One of Goran Berg's favorite things about conducting the Livermore-Amador Symphony Youth Orchestra is watching his young students grow.
"For some kids, this is their first experience in a fairly high-level student musical performance," said Berg. "I love watching them sitting next to experienced players. Doing so in an orchestra is very encouraging and uplifting."
On Saturday, July 22, the 9th annual Livermore-Amador Symphony Youth Orchestra (LASYO) summer concert will take place at 8 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Livermore, located at 2020 5th Street. All are invited to attend the free concert that will feature more than 50 musicians, aged 13 to 21.
"It will be a fun and entertaining program with a focus on the string section, based on the majority of the enrolled student population," said Berg. "We are playing two tangos: Escualo by Astor Piazzolla, a famous Argentinean tango composer, arranged for symphony orchestra by our own Don Adkins; and a Tango for Strings by Michael McLean, an American composer and violin teacher from Los Angeles. We are playing Waltz No. 2 for Variety Stage Orchestra by Dimitri Shostakovich, arranged for strings by Paul Lavender, and the expressive Adagietto from L’Arlesienne Suite by Georges Bizét. Classical symphony music will be the famous slow movement from Symphony No. 7 by Ludwig van Beethoven, along with his overture to Egmont. We are also playing the very popular finale movement of Symphony No. 88 by Joseph Haydn."
This year, the summer concert will be performed several weeks earlier than in past years because Berg and Co-Conductor Don Adkins set an accelerated pace.
"All eight rehearsals happened within four weeks - twice per week instead of once per week," said Berg. "One reason was to avoid time conflicts with regional band camps and workshops, but we also wanted to make our time commitment shorter and more effective."
The Livermore-Amador Symphony established LASYO in 2009 to provide an opportunity for young local musicians to develop their skills, learn from experienced musicians, and participate in a unique performance. Although youths primarily come from the Tri-Valley, the LASYO summer program also attracts musicians from surrounding areas including Berkeley, Fremont and Tracy.
Both Berg and Adkins have backgrounds that underscore their passion for music and guiding young people. Berg holds degrees from the Royal Swedish Music Academy at Stockholm University and Southern Illinois University. With more than 35 years of teaching experience, Berg conducts parent and teacher training classes throughout the United States and Europe. Adkins received his doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of Missouri—Kansas City, and is today a conductor, performer, composer and educator in the Santa Cruz area. He teaches music classes at Cabrillo College, where he conducts the Cabrillo College Orchestra.
As for LASYO's young musicians, Berg said, "I hope they take away a lot of satisfaction in accomplishing a great performance together. I know how important this summer orchestra has been during its nine years. It has helped several current and past students determine their college major. How great is that!
"Both Don and I are impressed by the quality of applicants this year," he added. "We think it will be quite a good concert."
To learn more, visit www.livermoreamadorsymphony.org.