Kevin Lemus, 17-year-old senior flutist at Sterling High School, is the winner of Clinton Symphony Orchestra’s annual Young Artist Auditions, and will perform the Sonata for Flute by Francis Poulenc accompanied by the orchestra in concert at 7:30 p.m. on February 15 in the Morrison High School Auditorium. Kevin is the son of Maria and Efrain Lemus, and a flute student of Nicole Oberg. He enjoys running, and is a member of the school swim team, with a special interest in diving. Future plans include a college major in biology as a path to pre-medicine studies.

The Young Artist Auditions are open to all area high school musicians, and this year’s runner-up is Jenna Spencer, a senior trombonist at Clinton High School. Both students will receive monetary scholarship awards from the Clinton Symphony Orchestra Association.

Adult tickets for the concert are $20, and all students are admitted free of charge. In addition, any student may sponsor an accompanying adult for half-price admission. Tickets are available at the door.

Enjoy the following program notes about Francis Poulenc and his Sonata for Flute.

Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (1899-1963), largely self-taught, contributed much to French music during his career, especially in the years following the First World War. He composed in all the major media – chamber, orchestra, and opera. His songs are considered some of the finest of the twentieth century. The Flute Concerto our young artist will perform tonight began life as a Flute Sonata, FP164. It was written in 1957 to honor the memory of an American music patron, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. The composer and renowned flautist Jean Pierre Rampal premiered the work at the Strasbourg Music Festival that same year. Since its introduction, the piece has become one of Poulenc’s most recognized works and a standard in the flute chamber music repertoire.

Its believed that Poulenc began composing the Sonata as early as 1952 and worked on the piece off and on, with encouragement from his publisher and from French flautists who were looking for new music. He received a commission from the Coolidge Foundation for a chamber piece in 1956, but he put the commission off to 1957 with the stipulation that he could premiere the work at Strasbourg. Rampal remarked in his autobiography the following telephone exchange:Jean-Pierre, said Poulenc: you know you’ve always wanted me to write a sonata for flute and piano? Well, I’m going to,’ he said. ‘And the best thing is that the Americans will pay for it! I’ve been commissioned by the Coolidge Foundation to write a chamber piece in memory of Elizabeth Coolidge. I never knew her, so I think the piece is yours. Poulenc never wrote any woodwind concertos despite having an affinity for the instruments. Noted flautist James Galway is responsible for giving the world a flute concerto derived from Poulenc’s Flute Sonata. Galway felt the Sonata was a chamber piece just begging to be orchestrated. Thus entered British composer Sir Lennox Berkeley who had been a close friend of Poulenc and “had a strong sympathy for the French style.” Berkeley scored the Concerto to include double woodwinds except for one flute. He preserved the French flair and flavor of the original Sonata while providing a delightful new Concerto to the flute repertoire.

~Program notes by William Driver

Kevin Lemus Announced as 2020 Young Artist