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Adrian Hsieh

Adrian Hsieh will perform Elgar's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in E minor at a Sunday afternoon concert in Corvallis. 

The Corvallis Youth Symphony showcases one of its own, cellist Adrian Hsieh, in a concert set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the LaSells Stewart Center, 875 SW 26th St. on the Oregon State University campus.

Hsieh, a freshman at Corvallis High School, will perform Edward Elgar's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in E minor. The 14-year-old, who's been studying the cello since he was 4, said he's been working on the Elgar concerto now for about a year.

He noted that Elgar wrote the work just after World War I — and the music of that era reflects the uncertainty that the world felt after the Great War had ended. 

"I believe this piece is really emotional," Hsieh said. In contrast to some of Elgar's other works, the piece is contemplative and elegiac.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't have challenges for the solo performer: Some passages, Hsieh said, are "very difficult, but I don't think they're impossible."

Even after a decade of studying the instrument, Hsieh said the cello is "a lot of fun to play. ... It's just been with me my entire life."

It probably helps that the cello is not his only instrument. He also studies piano; he and his sister, Avery, represented Oregon in 2018 as a piano duo in the Northwest Division of the Music Teachers National Association competition.

He is an avid player of the card game "Magic the Gathering" and has performed in the pit orchestra for Corvallis School District Theaters productions.

As for the performance on Sunday, Hsieh confesses to a bit of nerves: "It's pretty stressful, but I'm pretty honored to be out there."

The Sunday concert also features Otto Nicolai's overture to "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and Vassily Kalinnikov's rarely performed Symphony No. 1 in G minor. 

George Thomson is the conductor of the Corvallis Youth Symphony.

Advance tickets are $10 for adults, and $12 at the door. Students are admitted for free. Ages 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be purchased online at cysassoc.org/tickets

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