NCO in Milford Sunday

Thursday, February 14, 2013



MILFORD – Ilana Zaks is 13, a seventh grader at Needham, Mass., Middle School.

She likes to ski in New Hampshire, swim in the ocean, play tennis, and travel to new places.

She also plays the violin.

Last year she participated in the International Young Musicians Festival at Carnegie Hall, and played at Colby-Sawyer College with the Boston Civic Symphony Orchestra. Among her ambitions is to one day play with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

On Sunday, Feb. 17, Ilana will be at the Milford Town Hall, a featured soloist with the Nashua Chamber Orchestra. The concert, “Virtuosity and Heroics,” begins at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15, $13 for seniors, available at Toadstool Bookshop or at the door.

This will be her first visit to Milford.

The concert will also feature the world premiere of “The Winds of Time: A Concert Overture” by Joseph Clark, a freshman at the Eastman School of Music, pursing degrees in clarinet performance, music education and mathematics. He is a graduate of North Middlesex Regional High School in Townsend, Mass.

Ilana began studying violin at three-and-a-half with her mother, Anna Korsunsky, and made her first solo appearance at age 6. She has won numerous competitions and played with several area orchestras. She said recently that she practices between three and four hours daily.

No favorite

She said she did not have a favorite composer.

“I like all composers,” she said. “I enjoy all kinds of music.”

Among her ambitions, she said, “is to tour Europe.” She was in Holland with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and would like to see more of it. “I want to be a professional violinist.” She named Isaac Stern and Jascha Heifitz as models. “I would like to be able to learn amazing violin repertoire, because it has so much for me to discover.”

But, her mother said, “She’s a fairly typical 13-year old. Her favorite school subject is science.”

In Milford she will be playing Pablo de Sarasate’s “Carmen Fantasy,” a challenging and technically demanding showpiece for violin. Written in 1883, it consists of five movements, each related to a scene in the opera.

Joseph Clark began composing in the seventh grade. At age 7 he was studying classical piano. He later moved to jazz piano and clarinet.

As a student at North Middlesex he met Nashua Chamber Orchestra oboist Deborah Hencke. NCO director David Feltner suggested he write a piece for the orchestra. The work includes a flute duet, a section with a Spanish flavor, and solo brass above stings.

Wind quintet

He is currently working on a wind quintet and a large scale piece for orchestra and chorus.

Other works in the concert include “Yankee Doodle Variations” by Belgian violinist Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881), and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, subtitled “Eroica.”

The orchestra was begun in the mid-1980s in the Nashua School System when the position of strings teacher was cancelled to save money. String teacher Candace Wharton had started an ensemble to provide a place for her students to play. When her contract was terminated, she formed a group for local musicians called “Nashua Community Chamber Orchestra.”

The group included winds as well as strings and played in Nashua, Hollis, Amherst and Milford.

According to long-time member Jane Hanle-Olsson, “In 1998, under the conductor Mark Latham, we began to play our Sunday night concert at the Milford Town Hall and we have remained there on Sundays ever since. The orchestra loves the acoustics in the Town Hall and we are thrilled to be sponsored by the Town of Milford.”

David Feltner has conducted the NCO for the past eight years. He is also in his 12th year as music director of the Chamber Orchestra of Boston, a group known for its innovative programs.

He also served as Associate Conductor and Chorus Master for Boston Lyric Opera in 2001-02 season. He has served as Cover Conductor for the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and has been guest conductor for the Adelphi Chamber orchestra and for Intermezzo: The New England Chamber Opera Series.

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