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Pasadena Community Orchestra’s 40th Anniversary Season Continues With Concert Featuring 16-Year-Old Virtuoso Violinist

Published on Jan 25, 2023

Audrey Park, Pasadena Community Orchestra’s 2020 Young Artist Competition winner will feature prominently in the Orchestra’s 40th Anniversary Season concert. [Courtesy photos]

Praised for her “rich sound and excellent rhythmic drive,” Audrey Park, Pasadena Community Orchestra’s 2020 Young Artist Competition winner will feature prominently in the Orchestra’s 40th Anniversary Season concert on Friday, Jan. 27. 

Park will be playing the “Violin Concerto” by Johannes Brahms at the First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena.

The PCO calls its 40th Anniversary season “The Season of Youth,” president of the PCO Board of directors, Mary Thornton House said.

“Because of the pandemic, we haven’t been able to do a young artist competition,” House said. “We’ve done the competition, but we haven’t been able to showcase them with the orchestra. They haven’t been able to play. So we’re going to have three young artists in a row. Performing this Friday is Audrey Park.”

Park currently studies at the Juilliard School under Hyo Kang, with additional instruction from Linda Rose, Almita Vamos, and Cho-Liang Lin. She has appeared as a soloist with the L.A. Virtuosi Orchestra, Peninsula Symphony, among many others.

Pasadena Community Orchestra Young Artist Competition

The Pasadena Community Orchestra has been promoting and providing solo performance opportunities for young instrumental artists through the Young Artist Competition since 1986.  

Each year, the winner of the competition has the opportunity to play a concerto with the Orchestra during its upcoming season, and is awarded a cash prize of $500.

For the next competition, entries closed last Saturday, Jan. 21 for the actual competition on Feb. 4, House said.

“Typically we open up the applications in September and take them all the way through January and then have the competition in February and then highlight them in our May concert,” she said.

Young musicians who would like to try out for the competition or are interested to play in the orchestra can get in touch with Beth Pflueger, the PCO’s conductor, who teaches music at Glendale Community College.

An active flutist, conductor and educator in the southern California area, Pflueger serves as principal flutist of the Burbank Philharmonic and Peninsula Symphonies, and performs regularly as a freelance player with regional orchestras and chamber music ensembles. She is a 2005 Grammy Award winner for her recorded piccolo performance with the Southwest Chamber Music Ensemble.

Along with her teaching duties and being conductor of the Pasadena Community Orchestra, Professor Pflueger currently serves as Glendale Community College’s Music Department Chair and Assistant Division Chair.

PCO’s concerts are always free to attend, House said.

“We want people to have the experience of live music and live classical music,” she continued. “I mean you can listen to a recording by the LA Philharmonic, and all you hear is perfection. You come to listen to us, and you look for the anticipation of perfection.”

“The PCO continues to present these concerts and hold the Young Artist Competition because of the generosity of individual and organizational donors, plus some grant funding that it gets from time to time. During their concerts, young people who are inclined to be musicians come with their parents, and they “don’t have to spend a hundred bucks for a ticket,” House said.

But what inspires the PCO is the prospect of seeing more young people getting interested in classical music.

“We encourage young people, young artists, and if they’re capable of playing the symphonic music or the classical music, then they get to play,” House said.

Next up for the 40th Anniversary season is violinist Boxianzi Ling, Young Artist Competition Winner for 2021, who will be performing the Saint-Saëns “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” on March 17, also at First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena, which is at 3700 E Sierra Madre Blvd. 

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