CHAMPAIGN — Violinist Rachel Koblyakov, a graduate of Urbana High School and a senior at the Juilliard School of Music, will perform as guest artist with The Chorale in its season-opening concert Saturday.
Koblyakov was a 2009 winner of the 80-member choral music group's Young Artist Scholarship. She has said the award gave her "a big boost" as she prepared to leave for Juilliard in New York City.
This past summer, she attended the Fountainebleau American Academy, where she won the Prix d'Instrument Cordes, awarded to the best string instrument player at the festival. Koblyakov has her own trio with two other Juilliard students; they recently completed a tour in Wisconsin.
At the Chorale concert, Koblyakov and pianist Casey Gene Dierlam, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois, will perform Franz Schubert's Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major ("Grand Duo").
"It's such a sweet and beautiful piece that at times can be playful and at other times, even dramatic," Dierlam said. "It's a fun piece to play for audiences, in part because of this great range."
Dierlam is no newcomer to The Chorale, either, having accompanied Koblyakov's audition for the scholarship. Koblyakov also will perform the "Meditation" by Jules Massenet.
The Chorale, now in its 30th season, will have a Young Artist Scholarship winner perform at each of its concerts this year.
"It's a real joy to follow these music students as they progress in their chosen field," Chorale music director and founder Julie Beyler said. "Inviting them back to their hometown gives them additional performing opportunities and lets them know their community continues to support them."
Other pieces on the concert program will be "Hodie Christus Est," a 16th-century double choir piece by Pastrina; "Native American Prayer" by Nolan Schmit; and Philip Bliss' "It Is Well with My Soul," arranged by Yu-Shan Shai.
Beyler and Chorale members first heard this arrangement performed in February by St. Olaf's Choir at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
In line with this year's musical theme, Celebration of Life: A World in Tune, the concert Saturday is dedicated to the memory of Dan Perinno, who was song leader at the Chorale's annual New Year's Eve gala.
The concert will begin at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary of Faith United Methodist Church, 1719 S. Prospect Ave., C. There is no admission charge, but donations for the Young Artist Scholarship Fund will be accepted.