By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
Kyra Lombard, a 16-year-old 11th grader at Queensbury High School, is the guest solo pianist for the Schenectady Symphony’s Mother’s Day concert.
She’ll perform Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with the orchestra this Sunday, May 12, at 3 p.m. on the main stage at Proctors Theatre. Tix: $15 and $22, children and students free with adult.
Box office: 346-6204.
It’s Ms. Lombard’s orchestral debut, a milestone for any concertizing pianist.
“I am incredibly grateful that the symphony gave me this opportunity,” young Ms. Lombard says. And yes, she is getting paid for it, she told The Chronicle when we asked.
She earned the slot by winning the Schenectady Symphony’s Parillo Piano Concerto Competition two years ago, in 2017.
She notes, “The opportunity to perform is not given to all winners of the competition.” She was notified in November 2017.
She chose the piece herself, she says, with approval from her piano teacher.
She says she’s learned, “Preparing to play with an orchestra is quite different than preparing a solo piece. I have to know the orchestral parts as well as my own and know the relationships between the piano and orchestra. I have to practice looking up at the conductor” — guest artist Ching-Chun Lai — “in certain parts of the piece, as well.
She says, “I also have to remember not to be too extreme with my interpretation, as I am not alone on stage.”
Ms. Lombard says, “I have been playing piano since I was four. I am a student of Dr. Young Kim, Associate Professor of Piano at the College of St. Rose.
She notes three career highlights so far: “In June of 2018 I made my solo debut at the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum, and last summer I attended Bowdoin International Music Festival.”
The opportunity to play Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with the Symphony is the third.
She says, “This piece is life-changing for me. I find this concerto so emotional and painful, like much of Rachmaninoff’s music…The composer composed this piece after receiving therapy from Nikolai Dahl, to whom it is dedicated. He received therapy because he was deeply depressed after his first symphony was so poorly received.
Of the future, Ms. Lombard says, “I hope to connect with audiences all over the world and share my love for music with as many people as possible. I hope to have a career as a performing artist. I cherish every opportunity I get to bring to life the stories of these amazing composers through their music.”
This summer, “I have a competition in June and I will be attending Bowdoin Festival again this season. In the fall” — as a senior — “I will be auditioning for conservatories.”
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