Charles Yang, ESYO

Classical & popular music concert features classical violinist with ‘rock star’ charisma, Empire State Youth Orchestra

Proctors and Empire State Youth Orchestras (ESYO) join to present an eclectic concert featuring crossover violinist Charles Yang and ESYO’s Youth Orchestra at 7 p.m. Sat., Jan. 30 at Proctors. The audience will be treated to a curious combination of classical and rock music, including Yang’s improvisational solos on electric violin. Yang will share the stage with Music Director Helen Cha-Pyo and ESYO’s Youth Orchestra as they perform Ranjbaran’s “Covers,” which includes “Hotel California,” “Blackbird,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and Korngold’s violin concerto.  The Youth Orchestra will also perform music by Bernstein and Marquez. There will be an opportunity to meet Mr. Yang after the concert.

Described by the Boston Globe as one who “plays classical violin with the charisma of a rock star,” Juilliard graduate Charles Yang began his violin studies with his mother in Austin, Texas, and has since studied with world-renowned pedagogues Kurt Sassmanshaus, Paul Kantor, Brian Lewis and Glenn Dicterow. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras and in recitals in the United States, Europe, Brazil, Russia, China and Taiwan, and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

Not only confined to classical violin, Mr. Yang’s improvisational crossover abilities as a violinist, electric violinist and vocalist have led him to featured performances with a variety of artists in many renowned festivals. He has been a frequent guest on the Emmy Award winning PBS show From the Top, and has also been heard on National Public Radio in Washington, DC and Boston.

In the two days leading up to the concert, Mr. Yang will share his talents with string instrument students by presenting workshops at Hackett Middle School in Albany, Central Park School in Schenectady and Bethlehem Middle School. He will also work with elementary-school students in ESYO’s Sistema CHIME after-school program at Yates Arts in Education School in Schenectady. In addition to the workshops, Mr. Yang will give concerts for the entire school at both Hackett Middle School and at Brown School in Schenectady. He will be joined at the Hackett concert by ESYO’s String Ensemble, conducted by Joseph Gumpper.

Hosted by The College of Saint Rose, Mr. Yang and Ms. Cha-Pyo will hold a public conversation at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28 at the college’s Picotte Recital Hall, Massry Center for the Arts. The talk will focus on Mr. Yang’s life as a professional musician and how he crosses between the worlds of classical and rock music. This event is free, open to the public and no registration is required.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, Mr. Yang will hold a special workshop, “Bach to Rock,” at Brown School with a focus of teaching string players how to improvise. String players comfortable playing at a NYSSMA level 4 and above are invited to attend and bring their instruments to Brown School, 150 Corlaer Ave., Schenectady.  The workshop is free but advance registration is required.

Tickets for the Saturday, January 30 concert are available through Proctors Box Office (518) 346-6204.