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Fireworks in November? Yes, musically-speaking

Youth Orchestras of San Antonio's first concert of the 2019-2020 season takes off with a bang.
Credit: Taken by: Sara Vicinaiz

SAN ANTONIO — When you think of fireworks, you might not think of November – but this Sunday, there will be fireworks in downtown San Antonio.

Ok, not literally – but figuratively. Youth Orchestras of San Antonio’s top orchestra, the YOSA Philharmonic, is performing a concert on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. called “Russian Fireworks.”  According to YOSA’s Music Director Troy Peters, the title explains the music.

“Fireworks is a reference to the colorful and expressive character of the Stravinsky Firebird Suite and Shostakovich First Cello Concerto, both of which are very exciting pieces,” Peters said.

Credit: YOSA

About 100 musicians (ranging from middle school to college students) will play along with a former YOSA member, Christine Lamprea. The Colombian-American cellist is returning to San Antonio where she was raised. Lamprea attended TMI before her career launched her to performing all over the world. Last Sunday, she rehearsed with the Philharmonic in addition to spending several days with aspiring musicians all over town.

“It’s always exciting to feature an alum as a soloist — the students can see somebody who was in their shoes 10 or 12 years ago and is now out making a name for herself,” Peters said. “It’s inspiring!”

The concert will also feature music by composers not as well known to most people – George Walker and Stella Sung. Walker, who passed away last year, was the first African American composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He was also a composer, pianist and organist.

Sung is an active composer for film who teaches at the University of Central Florida. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (piano performance) from the University of Texas at Austin. Peters is excited to bring their music to the stage for many reasons.

“It is first and foremost about both pieces being great music,” he said. “It is undeniable, though, that the classical music repertoire has historically been dominated by white men, mostly from Europe. In recent years, I’ve become increasingly focused on trying to highlight great music by women and people of color.”

Tickets start at $16 and can be purchased online or at the Tobin’s box office.

YOSA is made up of students - ages 8 to 20 and serves more than 2,500 young musicians each year. They have several orchestras ranging from a beginner-level one to the most advanced-level, mentioned above - the YOSA Philharmonic. To learn more about the audition process, check out YOSA's website.