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Rising Teenage Stars Recreate Performance with Yuja Wang through Janáček’s Violin Sonata

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15-year-old Pre-College student and Opus 3 Artist Apprentice Amaryn Olmeda and 19-year-old piano student Parker Van Ostrand performed “Violin Sonata” by Leoš Janáček inside the Bowes Center. Watch the full performance below.

June 8, 2023 by Mark Taylor

It takes two to make a thing go right. 

Fifteen-year-old pre-college student and Opus 3 Artist Apprentice Amaryn Olmeda and SFCM piano student Parker Van Ostrand, BM '26 performed movements two and three of the Violin Sonata by Leoš Janáček inside the Bowes Center’s Studio G. 

The performance echoes a recent one with a piano legend here at SFCM. Both students worked with and performed on stage with famed pianist Yuja Wang when she was here for her two-part residency at SFCM, the first of its kind at a U.S. conservatory, which included a fall fundraising celebration held at the Hibernia in San Francisco that raised $1.2 million for SFCM student scholarships. 

Olmeda performed the same Janáček piece onstage with Yuja at the celebration.

Amaryn Olmeda and Yuja Wang

Amaryn Olmeda on stage with Yuja Wang.

“The Janáček has a lot of different textures and colors, and trying to find the contrast without being too extreme requires a lot of attention,” Olmeda said. 

The teenager was excited at the chance to recreate the performance with Van Ostrand. “My favorite part of the recording session was the ability to listen after each take, immediately evaluate and change how I played different passages, share ideas, and have everyone work together to capture the sound Parker and I wanted,” she continued. “Knowing that we had a team there to support us to get the recording we wanted made the process really enjoyable.”

Olmeda is the youngest artist on the roster of leading artist management agency Opus 3 Artists, which was acquired by SFCM in 2020. The Opus 3 Artist Apprentice program was created to spotlight exceptional early-career musicians.

At the fundraising celebration, Van Ostrand performed a four-hands piece with Yuja. 

Amaryn Olmeda and Parker Van Ostrand.

Amaryn Olmeda and Parker Van Ostrand.

For this performance he was excited to get the chance to try something new. “This was my first time being professionally recorded, so it was pretty awesome seeing how the technology works and doing this project in such a high-quality facility. The people involved in the recording process were great to work with and really patient with us,” Van Ostrand, who studies with professors Garrick Ohlsson and Jon Nakamatsu, said.

The 19-year-old was also excited to work with and collaborate on something new with a fellow student. “Amaryn is an amazing artist and also a lot of fun to work with. Playing solo piano is great but it can get isolating, so getting to share the stage with someone like Amaryn is sometimes even more fulfilling.” 

Both students have busy summers ahead of them: Olmeda will be performing with the Houston Symphony at the end of June, while Van Ostrand is attending the PianoTexas Academy in Fort Worth with the opportunity to play with the Fort Worth Symphony. The pair will then join forces again in Pennsylvania this August, performing in their first formal recital together called “Wunderkinds!—2 talented teens” at Gretna Music. 

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