An awe-inspiring evening of mentorship and musicianship awaits as two special guest artists join the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Brahms' Double Concerto at the upcoming Winter Concert. Both principal musicians of Pacific Symphony, Dennis Kim (concertmaster) and Warren Hagerty (recently appointed principal cello) also have a connection to OCSA. Kim has been this year’s artist-in-residence, coaching aspiring violinists in a weekly master class. Hagerty graduated from OCSA’s Instrumental Music Conservatory in 2009 before attending The Juilliard School and founding the Verona Quartet. In a special performance with the school’s top ensemble led by conductor Nicholaus Yee, Kim and Hagerty perform the third movement from Brahms’ final piece for orchestra, which requires adept precision and mastery from all its performers. This collaborative concert will be an exciting representation of the value of quality arts education and professional mentors on the next generation of musicians.
Taking place on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Michael F. Harrah Symphony Hall on OCSA’s campus, the Winter Concert also features the OCSA Symphony Orchestra led by guest conductor Michael Powers performing the “Egmont” Overture by Beethoven, the “Karelia” Suite by Sibelius and “Callirhoe” by Chaminade,. The seventh-eighth grade String Orchestra performs Grieg’s “Holberg” Suite and Vivaldi’s “Winter” concerto from “The Four Seasons.”
Growing up in Orange County, Hagerty frequently attended Pacific Symphony concerts, idolizing the ensemble and dreaming of becoming a professional musician, he said. During his time at OCSA, he was able to travel and perform at the Sydney Opera House, perform music of old and new composers, and study under another OCSA alumnus, Leif Woodward (’98), who is still teaching the cello sectional class today.
“I always felt at home during my time at OCSA,” said Hagerty. “I loved being surrounded by like-minded peers, and that helped me to feel empowered to pursue a life in music. The faculty and staff were all so wonderful and supportive.”
In September of this year, Hagerty won the spot of principal cello at Pacific Symphony, giving him the opportunity of a lifetime and reconnecting him to his hometown. Now, Hagerty joins his colleague Kim, the new concertmaster of Pacific Symphony, for this performance at OCSA. Both are enthusiastic to be working side by side and encouraging the next generation.
“I'm looking forward to coming back to the place where I first fell in love with playing in an orchestra,” said Hagerty. “I can't wait to meet the talented musicians at OCSA and make music with them.”
“This performance is very special as I will get a chance to perform with the new principal cellist of Pacific Symphony,” said Kim. “I find it so amazing that Warren is a graduate of OCSA, and I am honored to share the stage with him for this special event.”
As for the concert itself, the Double Concerto by Brahms is a captivating piece, comparable to a symphony with two additional voices highlighted. The concerto will showcase Hagerty’s talents on cello and Kim’s on violin with the support of OCSA’s student orchestra.
“The violin and cello voices are woven together beautifully, and balanced well against the orchestra,” said Hagerty. “The third movement in particular is a playful rondo, with memorable melodies throughout.”
Through his weekly master class, Kim has gotten to know the current students at OCSA. He commented on the value of a well-rounded arts education. “I love that even though not all of the students will become professional musicians, they all realize music education is important and necessary to be successful in other fields,” he said.
Kim recognizes how difficult it can be to succeed as a professional musician, but believes dedication and a clear focus on the journey rather than the destination can be of the utmost importance.
“There will always be kids more talented, more advanced, but knowing that the road is long is important,” said Kim. “If you are on the right path and keep working hard, anything is possible.”