Share This Page

Pittsburgh Youth Symphony plans 4-stop European tour

| Friday, June 13, 2014, 7:18 p.m.
Richard E. Breymeier
(From right) Kristen Miller, Nathan Lutz, Ken Klabnik and Joe Scriva are part of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Richard E. Breymeier
Pittsburgh Youth Symphony members Hannah Piston and Sophia Lee.
Richard E. Breymeier
Bassoonist Tyler Harper of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra

The Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra will take off on its seventh international tour June 15, returning to Europe for four concerts in four countries and flying home June 26.

Music director Lawrence Loh will lead the teenage musicians in big-league repertoire at concerts June 18 at Dvorak Hall of the Rudolfinum in Prague, Czech Republic; June 21 at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria; June 21 at Slovak Radio Hall in Bratislava, Slovakia; and June 25 at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.

Music to be performed includes Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10 and Gustav Mahler's “Totenfeier,” the original version of the first movement of his Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”).

Runa Shuda, 15, and in her first year with the youth symphony, is looking forward to going to other countries and performing there.

“Playing in Dvorak Hall and Mozart's hometown (Salzburg), historic places, is going to be a very good experience,” says the flutist, who lives in Friendship.

Getting ready for the tour has been a good experience for her, too. She's been assigned to play the piccolo part in the Shostakovich piece.

“It's really hard. The Shostakovich is a challenge for me, but it's also fun to play. I appreciate how Mr. Loh put me on the part because I got so much better practicing it,” says Shuda, who studies with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra principal piccolo Rhian Kenney.

The tour will be a memorable farewell to the youth symphony for bassist Eli Naragon, who graduated from Winchester Thurston School in Shadyside and in September will be a freshman at the Oberlin College and Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio.

“I'm really excited because I want to be a professional musician and hope this won't be the last time I do this,” he says. “I'm looking forward to playing in Europe in all these different halls with my friends and having a really good time.”

Naragon, 18, lives in Mt. Lebanon and studies classical and jazz with symphony bassist Jeffrey Grubbs and jazz with Paul Thompson.

The Shostakovich is his favorite of the tour repertoire, he says. “It's a very energetic piece and also says so much about Shostakovich's life and what it was like to be under Stalin and for that finally to be over. It's really well-written, very colorful and is a beautifully deep piece.”

The youth symphony has toured internationally every three years since Craig W. Johnson became executive director in 1999.

“We are such a global world in regard to communication, but to actually be in these places so rich in history, and for us, music history is something greater,” Johnson says. “The center of (classical) music history you could say is in Vienna. That's why it's so meaningful for us to be there. I think it's a really important part of growing as a musician and citizen of the world.”

Mark Kanny is classical music critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or mkanny@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.