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Musician Spotlight: Julian Jenson, piano

17 Oct 2014 by In Uncategorized

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 Saturday evening, October 17 at 7pm in Hole Memorial Auditorium. If you would like more information about this event, please email music@lasierra.edu. Doors open at 6:30pm and this event is free to the public.

Written by Aidan Syto

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