Violinist and New Providence resident, Kingston Ho, 17, has been named the winner of the New Jersey Youth Symphony’s (NJYS) 2019 Concerto Competition. Ho will perform Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in d minor, Op. 47 with the NJYS Youth Symphony under the direction of Helen Cha-Pyo on April 7, 2019 at the State Theater in New Brunswick. Fortissimo Flutes, Clarinet Ensemble, and Concertino Winds will open the concert followed by Youth Symphony performing Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber, Sibelius Violin Concerto in d minor, Op. 47, and Dana Wilson Hold Fast to Dreams, based on a poem by Langston Hughes. For more information, visit NJYS.org.
“Kingston is an exceptional violinist who possesses musical maturity that’s way beyond his years,” says Conductor and Artistic Director Helen Cha-Pyo. “The judges were thrilled to encounter such a talent and unanimously awarded him the first prize. I am looking forward to working on the concerto with Kingston and the Youth Symphony. You will not want to miss his performance!”
The New Jersey Youth Symphony Concerto Competition is open to members of its most advanced ensemble, Youth Symphony, and offers the opportunity for young musicians to compete for the honor to perform a full concerto with the orchestra in one of the state’s most prestigious venues. With 105 of the highest level musicians from 40 different high schools in New Jersey, Youth Symphony regularly explores adventurous programming, juxtaposing old and new works and making musical connections meant to resonate with both the audience as well as the young musicians. Youth Symphony has appeared at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Says Ho, “I am extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity to perform with Youth Symphony at the State Theater. The Sibelius Violin Concerto has been one of my favorite pieces of music ever since I first heard it. I look forward to working with the orchestra in the coming months.”
A senior at the Academy for Allied Health Sciences in Scotch Plains, Ho studies violin with New York Philharmonic’s Duoming Ba and has served as concertmaster for the NJYS Youth Symphony for two years. He is a member of the NJYS String Quartet, a flagship chamber ensemble representing the best of NJYS, chosen by Cha-Pyo and coached by esteemed members of the Emerson String Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, and Harlem Quartet, among others.
Last summer marked Ho’s second year as a member of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA). Working with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and soloist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano, the ensemble performed at Carnegie Hall and venues in Asia including Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul, and Daejeon. In 2017, he performed with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall and toured Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia under the baton of Marin Alsop. He was selected to be the concertmaster of the inaugural NYO2 orchestra and will tour Europe with NYO-USA this summer. He was a semifinalist at the 2018 Johansen International Competition for Young String Players and held the position of concertmaster of the New Jersey All-State Orchestra from 2014-2016. As a soloist, Ho has appeared at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center. From 2015-2017, Ho was the concertmaster of the InterSchool Orchestras of New York, a full scholarship youth orchestra.
When asked what he loves most about orchestral playing, Ho responded, “I enjoy participating in NJYS because it gives me the opportunity to collaborate with other students to make great music together and perform in beautiful concert halls throughout the state. I also enjoy playing chamber music in the NJYS Quartet. Being a senior, this year has been particularly busy for me as I am taking a couple of AP classes and doing college applications and auditions. It is quite challenging to balance music practice and school work. However, when I do find the time to practice, I try to be as effective and efficient as possible.”
Ho, who says his favorite subject is biology, plays the piano in addition to the violin.
Submitted by Alice Hamlet