Sofia Hashemi-Asasi, 17, is the concertmistress for the San Diego Youth Symphony
and Conservatory’s Chamber Orchestra this year. Courtesy photo
When Sofia Hashemi-Asasi takes the stage as concertmistress of a La Jolla Music Society performance Friday, she’ll be responsible for guiding musicians through their accompaniment of internationally recognized violinist Ning Feng.
The 17-year-old senior at the Greater San Diego Academy prepared for the event amid the multiple auditions she attended for music schools across the country.
As concertmistress for the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory’s Chamber Orchestra this year, Hashemi-Asasi has balanced her role as a leader of the symphony with her pursuits as a student and aspiring professional musician. Her experience illustrates the symphony’s mission of enabling young musicians to perform classical pieces at an advanced level.
The La Jolla Music Society is showcasing the Youth Symphony through a pair of concerts: a December performance and this week’s presentation, featuring an eclectic mix of music.
“The audience should come ready to enjoy a variety of repertoire across the different periods — from classical to romantic to modern,” Hashemi-Asasi said.
The evening begins with the quick and lively overture to “The Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart.
It moves into the romantic Vieuxtemps Concerto No. 5 in A Minor, featuring a solo performance by Feng, recently featured in the La Jolla Music Society’s Discover Series. The Berlin-based violinist performs with major international and local orchestras and is known for both his lyricism and his technical accomplishment, according to the Youth Symphony.
The concerto offers the soloist broad freedom of interpretation, making it challenging for the orchestra to accompany, Hashemi-Asasi said.
Mozart’s joyous Symphony No. 35 follows next, and the program closes with the modern composition “The Comedians,” by Dmitry Kabalevsky.
“It really shows off all the instruments in the orchestra,” Hashemi-Asasi said. “It’s a lot of fun to play.”
Although the Youth Symphony musicians have participated in master classes through the La Jolla Music Society in previous years, this is the first time they have been featured as part of its series, said spokeswoman Lucy Coker.
For Hashemi-Asasi, the concerts are part of a musical education that began at age 5, when she discovered a violin her mother had previously played. The instrument planted a seed of interest that grew through private lessons, competitions and chamber music performances.
She joined the Youth Symphony in 10th grade, which solidified her resolve to pursue a career as a professional musician. The week before the concert, she was jetting across the country for auditions with music schools, including the Eastman School of Music in New York and Colburn School in Los Angeles.
The Youth Symphony, she said, provided training in both musicianship and leadership that has helped her on that path. Friday’s concert will highlight the challenges and accomplishments of the young musicians.
“I hope the audience will enjoy seeing a young orchestra playing difficult professional repertoire and seeing how the orchestra comes together as one,” she said. “I hope the audience will be able to feel the joy that we share in performing together.”