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Two young musicians join NM Philharmonic in concert

Ishan Loomba won the piano portion of the Jackie McGehee Young Artist Competition.

Ishan Loomba won the piano portion of the Jackie McGehee Young Artist Competition.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Saturday’s New Mexico Philharmonic Neighborhood Concert wraps a premiere, a requiem and two young artists into an evening of tribute and talent.

Matthew Greer will conduct a program that includes Albuquerque Grammy Award-winning composer Daniel Steven Crafts’ new composition “The Tree Is Not the Pyramid” and Duruflé’s Requiem, Op. 9.

Crafts, who also is the Journal’s classical music reviewer, wrote his two-movement piece specifically for the Philharmonic, Greer said.

“It’s very colorful and energetic,” he added.

Greer will lead the 45-member choral group Quintessence through the requiem, written for Duruflé’s late father. Duruflé was a 20th-century French composer and Paris organist.

“This is by far his best-known work,” Greer said. “It’s one of my favorite pieces of all time. He was a very self-critical composer. He didn’t publish much of his work.”

Two local 13-year-olds claimed the young artist prize: pianist Ishan Loomba, who will play Mozart’s Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K 453, and violinist Phoenix Avalon, who will perform Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Op. 28.

Mozart composed the concerto in 1784 and premiered it at the keyboard himself.

“There’s lots of lovely interplay between the piano and the orchestra,” Greer said.

Loomba is an eighth-grader at Albuquerque’s Desert Willow Family School who began picking out tunes on his toy piano at an early age. By 2013 he was a guest soloist with the New Mexico Philharmonic.

AVALON: Has soloed with the Boulder Symphony

AVALON: Has soloed with the Boulder Symphony

Avalon is beginning his second decade of violin obsession.

He has soloed with the Boulder Symphony and Performance Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe resident mentors the St. Michael’s High School Orchestra and will solo again in Boulder this year.

Saint-Saens wrote his piece for Spanish violin virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate.

“He was one of the great violinists of the 19th century,” Greer said.

“It’s very flashy, very showy, very virtuosic.”

Greer has not met the young musicians.

“They’re both very young, but they have a lot of performance under their belt,” he said. “It should be fun to put together.”