The springs of youth

Arts & Entertainment

The springs of youth

Final weekend at music festival all light and energy
Maestro Guillermo Figueroa leads the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra on Saturday evening at Durango Mountain Resort.
Conservatory Competition winner Jacqueline Audas plays Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra on Saturday evening at Durango Mountain Resort.

The springs of youth

Maestro Guillermo Figueroa leads the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra on Saturday evening at Durango Mountain Resort.
Conservatory Competition winner Jacqueline Audas plays Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra on Saturday evening at Durango Mountain Resort.
Healthy competition

Now in its fifth year, the Conservatory Concerto Competition has become a healthy, established tradition. Each year, more young musicians sign up to compete.
A dozen finalists from a field of 28 performed in Roshong Recital Hall on July 15. The competition was extremely tight with several musicians performing at a nearly professional level. Violinist Jacqueline Audas, 17, won the grand prize and audience-favorite award.
Audas is a stunning musician and clearly deserved to play with the Festival Orchestra in a formal concert. I agreed with the judges but gave my audience-favorite vote to another young musician.
Violinist Jesus Saenz, 24, performed the first movement of the notoriously difficult Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor with that mysterious balance of virtuosity and artistic expression.
Peruvian born, Saenz has completed his studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He is seven years older than Audas and has made a critical career passage. At the competition, he demonstrated the high level of technical skill that marks Conservatory competitors. He also raised virtuosity to the level of art.
It’s understandable that audiences marvel at virtuosity. But it is not the sum total of musicianship.
Saenz brought a remarkably high level of skill to his performance and went beyond. It’s hard to describe highly personal musical expression, but Saenz’s deep connection to the subterranean aspects of the work at hand came through. He seemed to merge with the music and play from the inside out.
Sibelius’ only violin concerto is a work of dark brilliance, filled with agitation, tension, unease and achingly beautiful lyricism. Saenz explored the composer’s complex musical landscape with precision and emotional intensity. He suspended Sibelius’ beautiful, glassy octaves as if he had discovered them for the first time.
May he return again.

Review

“Flights of Fancy,” Saturday, Conductor Guillermo Figueroa, Festival Orchestra, Music in the Mountains, with violin soloist Jacqueline Audas. Works by Mozart, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. Festival Tent, Durango Mountain Resort.

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