Plaudits for musicians Sara Kornfeld Simpson and Sonya Jacobs
By Eileen Wingard
SAN DIEGO –Musicians in the Making presented two outstanding young instrumentalists last Sunday afternoon in the Lawrence Family JCC’s Astor Judaica Library, Sara Kornfeld Simpson, flute, a student of Jill Coady, and Sonya Jacobs, clarinet, a student of Robert Zelickman. They were accompanied on the piano by Irina Bendetsky, former music faculty member at the University of San Diego.
The audience was enthralled by the two petite high schoolers’ expertise and musicality. Sara, a student at Patrick Henry High School, opened the program with Ibert’s Entr’acte, a whimsical piece brimming with French charm. She followed this with the first movement of Mozart’s Concerto in G, performed with precision, a well-focused tone and beautifully shaped phrases. Her last offering was Anne McGinty’s Variations and Theme, a
contemporary piece with unusual rhythms and intervals. This selection was programmed between the clarinetist’s two concerto movements.
Sonya, a sophomore at the La Jolla Country Day School, played the first movement of Stamitz’ Concerto #3 and the first movement of Krommer’s
Concerto in E flat. Her warm, full clarinet sound filled the room with the engaging themes. The two selections had many challenging technical passages with
streams of rapid notes. Each movement ended with a cadenza.
The two young performers joined forces to conclude the program with an arrangement for flute and clarinet of Bach’s Bourree. Sonya’s mother, Fanny Jacobs, presented flowers to the two soloists, the pianist, and the co-chair. The parents of the two performers, Eve Kornfeld and Tom Simpson and Fanny and Larry Jacobs hosted the audience in a reception following the recital. The program was produced by the Center for Jewish Culture’s D. Candis Paule.
Both soloists have remarkable resumes. Sara is not only an accomplished flutist, but she is an expert oboist who, just this week, placed in the finals for the San Diego Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Competition. Sonya not only plays beautiful clarinet, but she is also a gifted pianist, having placed second in the Music Teachers Association of California’s Sonata Competition.
Both are outstanding in their academic studies, with Sara participating in science fairs and her school’s Academic League and Model United Nations and Sonya receiving the “Trustees’ Award” for highest Grade Point Average and the English Department Award. She also writes for her school newspaper and is on the Mock Trial Team and the Academic League.
Both girls are athletes, with Sara on her school’s tennis team and Sonya on her school’s Junior Varsity swim team.
Sonya also serves on her school’s Community Service Board and has founded “Musicians for a Cause,” a club which meets weekly and performs at senior homes.
With teenagers such as these, we can feel hopeful that this earth may yet be a better place, with music and beauty helping to heal the world.
Fittingly, this program was a participant in Daniel Pearl World Music Days to memorialize the Jewish-American journalist killed in Pakistan in 2002. An amateur guitarist who believed in the power of music to bring people together, concerts are performed throughout the world in October, the month of Daniel Pearl’s birth, to remember his ideals.
Full Disclosure: I was honored as co-chair of the Musicians in the Making series when the two musicians dedicated Bach’s Bourree. to me.
Wingard is a freelance writer and former violinist with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.
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