For AdVantage News
Vincent Piazza plays with the Alton Symphony Orchestra. The symphony is offering a 3 p.m. Sunday concert at Hatheway Hall at Lewis and Clark Community College.
ALTON – Part of the beauty of the Alton Symphony Orchestra is it allows younger talent to come of age, and Sunday afternoon violinist Vincent Piazza will be in the spotlight.
The Alton Symphony is offering a 3 p.m. Sunday concert at Hatheway Hall at Lewis and Clark Community College.
“I think Alton has a lot of great players. Vincent has always been a very unassuming, humble musician,” ASO Board President Jerre Honke said. “We wanted to showcase him and his talent. This is not an easy piece. He is playing Edward Lalo’s 'Symphonie Espagnole.'”
Vincent takes his music seriously but if a person watches his face, it shows his love of performing, Honke said.
“My 12-year-old granddaughter Katie Scoma, who is in the Alton Youth Symphony, even said on the way home from rehearsal, ‘I am so glad he is playing a solo. Watching him play, I think he needs to be spotlighted.’
“He will inspire the others in the Alton Youth Symphony,” she said. “Vincent is an absolutely wonderful player.”
An Alton native, Piazza began studying violin at the age of 9 in the Alton public school system. He studied with Elizabeth Jankowski of Alton through high school. He enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying with Peter Schaffer and Pacifica Quartet member Sibbi Bernhardsson.
Also, during his years at the University of Illinois, Piazza was a student of Italian, receiving a minor and studying in Catania, Sicily. Vincent also holds a master’s degree from Boston University studying violin with Bayla Keyes. Vincent’s summer highlights have included the National Repertory Orchestra, the Round Top Festival Institute and a string quartet seminar in Iceland. In 2007 he toured China as a member of the Sinfonia da Camera.
Piazza has performed for many years with the Alton Symphony Orchestra. He was also a member of the Alton Junior Youth Symphony, the Alton Youth Symphony, and, during high school, the Alton Symphony. He played with the Alton Symphony in high school and also performed with the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Alton High School Symphonic Orchestra.
Vincent works at McKendree University in the Office of Development, Alumni and Parent Relations, freelances heavily out of the Musicians’ Association of St. Louis and teaches privately. He resides in Edwardsville with his wife, Jenna, and their daughter Rachel.
This ASO concert brings an afternoon of Spanish delight with music of Chabrier’s “Espana” and George Bizet’s “Carmen.” The concert includes a special appearance by Alton’s own Marc Lambert conducting the National Anthem, as well as members of the Alton Youth Symphony performing “Children of Sanchez” and “Espani Cani” side by side with the ASO.
First-year conductor Shane Williams is generating considerable attention inside and outside the orchestra.
“Shane is bringing excitement back to the Alton Symphony,” Honke said. “What is even more exciting is we are getting a lot of phone calls from musicians in the St. Louis area wanting to play.”
“Performing with the ASO is a wonderful opportunity for these young musicians who aspire to develop their gifts of music,” said ASO Music Director /Conductor Maestro Williams, who recently rehearsed with the youth orchestra. He was impressed with how well they had been prepared by Alton Youth Orchestra Director Debbie Haferkamp.
Williams even makes rehearsals a learning process for the orchestra, Honke said.
“Marc Lambert, a special education administrator for the Alton School District, had the winning bid for the once-in-a-lifetime experience to conduct an orchestra at ASO dinner auction last fall,” Honke said.
Donations will be accepted at the concert or can be mailed to ASO, PO Box 1205, Alton, IL 62002.
Tickets are $10 and $5 for anyone 62 and over. Children up through 12th grade get in free.