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.”
A citizen of the world, violinist Dennis Kim was born in Korea, raised in Canada and educated in the United States. He has spent more than a decade leading orchestras in the United States, Europe and Asia. Most recently, he was concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in New York. A dedicated teacher, Kim has served on the faculty at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada’s PRISMA festival and theInterlochen Center for the Arts as Valade Concertmaster in the World Youth Symphony Orchestra summer program. He has also been on the faculty of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Korean National University of the Arts and Yonsei University. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and Yale School of Music, Kim’s teachers include Jaime Laredo, Aaron Rosand, Peter Oundjian, Paul Kantor, Victor Danchenko and YumiNinomiya Scott.
Cellist Warren Hagerty holds degrees from The Juilliard School and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. His primary mentors have included members of the Juilliard String Quartet, Pacifica Quartet, Eric Kim and Sharon Robinson. An avid chamber musician, Hagerty was the founding cellist of the Verona Quartet at The Juilliard School, in which he was awarded top prizes in international chamber music competitions on four continents. He has collaborated with many great musicians including Renée Fleming, David Shifrin, Cho-Liang Lin and Orion Weiss. He has appeared at numerous festivals such as the New York String Orchestra Seminar, where he was principal cellist in 2010. A strong proponent of new music, Hagerty was involved in commissioning and premiering composer Michael Gilbertson’s first string quartet, which was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in music.
The Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) Symphony Orchestra has been recognized nationally for both its talent and innovative programming. Seven times the orchestra received the coveted ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. The orchestra has been profiled in the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, OC Weekly, Sounding Board (the magazine of the American Composers Forum) and the nationally-syndicated radio program “Composers’ Datebook.” The orchestra has presented several world premieres, including the world and European premieres of “Lost Vegas” by Michael Daugherty, which was co-commissioned by the orchestra. Many members have also had the opportunity to meet some of today’s foremost musicians, including conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen and Maxim Shostakovich and composers John Adams, Richard Danielpour and Christopher Rouse.
The orchestra made its debut at Carnegie Hall in May of 2006 in a program called by the concert presenters, Mid-America Productions, as “one of the best programs” they have presented. The orchestra performed Charles Ives’ Second Symphony (1909) in the Sydney Opera House in 2008. In 2012, the orchestra traveled to England for concerts in London and Birmingham that included collaborations with young British musicians and premieres of works by Havergal Brian, Michael Daugherty and Tansy Davies. In 2015, the orchestra performed in prestigious venues in Vienna, Bratislava and Prague. The orchestra’s latest tour was to Russia in 2018 where they performed three enthusiastically-received concerts in Saint Petersburg, Moscow and Vladimir.
This article was released by the Orange County School of the Arts.