Claremont student Rebecca Reader-Lee will play Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in D with the Sidney Classical Orchestra. (Provided)

Eight young soloists to play with the Sidney Classical Orchestra

Eight young soloists will bring their talents to Sidney on March 4 as part of the Sidney Classical Orchestra’s annual Young Soloists concert. A violinist, soprano, flutist, cellist, and four pianists will play works by Bach, Mozart, Chopin, and Faure.

Brown said they typically choose between five and eight soloists, and it is one of their more popular concerts of the year. The soloists range in age from 11 to 22 years old, and include Karen Chan, Gillian Newburn, Alexander Martin, Mariah McDonald, John Evans, Ricky Chiu, and Lexie Krakowski. Rebecca Reader-Lee, a Grade 10 student at Claremont, will play the first movement of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major.

“Mozart in general is quite challenging, but not technically,” said Reader-Lee. “It’s more mentally challenging. It’s just difficult in a way that other pieces aren’t, and I like to work through those challenges.”

Reader-Lee has been playing violin since just before her third birthday, at Suzuki violin lessons with Yasuko Eastman. She later studied with Michael van der Sloot for three years; this is her first year with Müge Büyükçelen.

Reader-Lee played with the SCO at last year’s young soloist concert, but she wanted to do it again.

“It’s such a wonderful experience, and I really appreciate working with the orchestra,” she said. “They’re all wonderful people and a really good experience, so I wanted to do it again.”

In January, Reader-Lee played The Planets, Gustav Holst’s epic seven-movement orchestral suite which partly inspired John Williams’ score for Star Wars. The piece required the Victoria Symphony to join forces with the Greater Victoria Youth Orchestra, of which Reader-Lee is also a member. She said it is the biggest group she has played with to date.

Krakowski, a fellow soloist, is a good friend of Reader-Lee’s; they are both students of the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Collegium Program for young musicians, and play in ensembles together, but Reader-Lee said she appreciates both solo and ensemble playing.

“They’re both completely different to me and I love them both.”

Outside music, Reader-Lee is interested in the sciences, and is an avid bird watcher. She volunteers to band birds at the Rocky Point Bird Observatory.

“It takes organization, and sometimes it is stressful, but eventually it works itself out,” she said.

Conductor Stephen Brown said the concert is one of the most popular shows of the year.

“When we did this last year there was a guy at the end of the concert. He lept up, he was sitting in the front row and said, ‘I’m 96 and I think these people are absolutely stupendous! Come on, everybody, get on your feet!’”

“It was amazing,” said Brown. “It’s like we paid him to do it!”

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