The Irish Times

THE IRISH TIMES

Thursday, July 3. 1997
San Jose Symphony Youth Orchestra/Yair Samet
Dublin National Concert Hall
Martin Adams

Marche Slave…Tchaikovsky, Irish Rhapsody No. 6…Stanford
Porgy and Bess Symphonic Picture…Gershwin
Symphony No. 9 “New World” …Dvorak

THE San Jose Symphony Youth Orchestra’s concert at the National Concert Hall last night was replete with met­aphors for our times. To reflect Irish-American connections, the orchestra’s European tour had visited Cork. Listowel and Tralee before coming to Dublin, with which San Jose has special civic relations. San Jose is in Silicon Valley, California, and the orchestra, in names and appearance, shows the vibrant mix of cultures – pre­dominantly from the Americas, Europe and the Pacific Rim – in that powerhouse of the present and future.

The SJYS is among the most accomplished youth orchestras I have heard. The players have an immediate rapport with their conductor, Israeli-born Yair Samet, and he has the knack of placing a disciplined yet free rein on their youthful vigour. The playing had a rhythmic focus and subtlety of balance which was a credit to all concerned.

The 18-vear-old Russian violinist Roman Goronok gave a vibrant account of the solo part in Stanford’s Irish Rhapsody No, 6.

In Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony the SJYS was at its best – muscular and shapely, and full of that untarnished, youthful energy. which overrides technical limitations. In the Souza march, which was one of their encores, they added all that to a quint­essentially American pzazz.