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April 1st, 2013 by Sierra Madre Weekly
April may traditionally be known as the month of “showers” leading to May’s flowers, but when the Burbank Philharmonic presents “Mostly Mozart” on Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hall of Liberty in Burbank, California, the sun will be shining regardless of the weather, promises the renowned orchestra’s Music Director Steven Kerstein.
“The great classical composer Antonin Dvorak once famously remarked that ‘Mozart is sunshine,’ ” Kerstein explains, “and I couldn’t agree more. For this concert we’ll present Mozart’s two greatest symphonies – Symphony No. 40 and Symphony No. 41. These are truly timeless masterpieces that have moved audiences deeply, inspiring and exhilarating them, for generations. It’s no accident that critics have often described them as eternal. They’ve also been called miraculous. Hard as it is to believe, Mozart was only 32 years old when he composed two of the most beautiful and masterful works in the classical repertoire within mere weeks of one another.”
The Burbank Philharmonic will also showcase another extraordinarily talented young musician that same evening – soprano saxophonist Christopher Bartz, who will appear as Guest Soloist in Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Fantasia for Soprano Saxophone and Orchestra. Bartz is the 2012 Hennings-Fischer Young Artists Competition Grand Prize Winner.
The orchestra founded the Competition in 2001 in partnership with the Hennings-Fischer Foundation. That first year, talented young musicians from throughout not only Southern California but the entire nation as well took part in the program. Momentum has continued to build every year since then, with more than 45 applicants in 2012 vying for one of eight finalist positions….and for good reason. Winners in the vocalist and instrumental category each year are awarded honorariums and, later, the invaluable opportunity to perform as guest artists with the orchestra.
“It’s an enormous honor to be a featured soloist with the Burbank Philharmonic,” says Bartz, currently a doctoral student at USC’s Thornton School of Music. “I look forward to performing with the orchestra’s many outstanding musicians. I will learn so much from them, particularly from Maestro Steven Kerstein, but the best part of the evening will be sharing such great music with the audience.”
The Maestro’s admiration for his young soloist is equally fervent. “Christopher Bartz is one of the most incredible saxophonists performing in the United States today,” Kerstein states. “The Villa-Lobos Fantasia will showcase Chris’s incredible virtuosic skill in one of the most difficult and beautiful scores penned by this composer.”
In keeping with its mission to bring world-class music free of charge to the entire Southern California community, tickets for “Mostly Mozart” are available at no cost. Simply visit www.burbankphilharmonic.org for more information or to print a free ticket. Members of the public can also call 818.771.7888. The Hall of Liberty is located at 6300 Forest Lawn Drive in Burbank 90068.