The Children’s Orchestra Society Hosts 20th Discovery Annual Gala

Michael Dadap, Yeou-Cheng Ma, Stephanie Sun, Andy Lin

By Pui See Tsang

The Children’s Orchestra Society held its 20th Discovery Annual Gala Benefit at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center on May 3rd.

This essential training ensemble for young students presented its 20th annual Discovery Concert, which featured the winner of the organization’s 2014 Discovery Competition: Stephanie Sun, a pianist. She performed Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor with the Young Symphonic Ensemble. Andy Lin, who plays the erhu, the traditional bowed Chinese instrument, was the guest soloist in “Newlywed’s Departure” by Xiaofeng Zhang and Xiaogu Zhu. Michael Dadap, the dedicated music director of the society’s symphonic ensemble, conducted this ambitious program, which opened with Beethoven’s “Leonore” Overture No. 3 and concludes with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

2014 Discovery Winner Stephanie Sun, Piano, is a senior at Staten Island Technical High School. She has been a member of COS since 2008, where she is an instrumental Major in Piano. A participant in NYSSMA All-State Orchestra and NAfME (National Association for Music Education) All-Eastern Honors Orchestra and NafME All-National Honors Orchestra, she has won numerous awards and scholarships. She has been studying piano from her mother Wen-Yi Lo since age four, and violin with Sanchie Bobrow & Yimain Liu.

Wei-Yang Andy Lin, born in Taiwan, recognized as one of the most promising young violists and erhu players of today. He is the artistic director and founder of the New Asia Chamber Music Society and is currently a doctoral candidate at the Stony Brook University of New York. He came to the U.S. in 1997 to attend the Idyllwild Arts Academy and holds his bachelor and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. Mr. Lin has won numerous competitions including Taiwan National Viola Competition, the Idyllwild Concerto Competition, First Prize in the 2008 Juilliard Viola Concerto Competition, and subsequently made his Avery Fisher Hall solo debut with the Juilliard Orchestra. He was also the winner of the 2009 Stony Brook University Concerto Competition. In January 2013, he appeared as a soloist on both the viola and erhu with the Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra.

Now in its 45th concert, “Our child-centered teaching approach is unique,” says Executive Director Yeou-Cheng Ma, daughter of the orchestra’s late founder, Dr. H.T. Ma. “Each individual child enjoys the benefits of music making in a supportive environment. I am delighted that we are featuring an Erhu for the first time. My father was a musicologist who wrote the chapter on the History of Chinese Music for Encyclopédie de la Pleiade (1960).”

Members are given the opportunity to perform in orchestral and chamber music concerts with well-known musicians as well as with their peers. COS also strives to involve members with their communities through performances for civic and cultural groups. From a fledgling group of 35 string players in 1984, the organization today has grown to more than 150 students. The 47-member Young Symphonic Ensemble, with members from age 11 to 18, under the baton of Michael Dadap, draws its highly talented members from the NYC metro area.

A select group from the YSE, the ESE, recently gave the world premiere of a song commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombings, and the UN Choir at the United Nations. The ensemble performs yearly at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, plus other prestigious halls throughout the New York City area. The YSE has toured in the Philippines and Taiwan, as well as major North American cities.

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