Haw Yuan “Howard” Cheng featured Violist. Photo courtesy of Idyllwild Arts
This weekend, Idyllwild Arts student violist Howard Cheng will make his first concerto appearance. Cheng will perform William Walton’s Concerto for Viola and Orchestra with the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra and Music Director Peter Askim. During his first year, Cheng won the 2011 Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra Concerto Competition.

Each year, Idyllwild Arts holds the prestigious Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra Concerto Competition. This extremely competitive event has all of the finest young Idyllwild Arts Academy musicians vying for the coveted top prize — a solo performance with the orchestra.

This past year, there were three winners chosen from the field: Manjie Yang (violin), Shen Liu (clarinet) and Cheng. In October the orchestra’s opening concert featured Shen’s and Manjie’s performances.

In the competition, each student contestant plays a major solo work from memory. The concerts featuring the winners of the competition are highly anticipated by members of both the Idyllwild Arts community and the Idyllwild community in general.

Haw Yuan “Howard” Cheng began playing the violin at age 7 but switched to the viola when he was 11. In 2005, Howard enrolled at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. After completing their program, Howard was accepted to Idyllwild Arts Academy as a freshman in 2010 to study with Don McInnes. Last summer Cheng studied at the prestigious Perlman Music Program in New York and has also attended the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina.

The concert will also feature Carl Maria von Weber’s “Overture to Oberon” and Beethoven’s Symphony #5 In C Minor, Op. 67.

The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 and at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 5. The concert performance is free, open to the public and will be held at The Idyllwild Arts Foundation Theatre in Bowman Hall on the Idyllwild Arts campus, 52500 Temecula Rd. in Idyllwild.