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TOWN:Touch, sight and sound at the Burbank Phil


May 02, 2007|By DAVID LAURELL

While Burbank residents have come to expect an evening of magnificent music when they attend a Burbank Philharmonic concert, the orchestra's recent performance delighted attendees with touch and sight, as well as sound.

A hands-on musical instrument experience coupled with a photography exhibition highlighting the work of local Burbank high school students was presented before the late April performance at Forest Lawn's Hall of Liberty.

As concertgoers arrived, they were encouraged to participate in an up-close-and-personal encounter with instruments and musicians. As they took up violins and bows and tapped the keys to all manner of brass and woodwind instruments, attendees were also treated to a magnificent exhibit of photos captured by students from John Burroughs and Burbank high schools.


As Burbank Phil supporters enjoyed the exhibit, three individuals perused the photos with a far more critical and judgmental eye than most. Alice Hall, who teaches photography at Burbank High School, judged the evening's images, along with John Burroughs High School photography teachers Tim Brehm and Marianne Atkinson.

Later in the evening, honorable-mention certificates were presented to students before the top three winners were announced. First-place honors went to Burbank High student Briana Stevens. According to the judges, her entry best lived up to the contest's criteria, which was to create an image that interpreted the evening's featured selection, the "Capriccio Espagnol" by Rimsky-Korsakov.

Bestowed with second-place honors, Frank Salmeron, of John Burroughs High School, used a digital-imaging technique to place a colorful trombone in the hands of a black and white trombonist. The third-place winner, Patrick Kriedt, also from Burroughs, was lauded for his moonscape.

As for the evening's main event, along with the "Capriccio Espagnol," Maestro Steven Kerstein also presided over Tchaikovsky's "Francesca da Rimini." The concert's featured soloists included soprano Jacqueline Bezek and marimba player Kelsey Tamayo, both winners of the Hennings-Fischer Young Artists Competition.

Bezek, who is in her second and final year of the master's program for vocal performance at UCLA, has been featured in several of the university's productions, performing such roles as Lauretta in "Gianni Schicchi." Last year, Bezek performed the role of "First Lady" in Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte" at the New Opera Festival di Roma.

She has also been featured in the 2005 and 2006 Opera Buffs Inc. Showcase held at the Los Angeles Colburn School of Music and most recently at the Palm Springs 2007 "Opera in the Park." This summer, Bezek will be returning to the New Opera Festival di Roma, where she will perform the role of Violetta in Verdi's "La Traviata."

Tamayo, who was named the 2005 International Eisteddfod Music Instrumental Solo Winner in Llangollen, Wales, also captured honors in 2003 and 2004 with the National Music Teachers Junior and Senior Percussion Competition.

  • DAVID LAURELL can be contacted by e-mail at dlaurellaol.comor phone (818) 563-1007.

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