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Concerto Competition Winners Perform in Winter Concert Series this Weekend!

Feb 21, 2024 - For Immediate Release


Girl holding a violin
Isabel Opat

Join the FWYO on Feb 25th for the Winter Concert Series: "Young Virtuosos" at TCU's Van Cliburn Concert Hall! Three performances back-to-back will feature five FWYO ensembles and two young soloists from the annual FWYO Concerto Competitions.


Members of the FWYO Youth Orchestra and Philharmonic Orchestra recently competed in two concerto competitions for the opportunity to play with their respective orchestra.


Young Artists Concerto Competition

1st Place – Isabel Opat, violin

2nd Place – Christopher Tran, cello

3rd Place – Edie Flunker, clarinet

Honorable Mention – Isabella Grace Ebo, harp


Young Performers Concerto Competition

Winner: Orianna Akers, violin


Isabel Opat, a 16-year-old violinist attending Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, is winner of the Young Artists Concerto Competition and will perform the first movement of Dvořák's Violin Concerto in A Minor with the flagship Youth Orchestra conducted by TCU's Dr. Germán Gutiérrez at the 7:45 PM performance.


"Playing this with an orchestra has given me such an incredible opportunity to really explore every part of the piece and how it comes together" said Isabel. "Preparing for performance has been such an interesting experience physically and mentally. There's so much planning and practice that goes on behind the scenes - whether that be me listening to the concerto in the car while I drive to school or actually rehearsing it with the orchestra."


Isabel has been a member of the FWYO since 2014. "When I was really young, I used to listen to a lot of classical music on various cartoons and TV shows! Once I got a little older, I picked up the violin." Soon after she was a member of the Jr. String Orchestra, but has since worked through ensembles up to earning the Dr. Germán Gutiérrez Concert Master Chair for the Youth Orchestra this season. "I can truly say that Orchestra Hall is my second home."


Isabel has also won accolades abroad, winning chairs at the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, National Youth Orchestras of Scotland, and the Royal National Conservatoire of Scotland - Junior Conservatoire while living there several years ago. She also recently performed in San Antonio with the TMEA All-State Orchestra for a third year in a row after winning a position in the elite groups selected from over 70,000 auditioning students across Texas.


Also performing is 14-year-old violinist Orianna Akers, who is in her first year at the FWYO. "I am having a wonderful first year in the FWYO Philharmonic," said Orianna. "After moving from Tennessee a year ago, I never expected to play with such an amazing conductor and talented fellow students."

Girl holding a violin in a library
Orianna Akers

In addition to being an accomplished classical violinist, Orianna is a bluegrass musician. "Before we moved to Texas, on Friday nights my older brother, younger sister, Dad, and I would join bluegrass jams on the square near our Tennessee home. Music is how I love to connect with family and friends."


Orianna will be performing Accolay's Violin Concerto no. 1 in a minor on the 1:45 PM performance with the Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Brian Coatney. "The most challenging part of this experience has been memorizing the longest piece I have ever performed" said Orianna. Recalling her love of bluegrass, her favorite moment of the piece is near the end where "it makes me feel like I am fiddling!"


The concerts will take place on Feb 25th at the Van Cliburn Concert Hall at TCU (2900 W Lowden St, Fort Worth, TX 76109). Tickets for the performances are $10 and available here and for purchase at the door. The Winter Concert Series is sponsored by Higginbotham and the Concerto Competitions are underwritten by June Wolff.


Winter Concert Series - "Young Virtuosos"

  • 1:45 PM - Jr. String Orchestra and Philharmonic Orchestra

  • 4:45 PM - String Orchestra and Wind Ensemble

  • 7:45 PM - The Youth Orchestra conducted by Dr. Germán Gutiérrez


About Isabel Opat


Isabel Opat is a 16-year-old violinist from Southlake, TX. She currently attends Booker T. Washington HSPVA in Dallas, TX, as a violinist. Isabel began playing in 2012 and has since been accepted into and played with several youth orchestras, including the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra and the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra.


While living abroad, she auditioned for and was accepted into the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland, and the Royal National Conservatoire of Scotland - Junior Conservatoire. Since returning to Texas, Isabel has both placed and won her division in several concerto competitions, and she was one of 112 violinists chosen out of over 7,000 to play in the 2022, 2023, and 2024 TMEA All-State Orchestras in San Antonio, TX.

In addition to being a classical violinist, Isabel has recently picked up mariachi violin and voice. Since joining, she has ranked 1 in TMEA All-Region Mariachi Honors, and made and attended the UIL State Mariachi Competition in Seguin, TX. This new addition to her musical range has given her the opportunity to give performances at the Meyerson Symphony Center, and the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House.


About The Fort Worth Youth Orchestra


The Fort Worth Youth Orchestra, founded in 1965 by a community group headed by Betty Utter and under the direction of Ezra Rachlin and John Giordano, was formed with the goal of inspiring the development of young musicians by providing intensive classical orchestral education and unparalleled performance opportunities. 

 

During its 59 seasons, the Youth Orchestra has won local, national, and international recognition as one of the finest youth orchestra programs in the United States. Through eight programs - including four major orchestras, a Wind Ensemble, FWYO Suzuki School, Chamber Programs, and Jazz - the FWYO delivers high quality musical instruction to more than 430 students ranging in age from six months to eighteen years, and represent communities throughout North Texas.


The programs offers students the opportunity to further develop their talent as well as their leadership skills, self-discipline, confidence, and pride in personal achievement. Many of the nearly 20,000 alumni of the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra program have gone on to become members of major symphony orchestras, music educators, or leaders in their fields.

 

The Orchestra's accomplishments include concert tours in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and the Far East; music festivals in Switzerland and Washington, D.C.; and numerous other concert appearances across Texas and the Southwest.  The Youth Orchestra has also been honored to perform with artists such as Van Cliburn, Jose Feghali, Yakov Kasman, Tamàs Ungàr, and John Owings, and composers Morton Gould and Samuel Adler. In 2021, the FWYO also received 2nd in the Youth Orchestra Division of the prestigious American Prize. The FWYO will continue it's international acclaim in 2024 by touring in Spain.

 

Under the leadership of Music Director Dr. German Gutierrez since 2000 and Executive Director Andrew Reynolds since 2021, the FWYO has become one of North Texas’ most prestigious performing arts organizations.


For media inquiries, please email Andrew Reynolds, Executive Director at info@fwyo.org


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