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Black Hills Symphony Orchestra highlighting up-and-coming musicians

Black Hills Symphony Orchestra
Asher Burke was named the winner of the BHSO young soloist competition, and will be performing his solo at Saturday's concert

The first solo for an orchestra musician or a grand opening for a composer is always a significant moment in any artists career. This Saturday, the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra has both in one show.

The BHSO will be presenting their next program, Young and Talented, to highlight up and coming musical voices in the Hills.

Conductor Bruce Knowles said don’t discount what this moment symbolizes for young performers.

“It’s so great to see these young people taking it to the next level – this really is a cut above," Knowles said. "We know what it’s like to be up there and soloing with the symphony. It’s so much different than playing with the piano accompanist. You have many more layers and filters to go through. It’s a different thing, I guess it’s a bit like the difference between swimming in a swimming pool and swimming in the ocean.”

Performing that solo is Asher Burke, a senior at Rapid City Central and violist in the symphony. He said he’s ready for the spotlight.

“It takes a lot of work, but especially as a musician, when you get an opportunity you’ve gotta take it," Burke said. "The best thing you can do is get to know people and get yourself good teachers. Teachers that have played in an orchestra before, just to test out ‘hey, what can I learn from these people?’ It’s getting to know how it all works and getting to know multiple points of view.”

Burke said opportunities like these help him see his future in music.

“As a violist you don’t get a lot of opportunities to solo, its very, very uncommon," Burke said. "Getting to solo, especially with the Symphony Orchestra as a violist, is an incredible feeling. It makes me feel like I’m one step closer, and not like a baby step but a huge leap."

Also at this show will be the premiere of “Breakthrough,” a composition by Skye van Duuren. Van Duuren, along with being the Orchestra’s principal horn, is an assistant professor at Black Hills State University.

The performance will be held at the Performing Arts Center in Rapid City Saturday night.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering education, healthcare, arts and culture.