16-year-old’s performance thrills symphony audience

HERALD photo/Roger ClineHERALD photo/Roger ClineHERALD photo/Roger Cline
Staff Writer

Cheers, applause, and a couple of standing ovations were response to the Big Spring Symphony Orchestra’s “Winter Wonderland” concert held Saturday evening at the local Municipal Auditorium.
The concert, under the guest conducting baton of Maestro John Giordano, began with Johannes Brahms’ “Academic Festival.” When the applause died down from that piece, stage hands moved the grand piano to center stage for Steven Dong’s solo performance on Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,” accompanied by the orchestra. Dong, a 16-year-old student at Houston’s Clear Lake High School, received a standing ovation, and said he felt exhilarated after playing with the orchestra.
“I feel amazing! The symphony sounded great. I think I really blended in with them. Overall it was just a great performance. I really enjoyed it,” he said. “This is definitely my favorite piece of all time. I’ve worked a long time on this piece. I’ve already been playing it for almost two years now, and every time I play it, it just makes my heart sigh in relief. It’s a really great piece.”
The orchestra will next take the stage April 1, when they will be joined by Tejano band “Little Joe y La Familia” as well as local performers John Ontiveros and Gracie Acosta.