Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra Performs Last Concert Of Season

Mekhi Gladden (foreground) and Christopher Chung perform a duet in WABE's studio.
Credit Gabbie Watts / WABE
Audio version of this story here.


This will be a bittersweet weekend for high school seniors in the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. Sunday is not only the last concert of the ASYO season, it will be the last of their concerts with the esteemed ensemble altogether.

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But many will continue their musical education and are off to music colleges in the fall, including bassoonist Christopher Chung and oboist Mekhi Gladden.

Their final performance with ASYO features Sergei Rachmaninov’s “Piano Concerto No. 2,” Arturo Marquez’s “Danzon No. 2” and Ottorino Respighi’s “Fountains of Rome,” which Gladden and Chung are both playing in for this concert.

“It’s super woodwind-based, which is really cool,” Gladden said. “In the beginning, there’s a huge bassoon. Bassoons, oboe, almost everyone has major part … It’s a very quiet solo that’s not supposed to be projected to the audience, it’s more like they have to listen in to really hear the beauty of the solos.”

“The solo’s really long is a really resistant register of the bassoon, so it’s really hard to finished,” Chung added in regards to the challenges of the piece. “By the end, I’m just like thhbbbssttt. You can hear the leaking from the sides and my mouth giving up.”

Gladden will attend the Curtis Institute for his musical studies. Chung will attend the Colburn School.

ASYO performs this Sunday at Symphony Hall at 3 p.m.