Allison Eldredge is honest about her special role as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Saturday evening. The New York-based cellist knows it is her youth, more than her skills as a musician, that will most likely win over her audience.
Eldredge, 16, will play Elgar’s Concerto before a mostly teen-age crowd at the Philharmonic’s fourth annual “High School Night at the Music Center,” led by Andre Previn.
“Because I’m young like they are,” she says, “they’ll be able to relate to me. I’m in a very special position, playing for them. Most have probably never been to a concert, so I’ll be introducing them to this music. I hope they have a good first impression.”
Eldredge admitted that the Elgar Concerto might be tough going for her youthful audience. “It may be too serious for them. It is deep, emotional music. But because they’re inexperienced concertgoers, any music you play would be part of the new experience.”
During a telephone conversation from her New York home, the Juilliard student (in the pre-college division) expressed pleasure in playing before a Los Angeles audience. Though born in New York, she grew up here, studying with Eleonore Schoenfeld and receiving scholarship assistance from the Young Musicians Foundation (she played here with the YMF Orchestra in November).
Eldredge was a Student Star auditions winner three years ago with the Philharmonic and played at a Symphonies-for-Youth concert. The Saturday night appearance serves as part of the fruits of her triumph in the orchestra’s Bronislaw Kaper Awards for Young Artists. “I did win some cash ($1,000), but the real reason I entered was for the chance to play with the orchestra. I just love to perform.”
A product of a musical family, Eldredge could not escape music even if she wanted to. “My mother (Yoshie Akimoto) is a concert pianist. She told me when I was a baby, she put me in a chair under the piano whenever she practiced.”
While admitting that such an environment was “a great influence” in nurturing her love for music, the cellist insists that it’s never too late for those who grew up without hearing the great composers.
“I know everyone my age has to like rock music--I like rock, too. I’m just as much a teen-ager as anyone else. Sure, it’s still ‘unpopular’ to like classical music. But the kids who come to the concert are curious. They may find they enjoy it.”
Is there a heightened level of tension, trying to win over an audience that is merely “curious”? Eldredge seems unconcerned. “I’d rather play for kids my age than a panel of (competition) judges who look like the Mafia, waiting for you to make a mistake.”
ALSO AT THE PHILHARMONIC: In addition to his podium duties at “High School Night,” Philharmonic Music Director Andre Previn will preside at subscription concerts Thursday, Friday, next Sunday and again Feb. 25. The Russian agenda lists Rimsky-Korsakov’s March from “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” (also on the high school program), Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (with concertmaster Alexander Treger) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.
Previn will also serve as pianist in a Mozart program presented by the Philharmonic Chamber Music Society, Monday at Gindi Auditorium.
BALLET THEATRE PEOPLE: American Ballet Theatre dancer Clark Tippet received a glowing review in Miami Beach, where the company recently performed during its current cross-country tour. But Tippet’s notice was for his choreography . Laurie Horn, critic for the Miami Herald, called “Enough Said"--Tippet’s first creation--"possibly the most exciting ballet to come out of ABT in a decade.” The piece, set to George Perle’s Third Serenade, was also danced in Chicago and is scheduled for the company’s San Francisco engagement later this month.
But don’t look for it when ABT visits Shrine Auditorium in March--it’s not scheduled. However, according to ABT spokeswoman Myra Armstrong, there is precedent for adding a “hit” to other tour stops, but no decision on Los Angeles yet.
Also from ABT: three dancers--Johan Renvall, Amanda McKerrow and Cheryl Yeager--have been promoted to principal status.
NEW OLD MUSIC: This week in Washington, cellist Rebecca Rust and pianist David Apter will offer the U.S. premiere of Georges Enesco’s Sonata, written in 1898 when he was 17, and last played by Pablo Casals in 1907. The manuscript, thought to be lost, was recently discovered by a bassoonist with the Munich Philharmonic.
On Feb. 27, Bogidar Avramov will lead the Beverly Hills Symphony in the first local performance of a symphony written by Edvard Grieg at age 21. The manuscript has long been in the possession of the Bergen (Norway) Public Library, which only recently released it for performance. Avramov describes the work, in C major, as one of “youthful Romanticism and characteristic of the composer’s melodic resourcefulness.”