About the Event

The wonderful concert program includes J.S. Bach’s Double Concerto for Violin & Oboe, Duet for Two Violins & String Orchestra by Steve Reich, three dances from Piotr I. Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet, the overture to the opera Die Meistersinger by Richard Wagner, the fourth movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and some musical surprises.

Featured Youth Symphony Alumni soloists include Abby Young, violin, Gabe Young, oboe, Shaina Evoniuk, electric violin, Kathleen Strahm, violin, and Heidi Strahm Smith, violin.

Youth Symphony Alumni Soloists


Ashland native Abby Young received a Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance at the University of Oregon where she was a student of Fritz Gearhart. She earned Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Violin Performance at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, where she studied with Scott Flavin and served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, Henry Mancini Institute (HMI) Fellow and Personnel Manager of the HMI Orchestra. Abby performs regularly with the Naples Philharmonic and has shared the stage with Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Immanuel Ax and Joshua Bell. She has also performed with the Palm Beach Symphony, Miami Symphony, Miami Bach Society, Julio Iglesias, Michael Bolton, José Feliciano and many others.


In his final year of undergraduate study at the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University, oboist Gabe Young is a student of Linda Strommen. Also an Ashland native, he began playing saxophone at an early age and then picked up the oboe in the fifth grade, excited by an opportunity to play with the YSSO. He attended the 2012 Interlochen Summer Arts Camp as a recipient of the Frederick Fennell Scholarship. He was the four-time Oregon State Solo Competition champion and was selected to participate in the National Youth Orchestra of the USA in 2013 and again in 2014. Most recently he appeared with the New World Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Kentucky Opera, Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra and the Britt Festivals Orchestra. He has been a soloist with the Rogue Valley Symphony, Indiana University Symphony Orchestra, Second Street Baroque Orchestra and the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon. In July 2015, he played Alessandro Marcello’s Oboe Concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.


Electric and acoustic violinist, Shaina Evoniuk has been dazzling audiences for more than a decade. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She has studied at the Berkeley Jazz Conservatory, as well as with Mark O’Conner, the Cavani String Quartet and others. She has performed worldwide and has appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Spring Festival in Beijing, Lincoln Center, the Montreal Jazz Festival, NFL Super Bowl, and throughout Europe, India and Asia. Her debut album, Hitwoman Honey, was released in 2017 to critical acclaim. Currently the leader of San Francisco’s Jazz Mafia string section, she is also the violinist with William Close & the Earth Harp Collective.


Heidi Strahm Smith and Kathleen Strahm grew up in the Rogue Valley. Heidi was Kathleen’s first violin teacher. Students of Kendra Law and Faina Podolnaya, Heidi and Kathleen had the honor of performing with Youth Symphony Alumni soloists, Abby Young and Shaina Evoniuk, at Carnegie Hall with Siskiyou Violins, led by Faina Podolnaya. Heidi and Kathleen participated in the YSSO organization for many years. Heidi received her Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Music from Western Oregon University. She currently teaches violin and viola in southern Oregon, as well as via Skype. Kathleen recently was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts in Violin Performance from Arizona State University. She performs regularly and currently serves as Associate Concertmaster of the Rogue Valley Symphony. They are innovative entrepreneurs and often collaborate on projects through Oddly Noted, an online platform dedicated to “making classical music human again” by combining classical music with humor.

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