By Steve Tawa
COLLINGSWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — Two teenagers took the stage today with the South Jersey-based “Symphony in C” Orchestra, after winning a local piano competition.
The appreciative audience of pre-K through ninth graders at the Scottish Rite Auditorium, in Collingswood, listened as the orchestra played Camille Saint-Saen’s “Carnival of the Animals,” with two pianos.
Cassandra Sollito, a 17-year-old junior at Cherokee High School, and 15-year-old Cherry Hill East sophomore Amanda Liu were the featured players. They had won a “Rising Stars” piano competition sponsored by Jacobs Music.
“We both have the same teacher, Veda Zuponcic,” says Cassandra. “She’s a professor of music at Rowan University.”
Cassandra has been taking lessons with Zuponcic since she was five.
Amanda admits she was nervous but enjoyed today’s performing experience.
“I was really comfortable with my partner, Petko (Symphony in C assistant conductor Petko Dimitrov), and the entire orchestra,” she told KYW Newsradio.
Dimitrov says his young players, who are in one of three professional training orchestras in the US, are on the cusp of world-class careers.
“They’re great players,” he said today. “At the same time, the atmosphere is just incredibly nurturing for making music.”