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Thursday, May 24, 2018

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Young talents ready to show at Texas Music Festival


Photo courtesy of the Texas Music Festival public relations.

Conductor Franz Anton Krager at the 2015 Texas Music Festival | Courtesy of the Texas Music Festival public relations

The 27th Annual Texas Music Festival is moving full steam ahead as student performers from across the world prepare for the first of four concerts scheduled throughout June.

The festival provides opportunities for emerging musicians to improve their skills with masterclasses, private tutoring and even mock auditions. All sessions will feature faculty members from UH’s Moores and Rice’s Shepherd music schools, guests from the Houston Symphony, orchestras of the Houston Grand Opera and Ballet and more.

TMF will also host a series of free events to showcase the attendees’ individual skills.

Sara Bravo, one of the concert’s cellists and a senior at Sam Houston State University, came to the festival with her twin brother, Andres, who plays violin.

“We have to put up really hard programs in a week and perform every weekend,” Bravo said. “It pumps up your level in a really good and critical way.”

Instead of being overwhelmed with so much learning and performing packed into just one month, students have only excitement to express.

“When old guys like me work with young people — it keeps me young, it keeps me energetic,” Franz Anton Krager, who will be conducting the orchestra on Saturday, said. “I’m on the same track energy-wise as the students. I can’t afford to be tired or lazy.”

Like the Bravo twins, many performers had to travel to Houston to participate in the festival. Some hailed from as far as Japan and South Korea.

“When you get something like Texas Music Festival, you get students from Russia, from South America, from Europe, from Asia, the energy is even more intense,” Krager said.

Short preparation time and language barriers aside, Hernan Campa, UH music performance sophomore and principal cellist of the TMF orchestra, feels confident about the upcoming concert.

“We’ve been together only a few days and it’s already sounding really good,” Campa said. “If the concert was today, I’d be like, ‘Yeah, we’re ready!’”

Although the orchestra is composed mostly of students, the level of performance skill is high — only one out of every four applicants were accepted.

“The caliber is really good here,” Campa said. “It might be the best that I’ve personally played with.”

Over its decades-long history, TMF has only grown stronger with each year, bringing in better talent and giving more rising stars a chance to shine.

“I’ve seen it transformed,” Krager said. “It was always good, even in the beginning. But now, it’s world-class. We are competitive with the greatest music festivals in the world and we’re proud of that.”

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