This year’s Eastern Sierra Symphony will feature a unique Horton-Kohl award-winning soloist. Sixteen-year-old Claire Park will perform Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C at the festival’s free community concert on Friday, August 12. In 2015, she was the Assistant Principle Cellist for the Eastern Sierra Symphony Orchestra. Since then, Park has played with the Dream Orchestra and won first prize in the intermediate cello division of the Los Angeles Chapter’s 2015 American String Teachers’ Association Solo Competition. This year, Park is back, and set to perform all three movements of a concerto as a solo, a highly unusual feat for someone under the age of 22.
Park told The Sheet she first discovered cello when she was living in South Korea. She overheard her older cousin practicing cello on a family trip to America. “I was only ten, but I just thought it was so beautiful.” She started studying cello under celebrated cellist Dr. Richard Naill at the Colburn School in Pasadena that same year. According to Eastern Sierra Symphony Executive Director Aimee Kreston, Park’s talent was evident from the start. “She was so young and had this musical drive. She just knocked our socks off!