Posted by: viewfromtheriva | June 29, 2017

San Jose Youth Symphony in Split, with violin soloist Eunice Kim

Soloist Eunice Kim

The San Jose (California) Youth Symphony, which does an international tour each year, came to Split last night for an eclectic performance that included Gershwin, Bruch’s 1st. Violin Concerto and Sherherezade by Rimsky-Korsakov.

Since entrance was free, the gorgeous Split National Theatre was so packed our seats were at the very top balcony, practically touching the ceiling!

The view from way up high, looking down at almost 100 young musicians

The youth orchestra was founded in 1951 and has been led by the Israeli-born conductor, Yair Samet for almost 25 years.  The musicians, almost 100 in number, are mostly high-school age and perform in San Jose in the spring, fall and winter, and then go on an international two-week tour in the summer.

We were there especially to here Ms. Kim, a 26 year violinist (you can watch and hear her debut at age 7 here:  A celebrated graduate of Curtis, she has won a number of international competitions and has performed with some major orchestras as well as at the UN and Kennedy Center.

The evening began with Gershwin and it was like watching 100 musicians jamming–if you love Gershwin, it’s hard not to get into his swing.  Although the orchestra played with gusto–the brass/horns were terrific–harnessing all those musicians into balance was a constant struggle.

Then it was time for the Bruch.  First performed in 1866, his concerto is a perennial favorite with orchestras all over the world. When the intense third movement begins, it’s hard not to find yourself silently humming along–oh, yes, this is Bruch!

Ms. Kim did some beautiful work in the first two movements, but inexplicably left the orchestra behind as she tore into the third movement.  Tempo, tempo!  Clearly well-trained and is completely comfortable with her instrument, like many young, gifted violinists with terrific technical ability, overall I felt her playing lacked warmth.  She clearly is a talent, who has many decades of music in front of her to take her considerable gifts to the next level.  We’ll be listening!





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