22 October 2014
Virtuosi of Houston - Symphony No. 5 in E-Flat Major, Mvt. I, by Carl Czerny
Like all parents, we always want our children to have the best opportunity to learn, to exceed, to succeed, to experience, to blossom, to be happy, to be confident, to develop to their full potential in life. At age 17, our son Anthony had the opportunity to join Virtuosi of Houston. We did not know where it would lead him and where it would take us, but we had no doubt except two things: First, how are we going to find time to meet the rehearsal schedule as a senior student? Second, how are we going to pay for the tuition? But starting from the very first rehearsal, Anthony brought home the excitement, the confidence and a different level of motivation to push forward in his musical interest. He said, “Mom, at Virtuosi, even the youngest one is as talented as the best in our school orchestra.” As time went by, we begin to notice that Virtuosi opened up more opportunities for our usually reticent Anthony to come out of his shell. He has become more willing to reach out to the communities with Virtuosi to help broadcast the good things that their music can bring to people’s lives—be it a smile of appreciation for the good music, or the pleasant surprise about the talent at their young age. Anthony became more confident about himself and more comfortable in front of people.
I was extremely impressed with the high caliber of the musicians in the orchestra. They are truly the best of the best. They had a very challenging repertoire and played it at the highest level. The Orchestra has become a treasure to the Houston Arts scene that rivals the Houston Symphony and many other major arts organizations in the city. The overall management of the group and public image is impeccable.
It is vital that Virtuosi of Houston continues to develop and maintain the resources required to carry on its admirable efforts and perpetuate its positive influence in the Houston arts community.
As a professional flutist, I am a prime example of the benefits that Virtuosi so proudly gives. Eight years ago, I was looking for a way to share my talent. Virtuosi took me in and watched me flourish: it was a formative experience for me both socially and musically. Maestro Krager and Maestro Grabiec gave me knowledge and love for a wide variety of music, repertoire that is not often experienced because it is intended only for chamber orchestras. I developed skill and the sensitivity required for ensemble playing. I learned to perform under pressure, how to follow a conductor and the importance of rehearsal etiquette. I developed patience, discipline, confidence and leadership skills. When I entered the Boston Conservatory of Music in 2007, I was already more advanced than any of my classmates…After, I decided to follow my career in Europe where I graduated from the Brussels Conservatory of Music this past June 2012 with the “highest distinction”. A few weeks later, I signed a contract with the Royal Opera House “La Monnaie” in Brussels, Belgium.
I left my first Virtuosi concert telling everyone that this group of musicians could play in any orchestra pit in America.
Our family had a very unique and quality experience when we meet Anthony Cooper a Virtuosi of Houston scholarship recipient. He found our daughter’s Wayne Burak cello on Craigslist and drove all the way from Houston to play it. This very talented young man was not only motivated to purchase this instrument by his passionate love of music but also by his pending scholarship from Virtuosi. We truly believe the spirit of the grant matched the spirit of the musician and a perfect match was made…It was so magical for our family to see and witness such love and passion for the cello through this young man. He wasn’t interested in anything about the instrument except for the “sound” and he played with amazing beauty!…We have all been enriched by this gracious gift and we applaud Virtuosi for making this connection possible….Thank you to all at Virtuosi for making such a special connection to music in so many lives.
During the 2003–04 school year I received a scholarship as a member of the Virtuosi of Houston and experienced great concerts & memorable moments with that orchestra. Since I received such great support and encouragement from the Virtuosi of Houston I would very much like to come back and enjoy seeing the next generation of young artists reaching for the highest quality under such fine guidance of Maestro Krager and Maestro Grabiec. I am currently the first Principal Cellist of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra in Germany and I would say that my experience with your orchestra has majorly encouraged me to go the path of becoming a professional musician.
This would be a fine professional orchestra in many places. It shows the depth of talent and the amount of fine training that these young people get. You have to have a good conductor, a good program and it all comes together.
It’s rare to find a performance program that cares about giving a well-rounded experience to their students. The entire workshop was well run and organized, focusing on exposing students to an in-depth study of the string quartet and its literature… With top-notch staff, faculty, facilities, and a clear vision, it would be difficult to find something better in Houston.
I was very impressed not only at the general level of the student participants but at the quality of their work and the obvious commitment they all showed. It is a feather in the cap for Virtuosi to attract the high quality of students that they do and provide an environment of high class teaching, support and encouragement.