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Las Cruces Youth Orchestra debuts this weekend, alongside the Reveron Piano Trio

Leora Zeitlin

Three dozen Las Cruces students will make their concert debut this weekend as the newly-formed Las Cruces Youth Orchestra, fulfilling a dream of Simon Gollo, founder of the orchestra and violin professor at NMSU. “We need to have more kids making music,” Gollo told Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin in this interview. Gollo and several faculty members have been training the students for three hours every Saturday this fall. “[The Las Cruces Youth Orchestra] is a wonderful program. Our young musicians – it’s so beautiful to get there on Saturdays and to see all this happiness and the joy that they have to be part of this program.”

The concert will include works played by two orchestras of different levels, chamber ensembles from the orchestra, and by the Reveron Piano Trio, which is made up of Gollo, cellist Horacio Contreras and pianist Ana Maria Otamendi, all of whom were part of the interview. The Reveron Trio will perform a work by Argentine composer Eduardo Alonso-Crespo, which Otamendi said "has a very clear tango flavor" but with modern elements, and starts with a "mysterious far away mood, then slowly brings you up to the very exciting finale." They will also offer their own take on music Astor Piazzolla, who, Contreras said, “represents an intersection between the written and the improvised.” Their versions of his music “will honor Piazzolla’s music but also bring our personality into them.”

All three musicians are from Venezuela, and Gollo and Contreras grew up in “El Sistema,” the country’s acclaimed music program that has trained hundreds of thousands of young musicians since it was started in the 1970s. “We are so happy to be in this concert for the youth orchestras,” Contreras noted. “It is in our genes as Venezuelans, and we are always very happy to do these collaborations.” Gollo said he has high expectations of the Las Cruces Youth Orchestra, and plans to add both a guitar ensemble and a choir by next year. “We should have a city with many more musicians around us,” he said. The concert is Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Atkinson Recital Hall. Listen here to learn a lot more about the music and the Las Cruces Youth Orchestra:

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