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13-year-old violinist to perform with Dallas Symphony Orchestra at BU

Nov. 17, 2005

by JON SCHROEDER, reporter

While most 13-year-olds are worrying about what to wear to school the next day, Shannon Lee is playing as a soloist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Lee, accompanied by the rest of the orchestra, will perform at 8 p.m. today in Waco Hall, with Baylor alumnus Giancarlo Guerrero conducting.

Lee is the featured performer of the night. She'll play Samuel Barber's "Opus 14," a violin concerto.

Lee was born in Canada and grew up in Plano. She first performed with the Texas Chamber Orchestra at age 9.

"You can't help but love her," said Fred Bronstein, president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Association. "When she plays, she's a powerhouse."

Lee is the winner of the 2004 Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition, sponsored by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The contest annually seeks the best child musician in North Texas.

"She almost appears shy," Bronstein said, but her talent "really is extraordinary."

Bronstein said the full symphony hasn't toured Texas in years. The Baylor performance is only one stop on the Dallas Symphony Orchestra 2005 Texas Tour. It will also perform at Tarleton State University, University of Houston Friday and Texas A&M University on Saturday.

"It's quite an ordeal to cart around 100 musicians and their instruments," said Dr. William May, dean of Baylor's school of music. "It's very rare for a symphony to tour these days."

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra recently was honored with the Gramophone Editor's Choice Award for recording.

Guerrero received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1991 from Baylor with a major in percussion.

He also studied conducting at Northwestern University in Illinois.

He has been music director for the Eugene Symphony in Oregon since September 2002.

"It's wonderful for us to have someone from our program conducting," May said. "Guerrero is very much a rising star in the orchestral conducting business."

Tickets cost $25, but special VIP tickets for closer seating and reserved parking are also available for $40. Concert and promotion manager Dick Veit said tickets will be available until 5 p.m. today in the lobby of the Glennis McCrary Music Building. They'll also be available at the door in Waco Hall on a first-come, first-served basis.

"This is a rare opportunity for Waco to see the Dallas Symphony Orchestra right in our own back yard," Veit said.

"For music students, it's even better," May said, as Guerrero will also lead the Baylor University Symphony Orchestra for a class period.

Veit said the Baylor orchestra musicians played on Nov. 7 Brahm's "Symphony No. 2," the same piece as the Dallas Symphony will perform tonight.

"This is an opportunity (for music students) to see a world-class conductor sharing his insights," Veit said. "He knows (Brahm's No. 2) intimately."