The musicians in our orchestra come from a variety of musical backgrounds and have taken different paths on their way to our stage.
However, what unites us in our journey to become musicians is the role that mentorship played in each of our musical educations. With whom we studied is a credential on par with, or in some cases more important, than from what institution we may hold a music degree.
This is why the Portsmouth's Symphony embraces education as part of our mission. We recognize our responsibility as an organization and as musicians to pay forward the investment that has been made in each of us. We must entertain, but we must also help educate the next generation of classical musicians.
While the pandemic has hampered our ability to convene as a full orchestra, it has not prevented us from continuing our important work as educators and mentors. We have continued to connect with young musicians and schools using technology most of us didn’t know existed fifteen months ago.
This ongoing work has kept the instruments in our hands and the music flowing for all of us.
PSO Music Director
Meet Your Orchestra
Jake Copp, Cellist
The PSO's Stringendo Youth Ensemble (formerly known as Musical Youth of the PSO—MyPSO) offers young talented string players a chance to participate in their own youth orchestra and attend chamber music coaching by PSO principal players. Some of these talented young musicians, like Jake Copp, also play as student members of the full PSO orchestra.
Years playing with the PSO: 2 Age started playing cello: 11 Lives in: Stratham, NH
How long have you been involved with the PSO?
My first exposure to the PSO happened when I was in 8th grade. At the time, I was playing in the youth orchestra at Portsmouth Music and Arts Center, and through that was offered the opportunity to sit in and observe a PSO rehearsal. They were rehearsing Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, which to this day is one of my favorite pieces.
Soon after, I was invited to play with the PSO as part of their annual educational concerts for local elementary schools. That year’s program consisted of the music from Harry Potter, and as you can imagine, I was thrilled to play among adults in such a large ensemble.
What's your favorite part of the PSO?
This may sound a bit silly, but I love how large it is. Musically, I find it exhilarating to perform giant pieces of music in a symphonic orchestra, being surrounded by dozens of instruments, completely enveloped in their powerful sound. I also love the size of our community.
The PSO has exposed me to so many wonderful people, and over the years I’ve been performing with them I’ve made lots of friends. We have a very widespread and diverse group, yet have always been able to retain a tight-knit bond together and foster a close sense of community with our fellow musicians.
What do you do when you aren't playing music?
When I’m not playing music myself, I’m analyzing and studying music and the process of creating it. I love picking apart songs, especially for their harmonies, and find it fascinating to break them into each component to discover exactly what goes into giving a particular song its sound.
Outside of music, I enjoy reading, watching YouTube, and studying French. I’m also a big fan of Minecraft.
What are your plans for the future?
This fall, I’ll be starting college at the University of New Hampshire, majoring in Computer Science. While it may not be my major, I fully intend to continue making music and hope to stay involved in our Seacoast music community!
You can listen to Jake play in this Sounds Good! PSOrchKids video and hear him talk about what he's learned about conductingas part of the PSO's youth education program Stringendo (formerly MyPSO).
The Next Generation
Youth Artist Competition Winner
It is with great pleasure that we announce Vincent Xiao as the winner of the 2021 PSO Youth Artist Competition.
Each year the PSO recognizes an outstanding young student residing within New Hampshire or the Seacoast region of Maine and Massachusetts (from Beverly to York). Open to high school orchestral instrumentalists including piano, guitar and saxophone, this year's Young Artist Competition winner will be awarded a $500 cash prize and will have their winning video featured on our website.
According to John Page, who serves as one of the judges, “Vincent was chosen for his large range of colors, moods, and many varied voicings, which created an impressive, dramatic performance.”
We also extend our congratulations to two other notable contestants who impressed the judges with their fine performances:
2nd Place: Jaehyun Park, violin Honorable Mention for Musicality: Brian Son, violin
2021 PSO Youth Concerto Winner Vincent Xiao plays piano concerto No. 2 in c minor, Op. 18, I. Moderato, by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Performances Not to Be Missed
PSO String Quartet "Live Under the Arch" The Music Hall, Portsmouth
May 30 at 5 & 7pm
Join PSO String Quartet players Susanne Powers and Aniko Geladze (violin), Karen McConomy (viola), and Johnny Mok (cello) as they play music Live Under the Arch outside The Music Hall.
The quartet will keep the audience on their toes with their favorite classical pieces by Haydn and Mendelssohn, sensual dances and edgy tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and a few popular surprises.
Tickets are priced per tables of 2, 4 or 6. To learn more about the program or buy tickets, visit our website.
Bringing Symphonies from Around the U.S. Into Your Living Room
The League of American Orchestras has compiled a directory of online symphonic performances available from its members and friends.
While we wait patiently to be able to gather and play once again as a full symphony orchestra, check out their performance directory and enjoy one of the many offerings from symphonies as far flung as Anchorage to Wichita.
Investing in Music
The PSO invests in the next generation of classical musicians through education and mentorship.