By violin prodigy standards, Randall Goosby started late.
He was 7 years old when he began playing, instead of 4 or 5 like many others. Granted, he had tried to start earlier, at age 6, when a music clerk told him his hands were too small for the equipment.
But his delayed introduction to the instrument has done little to impede his progress over the years. He went on to his first professional performance at age 9. And now, at age 18, he has performed twice at Carnegie Hall.
Today, Goosby is a student at The Juilliard School in New York City. But before he stepped onto the famed campus earlier this month as a freshman, he already was familiar with the prestigious performing-arts school. He had been in Juilliard’s Pre-College Program for students since 2011. As part of the program, he flew to and from his home in Memphis to the campus in New York every weekend during the school year to study violin with the likes of Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho.
“I flew Friday night, came back Sunday evening,” he said matter of factly about his experiences as a high school frequent flier.
Goosby will fly out again, this time to the Central Valley, to be the guest violinist at the start of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra’s 84th season Oct. 3-4 at the Gallo Center for the Arts.
Symphony Music Director David Lockington will conduct the new season’s opening weekend show, “Pictures at an Exhibition.” The concert will feature Samuel Barber’s “School for Scandal” overture, Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” suite and Felix Mendelssohn’s popular violin concerto.
Goosby, the 2010 Sphinx Competition winner and Kovner Fellowship recipient at Juilliard, will take on the Mendelssohn piece. He will be playing a Giovanni Paolo Maggini violin (c. 1590) on loan from the Stradivari Society of Chicago.
“The Mendelssohn concerto is one of my absolute favorites and I haven’t played it with an orchestra before,” he said. “It’s one of those pieces that never gets old to me, listening or playing.”
To coincide with the “Pictures at an Exhibition” theme – based on the suite by Russian composer Mussorgsky, which depicts an imaginary tour of an art collection – concertgoers will have a real art exhibit to enjoy in the Gallo Center lobby. The Modesto orchestra and Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock have partnered to bring a preview of the gallery’s upcoming “In Your Dreams” exhibit to display during the concerts.
The Gallo display will feature about 20 works from the upcoming show at the Carnegie. All 45 pieces in the juried lobby exhibit at the Carnegie will open to the public Oct. 8 in the Turlock gallery.