NPR’s From the Top presents our Young Artist concerto winner

Alex Goldberg plays on NPR’s From the Top

Young Artist violinist Alex Goldberg performed on Show 349 of NPR’s From the Top  on February 11, 2018. Alex played a movement from Robert Schumann’s first Sonata in A minor.

The program was taped before a live audience at Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory. Look for it in the program schedule of our local NPR stations starting the week of March 19.

Alex is the 17-year-old violinist who will play the Prokofiev Violin Concerto with the Orchestra on March 23 & 24, 2018.

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Young Artist winner Alexander Goldberg plays Prokofiev in March

Alex Goldberg will play the Prokofiev Violin Concerto with the orchestra on March 23 and 24, 2018. He is the winner of the Ehlers Young Artist Concerto Competition, held every year in the fall. The winner plays their concert with the orchestra in either January or March. We’re in full swing, rehearsing the Prokofiev to be ready for our first rehearsal with Alex.

Alex has participated in masterclasses and summer festivals nationally and in Europe. Here’s his impressive bio.

Alex Goldberg, age 17, is a violin student of Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he also studies chamber music. Alex has received his Young Artist Certificate from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at age 11 (May 2012) and, in March 2016, his Level 10 Certificate of Achievement with “First Class Honors with Distinction” from the Royal Conservatory. During the past summers, Alex has attended the Accademia Musicale Chigiana di Siena (Italy) (2016 and 2017) where he studied with Maestro Salvatore Accardo, received the Diploma di Merito and performed in Siena (Italy) during the Accademia Chigiana International Festival (August 2016 and August 2017). He participated in the Aspen Music Festival & School and Music@Menlo where he studied violin and chamber music with teachers such as Sylvia Rosenberg and Robert Lipsett. Alex has had master classes with Ben Zander, Fang Mei, Ani Kavafian, Jorja Fleezanis, and Gilles Apap.

Alex made his debut as a soloist with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra playing Vivaldi’s Spring at age 8. As a first prize-winner of the American Protégé International Concerto competition, Alex made his debut at Carnegie Hall at age 11 (New York, March 2012). A top prize winner in the Pacific Musical Society and the Menuhin-Dowling competitions, Alex was awarded first prize in a number of concerto competitions including those of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (2008 and 2010), the Brockton Symphony (2016), and the Eleanor B. Nelson Concerto Competition (2017) which led to solo orchestra performances including Mendelssohn’s E Minor Concerto with the Quincy Symphony Orchestra (Boston, May 2017), Sarasate’s Carmen with the Brockton Symphony (scheduled in Brockton for February 2018), and Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro – orchestra version- with the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (Stanford, June 2010). Alex has performed more than 10 full solo recitals, was invited to perform in the NPR’s From the Top show (Jordan Hall, Boston, February 2018) and has participated in numerous Chamber Music recitals. Twice a recipient of the merit scholarship from Music@Menlo, Alex was recently (May 2017) awarded the Robert E. Brown scholarship.

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Young cellist Hayden Idson plays prelude concert March 24

Come early for a Young Artist recital

At 7:15, before the orchestra concert at 8pm, you are invited to hear Hayden play a short recital. He was one of the honorees in the 2018 Ehlers Young Artist Concerto Competition. Free admission. (Even if you have tickets for the Friday orchestra concert, you can come to hear the Saturday prelude recital.)

Program for Saturday March 24, 2018 at 7:15pm

Camille Saint-Saëns, Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33
Hayden Idson, cello; Mana Tokuno, piano

Hayden Idson is 12 years old and a seventh grader at the Park School in Brookline. He began his cello studies at the age of four and a half with Sandy Kiefer at the Longy School of Music, and has been a student of Michael Bonner since 2013.

Hayden appeared as a soloist for the first time at the age of 10 with the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra, playing the first two movements of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor. In the subsequent year, he was invited to perform Tchaikovsky’s Pezzo Capriccioso, Op. 62 with both the Sharon Community Chamber Orchestra and the Brockton Symphony Orchestra.

In 2017, Hayden was the winner of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra Young Soloist Competition and he will be performing the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto with the orchestra in March 2018. He was also a winner of the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition and will be performing in their opening concert of the 2018-19 season. In addition, Hayden placed second in the Philharmonic Society of Arlington Young Artists Competition and New England Philharmonic Young Artist Competition.

In his free time Hayden likes to play the erhu and piano, run track, and compose music.

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Oboist and program annotator Richard Porter has died

The  orchestra mourns again this month. This time it is for one of our own. Richard Porter was a member of the oboe section and wrote extensively researched program notes for the orchestra for over 40 years. He was a generous and good-natured man and was a pleasure to play with and to work with. He died in late January.

Boston Globe obituary

Online memorial at

An overview of music history through his program notes

His program notes were impressive and very informative. During rehearsal, the orchestra members would get multi-page versions that were far too long for the printed concert program. The historical background put the music in context.

He collected his program notes into a volume of 243 pages, published in 2016, which is available on Amazon.

“Music in Concord is a compilation of Program Notes written for concerts performed by the Concord Orchestra (Concord, MA USA) from 1975-2014 . These notes include biographical information on over 120 classical and modern composers, as well as an interpretation and commentary on selected works by each composer.

“The author, Dr. Richard Porter, is both a medical doctor and a musician. His involvement with the Concord Orchestra spanned 40 years, and included participation as both an oboist and annotator of the concert Program Notes.”

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Our beloved jazz singer Marlene VerPlanck has died

The whole orchestra is saddened to hear of the passing of Marlene VerPlanck in January. It was such a pleasure to have her perform with us. Her performance was polished and gracious, and her jazzy style was perfect for the arrangements that Bernie Hoffer made especially for her appearances in Concord with the orchestra.

Violinist Sharon Lamprecht left a tribute on Marlene’s Legacy guest book:

“I had the privilege to meet Marlene in Concord Ma when she sang for us in the Concord Orchestra. What a joy to hear her voice singing my favorite jazz songs to the Bossa Nova rhythm so perfectly. Her velvety voice soothed us musicians and audiences alike. I always hear her voice now whenever I play those jazz tunes. Thank you Marlene.”

Read the Washington Post obituary.

Read a personal tribute by Steve Ember, whos is photographer, voice actor and friend of Marlene VerPlanck.

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