahler: Symphony No. 7
Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
Soon we won't be able to include Gustavo Dudamel on lists of young performers, though it's hard to imagine that turning 35 in 2016 will slow him down. And if ever-youthful conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski is right, and music is the key to a long, energetic life, Dudamel will be around for a long time (we hope).