Friday, June 21, 2024

Benjamin Steinhorn

The MIT Symphony Orchestra’s season-closing concert Friday will have a special guest: soloist Sammy Andonian, 12, a performer with the Boston Children’s Chorus. Sammy, of Lincoln, has an extraordinary story that he shared with The Boston Globe:

He began playing the cello at age 4, but it wasn’t until a chance encounter with Yo-Yo Ma that he dedicated himself to the instrument.

He had been studying the cello for a year when his mother, Jennifer Garabedian Andonian, took him to a performance by Ma in Boston’s Symphony Hall.

Afterward, Sammy caught Ma’s attention in a crowd of autograph seekers.

“He got down on one knee, shook my hand, and signed my program,’’ Sammy said. “I told him that I played the cello and he asked how I liked it. I don’t even remember what I told him, but that’s what inspired me: His concert was so amazing, and he was so nice.’’

Also playing at the concert will be Massachusetts Institute of Technology sophomore Benjamin Steinhorn, who will perform the Andante and Hungarian Rondo for Bassoon and Orchestra composed by Carl Maria von Weber.

The MIT Concert Choir, with William Cutter directing, will then join the orchestra for a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Orchestra manager Joya Abbott-Graves says of the show’s selections, starting with the Bernstein:

This energetic and beautiful work, composed in 1965, is a perfect example of the way Bernstein was able to combine many different musical styles such as classical, jazz, musical theater, and Christian chant, into a cohesive message of peace and joy.

On the second half of the program, the Orchestra will perform the 3rd Symphony of Camille Saint-Saëns, popularly known as the “Organ Symphony.” The symphony was dedicated to the memory of Franz Liszt, having died the year it was composed in 1886.

The orchestra, under the direction of Adam Boyles, plays Friday at 8 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Ave. Kresge Auditorium is handicapped accessible opposite MIT’s main entrance on Massachusetts Ave. This event is open to the public, and admission is $5 at the door. For information, call (617) 452-2394.