On Saturday evening, November 24, 2018, under the baton of Maestro James Domine, and in spite of the unexpected necessity to change our concert venue with only one day’s notice, the show did go on … and what a great show it was!
Before the orchestra came onstage, Maestro Domine came out and thanked the concertgoers for their understanding and patience. He acknowledged that since some people might be late in arriving, he had arranged for a brief pre-concert treat. Sisters Sophie Bi (age 9) and Michelle Bi (age 12), piano students of Joanna Ezrin, were given the honor of playing piano while the latecomers were being seated. Sophie was first and played, “The Kiss,” by Catherine Rollin; Michelle followed and played “Bacchanal” by James Domine. The girls did themselves proud and were rewarded with enthusiastic applause by the audience.
The orchestra members then took their seats, and the concert began with the playing of our National Anthem. Raine Soriano, age 15, followed with a performance of James Domine’s,“Soliloquy” from his Piano Concerto #1." This beautiful piece was artfully played by Raine, a very talented young man, and the audience showed their appreciation with applause and cheers.
The following piece, “Persepolis Bazaar,” composed and conducted by Charles Fernandez, who also plays bassoon in our orchestra, was originally written for a Persian Festival in San Jose for concert band. This version was specifically done for the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra and Maestro James Domine. A very lively and exciting piece, the composer depicts a day in the life of a Persian Bazaar from opening prayer to closing prayer. He paints a musical picture ranging from young children to men on horseback, to dancing women, to snake charmers, and finally growing into a massive celebration near the end with everyone dancing at once. The audience absolutely loved this celebration of symphonic instrumental orchestration and cheered wildly.
Back at the podium, Maestro Domine led the orchestra in the premiere performance of, “Thousand Mile Suite,” by Larry Tuttle, also a local composer and a bass player in our orchestra. This large-scale orchestral journey, in six movements, portrays different steps along the way. The first movement is bright, hopeful, and energetic, the second dark and unpredictable, the third movement features a huge mountain of percussion, brass and bass and is followed by an adrenalin-raising gallop. The strings were then featured on a dark and moody melody, while the last movement finished things off with an epic and visionary view of the future. This is a grand piece, which was played wonderfully by the orchestra, and the audience let the composer know how much they appreciated it with their heartfelt applause.
After the intermission came the pièce de résistance … the “Sibelius Violin Concerto.” This gorgeous and extraordinarily difficult piece was, in the hands of the soloist, Aubree Oliverson, seemingly effortless and so adroitly executed as to satisfy even the most critically demanding performance standards. Her playing soared masterfully above the dark orchestral colors and when the concerto reached the full force of its dramatic climax, the audience exploded with thunderous applause and cheering, rising to their feet in acknowledgement and appreciation of Ms. Oliverson, Maestro Domine, and the orchestra. It was truly a grand finale and a glorious ending to a wonderful program of, “Great Music Close To Home.”
Unfortunately, some of you missed the performance. Whether it was because of the holiday, illness, or still having to deal with issues resulting from the fires, we hope that Aubree will return to our stage soon so that you, too, will have a chance to see her perform before she steps out into the world on her way to becoming the megastar she undoubtedly will be.