Classical Music

Texas Music Festival: Yuan Tian, Christen Sparago, And Aaron Griffin

Three participants of the Texas Music Festival, including the winner of the Young Artist Competition, discuss their experiences and good times at the festival.

Yuan Tian
Yuan Tian, winner of the 2015 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition. Photo courtesy of artist.

If you’re not familiar with the Texas Music Festival yet, you might check out this episode of Music in the Making with Zoe Miller to get acquainted with the program and the great music it produces. In brief: the festival is a great educational opportunity for musicians ages 18-30, as they prepare to set forth on their professional performance careers. The festival engages these musicians with orchestral, chamber, and solo performance opportunities during its four-week period, and the participants are guided by highly experienced performers and educators from the Houston area and beyond.

One of the enduring components of the festival is the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artist Competition, where participants audition to secure a solo performance with the festival’s orchestra as well as with the Akademisches Orchester in Leipzig, Germany at the world-famous Gewandhaus concert hall. This year’s winner was Chinese violinist Yuan Tian, who will perform the cadenza and fourth movement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto, Op. 99 with the orchestra on Friday, June 19, 2015 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands at 8 PM, and on Saturday, June 20, 2015 in the Moores Opera House at 7:30 PM.

Yuan Tian was gracious enough to give a performance of Jacob Gade’s Tango Jalousie in the Geary Studio joined by pianist Brian Suits. Yuan then joined fellow participants Christen Sparago and Aaron Griffin in a conversation with Houston Public Media’s Joshua Zinn, where they discussed impressions and experiences at the festival, and Yuan describes what brought him to Shostakovich.