BERKELEY -- The 76th season of the Young People's Symphony Orchestra will kick off with the fall concert at the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, which will feature music director/conductor David Ramadanoff and the orchestra's 95 young musicians in performances of Johannes Brahm's "A German Requiem" with the Oakland Symphony Chorus directed by Lynne Morrow and American composer Christopher Theophanidis' "Rainbow Body."

The major work on the program will be Johannes Brahms' "Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem)," which will feature the 120 members of the Oakland Symphony Chorus directed by Lynne Morrow and featuring two Bay Area singers, soprano Heidi Moss and baritone Zachary Gordin.

Prompted by his mother's death, Johannes Brahms began work on his Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) in 1865 and the work premiered in Leipzig in 1869. Written for orchestra and chorus in seven movements, the piece takes approximately 65 minutes to perform, and is the longest piece Brahms ever wrote. "The first and last movements make it very clear that the focus is on the living and comforting those left behind. There's nothing like it before or after," says Ramadanoff.

Morrow said she and the Oakland Symphony Chorus are looking forward to the collaboration with YPSO in the performance.

"This joint project with a thriving youth music ensemble speaks directly to our mission," she says.


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The other work on the program is American composer Christopher Theophanidis' "Rainbow Body," a 13-minute orchestral work that Robert Spano and the Houston Symphony debuted in 2000.

Ramadanoff found out about the piece from Barry Jekowsky, the former conductor of Walnut Creek's California Symphony, who had worked with Theofanidis in 1994-1996, when the composer was the California Symphony's Young American Composer-in-Residence.

For 54 years, the Oakland Symphony Chorus has been recognized as one of the East Bay's finest choirs and a premier resource for continuing education in the choral arts. In addition to presenting its own concerts and workshops, the chorus collaborates with many fine performing arts groups including the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Berkeley Symphony and Festival Opera.

Founded in Berkeley in 1936, the Young People's Symphony Orchestra is the oldest youth orchestra in California and the second oldest in the nation. Violinist and conductor Jessica Marcelli founded the orchestra at the suggestion of Clarabelle Bell, an amateur harpist and Berkeley resident, who got the idea after hearing a youth orchestra on a trip to Portland, Ore.

-- Keith Gleason

If you go
What: Young People's Symphony Orchestra Fall Concert 2012
When: 8 p.m., Saturday
Where: Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave., Walnut Creek, Ca 94596
Cost: $20 general and $15 for students and senior citizens at the door
Tickets and information: Call 510-849-YPSO (9776), email at ypsomusic@yahoo.com or go to www.ypsomusic.net