“Looking back 20 years, Kazem Abdullah can’t say for certain whether music helped him cope with the shooting death of his brother and only sibling. What he can say, without hesitation, is the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestras paved the way for his career in music,” writes Matt Peiken at radio station WCPO on Wednesday (10/1). “ ‘When you’re 14 or 15 years old, you need to stay busy, and dealing with a tragedy at that age is different than as an adult,’ Abdullah said…. Abdullah, a clarinetist who went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in performance … [is] in his third season as music director for the City of Aachen, in Germany. Abdullah’s only time on an American podium this season is Oct. 9 and 11, when he guest-conducts the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra…. Abdullah, now 35, grew up in Dayton, but spent most of his teens studying in Cincinnati…. Abdullah was at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, in Michigan, when his brother was shot and killed during a carjacking. Several weeks later, Abdullah asked his mother to drive him to an audition for the Cincinnati Youth Symphony Orchestra. He won the orchestra’s 1995-96 concerto competition and earned a spotlighted performance with the Cincinnati Symphony…. ‘I’m so excited for this weekend in Cincinnati,’ says Abdullah.”

Posted October 6, 2014