Young Soloists in the Spotlight
March 3, 2010
St. Paul, Minn. —
This Sunday afternoon at Ted Mann concert Hall, it's all about the next up-and-coming stars.
The Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies hosts the winners of its annual concerto competition. Two high school seniors - oboist Sophia Parente and cellist Michael Wu - were selected out of the most elite musicians for the honor of performing in the concert.
Sophia is gearing up for a professional career and is in the middle of a bunch of college auditions hoping to land a spot at one of the best conservatories for next fall. She plays Mozart's first oboe concerto and told me that she loves the sound of the oboe, but especially loves the fact that the oboe is in charge of tuning the entire orchestra.
Michael is multi-talented, part of the Quiz Bowl and Knowledge Masters Teams as well as on the Varsity Minnesota Sword Club. He tells me that holding the foil is a lot like holding a cello bow. He plays Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations.
Listen to the interview and to the two perform on-line.
Sophia Parente: A full-time Post Secondary Enrollment Options student at the University of Minnesota, oboist Sophia Parente will graduate from Wayzata High School in 2010. She studies oboe with John Snow and plays in the Wind Ensemble at the U of M and in the Symphony orchestras of Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies and Minnesota Youth Symphonies. Sophia has spent the last two summers studying music at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. Next year she plans to major in oboe performance as a college freshman.
Michael Wu: Cellist Michael Wu began playing in fourth grade. He has studied with Peter Howard, retired principal cellist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Michael was a winner of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies Concerto Competition in 2007. He has also been a winner of the MacPhail Concerto Competition and prize-recipient at the Young People's Symphony Concert Association, the Mary West Solo competition, and the Minnetonka Young Artist Competition. Now a senior at Edina High School, Michael is a member of the Quiz Bowl team and the co-captain of the Knowledge Masters team. He also loves foil fencing and has, as a member of the Minnesota Sword Club Varsity Team, won or medaled in various state and Midwest fencing competitions.