NATCHITOCHES – For Milovan Paz, few experiences match the opportunity to perform music. Paz, a junior music performance major at Northwestern State University, will be one of three student winners of the NSU Concerto Competition who will perform Monday with the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra.
The orchestra will present “The Thrill of the Orchestra” at 7:30 p.m. Dr. Douglas Bakenhus will conduct the orchestra.
Violinist Roman Carranza, flutist Chris Cox and Paz, a cellist, will be featured. Carranza, a student of Andrej Kurti, will perform “Violin Concerto Finale” by Khatchaturian. Cox, a student of Dennette McDermott, will play “Fantasy for Flute and Orchestra” by George Hue. Paz, a student of Paul Christopher, will perform St. Saens’ “Cello Concerto No. 1.”
Paz also was a Concerto Competition winner two years ago.
“My professor, Paul Christopher, has helped me improve over the last two years,” said Paz, who is from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. “Recently, I recorded myself with some professional quality equipment and before I heard it, I didn’t see how I have evolved. I have improved technically and in the understanding of the music. I hear things I didn’t hear before and I pay more attention to the music.”
Paz said the opportunity to perform regularly is one of the benefits of being part of Northwestern State’s music program. Paz along with three other students from San Pedro Sula formed the Guifiti String Quartet, which plans to present a concert later this spring. He will perform as part of a quartet with Christopher on March 7. Paz performs with the Shreveport Symphony, Texarkana Symphony, Marshall Symphony, Rapides Symphony, Longview Symphony and South Arkansas Symphony.
“I enjoy being at Northwestern. I work with an excellent professor in Mr. Christopher and have many opportunities to perform with professional musicians,” he said. “I look forward to performing with the orchestra because I will get to play with many good friends of mine.”
Paz started playing cello when he was 10. He was at a point where he might have had given up on studying music when he heard about Northwestern State.
“After I finished school, I didn’t have an opportunity to go further with my music education and played in some chamber orchestras,” said Paz. “I had some friends who came to Northwestern and were happy here. I got my opportunity when Dr. Bakenhus visited San Pedro Sula and had auditions. I was accepted and came here.”
Paz said St. Saens’ “Cello Concerto No. 1” is a work that any cellist who hopes to be a performer must master.
“It is a one movement piece with no pause,” said Paz. “It is a good piece because of the communication between the soloist and the orchestra. It is a part of the standard cello repertoire and this will be the first time I am able to perform the entire work an orchestra.”
Admission to the Young Person’s Concert is free. To make reservations, contact Bakenhus at (318) 357-5792 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets for the evening performance are $10. Northwestern State University, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D.