Local teen makes SSO debut with the brilliance of Beethoven
While many of his friends are playing video games or just hanging out, 16-year-old Jerry Hu has been practicing the same piece of music over and over again. The grade 11 student from Walter Murray Collegiate in Saskatoon earned his spot onstage with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra when he won the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association’s 2021 Shurniak Concerto Competition.
Jerry Hu says a dream will be fulfilled when he’s backed by a full orchestra in this performance. (Julie Isaac Photography)
“I’ve been playing Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto for two months,” he says. “Sometimes it can get stale to play the same piece for so long but, not this time. This chance to play with the SSO, it’s been really motivating to polish them up just knowing I’m going to play with a full orchestra.”
Beethoven’s 5th will showcase of one of history’s most famous composers, who created a score with four of the most recognizable notes in all of music. Guest conductor and winner of the 2021-22 Mécénat Musica Prix Goyer, Nicolas Ellis takes great inspiration from Beethoven’s work.
“In these pieces there’s always this journey from darkness to light and all these inner struggles. There’s a desire to take hold of our own destiny.”
“This music is really Beethoven at his most dramatic, the music he’s known for” says Ellis. “In these pieces there’s always this journey from darkness to light and all these inner struggles. There’s a desire to take hold of our own destiny.”
Guest conductor Nicolas Ellis says this music is Beethoven at his most dramatic. (Maxime Girard-Tremblay)
This performance will also include a piece inspired by Beethoven in its Canadian premiere. Jeder Baum spricht was created by Iranian-Canadian composer Iman Habibi to mark the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. Ellis says, “It’s a work full of hope.”
Tickets for this performance have been selling well and that’s no coincidence. Hu says along with his parents and family who are excited for the show, he’s been getting a few extra high fives in the hallways at school as his classmates get ready to attend.
“We always do what we do for the love of music, young and old. We share these opportunities along our artistic journey.”
“Some of my teachers have been advertising the show in band and around school,” Hu says. “They’ve been inviting all my friends to the performance. It’s going to be pretty cool because some of them have never even been to a classical show but they’re coming to support me.”
As a celebrated young conductor and pianist, himself, Ellis is excited to get a chance to work with Hu.
“I’ve heard a lot about Jerry and I’m looking forward to meeting him,” he says. “This is also my first time working with the SSO. We always do what we do for the love of music, young and old. We share these opportunities along our artistic journey.”
In addition to the in-person experience at TCU Place, this performance will be available digitally on the SSO’s ConcertStream.tv site.