Sparta cellist taking center stage with county symphony

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    SPARTA-The Sussex County Youth Orchestra will perform a spring concert Sunday, June 6, at Sparta High School Benjamin Katzen, principal cellist and a senior at Sparta High School, has the honor of performing a solo piece titled "Kol Nidrei," composed by Max Bruch. Katzen, a member of the high school orchestra, began playing the cello at age 10. "My mother plays the violin so at age 5 I started taking lessons with Dawn Tedesco," Katzen said. "One day my mother asked if I'd like to try the cello. I found the cello a more comfortable instrument to play than the violin, so I stuck with it." Although Katzen's love and curiosity for music had him sampling various brass instruments, he soon realized how attached he was to the cello and has since "polished" many musical pieces in countless concerts over the years. Katzen, under the direction of Dawn Tedesco with Jerry Tedesco and John Sepe conducting, has been a member of the Preparatory and Youth Orchestras for the past seven years. He has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as on three European trips with fellow members of the Sussex County Youth Orchestra. Katzen credits his mother, Dawn Tedesco, and numerous other role models, for his musical accomplishments. "Watching Mr. T (Jerry Tedesco) conduct has inspired me so much, that I want to make music my profession," says Katzen. The orchestra will no doubt miss Katzen as he heads off to Baltimore in the fall to attend the Peabody Conservatory, part of Johns Hopkins University. Also spotlighted for the evening's symphony is Carolyn Hehir, a senior at Roxbury High School. Hehir will conduct the "Edgemont Overture" by Beethoven. Kimberly Kraemer, principal flutist and a senior at Kittatinny Regional High School, will be featured along with Alan Tedesco, adult mentor, on trumpet in John Phillip Sousa's "Our Flirtations Overture." Admission to the concert is free, however donations to the Sussex County Youth Orchestra are welcomed. The orchestra is made up of more than 125 young musicians from Sussex, Warren, Passaic and Morris counties, plus areas in New York and Pennsylvania.