Gilroy Youth Chamber Singers will provide voices for inspiring pieces

Two young Bay Area musicians, Valery and Starla Breshears, will perform Brahms’s Double Concerto for Violin and Cello as star soloists.


By Marty Cheek

The South Valley Symphony will celebrate the coming of spring and the promise of young people at its NextGen 2022 concert performed March 12 at the Advent Lutheran Church in Morgan Hill.

“It’s going to be really fun. The basic underlying theme is faith in the performing arts and our young community members as serious classical musicians,” said Anthony Quartuccio, the symphony’s music director and conductor. “We want to showcase young talent, particularly in our community. And that’s something we find invigorating.”

The concert opens on a rousing note with Otto Nicolai’s Overture to his opera “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” based on the Shakespeare comedy. It will really “get the blood flowing” in the audience, Quartuccio promised.

“The story is about trickery with the women against the men. It’s the battle of the sexes,” he said.” The overture is very romantic. It’s a full orchestra with lots of romantic expression. It’s a delightful, wonderful, very rich, and energetic piece that the orchestra loves playing.”

Two young Bay Area musicians, Valery and Starla Breshears, will perform Brahms’s Double Concerto for Violin and Cello as star soloists. Students at the San Francisco Conservatory, they have performed with many other orchestras and have been featured on NPR’s “From the Top” podcast show as rising classical musical talent.

During rehearsals, the sisters have wowed the regular SVS orchestra members with their talent in performing the complex piece with “incredible finesse and the maturity of seasoned adults,” Quartuccio said.

“These are two of the most unusual young people I have ever met in a wonderful way,” he said.

He had his first encounter with their talent when he judged a music competition recently and realized he had to invite them to play with SVS. He described Brahms’s Double Concerto as difficult and dramatic.

“It’s a challenge for us to play this piece,” he said. “It brings us a great challenge to play — and everyone is doing well with it.”

The orchestra will also perform Mack Wilberg’s “Anthem of Peace,” with the Gilroy Youth Chamber Singers directed by Jonathan Souza. It is a composition combining the sounds of brass and percussion instruments with the melodic voices of a chorus full of young people. The piece is perfect for the difficult times the world faces with a potential war in Europe, Quartuccio said.

“This piece is about encouraging peace among people. It’s quite moving,” he said. “The brass choir complements the voice choir. So you have two choirs, one of instruments and one of people singing. It’s an absolute masterful piece that is sure to bring emotions to people.”

Two other pieces the SVS orchestra will perform are “Pavane” by Gabriel Fauré and “Baba Yetu” by Christopher Tin.

“I think the tune of ‘Pavane’ will be recognized by a lot of people in the audience,” Quartuccio said. “It’s a very lovely choral piece based on the dance of the pavane, which is a very slow piece with a very feathery orchestration that is lacy and silky. It’s very contemplative.”

“Baba Yetu” is an extremely popular composition written for the “Civilization IV” computer game, the first video game piece to ever win a Grammy award. A short piece full of lots of orchestration, it is full of African rhythms, he said.

Quartuccio encourages families to attend the NextGen concert to build their children’s appreciation for symphonic music.

Children get in free with an accompanying adult. Students with ID also can attend for free.

“Children will be seeing students in their own age groups, everything from middle school to high school bringing their best with their polished brass and singing and playing,” he said. “It gives students and their families a chance to see what’s possible. A lot of students don’t have a chance to hear young virtuosos perform live, unless you live in a big city with a great orchestra. In a rural community like ours, it’s a rare opportunity to see young people play — and spark some interest to practice their instruments better.”

The annual Mother’s Day concert will be held Sunday May 8 at Guglielmo Winery. The theme is “Love is in the Air” and it will feature mostly Latino-based music from Latin America and Spain.