Colin Carr first took up
By the age of ten, he had studied at the famed Yehudi Menuin School, and in 1998, after decades of devotion to his instrument and his craft, he was named Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. Since that time, he’s served as "Musician in Residence" at St. John’s College in Oxford, and taught at Stony Brook University in New York.
However, it was during his long tenure as a faculty member of Boston’s prestigious New England Conservatory that he first crossed paths with Cheung Chau — instructing him on cello for three years.
Back in those days, Chau was little more than an extremely promising student. Today, he is perceived by many to be one of the more noteworthy young conductors on the world stage. He has to date acted as guest conductor for such renowned orchestras as the Moscow Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Poland’s Filharmonii Podlaskiej.
Most importantly to area residents, he also serves as Music Director of the Southern Georgia Symphony, a new Statesboro-based group of professional players and Georgia Southern University students. This orchestra was designed to help fill the gap left by the dissolution of the Savannah Symphony, through a regular series of shows in both Savannah and Statesboro (and, ultimately, additional performances throughout a larger swath of our region).
Now, in an event the group has cleverly billed as "The Master and The Maestro Together Again," Carr is featured as the visiting guest artist for a concert entitled "Slavic Passions." It serves as the Southern Georgia Symphony’s 2006-2007 season premiere, and finds Carr performing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B Minor on a 1726 "Marquis de Corberon" Stradivarius (on loan from London’s Royal Academy of Music).
It’s a unique opportunity for the two musicians to recast their previous relationship — this time as peers.
Chau recently told
"Being taught by Colin Carr was one of the most important experiences in my life, and his tremendous influence provided me with a foundation from which I still draw today," Chau elaborated. "I haven’t seen my old teacher in many years and I am looking forward to this. It is a great privilege that I will have the occasion to work with him professionally."
According to Maestro Chau, one of the key goals of the Southern Georgia Symphony is to reach out to young people who may be unfamiliar with classical music, or intimidated by the art form. He is adamant that invigorating a new audience is the key to maintaining a vibrant orchestral scene not only locally, but worldwide.
He radiates great hope that the diversity displayed in the concerts which make up the recently announced debut season of the SGS will go a long way towards helping to realize that lofty aspiration.
"It’s important to be aware of repertoire," Chau told our sister publication. "We’re presenting a wide variety of music that represents the region, performing famous and very approachable pieces."
Illustrating that point, he said that Savannahians can look forward to a November 28 show at the Lucas featuring traditional holiday selections, as well as a Pops Concert based around the work of the city’s "native son," the late jazz and standards composer Johnny Mercer.
Allen Henderson (Chair of Georgia Southern’s Department of Music and Executive Director of the symphony’s Board of Directors) says he’s eager to expand the orchestra’s reach into outlying areas, as well as into the public schools.
Not surprisingly, the act of awakening young people to the majesty of classical music is dear to Maestro Chau’s heart.
"Most of them have never heard a live orchestra before in their lives,’ he reflects. "It’s a great experience."the cello when he was five years old, his lot in life cast at a tender age.Connect Statesboro of the impact Carr’s teaching had on him in his formative years, and of how that impact still resonates in Chau’s approach to playing and conducting.w
The SGS’"Slavic Passions" takes place 3 pm, Sunday at the Lucas Theatre. For advance tickets, or season subscriptions, call SCAD’s Box Office at 525-5050.