Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO) has named two winners plus a runner-up in its annual Lois Lyman Concerto Competition, who will be performing with the orchestra on April 2 at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
The Lois Lyman Concerto Competition has been an ESYO tradition for decades, and encourages ESYO Symphony Orchestra members to perform a concerto of their choice. Each participant performs a ten-minute slice of their piece from memory in front of a panel of judges.
Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO) challenges and inspires young people to achieve excellence through music in a progressive learning environment leading to high-level performance opportunities. More than 500 youth from New York’s Capital Region and western New England are selected by audition each year to perform in ESYO. With 13 performing ensembles and orchestras suiting a range of playing levels, members receive training from outstanding conductors and coaches, and tutelage from extraordinary guest artists.
The winners are Yu-Heng Wang, who performed the Bartok Viola Concerto, and William Lauricella, who performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The runner-up was Liam Sullivan, who performed Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1. Yu-Heng and William now have the honor of performing their concertos with the full ESYO Symphony Orchestra during the ensemble’s concerts in April and October, respectively.
Yu-Heng has been playing viola since he was in fourth grade and has been an ESYO member since seventh grade. “Ever since eighth grade, I told myself that I would win the Lois Lyman Concerto Competition. I was determined to one day play in front of an orchestra”.
“What was most difficult for me was the fact that I had to balance my auditions for various music schools, as well as auditions for various summer programs along with the concerto competition. As deadlines inch closer, I become more and more stressed about whether or not I am going to have it ready by the date of the competition. But thanks to my less busy schedule at school combined with help from my teacher, I was able to greatly increase my efficiency in learning and preparing the concerto. Luckily, I had already been playing the first movement of the concerto for around a year now, which helped a lot, as it is the most difficult portion of the piece. I learned that once you’ve gotten the notes of a piece down in the memory, all you have to do is relax and let the bow and fingers do the work, and everything will turn out fine.”
Yu-Heng will perform Bartok’s Viola Concerto in full on April 2, 2023 at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall along with the rest of the ESYO Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra will also perform Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Li Huanzhi’s Spring Festival Orchestra, as well as a movement of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, which will serve as a preview of the orchestra’s season-closing concert at Carnegie Hall on June 4.
Tickets to the Empire State Youth Orchestra concerto competition will take place on April 2 at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
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