Plenty of concert pianists can bang out some of the repertoire’s most difficult concertos with mechanical precision. Julian Jenson is not one of them.
With his lanky fingers thrumming on the piano keys, Jenson is a brilliant anomaly. Sophomore Piano Performance major Julian Jenson is a rising musician, who although is just emerging as a classical performer, already has an insightful musical sense grounded with impressive technical skill. At the early age of 4, Jenson began studying music and at age 6 performed a Mozart piano concerto with the La Mirada Symphony Orchestra. Later on, he won a scholarship to attend the Colburn School for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and also studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Performing extensively as a soloist and collaborator, his numerous competition placements include being named a winner of the 2012 Idyllwild Arts Concerto Competition and placing in the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight in 2012 and 2013.
This fall concert will feature two major works of Ludwig van Beethoven: the Eighth Symphony, performed by the La Sierra University Orchestra conducted by Dean Anderson; and Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”), featuring Jenson, who was awarded the 57th Marcia Specht-Guy prize in the music department’s annual concerto competition. Hailed as “one of the most original, most inventive, most effective, but also most difficult of all existing concertos,” the majestic tone of the “Emperor,” Beethoven's Fifth and last Piano Concerto, contrasts Beethoven’s previous piano concertos. “The thing about this piece is that it has a sort of it has quality where it really isn’t about you, the performer, not even about Beethoven himself,” Jenson speculated. “It's about the totality of human experience. [Beethoven] is trying to reach for something sacred.”
Solo concertos with orchestra are always the most challenging to perform, not only for the soloist, but also for the conductor and orchestra. Conductor Dean Anderson has a very rigorous rehearsal and concert schedule for this year focusing on “mostly standard works for orchestra, written both for larger, full instrumentation as well as smaller, chamber orchestra works.” The “Emperor” is probably one of the most challenging concertos due to its symphonic nature. The soloist must be able to achieve balance, and present the same grandeur and power as the orchestra, which is a challenge to accomplish. According to Anderson, “There are many tricky spots in the concerto, where the soloist must suddenly make an entrance at points where one would least expect. The final entrance of the orchestra at the end of the third movement comes in right after a fast series of scales and must be timed perfectly by the conductor, which can be difficult if the soloist is not absolutely steady and confident.”
Dean Anderson and the La Sierra University Orchestra will be performing Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 Saturday evening, October 17 at 7pm in Hole Memorial Auditorium. They will also be featuring the 2015 Marcia Specht-Guy Concerto Winner, Julian Jenson, performing Piano Concerto No. 5.
A pre-concert lecture at 6:30p will be given by resident musicologist Dr. David Kendall, orchestra conductor, Professor Dean Anderson, and soloist Julian Jenson. Doors will open at 6:15p.
- Aidan Syto
About the Performers
DEAN ANDERSON has lived and worked as a music director and conductor throughout Southern California for over a decade. In addition to holding a faculty position at La Sierra University as the Director of Orchestral Studies, he is the Music Director for the Dana Point Symphony, where he has completed four seasons successfully. He is frequently engaged as an orchestra clinician and has worked with youth ensembles from across the United States. His collaborations include performances with artists such as members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Concertmaster Martin Chalifour, and Principal Trombonist James Miller. Other artists with whom he has performed include Smokey Robinson, John Tesh, Arlo Guthrie, Dick Dale, and Lincoln Mayorga.
He has been invited to guest conduct on numerous occasions and has led the Grumo Festival Orchestra (Grumo, Italy), Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, Siam Sinfonietta (Bankgok, Thailand),Yakima Chamber Orchestra, Cerritos College Orchestra, and the Southern California Chamber Ensemble’s performance in Nagoya, Japan. He was invited to guest conduct the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony in Vietnam and was the first American ever to conduct the orchestra professionally in Ho Chi Minh City.
This past summer he was invited to conduct the orchestra at the Montecito International Music Festival. He also conducted the West-Coast premiere of O My Son, an operatic tableaux composed by Marcos Galvany. The performance took place at Walt Disney Hall.
