Farmington — The San Juan Symphony will highlight both local and international talent during its upcoming concert, "Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Beyond."
The symphony will perform in Farmington on Saturday and in Durango, Colo., on Sunday.
The symphony's music director, Arthur Post, will preview the concert during his free pre-concert talk at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Open Shutter Gallery, 735 Main Ave. in Durango.
Kathy Myrick, the symphony's executive director, said she is excited for a lot of different aspects of the concert, including the soloist, Yossi Arnheim, who is a world-renowned flute player. Arnheim is principal flutist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and has performed in Germany, Taiwan, Austria, Switzerland, France and various other countries around the world.
However, the thing Myrick is most excited about is the symphony playing Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5. She said the San Juan Symphony have never before played the tune, and she had to hire the largest orchestra the symphony has ever had to play the piece. There are around 70 members of the orchestra.
Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 was written around a decade after his fourth symphony. During that decade, he went through a period of self-doubt.
"I think perhaps because he was on an emotional roller coaster, the piece reflects a lot of emotion," Myrick said.
Another special part of the upcoming concert is the world premiere of "Camping," a composition by a former resident of both Farmington and Durango, Liam Ramsey-White, who is now 17.
"That's pretty exciting because it has a local connection," Myrick said.
Ramsey-White was born in Durango and later moved to Farmington, where he took lessons from Tennille Taylor, a member of the San Juan Symphony and a violin teacher, for five years before his family moved to Denver in 2010.
"He always had a very high ability to learn quickly," Taylor recalled.
She said he had a hard time focusing and would sometimes come to lessons with mismatched shoes on his feet. However, the moment he put the violin to his shoulder, Taylor said he became completely focused.
"He was always very captivated by the music," she said.
When he was 9 years old, Ramsey-White auditioned to play in the side-by-side concert, during which students are given a chance to play with the San Juan Symphony. Normally, only high school students are given this opportunity, but Ramsey-White was accepted.
Taylor said when they sat down for the concert, Ramsey-White's feet didn't even touch the ground. He had memorized the music beforehand and never once looked at the score. Instead, he just looked around at the orchestra with wide eyes.
The concert was his first symphony experience, and Taylor said she thinks it affected him.
Ramsey-White, now a junior in high school, wrote "Camping" a couple of years ago and has made a digital recording of it. His mother sent Taylor the music, and she approached San Juan Symphony's director about having the symphony play it during the side-by-side.
"Anyone who's ever tried to write anything will be blown away," Taylor said. "I think great things are coming for him."
Taylor will play along with the 13 students who have been accepted to join the symphony for the side-by-side performance. Six of the young musicians are students Taylor has been teaching and working with on composition.
In addition to those students, Ramsey-White and his younger sister will also perform at both concerts.
Taylor will also play in the concert. She has been a member of the symphony since 2004. She plays principal second violin.
"I really think I have the best seat," she said.
She sits in the middle under the conductor, which she said puts her at the best place to hear the orchestra.
"You're just covered in sound from all directions," she said.