Orchestra showcases concerto competition winners


Winners of Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra’s third annual Concerto Competition will be featured in a concert at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel &Bungalows Pavilion at 4 p.m. March 30.

Elizabeth Sekona will perform the first movement of Lalo’s “Symphonie Espagnole in D Minor,” and Kisa Uradomo will play the first movement of Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E Minor” with orchestral accompaniment. In keeping with the 2013-2014 season theme “Blast From the Past,” reprising favorite works from past seasons to commemorate the orchestra’s 10th anniversary, the program will also include Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) Overture” and Dvorak’s “New World Symphony.” Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at brownpapertickets.com.

Violinist Elizabeth Sekona, who at 15 was among the winners of the orchestra’s first Concerto Competition, is now a 17-year-old senior at Honokaa High School and still a member of the school’s prize-winning jazz ensemble. Sekona recently helped teacher Gary Washburn start a beginning string program in Honokaa as part of her senior project, and continues to study violin and piano with Ursula Vietze of Kona. She entered the competition as a way of “moving out of her comfort zone”and improving her skills. Belgian composer Eduoard Lalo’s dramatic “Symphonie Espagnole,” a bold martial melody overlaid with a more lyrical second theme in Spanish style, allowed her to put all of her emotions into her playing and display her beautiful tone. The expressiveness of her performance is one of the factors that made her stand out to the competition judges.

Kisa Uradomo is a 17-year-old senior at King Kekaulike High School on Maui. She has studied violin for 12 years, first with Teresa Skinner and Rona Landrigan of Maui, and now via Facetime with Robin Sharp of California. She has also studied piano and currently plays trumpet in her school’s jazz band, as well as alternating on trumpet and percussion in the wind ensemble, marching band, and pep band. Although she has accompanied soloists for several years as a member of the Hawaii Youth Symphony, this will be Uradomo’s first experience soloing with an orchestra — a longtime dream and her primary goal in entering the competition. She feels this performance is a perfect chance to use her musical talent and exhibit the skills she has learned, and prove to her parents, family, and friends that their “endless love and support” has paid off. Uradomo will play Felix Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E Minor,” a popular example of Mendelssohn’s mature work written as a showpiece for his friend and fellow child prodigy violinist Ferdinand David in 1844. Uradomo has loved the piece since she first heard it several years ago because it is challenging and emotional. Her lively performance exhibited a virtuosity that left no question in the judges’ minds that she should be a competition winner.

German composer Felix Mendelssohn wrote more than 300 works before he died at age 38. He is described by his contemporary Robert Schumann as the Mozart of the 19th century. His music is the essence of Romanticism, with its expression of feelings and emotions, and his serene melodic style is universally appealing. He loved to travel and record his experiences in the music he wrote. An early work that became one of his most famous, “The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) Overture,” was inspired by his impressions of beautiful caverns in Scotland during visits in the late 1820s. The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra loved playing it as part of its program in April 2006.

Czech Composer Antonin Dvorak used the traditional melodies of his homeland to create marvelous music, making him a hero to his countryman. He is considered among the first rank of European Romantic composers. He continued the practice of using folk music to create masterpieces when he moved to New York City to become the director of the National Conservatory of Music in 1892. His Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” was composed during his first year in America, using themes from African American and Native American music. It has become one of the most popular orchestral pieces in the classical repertoire. Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra members requested that music director Madeline Schatz program this piece for a previous concert in January 2008, and are eagerly anticipating being able to play one of their favorite pieces again.

The mission of the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra Society is to present live, high-quality orchestral music to Big Island audiences and to further the musical education of young people. Donations help the charitable organization accomplish that mission and may be tax deductible and may be placed in the calabash during concerts, mailed to P.O. Box 2597, Kamuela, HI 96743, or given online at kamuelaphil.org.