Oakland Youth Orchestra Present Nathaniel Stookey's GO and a Performance by Guest Soloist Emil Miland, 2/2

The world premiere of Bay Area composer Nathaniel Stookey's GO and a performance of Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto with guest soloist and Youth Orchestra alumnus Emil Miland highlight the February 2 concert by Oakland Youth Orchestra as its 50th anniversary season continues. Artistic Director and Conductor Michael Morgan will lead the award-winning and world-travelled Oakland Youth Orchestra Sunday February 2, at 1 pm at the San Leandro Performing Arts Center in San Leandro. Admission is free of charge and more information may be found at www.oyo.org .

Nathaniel Stookey says about GO, commissioned by the Oakland Youth Orchestra in celebration of its 50th year, "I am a composer today because of youth orchestras. What had been a stressful and solitary experience for me--playing the violin--was miraculously transformed, in the company of 100 other teen-agers, into the most intense shared experience I had ever dared to imagine. What made Brahms and Webern and Copland and Sibelius great was no longer just a matter of what we had been told; it was a matter of what we felt, collectively, at the moment our individual parts slipped into that astonishing puzzle of sound that was taking shape overhead.

"I wrote my first works for my friends in youth orchestra and they spent countless hours--all their free time, every weekend for months--making every note their own. That level of pure commitment to music, the sheer amount of time and attention given to each work (unfettered by the ticking clock of adult life and professional music-making) is what makes youth orchestras and youth orchestra players so special. Many of the best performances of my work, certainly the most organic in terms of tempo and expression, have grown out of my collaborations with youth orchestras, both in the US and abroad.

"The piece I am creating, if it's about anything at all, is about transmitting and reliving my own youth orchestra experiences: the intoxicating rush, the sense of collective power, the deep human connection beyond words (which I can only weakly attempt to verbalize here). Michael Morgan first approached me about the piece at the height of the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring, both of which I followed closely and with a sense of hopeful joy at the transformative power of youth in numbers. The piece is called GO, largely for musical reasons (it's a work of intense energy) but also because that was the word that, in Arabic, echoed across Tahrir Square: Erhal!"




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