Youth infuse Symphony Splash lineup

Young soloist prepares for grand performance at this year Symphony Splash in Inner Harbour

Alice Haekyo Lee

Alice Haekyo Lee

With pigtails bouncing, Alice Lee wields her violin with an emotional maturity that belies her young age.

That and her enormous talent are the reasons the 11-year-old Saanich resident has been chosen as the young soloist for the 22nd annual Victoria Symphony Splash, a free event that will draw about 40,000 spectators to the Inner Harbour on July 31.

Lee has performed before 50 people at the most, but she says no matter the size of the crowd, her focus will be on the music – Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 – which she will perform with the Victoria Symphony.

“I’m going to be a tad nervous but I know that when I’m playing I’m not going to actually notice everyone,” said Lee, who practices violin two hours after school, and up to six hours every weekend.

When the News interviewed Lee during a World Vision project at her St. Michaels University junior school in March, she spoke of her dream of one day becoming a famous violinist. Just a few months later she is about to have her wish come true, albeit a bit earlier than planned.

“It’ll be my professional debut,” she said proudly after Victoria Symphony music director Tania Miller introduced Lee to an excited crowd Monday morning.

Miller said Splash will receive another injection of young talent this year when the orchestra performs 17-year-old Jared Richardson’s composition Winds of Kananaskis.

The View Royal pianist and trombonist composed the piece when he was 15 years old, though he has written 70 pieces since age 11. Like Lee, the crowd at Symphony Splash will be Richardson’s largest audience.

“I was pretty excited and surprised of course,” said Richardson, who hopes to one day to compose film scores. “I had no idea (Tania Miller) was going to call.”

Symphony Splash begins on July 31 with a Splash Family Zone, with music and bouncy castles from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by a street dance with the Timebenders on Belleville Street. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. when the symphony performs Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, followed by fireworks and cannons.

To volunteer or reserve grandstand seating, please visit www.victoriasymphonysplash.ca.

emccracken@vicnews.com