By David Salstein
WALTHAM, Mass. — Each fall, the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra (WPO) hosts auditions as part of our youth concerto competition, in which students up to high school age play a solo they propose to perform with the orchestra at our Spring concert. This past season, violinist Haig Hovsepian from Belmont gave an excellent rendition of the Khachaturian concerto solo part to win the competition and play with the WPO.
The Spring Concert, “Asian Dreamscape,” conducted by Michael Korn, was already designed with a pan-Asian theme, in partial cooperation with the administration of Plympton School, whose curriculum this year features a school-wide study of Asia. So the concerto now in the program, written by Aram Khachaturian fit in well with the rest of concert theme, as Armenia is located near the border region spanning both Europe and Asia.
Haig Hovsepian’s beautiful violin solo in the concerto, accompanied by the Waltham Philharmonic, was exciting and inspiring, demonstrating both his outstanding technique and musicality. We have no doubt that we will be hearing about great accomplishments in the future from Haig. The emotional feel and poignancy of the concerto was even more meaningful because he dedicated the performance as a memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, one century ago.
Hovsepian is a sophomore at Belmont High School and is a member of the Wind Ensemble and the Jazz Band, playing saxophone. He also attends New England Conservatory (NEC) Preparatory School studying violin with Kyoko Takayama. At NEC he plays with chamber groups and is a member of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (YPO) playing in the first violin section. At the end of this school year, Haig will be traveling with YPO for concert performances in three cities in Iceland.
The program opened with the orchestra playing Borodin’s On the Steppes of Central Asia, featuring music inspired from both Russian and central Asian sources. In addition, the orchestra played the Cantonese Suite written by a modern Chinese composer Xiaogang Ye, in which the musical output of the western instruments were transformed into an eastern palette of sounds, in sections representing four aspects of nature.