Submitted by The American West Symphony of Sandy

Two young pianists who emerged as winners of the American West Symphony of Sandy’s piano competition will perform on Saturday, March 3, in Sandy. Their performances will begin at 8 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 700 East 8600 South. Tickets are available at the door for $10 general admission, $8 students and $5 for children ages 8-15.

Jessica Coombs and Daniel Liu, both 16, will perform in Gershwin’s “Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra” with the symphony, in its “From Rome to American” concert. The concert will open with Glinka's Overture to the opera “Russlan and Ludmilla.”

Each of the winners wrote about themselves, as follows:

“My name is Jessica Coombs. I began my musical studies at the age of 3. I have won numerous prizes at the Utah State University Piano Festival, the Utah State Fair Music Competition and the Utah Symphony Youth Guild Recital Competition. I have performed with my family throughout the Intermountain area including for the 2002 Winter Olympics, the Temple Square Concert Series and the Cool Classics Concert Series. I was recently awarded the Glenn S. Harmon Instrumentalist Scholarship at the 2012 Miss Utah Outstanding Teen pageant.”

“My name is Daniel Liu. I am a 4.0 student at West High School. I started to play piano at age 7. Since 2007, I have been a winner at the Utah State University Piano Festivals each year. I have won first place awards in UMTA Future Musical Teacher Piano Competition, Utah State University Piano Festival and Salt Lake Valley Piano Competition. I have also performed in public concerts such as “Cool Classics Night” in Logan for the last three years. I am a varsity tennis player at West High School.”

Gershwin's “Concerto in F” was written in the 1920s and is full of the spirit of that turbulent decade in America. This was the heyday of jazz; the new music which had begun to exert its power. Gershwin's music is brazen and charged with a kind of electricity which suited the American life during those years. Gershwin uses the expression of music to paint a picture of his homeland, as did the great Italian composer Respighi who took inspiration from his favorite city, Rome, the Eternal City. He wrote “Pines of Rome” in 1924, one year after Gershwin wrote his piano concerto. It describes the pine trees from the Villa Borghese to the Appian Way.