The New York String Orchestra came to the Kennedy Center last night with its annual reminder of what a remarkable crop of young classical musicians is growing up in American high schools, colleges and conservatories -- a reminder that we need at least once a year. This student ensemble, which exists (as a training orchestra) only during the Christmas vacation each year, sounded like seasoned professionals under the baton of Alexander Schneider.
Sometimes they sounded that way despite Schneider -- a superb musician but one whose ideas of Bach interpretation now sound old-fashioned. Following him faithfully in the First Brandenburg Concerto and the Violin Concerto in A minor, the orchestra found the special beauty inherent in his noble errors of style. In Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, where the conductor was more in his element, the performance (particularly of the first movement) was stunning.
Despite the orchestra's name, some of the best work was done by oboes, bassoons and particularly the horns, adjusting to the very different requirements of Bach and Mozart. Excellent solos were provided by Jaime Laredo and Arnold Steinhardt on violins and Michael Tree on viola, but the kids were the real stars. I plan to save the program, which lists all their names, expecting that in 10 years I will be seeing some of those names in much larger print.