By Lawrence Budmen

The training and nurturing of gifted young musicians is one of the most important aspects of arts education. Too often musical organizations do not realize that providing opportunities for aspiring artists ensures the future of the art form. In a gesture of heartening generosity and foresight the Alhambra Orchestra has established a Young Artists Concerto Competition in memory of Ray Millette, one of the founders of the Miami based community ensemble. The three top prize winners of the competition displayed their prodigious artistry in a concert aptly titled "Celebrating the Future" on April 3 at Ransom Everglades Auditorium in Coconut Grove.

Third Prize Winner Daniel Adams gave a thoroughly professional, idiomatic performance of the "Concerto in G Major" for Viola and Strings by Georg Philipp Telemann, perhaps the most prolific composer of the Baroque era. Adams hails from Boca Raton and is an eleventh grade scholarship student at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem (often referred to as "the Julliard of the South"). Adams's dark tone and aristocratic phrasing mark him as a future master of this unique string instrument. His elegant shaping of the grave melodic line in the opening Largo was striking. His flexibility and rhythmic lift in the concluding Presto was impressive indeed. Already Adams displays a level of sensitivity and musicianship that bodes well for a successful career. Conductor Reginald Nicholson and the string ensemble (led by concertmaster Daniel Andai and enhanced by harpsichord in the continuo role) provided lively, stylish support.

Second Prize Winner Stephanie Pan is a senior at Michael M. Krop High School. She essayed the Allegro non troppo opening movement of Brahms's "Concerto in D Major' for Violin and Orchestra with surprising assurance and verve. Her teacher is the veteran South Florida violinist and pedagogue Thomas Moore. Ms. Pan's elongated line in the work's second subject showed thoughtful musicality and welcome attention to detail. Her bold rendition of the daunting cadenza was often breathtaking. With considerable orchestral experience already behind her, Ms. Pan is a very promising young artist.

First Prize Winner Carmine Miranda gave an impressive performance of the opening Allegro from Dvorak's "Concerto in D Major" for Cello and Orchestra - the Mount Olympus of cello concertos. He is a junior at Gulliver Preparatory School. His teacher is University of Miami Professor Ross Harbaugh. Miranda counts Israeli cellist Yehuda Hanani as one of his mentors. Miranda's often awesome performance of the Dvorak concerto showed remarkable maturity and poise. His sense of the music's long arc was prodigious. Miranda's spacious shaping of the score's lyrical second subject was wonderful indeed. He brought a sense of innate musicality and flexibility to every bar of the music. His passionate involvement in the score's ever winding musical thread was impressive. With a spirited rendition of the cadenza Miranda capped a triumphant performance. Here is a young cellist of impressive artistic endowment.

Nicholson (who is also Artistic Director of Miami's Beethoven Society) showed fine sensitivity to his young soloists' interpretive styles and provided solid support. In creating a forum for such gifted instrumentalists Nicholson and his Alhambra ensemble have given Miami a gift of priceless value. They have endowed music's future! 

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