As a collaborative artist, he has participated in projects with the Chance Theater, Nouveau Chamber Ballet and the Anaheim Ballet. He conducted the recording session at Capitol Records of music by Kostas Christides and Minos Matsas for the full-length documentary on the life and work of Stan Lee entitled With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story (2010).
As an opera conductor, he performed Il Pianista Disgraziata, which is an original work by Guiseppe Lupis. Performances took place in the cities of Bologna, Assisi, Binetto, Loro Piceno, and Toritto. Other opera performances include Il Segreto di Susanna with the UCLA Opera Department and Gianni Schicchi with the Fullerton College Opera Workshop. Most recently, he conducted the West Coast premiere of Daron Hagen’s Little Nemo in Slumberland, and Saverio Mercandante’s I Due Figaro.
Mr. Anderson studied violin and conducting at the University of Missouri – Columbia, where he studied with John McLeod and Edward Dolbashian respectively. He has also participated in conducting master classes with such prominent teachers as Gustav Meier, Mark Gibson, Marin Alsop, Mihail Agafita, Daron Hagen, Don Thulean, and Lawrence Golan. He is currently completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting at UCLA under the mentorship of Neal Stulberg.
JULIAN JENSON is a Sophomore Bachelor’s of Music Performance major at La Sierra University. Born in Lancaster, CA, his musical initiation came when at three years of age, he refused to take his routine afternoon nap. His exasperated father hoped that a VHS recording of Vladimir Horowitz performing Rachmaninoff’s thunderous Piano Concerto No. 3 with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra would help inspire him to sleep. Instead, Julian began imitating the hand movements of the conductor, and refused to lay down afterwards. In time he learned how to work the machine and within a few months, wore the tape out entirely. His father, who studied piano in Switzerland, immediately recognized the boy’s musical potential, and sought out a teacher.
The late Leon Guide, director of the La Mirada Symphony Orchestra, took Julian under his wing at the age of four. In less than a year, he had Julian conduct the orchestra and at age 6, perform a Mozart piano concerto under Mr. Guide’s own baton. Julian transitioned to studying the piano after his mentor’s untimely passing, and was awarded a scholarship to take private lessons with Ori Shihor at the Colburn School for the Performing Arts. This continued until he enrolled at the Idyllwild Arts Academy, taking from Dr. Douglas Ashcraft.
Julian has performed extensively as a soloist and collaborator, playing at illustrious venues like the Brentwood Country Club as well as underpriviledged elementary schools in southern California. In 2012 he was named a winner of the Idyllwild Arts Concerto Competition, and in 2013 he appeared on NPR’s From The Top. He has also competed and placed in a number of competitions in Southern California, including the Steinway Society of Riverside Piano Festival, the YoungArts La Regionals, and Music Center Spotlight in the years 2012 and 2013. Julian also studies composition, and has heard his pieces played by artists like Grammy-nominated Tony Arnold, the ETHEL String Quartet, and others. He is committed to using his talents to glorify God and hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Julian won the 2015 Marcia Specht-Guy Concerto Competition and will be performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 this October with the La Sierra University Orchestra.
The LA SIERRA UNIVERSITY ORCHESTRA is an integral part of the campus community and is recognized as a premiere university orchestra in Riverside, CA. Students are trained by faculty that include members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as Hollywood studio musicians. The orchestra is composed primarily of music majors, cetoficate program students, and non-majors looking to balance their lifelong love of music with other academic pursuits. The orcehstra is also open to community musicians and advanced high school students looking to further their study of orchestral literature.
The La Sierra University Orchestra performs a variety of repertoire, from full symphonic works to chamber music, operas, musicals, pops concerts, and bothe traditional and contemporary worship music. The orchestra is primarily comprised of students from La Sierra University, but auditions are open to the general public. We also accept advanced high school students looking to further their study of orchestra literature. Auditions are held each Fall at the beginning of the quarter, but ongoing auditions are held on an appointment basis.