Youthful guest performer joins Alabama Symphony for UM performance

With lively sounds flowing forth from Palmer Hall at the University of Montevallo tonight, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra hopes to thrill audience members with not only their own talent but the talent of a young performer as well.

Ji Min Yang, a junior at Indian Springs School, won the 2009 Lois Pickard Scholarship Competition last spring allowing her the opportunity to perform with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

Preparing to play with a professional symphony does however add a bit of nerves, she said.

“I’ve been really stressed and nervous but I’m trying to tell myself to just enjoy the experience,” Yang said.

Sponsored by the Symphony Volunteer Council, the Lois Pickard competition is open to gifted young musicians. Students compete in either strings, bass, winds, percussion or piano. Yang won the strings division as well as the overall prize.

The competition also boasts a $2,500 scholarship prize, which Yang graciously donated to the Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in th Music Arts.

Yang will perform with the ASO tonight at the University of Montevallo.

ASO performers will take on the works of Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Yang, meanwhile, will perform the entirety of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Yang began playing the violin at age 7.

She said watching an older sister play inspired her and she eventually became enveloped by the emotional release she found in playing the instrument.

“It really helps me communicate my feelings. Since I’m not a native English speaker it’s hard for me to tell people how I feel,” Yang said. “When I get really stressed — playing helps me find a release.”

While Yang said she doesn’t plan to play the violin as a career, she does feel quite honored to play with a professional orchestra.

Conductor Yaniv Attar will lead the ASO and Yang in the performance beginning 7:30 p.m. Friday in Palmer Hall at the University of Montevallo. Tickets are $9 for students and $15 for adults.