On Saturday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m. the McLean Symphony will hold a concert at the McLean Community Center's Alden Theatre. Concert selections will include McDowellâ€™s "Woodland Sketches,â€ Ferde Grofeâ€™s "Mississippi Suite,â€ Gustav Holst's "The Planets" and Felix Mendelssohn's "Piano Concerto in G minor, Opus 25." The event will feature piano soloist Branden Conway and conductor Dingwall Fleary.
Conway, a 20-year-old McLean native, recently won two international competitions â€” one as a violinist and one as a pianist. Last year, after winning first prize in the 2006 Schlern International Violin Competition, Conway decided that the following summer he would return to the north Italian alpine town of Voels am Schlern to enter the competition in another category â€“ the piano competition. Conway went on to win first prize in the 2007 Schlern International Piano Competition.
Conway began taking violin lessons at the age of five. By the time he was nine, he was studying with Ricardo Cyncynates, Associate Concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra. In a short period of time, Conway gained recognition as a violinist in the Washington D.C. area, and then expanded his appearances to include recitals in New York City and abroad. Seven years ago, he appeared in Moscow where he presented a solo program at the "Young Virtuoso 2000" gala. He also participated in the "Mostly Mozart Festival" at New Yorkâ€™s Avery Fisher Hall and also for the "Live from Lincoln Center" broadcasts by PBS, performing in concert with Itzhak Perlman. Solo performances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Embassy of Canada, the New England Conservatoryâ€™s Jordan Hall followed. Conway also appeared as soloist in local regional orchestras.
Because of his clarity of tone and precision of performance, Conway attracted attention and started to win awards such as first prize in the Virginia Concerto Competition, the Russian America Music Association Young Soloist Competition, the Interlochen Arts Camp Concerto Competition, and the American String Teachers Associationâ€™s Virginia State Competition. In 2004, he was the youngest competitor in the Genoaâ€™s First Paganini Violin Competition, and the next year he competed in the Jean Sibelius International Violin Competition in Helsinki. In 2006 he was a semi-finalist in the Montreal International Competition.
During these years Brendan received tutelage and coaching from renown musicians such as Pinchas Zukerman, Steven Dann, Merry Peckham, Eugene Drucker, Stefan Milenkovich, Patinka Kopek and Itzhak Perlman. Currently he is studying in Montreal with Vladimir Landsman.
Another aspect of Brendan Conwayâ€™s career is that he has been studying piano only for the last four years. Conway also studied with Anna Balakerskaia, a soloist, accompanist and professor of music at George Mason University. After one year of piano lessons, Conway was able to walk away with the third prize in the 2004 Northern Virginia Teacherâ€™s Association Piano Competition.
On Oct. 13, Conway will be performing the Mendelssohn "Piano Concerto in G minor" with the McLean Symphony. To purchase tickets, call the Alden Theatre Box Office at 703-790-0123. Ticket prices are $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors and $12 for young adults ages 18 and under.