Child prodigy plays alongside Performance Santa Fe Orchestra - Albuquerque Journal

Child prodigy plays alongside Performance Santa Fe Orchestra

Pianist and composer 13-year-old Emily Bear will appear with the Performance Santa Fe Orchestra on Christmas Eve.
Pianist and composer 13-year-old Emily Bear will appear with the Performance Santa Fe Orchestra on Christmas Eve.

At first blush, Emily Bear may seem like an ordinary home-schooled 13-year-old.

But a second look will tell you that Emily is an extraordinary and gifted girl. That’s because she squeezes more than eighth-grade textbooks in her studies at her family’s home in Rockford, Ill.

Emily makes time to practice piano, to write and arrange compositions, and to compose film scores.

And she gets out of the house … to perform at far-flung concerts. She will lead her trio – yes, her trio – at The Iridium jazz club in New York City next month.

“The chemistry is really great,” Emily said in a phone interview. “When we all play together it sounds like one person.”

But before that gig, Emily will be the guest pianist with the Performance Santa Fe Orchestra at a Christmas Eve concert at Santa Fe’s Lensic Performing Arts Center.

“I love traveling and playing concerts. It’s really fun to do,” Emily said.

She and the orchestra will perform George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” Her mother, Andrea Bear, said Emily thinks of it as “her dream piece” because it combines jazz and classical music.

For the same concert, Emily has composed a new piece, “Les Voyages,” and has written an orchestration and expansion of her work “Northern Lights.”

The original piano version of “Northern Lights,” which is on her “Diversity” CD, won an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition Award when she was 6 years old.

Andrea Bear said one of the highlights of her daughter’s musical life was playing with the orchestra in Santa Fe two years ago. That concert saw the premiere of Emily’s piece “Santa Fe.”

“It takes a lot of courage and faith in the conductor and for Emily to work together to bring new works to life,” she said. “Joe Illick and his orchestra are phenomenal.”

Andrea Bear has said that when Emily was a baby she would sing back lullabies in perfect pitch; at 18 months she experimented at the piano; at age 3 she composed substantial pieces; and as a 4-year-old Hal Leonard, a major music publishing company, began publishing her compositions.

Quincy Jones, one of the nation’s preeminent record producers, is Emily’s mentor and the producer of the “Diversity” album. Jones was quoted as saying that he is “at once astounded and inspired by the enormous talent Emily embodies… She plays like she’s 40 years old. She is the complete 360-degree package, and there are no limits to the musical heights she can reach.”

At the same Christmas Eve concert, Emily and the orchestra will play two jazz standards and her arrangement of a Christmas medley. In addition, the orchestra will perform Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
‘Mean Girls’ to launch a seven-performance stand at Popejoy ...
Entertainment
Nadina Hassan remembers begging her mother ... Nadina Hassan remembers begging her mother to get the "Mean Girls" DVD from Netflix so she could wat ...
2
Bow and Arrow Brewing's Native Land beer program spreads ...
Blogs
Bow and Arrow Brewing Co. started ... Bow and Arrow Brewing Co. started a project that has spilled over into more than two dozen communiti ...
3
Salvage-yard finds fuel artist's work
Arts
1"I work full time in my ... 1"I work full time in my studio – at least 8 hours a day – and my process has to ...
4
Grammy-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra to play two shows in ...
Entertainment
Oscar Hernández is meticulous when it ... Oscar Hernández is meticulous when it comes to music.As the leader of the Gramm ...
5
Six bands to perform in benefit for charity that ...
Entertainment
Six local acts are coming together ... Six local acts are coming together to raise money for charity for the third annual Burque Niñ ...
6
Santa Fe steakhouse a decadent evening for carnivores, pescatarians ...
Dining Reviews
As we roll into the holiday ... As we roll into the holiday season and think about restaurants we can take friends and family for an ...
7
Location manager creates film for international competition project
Blogs
Alex Gianopoulos is used to deadlines.A ... Alex Gianopoulos is used to deadlines.A location manager in the film industry, he has ...
8
NM artist Leah Garcia to show her cyanotype works ...
Arts
It's been months since Leah Garcia ... It's been months since Leah Garcia has had some downtime.The New Mexico-based artist h ...
9
'Encanto' a charming tale of magical new Disney family
Entertainment
The end credits for today's animated ... The end credits for today's animated films run for so long that if you live within a mile or two of ...
10
'House of Gucci' is pure, unapologetic and over the ...
Entertainment
Everything in "House of Gucci" is ... Everything in "House of Gucci" is over the top. The accents. The performances. The fashion. The sett ...