School of Music

USM Youth Ensembles to Perform Spring Instrumental Concert at Portland’s Merrill Auditorium

April 1, 2014

PORTLAND, Maine – The University of Southern Maine  (USM) Youth Ensembles will perform their annual spring instrumental concert next week at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland.

The USM Youth Ensembles will welcome Norman Huynh, assistant conductor and community liaison of the Portland Symphony Orchestra, as guest conductor of the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, and also will celebrate the 35th anniversary year of the Portland Young People’s String Consort.

Presented by the USM School of Music, the concert includes performances by: the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Robert Lehmann, USM director of string studies and orchestral activities; the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble, conducted by Huynh; the Portland Young People's String Consort, conducted by Deborah Dabczynski; and the Portland Youth Junior Orchestra, conducted by Ferdinand Liva, USM violin artist faculty member.

The details of the concert are:

  • USM Youth Ensembles Spring Instrumental Concert, 7 p.m., Thursday, April 10, Merrill Auditorium, Portland; tickets, $8/$5 suggested donation at the door; open seating; sponsored by Macy’s. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Norman Huynh as a guest conductor to the USM Youth Ensemble family,” said Alan Kaschub, director of the USM School of Music. “An important part of our mission at the School of Music is engaging with southern Maine’s young musicians and with other music organizations, and this collaboration succeeds in both of these goals. We are excited to share Mr. Huynh’s expertise with the students in the group, which offers a unique learning opportunity.” 

The concert will open with Huynh conducting the wind ensemble in Percy Grainger’s “Children’s March,” popularly known as “Over the Hills and Far Away,” and David Maslanka’s “Give Us This Day.”

In celebration of the Portland Young People's String Consort’s 35th anniversary season, Deidre Oehrtmann, Portland Symphony Orchestra violinist, who is the founder of the string consort and was the group’s conductor for 10 years, will play a double concerto along with Jennifer Elowitch, violinist and co-founder and artistic director of the Portland Chamber Music Festival, who was the string consort’s first concert master. Both will be the featured soloists in Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso IV, along with the string consort, conducted by Dabczynski. 

The string consort also will perform a march from Edward Elgar’s “Six Easy Pieces” and James Hook’s “Sonatina.” 

“This is a wonderful occasion to celebrate 35 years of excellence in youth music performance as well as the collaborations that have formed among the teachers, directors and conductors who engage with southern Maine’s young musicians,” said Kaschub. “We eagerly welcome Jennifer and Deidre back for this celebratory performance!”

The Portland Youth Junior Orchestra, conducted by Liva, will play Corelli’s equally wonderful Concerto Grosso VII, as well as Béla Bartók’s “Rumanian Folk Dances,” arranged by Arthur Wilner.

The Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lehmann, will conclude the concert with Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, Opus 72b and the second and fourth movements of Hector Berlioz’s “Sinfonie Fantastique,” Opus 14.

“This was a seminal work for Berlioz,” Lehmann said recently. “It was groundbreaking in every regard, from the compositional process, to orchestration and instrumental techniques employed.”

The USM Youth Ensembles spring instrumental concert is sponsored by Macy’s.

The instrumental USM Youth Ensembles include students ranging from grade school to high school. Auditions for the ensembles will be held May 20-23 at the USM School of Music. Reservations are required to audition. To schedule an audition, go to